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Pinoy triathlete brings home Php50,000 for Palawan tribal communities

by | Sports

Jul. 23, 19 | 5:35 pm

DUBAI: He had just finished a major triathlon event and was supposed to be spending at least three weeks to fully recover. But a friend dared him to run just one more time in exchange for Php50,000 that he could use for his support program for the tribal communities of Palawan.

Of course, Romeo Tumayao Puncia didn’t think twice, or probably thought he’d take it back after realizing what he had just gotten himself into:

The Altriman Extreme Triathlon, happening just days after the June 30 Mainova Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt was held to which Puncia got a Finisher medal is, in a word, hell in its ugliest!

The Ironman European Championship covered a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run.

The Altriman? “I never thought that it is one of the toughest triathlons in the planet,” said Puncia.

Held in Les Angles, France on July 06, 2019, which was just six days after the Ironman Frankfurt race, Atriman was 3.8km swim, 193km bike and 42km run.

Described Puncia: “It was a 3800m wetsuit swim course at 5:30 am which has a sea temp of 18-20 degrees Celcius in a dark lake at 1600m altitude followed by a cold and hot 200km bike ride with 5300m of climbing at 2900m altitude, super scary downhills, tight turns, a few gravels, winding and narrow roads, and no bike tech. In case you haven’t had enough, you can enjoy a 42.2km run with another 720m of ascent.”

Puncia went for it: “The Php50,00 will help me buy sport equipment for the indigenous and tribal communities of Palawan’s Tribal Sports Festival which will be held, October 27 to 31, 2019.”

Of the 206 triathletes who joined Altriman, only 92 finished; 97 called (DNF) or Did Not Finish; there also were 17 DNS, or Did Not Show up.

Puncia, who have been joining triathlons since 2016, recalled: “What I remember from the race briefing was there will be like around seven mountains to cross with the last two being the toughest ones as some portions of the road would be winding, narrow, and quite dangerous especially during the downhill part.”

“Honestly, I had wanted to quit during the first three mountains most especially the downhill part; it was really hard and scary,” said Puncia. “I’ve been to many challenges and much longer distances, but it was the first time that I ended up thinking about my safety and wanting to go back alive with my family. Cycling at like more than 50km/hr next to a scary cliff with tight turns is not a joke, and to be safe I need to carefully control the break for more than 10km while eyes focused on the road. Based on the initial and unofficial live race tracking on that day, during the first 100km I was in the top 30 overall and top 10 in my age group.”

Puncia said he stopped and declare a safe DNF at between KM 135-137 of the bike race. “I am at peace and happy with this decision.

He said he still got to receive the Php50,000 and is now making plans for the tribal event.

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