Posted on Monday Jan 20th at 5:00am
MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philippines student Mervin Rendel Santiago and Aileen Breen ruled yesterday’s kickoff leg of the 2014 National Age Group Triathlon series at Dungaree Beach at the Subic Bay Freeport.
Santiago, 21, who topped the Anvaya Cove Invitational last November, made up for his poor showing in the swim leg with big finishes in the bike and run legs to top the male division in two hours, 13 minutes, 56 seconds.
“This is a good way to start the triathlon year. I knew I would be left behind in the swim but my strength is in the biking and running, so I was confident I would catch up with the early leaders,” said Santiago, a physical education senior who won the gold medal in the 20-24 age class.
Breen, who has fully recovered from a fractured right shoulder, was the fastest lady triathlete in 2:49:40 to also claim the gold medal in the 35-39 bracket.
“I’ve been injured for six weeks but it’s getting back now. It’s a good start to train again and I love competing in the NAGT because it’s a well-organized race,” said Breen.
The one-day race was organized by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines in cooperation with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines, Inc. (ACIP), Gatorade, Standard Insurance, Green Triathlon, Lifestyle Subic Bay and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
Other winners in the standard distance (1.5K swim-40 K bike-10 K run) were Juan Gabriel Velasco (25-29), Jet Ramos (30-34), Jessie Jay Calara (35-39), Hiroshi Takei (40-44), Keita Hasegawa (45-49), and Joey Andaya (50-54) in the men’s side and Chloe Jane Ong (25-29), Richelle Hizon (30-34) and Elaine Andaya (40-over) in the women.
The event drew 200 triathletes, including national athletes prming up for the Asian Games in Incheon, Korea.
Nikko Huelgas brushed off the challenge of last year’s top triathlete John Chicano with an impressive 1:59:21 clocking.
“My priority this year is to qualify for the Asian Games. What is important today was to see my fitness level and not my time. It’s about competing at a high level and finishing the race with still a lot of energy,” said Huelgas.
In the sprint distance, Jan Louise Obena, Gerald Asiado and Philip Rynn won in the male category and Marge Hizon in the ladies.
The super TriKids winners were Brent Valelo and Maria Margarita Delos Reyes (mini-sprint), Vonn Destiny Luy (9-10), Juan Francisco Baniqued (11-12) and Everly Janarie Macalalad (female 11-12).