Race report: Challenge Subic/Bataan – February 21, 2015

It was an exciting race last Saturday at the second edition of Challenge Philippines. Leading up to the race I had spent two months in Phuket to train with my coach Jürgen Zäck and I felt good. Unfortunately, the beginning of February I got an injury on my lower back and I couldn’t train for a couple of days and later only do easy workouts. Once back in Manila I was lucky to get treatment with Doctor Eufemio and the crew at Peakform and finally, they gave green light for the race. But I was worried about my possible performance. I asked God for strength and was determined to try my best on race day.

It was great that my training buddies from Thailand, Jaray Jearenai, Smart Slanon Chantaraj and Oat Mui had come over to Subic for the race. Ray, Smart and me were racing in the South East Asian Elite category. Last year I was able to win just 20 seconds in front of Ray but because of my injury I was not sure how it would go this time.

We started in the first wave with the Pros and there were a lot of fast guys at the start. I could not keep up with Ray and Smart in the swim and was just trying and waiting to see how far behind I would be. When I got out of the water someone shouted “5 minutes”. So I pushed really hard in the beginning of the bike leg and was almost surprised when I caught Smart pretty soon at km 15 and at about km 40 I saw Ray. We stayed together and Robinson Esteves who was racing Filipino Elite also biked with us.

The three of us arrived almost together at T2 and I did a really fast transition in order to have a gap on them in the run as I knew that both of them are good runners. I just told myself not to look back and keep going. At the 10km mark, Emma Pooley, who ended up placing first female overall, caught me and we run together until the finish line. Only in the last 1km I turned my head to see if anyone was behind me. When I didn’t see anyone I felt safe and really enjoyed the last km and crossing the finish line.

I’m very happy and thankful I had this result as a start into the 2015 racing season. Now I just hope that my injury stays under control and I look forward to the next races here in Subic!