Try and Triathlon Until You Succeed: Bicol’s Three Triathlon Thrills

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Three faces whose paces are measured by the sweetest of sweats. Meet the region’s iron-lined icons.

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BERNADETTE AGOR, champion triathlete, Naga City. If you didn’t say that while doing a Pia Wurtzbach voice in your head then maybe you should. At 34 years old Bernadette, or Binggay, is officially Naga City’s poster girl for multi-sports. She’s one-third of a three-time Cobra Ironman Cebu champion team called Tri-Mates. The number three may be a triathlete’s lucky number, but it’s not just luck that led Binggay to this championship story. It’s a product of rigorous training and a little serendipity in the guise of her teammates.

“I’ve been running since 2009 and in the course of joining run clinics, I met my now team mates who espoused the idea of joining Cebu Ironman as a relay team. Being exposed to two other individuals who were training different disciplines started me off at triathlon”

Bernadette has the following championship titles with her winning team: Team Tri-Mates 2nd runner up in Cebu Ironman (Relay; 2014) Team Tri-Mates 3rd runner up in Challenge Cam Sur (Relay;2015) Team Tri-Mates 3rd runner up in Cebu Ironman (Relay; 2015).

Binggay is currently based outside of Bicol but never forgets to get in shape when back home. She has her swimming training over at CWC and Avenue Plaza Hotel, takes the Naga-Legazpi route for bike training and mad dashes all over the DepEd Sports Complex in Pili.

 

Eric Alzaga is the makings of a new Legazpi legend. He is a 37 year old triathlete who also started out all by himself, training and competing for multi-sports since 2011. Eric is currently a member of the Mayon Tri-Team. For five years now, Eric has been training in Bicol while competing all over the country.

To name a few awards under his name, Eric has been the overall champion for age group (31-40) in Tri-Series Duatlon Naga City (2014), second runner up for age Group (30-40) in Tri Noah 2014, and Xterra Albay February 2016- First m Runner Up for age group (35-39), earning him a spot in Xterra Hawaii Championship 2017.

Asked about how Bicol is an ideal place for honing athletes, Eric says “Being in Legazpi Boulevard is all you need for multi-sports training because everything you need ( to swim, bike, and run) is there”.

The small town of Carolina takes pride in Caroline Orcena, a Smart Tri Team triathlete. Caroline got an early start at sports, having been a competitive swimmer at six—and a consistent athlete until college. After moving to Manila for a corporate 9-to-5 work, she decided that sports is not something she can compromise; and so she started training for triathlon which would yield impressive achievement such as landing 3rd AG in Ironman 70.3 Cam Sur 2010, 3rd Place AG Ironman 70.3 Cam Sur 2011, and 2nd Place AG Tri United 3 2015 (70.3 Distance).

Asked about how Bicol played a crucial part in her training, she mentions “I maximize the long and safe roads of Naga, Pili, Goa, Tiwi and Mt. Isarog loop for bike training; while the 15km stretch from Naga to Panicuason is a perfect route for uphill training. CWC to Goa (original route of Ironman 70.3 Cam Sur) route is also great for long ride, and Pacol Sports Complex for swimming and running as well”.

Braving the world of multi-sports and rightfully earned their own spot in this competitive arena, these home-grown athletes add another persona to the Oragon psyche and to the already multi-faceted Bicol—a breeding ground for champions in the world of Triathlon.
Born and bred in Bicol, wolfing down the breakfast of champions

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April Casquejo

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April Casquejo lives and breathes Law Books, and when she’s had enough, she runs away, literally. A runner, a poet, and an all-around interesting bravado to talk to, she waxes poetic when asked about the loves of her life.

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