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Feb 12 19, 10:52 am

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Meet the first ever Filipino to represent PH, UAE in UltraMarathon Florida

by | Sports, TOP STORIES

Feb. 12, 19 | 10:52 am

A Filipino emergency medical technician based in Abu Dhabi is set to competing for a three-day ultramarathon race in Florida, USA.

Romeo Puncia III, 32, is the only Filipino and UAE-based triathlete to compete in UltraMarathon Florida 2019, a grueling endurance sport, tougher than marathon and IronMan since it involves racing for more than 50km.

He will represent the Philippines and the UAE in the race.

For this year’s UltraMan Florida, triathletes need to finish 84 km run, 10km open water swim, and 423km bike, totalling 517.5 km distance race. It will start on February 15 and will end on February 17.

He will be competing against 46 other professional triathletes from USA, Brazil, Spain, Canada, Colombia, New Zealand, Argentina, Barbados, South Africa, Venezuela and Hondura.

Puncia dubs his run as “Race With A Purpose” specifically for the tribal people of Palawan in southern Luzon, Philippines.

“While we are doing this, we can help the tribal people of Palawan, Philippines so we can give them food, medical supply, education and sports,” Puncia told The Filipino Times.

Puncia was 29 years old when his friends invited him to join their tryout in 2016. Without prior training, he just watched YouTube videos and continued training in Al Bateen and Corniche Beach, Yas Marina Circuit and Al Wathba Cycling Track. His first race was in Dubai triathlon and fell in love with the sport since then.

The following year, in 2017, he tried the Half Ironman race in the Philippines – 1.9 swim, 90km bike and 21.1km run. He almost gave up when he got an injury a month before the race. But the thought of his parents watching him motivated him to finish.

Last year, he joined the full Ironman race in South Africa. The race was punishing, he was crying on the way to the finish line.

This is why when he learned that Ultraman Florida accepted his application, he knew he needed more training. He sought out professional triathlete coach Jeremy Howard of Way2Champ Endurance Coaching to build his endurance and mental toughness.

After training in Al Ain, they flew to Orlando last February 10 where he continued his training.

Puncia said he is passionate about racing because it meant being able to help people, and to glorify God.

“Everytime we do a race, a lot of people voluntarily help me for that mission. Me and my wife save 20 percent of my salary. Everyone should have a sense of purpose. Everytime you glorify God in your sports, you will see you have a purpose,” Puncia said.

Puncia III has been awarded as “Dakilang Bayani sa Dubai UAE” by the Philippine Consulate in Dubai, and “Pride of Abu Dhabi.”

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THE FILIPINO TIMES is the biggest and most trusted Filipino newspaper in the UAE.

It has a print run of 60,000 copies and 250,000 readership per week; bolstered by 1 million visitors to its website every month. It also has an e-newsletter sent to its 250,000 subscribers every day.

The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

THE FILIPINO TIMES. We are where the Filipinos are.

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