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CamSur: Adventure hub triumps in 5150 return

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

INSPIRED by the successful comeback of the 5150 Triathlon CamSur, dubbed as the original race destination, Camarines Sur Governor Luigi Villafuerte now sees the potential of the province as Adventure Hub of the Philippines offering diverse activities from extreme sports to eco-tourism ventures.

The 5150 Triathlon and Go for Gold Sunrise Sprint, in collaboration with the provincial government of Camarines Sur made a comeback after a 15-year hiatus since the first IRONMAN-brand of events was held in the Philippines in 2009.

This year’s event took place at the Camarines Sur Water Sports Complex (CWC) in Pili, Camarines Sur on Sunday, February 11. It was participated in by more than 250 triathletes coming from eleven (11) countries vying for the win.

The CWC was transformed into a battleground of sports players determined to bring home the bacon while showcasing their stamina, strength of will and physical prowess in enduring the 1.5 km swim race, 40km bike and 10km run, to complete the 51.50 kilometer Triathlon race.

Swim, Bike and Run

Contenders have to finish the one-hour swim race at the Lago Del Rey, 3-hour and 30minutes bike and five-hour and 30minutes for the run to complete the three leg of the 5150 Triathlon race.

To ensure safety of the athletes, the 40-kilometer bike lanes were closed to vehicular traffic. Triathlon athletes started at the Lago Del Rey, then traversed the Maharlika Highway to the Diversion road before heading towards the Pili-Goa road. They have to complete 2 loops before heading back at the CWC to finish the bike course.

Wrapping the Swim and Bike routes, athletes have to finish the 10km run, with their initial turnaround near the San Antonio National High School in Milaor, Camarines Sur, before going back at the CWC road towards the finish line.

“So we’re very prepared, we’re very confident that this IRONMAN will be very successful and honestly, I look forward to hosting many more events. We are talking about it na gusto namin talaga. There has to be continuity. We started this now [with] me as governor but we want to continue it so that we can really expand, not just to the 5150, but other branches of the Iron Man and other branches of adventure. I was telling RD Herbie na we really want to establish CamSur as an adventure capital of the country,” Villafuerte said.

Edward Vince Jared Macalalad, a 27-year-old participant fresh from the Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay 2023 competition, reigned in the male category after registering a total of 2hours, 8minutes and 38seconds. He also dominated the 25-29 age group category.

National Athlete Kim Mangrobang, a 3-time Southeast Games winner and a native of Santa Rosa, Laguna made it to the finish line after clocking 2hours, 22minutes and 36 seconds following the gun start at 6:20AM. The 32-year old athlete also made it in the 30-34 age group division.

“I did the 70.3 in 2011 and I think I was the youngest at that time. Now, I’m here again, the people are the same, those who are cheering. The people in CamSur are very supportive,” Mangrobang said in an interview with the IRONMAN brand team.

Original Gangsters or referred to as “OGs”, said the 5150 Triathlon “feels like coming home,” reminiscing the first international IRONMAN CamSur competition more than a decade ago.

Paolo Sauler who had been doing Triathlon since 2009 said he felt the surge of excitement when he found out that the 5150 Triathlon will be done in CamSur.

“To be honest with you, I stopped triathlon for 13 years, then I saw this on Facebook and this is my first triathlon comeback since 2011 when I did Triathlon CamSur. It’s very good to be back, good to see familiar faces and it’s good to be back in the province of CamSur,” Sauler stated.

Levy Ang, also one of the OGs, said Cam Sur always brings back beautiful memories. “Since kasi yon nga, this is all where it started, the IRONMAN brand here in the Philippines.”

“On behalf of the province of CamSur I feel very blessed that the Iron Man decided to come home here to CamSur. It’s really touching to me from my heart when Princess and the whole organization is describing this event as a homecoming, because when you say homecoming it means that everyone feels at home here, everyone feels that the safety, the comfort, the love from the people of CamSur and everyone participating. Now I believe we have around 16 countries from outside the Philippines, as far as Peru, as far as Finland, Japan, France, and many other countries that made their journey to come home here in CamSur,” the CamSur governor said.

Villafuerte was 13 years old when the first IRONMAN took place in Camarines Sur. It was then his father, former Camarines Sur Governor and now CamSur 2nd District Representative Luis Raymond (LRay) Villafuerte who opened the door of the province to an international event which later transformed the province into a sports and adventure hub for both domestic and foreign tourists.

“It’s not just a race, it’s really a community. It’s really a family that was built over the years. Of course, I have to thank my father Congressman LRay who pushed thin in 2009, and really tested. Of course we’d never done anything like this before. But in 2009 we weren’t scared, we were very confident that we could accomplish a successful race that was world-class”, the governor added.

Among the countries that actively participated in the race were Austria, Hong Kong, Japan, Bahamas, Bermuda, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, Turkey, and Russian Federation.

The 5150 Triathlon CamSur was also supported by 2Go, Rudy Project, Sante Barley, Ilaw Atbp., Manila Bulletin, Tempo and Sportograf. (PIA 5)


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