6-yr-old Ythnmthw joins Mt. Mayon triathlon
LEGAZPI CITY—His name is as unique as his passion for a sport that most children his age have no comprehension of.
Ythnmthw (pronounced E-than Ma-thew) Orellana is a 6-year-old triathlete from Daraga town, Albay province, and the toast of the first Mt. Mayon Triathlon held here on Sunday to kick off the Ibalong, a monthlong festival featuring events and products that are uniquely Bicolano.
Racing as a guest in the event, Ythnmthw, with his educator-father Edgar, 44, by his side, swam with ease the 1.5-kilometer segment of the race, biked for 5 km and ran for another 5 km, clocking in a total of two hours 30 minutes.
The actual race involved a 1.5-km swim, 40-km bicycle ride and a 10-km run. But even if the boy took on shorter bike and run distances, spectators roared as he finished his race, amazed by the stamina of a child barely a meter (3 feet) tall.
“I was trained by my father because he said I am strong and he wants me to be a good boy,” Ythnmthw beamed as he rested.
The boy seemed to take the applause in stride, as it was actually not his first triathlon. On Aug. 2, he competed in IronMan Philippines held in Cebu City, ranking sixth in the boys’ category.
On Aug. 23, he will be competing in an aquathlon at his school, Washington International School, in Legazpi City, where he is a Grade 1 pupil and where he obtained the highest academic honor when he was in kindergarten.
Born in an age when text messaging is a way of life, Edgar decided to give his only child a name completely devoid of vowels, just like the way most Filipinos send their text messages, to make his name “different.”
As it turned out, it is not only his name that stands out. Ythhmthw started to train in running when he was 3 and went on to master swimming before he turned 4.
After the race, Ythnmthw and his parents visited his 74-year-old grandmother Ester Orellana in the hospital, where she was recuperating from an accident, and presented to her his medal from the race.
For the race proper, Monica Torres, 30, the only Filipino female pro triathlete, topped the female elite category, clocking in 2:20:35. Last week, she won in the female category of IronMan 70.3 Filipino as elite champion.
She said she would join next year’s race in Legazpi because of the unique scenery, especially along the Mayon Volcano route.
Torres was followed by Kim Kilgroe, a Filipino-American sports and lifestyle model, who clocked in 2:20:51. Maria Hudges, another Filipino-American, placed third with 2:26:07.
In the male elite category, the winners were all Filipinos: Benjamin Raña (2:07:08), Mark Anthony Hosana (2:07:23) and Joseph Miller (2:12:12).
The event was participated in by more than 200 Filipino and foreign triathletes.
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