Ironman Langkawi 2008 Race Report

Best Finish Ever 8

Ironman Langkawi Race Report   Feb 27, ’08 9:47 PM
for everyone

Hi all,


Thanks so much to everyone who sent good luck and congratulatory messages. It is amazing reading all of them and seeing how some of you were able to keep track of our individual splits and race updates.  It was a really really good weekend for me and the rest of the Filipino crew in Langkawi. One of my friends asked if it was my most significant moment in triathlon so far, and I guess I hadn’t processed what had happened yet at that point, so when I looked at him blankly, Maiqui Dayrit, who was standing beside me then answered a big hearty “Yes!” on my behalf.  I had him and Mark Ellis to thank for getting me safely to the finish line (more on that later), and although the race is over, I can still feel the outstanding support I constantly receive from friends like them.


Those who are close to me know that joining Ironman Worlds in Hawaii has been one of my fondest dreams for many years now, and a year ago I decided I couldn’t shelve it any longer. I didn’t mind the heat too much considering my genetics so it was either going for it in Langkawi or a lottery entry.  I’m not ashamed to say that I tried both ways, but now I can see why God never intended for me to win in the Hawaii Sweepstakes draw when I entered it! 


Crossing the finish line wasn’t an easy feat, and I had to fight hard for that slot. Although I am a veteran triathlete, I am a beginner to this distance and had a lot of doubts during the course of the race, particularly the latter end of the bike and the run leg.  I had to stop at every single aid station (a total of 41) just to pour water on myself because otherwise I would have overheated, and I still don’t regret taking the time to do that.  I had blisters from lap 1 because I would rather have wet socks and shoes than get dehydrated. I knew I was leading in my category and I also knew that the Frenchwoman from Reunion Island was chasing me down.  It’s one thing to have someone breathing down your neck for 10km, but for 42km, it is extremely stressful.  It was a fine balance of sticking to my plan and known limits and not trying to be reactive to her—I didn’t want to push too hard too early and then crash.  She kept gaining on me, and from a lead of almost 20min, I only had 3 minutes on her at the very last turnaround with 7km to go.  It didn’t take a genius to compute that she would soon overtake me if I continued with my pace. It was then that a switch suddenly turned on inside my head and I started running like a madwoman.  I knew I could handle running fast for that remaining distance, and I could not leave anything more to chance.  I wanted that Hawaii slot, and there was no way I was going to hand it to her. From then on it was only a hurried sip of water and defizzed Coke from the aid stations.  I was now getting annoyed at the narrow run path and having to overtake people when earlier on I was happily cheering for them.  At 1.5km to go I spotted Mark and Maiqui, and realized I had just whittled down the 6 minute gap they had on me so I was even more encouraged.  I caught up with them with 1km to go.  They were startled but happy to see me, only to quickly discover that I had no intentions of staying with them for a merry chat.  In between breaths I explained and apologized profusely that I was leading but someone was closing in on me, so I had to go, NOW.  They immediately took in the weight of the situation due to my panic-stricken expression and decided to pick up their speed too.  Mark said later on that he didn’t realize that his legs would follow his brain’s command in switching from a 7minute/km pace to a 4:30/km pace just like that.  They were my saviors in that last, long kilometer to the finish line.  It was a frenzy of shouting, panting, crying, and egging each other on.  Mark, who was obviously still the best runner among us, ran in front and took on the role of rabbit.  I kept asking Maiqui to look at the back to check if anyone was there, and he would say “no one Ani, no one”….that is, until the last 300meters, when he said, “I think someone is at the back, let’s pick it up some more,” and the turn to the finish couldn’t possibly have come sooner.  When we finally

made it to the chute, I burst into tears from relief, joy, fatigue, and gratitude….the three of us crossed the line in a tight embrace, and our faces in the finish line pictures will say it all.  Mark was jubilant, I was crying, and Maiqui was just plain happy.  The person immediately behind us turned out to be someone else, and the girl second to me ended up finishing more than a minute behind.  We made it.  It was more than I could have ever hoped for, and I had done it with my friends.


I didn’t embark on this journey alone, and I definitely felt that my angels were with me leading up to Langkawi and that they worked even harder to give me strength on race day.  My fellow Pinoys in the race course and family and friends who were praying from back home gave a steady stream of great energy so I cannot ever claim to have accomplished everything by myself.  The Fitness First Tri Team–Mark, Doray, Joel, Maiqui and Gianina, Ige, JC, Chari;  the Tri Clark Gang and their families, led by Abe, June, Rico, Jumbo, Raffy, Chris, Abby, Tintin (also of David’s Salon); the Tri Hard Boys—Vic, Vinny, Greg and Paolo (also of TRIADS); Retzel, Alex, and Leo, were the finest bunch of people anyone could ever train, travel and race with.  My dear friend Vera and his trusty group of Thai triathletes took good care of me and my bike the whole weekend. Just so I could prepare better, Pia offered a room in her house to me in Alabang without my even having to ask for it, and I cannot possibly repay all the support that she and the rest of the Cayetano family have provided me.  My own family, especially my mom and sister, put up with my many absences and remain very patient and understanding to my chosen sport. 


Well, that’s my post-race report for now, sorry I couldn’t make it shorter.  Let’s cheer for our racers this coming weekend in Taupo, NZ…Manda, Jonjon, Andy, Deo, Cris, and Rune, hope they will have happy stories to bring home too! 




Female Age 30-34
Place Bib Name Nat Cat Swim Chg1 Bike AftBike Run Total
1 625 Ani Karina De Leon PHL F 30/34 1:04:49 0:02:21 6:01:11 7:08:20 5:07:05 12:21:17
2 624 Soizic Coudiere REU F 30/34 1:06:27 0:02:36 6:20:34 7:29:37 4:49:43 12:22:40
3 637 Emma Penver MYS F 30/34 1:45:55 0:05:58 6:25:43 8:17:35 4:33:42 12:59:15


Thanks to Jumbo for compiling this:

Pinoy Finishers Total time
Tayag, Abe 11:07:15
Oracion, Leo 11:21:02
Bautista, Alex 11:27:55
Kit Jr., Rosalino 11:48:07
Dayrit, Marco 12:21:16
Ellis, Mark 12:21:16
De Leon, Ani 12:21:17
Ayson, Enrico 12:47:02
Tayag, Jumbo 13:13:21
Ouano, Paulo 13:14:49
Munoz, Joel 13:17:52
Ellis, Rhodora 13:22:50
Orquiza, Retzel 13:37:42
Zapata, Jose 14:34:47
Tongson, Vincent 14:47:03
Ongyanco, Chari 14:36:32
Tongson, Vincent 14:47:03
Navarro, Christine 14:48:27
Magno, Victor 15:53:43
Manas, Johann. 15:12:15
Nepomuceno, Chris 16:17:55
Banzon, Gregory 17:06:03

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