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Alaska IRONKIDS shape future of children

Dreams will again be born when the Alaska IRONKIDS Philippines takes place at the Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa Saturday, August 4, 2018.

The swim-bike-run race is a companion event of the 2018 Regent Aguila IRONMAN 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship to be held the following day. It enables children six to 14 years old participate in activities that help them adopt an active lifestyle, enjoy competition and cultivate wholesome habits like maintaining a healthy diet.

Alaska IRONKIDS alumni Tara Borlain and Wacky Baniqued, who have both won many of these races the past years, acknowledge the lessons they’ve learned from participating in past races.

Tara says the biggest lesson is learning to enjoy the competition and focus not just on winning but on doing her best.

“I learned to not be too serious when I race. Just relax and keep my presence of mind. I also learned to play like it’s my last race and give my best. I learned to stay humble and down to earth no matter what happens and to love what I’m doing. I learned to have peace in my mind so my body can perform well and stay happy,” said Tara.

Wacky says the biggest lessons he learned are perseverance and not giving up but rather to do your best until the end.

“Because of IRONKIDS I learned not to give up easily. Even if I’m not first in the swim, I can make it up during the bike ride. If I’m still not first in the bike ride then there is still the run. You always have hope until you cross the finish line,” said Wacky.

Alaska IRONKIDS is the local junior version of the international triathlon series, IRONMAN. It is when seeds of future participation in higher level athletic competition are planted.

Tara almost always won every time she joined Alaska IRONKIDS races because of her strong runs. She now represents the country in junior athletics competition and won the silver medal for the 800 meter run during the 2018 ASEAN School Games in Malaysia.

“My older sister (Samantha) told me that I had potential in the 800 meters and she was the one who told me to join. I always had 800 meters in my event list but I focused more on 3,000 meters and 1,500 meters before. Now I know I can compete in both short distance and middle distance,” said Tara.

Wacky says he has big dreams and hopes to represent the country and perhaps qualify to the Olympics in the future. He in fact almost qualified to the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

He joined the Continental Qualifying game for the Youth Olympics where 30 of the top young Asian athletes from 17 countries competed for the top five slots that would send them to the Youth Olympics. Unfortunately he only placed eighth.

“The swim leg was cancelled because of heavy rain and the shore was full of debris. Instead of swim-bike-run (triathlon) it became run-bike-run event (duathlon). Sad to say I didn’t make it. But that was still a great experience,” said Wacky.

He will be 17 when the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is held. He would be too young then. But he hopes to qualify to the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France.

Alaska IRONKIDS promotes a well-balanced lifestyle for today’s children who are used to staying indoors with cellphones, TV, videogame consoles and the Internet as companions. It shows children that being healthy can also be fun. It also plants dreams for children to aspire to achieve.

Tara and Wacky have a long way to go before achieving all their dreams as national athletes who represent the country. But Alaska IRONKIDS gave them a positive start and a strong foundation on which to build on to make those dreams a reality.

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