Meet the Pinoy triathlon champion who started from selling ice blocks

Alvin Laqui on Aug 28, 2016 07:36 AM
Pinoy triathlon champ started from selling ice blocks
“Pag sinimulan mo, kailangan talagang love mo siya. Huwag mong bitawan yung pangarap mo. Huwag basta basta.” -- August Benedicto

In the last ten kilometers of the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines triathlon, August Benedicto felt like he had nothing left in his tank. 

After swimming almost 2 kilometers, cycling for 90 kms and running 11 kms, Benedicto had ten kiometers to go. He wanted to quit.

"Sabi ko ayaw ko na yata, parang gusto ko na huminto.”

But here he is, the back to back Ironman 70.3 Filipino Elite Champion.

After venturing 103 kilometers of land and sea, the triathlon pushed Benedicto to the limits of human endurance. But he had a source.

"Nagdarasal lang ako habang tumatakbo, sabi ko 'give me strength Lord, Lord give me more and more strength,'” he said.

He prayed and asked God for strength. The same strength that helped him push through from the days when he was delivering ice blocks much larger than him, to get him to where he is now.

Kilometer after painstaking kilometer, Benedicto chipped away at the remaining distance the same way he used to pedal non-stop just to deliver huge blocks of ice to and from the market at the tender age of 13.

"Mas malaki pa sa akin yung block ng ice," Benedicto recounted, “Lagay mo sa sidecar, [tapos] deliver.”

This early struggle in life taught him, like many Filipinos are taught, to endure through the hardship for a better life ahead.

And a better life slowly did unfold for Benedicto.

"Dahil sa pagtitinda ko ng yelo nakapagaral din ako," he said.

His daily regimen of delivering those huge ice blocks inadvertently helped him prepare for the sport that he is excels in now.

“Nadala din ako sa lakas ng legs ng araw-araw na pagpepedal. lumakas din ako dun. Di ko akalain na yun pala yung start,” he said. 

Benedicto used his training and education as a mechanic to assemble a bicycle made from scrapped parts, which he rode in his first triathlon. 

“Nagsimula ako yung bike ko galing sa junk shop pinag-assemble assemble ko lang,” Benedicto said. “Ako yung nagassemble, unti-unti.”

From selling blocks of ice that were bigger than him, to finishing his studies and excelling in his chosen sport, even starring prominently in billboards, the fulfilment given by persevering through adversity fuelled Benedicto the most.

"Pag sinimulan mo, kailangan talagang love mo siya. huwag mong bitawan yung pangarap mo,” Benedicto said.

“Huwag basta basta.”

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