Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cancer survivor finishes X-Terra triathlon in Albay
By Rhaydz B. Barcia

LEGAZPI CITY, Feb. 8 (PNA) -- While some people fight cancer by changing lifestyle and other means to regain good health, David De Santis, 54, father of one in the United States, finds comfort by joining the X-Terra Triathlon to test his strength and endurance.

David, a cancer survivor, joined the toughest X-Terra triathlon international competition in Albay not only to get back his good health but also to raise awareness and generate funds to help the physically challenged athletes’ children in the world.

He has competed in 16 races in 16 countries where he has generated USD 16,000 for the “Challenged Athletes Foundation" to help the athlete children with physical infirmity.

“I’m trying to race to get back my health and to help athletes, specifically children, with infirmities or amputees to provide them with artificial legs,” the triathlete said.

Despite the rugged terrain, David tried to compete with able-bodied participants from different countries.

Though he did not win the competition, he made it to the finish line.

The X-Terra 2016 was dominated by foreign triathlon athletes from 13 countries.

South African Bradley Weiss, 26, defended his title as back-to-back champion of the triathlon competition on Sunday.

Weiss bested 281 other participants in the toughest off-road triathlon race, specially former champion Ben Allen of Australia.

The champion arrived in the finish line with a time record of 2:33:59.

Ben Allen, 31, of Australia and 2012 X-Terra triathlete champion, was the second to touch the finish line.

Third to finish was Brodie Gardner, 29, also of Australia, who clocked 2:34:08.

Weiss said the competition was challenging because of the weather condition in Albay and its complex terrain.

“Last year, it was humid. This year was very tricky due to the rain, with very slippery course. But the most challenging was the biking course of the race because the trail was very dangerous and slippery. It was, however, very inspiring because of the beautiful surroundings of the Mayon volcano, especially the presence of friendly Filipino people cheering us as we pass through the complex course of the race," he said.

X-Terra Albay is the best in the world, Weiss said.

Participants of the triathlon international competition went through a single loop starting from a 1.5-kilometer swim at the shores of Lidong village in Sto, Domingo town.

It was followed by the off-road race that passed through the cliff-to-cliff, rocky, grasslands, river bed, sand and tricky trails at the foot of the Mayon Volcano before reaching the finish line in the historic Cagsawa Ruins in Daraga, Albay.

The international sports event was spearheaded by the provincial government of Albay headed by Governor Joey Sarte Salceda, who said the event is part of province's sports tourism.

The participating triathletes came from Japan, United States, Australia, France, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Slovakia, South Africa, Finland, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Singapore, Vietnam, Guam and Philippines.

Mount Mayon served as the picturesque backdrop throughout the competition.

The rough terrain tested the strength and endurance of men and women on bike and on foot.

The 10-km run negotiated the famous Mayon’s all-terrain vehical (ATV) trail featuring uneven tracks with grassland, sandy and rocky areas, river beds and rice paddies heading to the Cagsawa Ruins.

The finish line was in the Cagsawa Ruins Park, now declared as a National Cultural Treasure.

David Nicholas, managing director X-Terra World Tour, said Albay was the best place in the world for the triathlon owing to its incomparable terrain as well as very cheerful and friendly people.

“It’s a wonderful place in the world for X-Terra triathlon with lots of fun because of friendly people and beautiful surroundings with the perfectly cone-shaped Mayon Volcano at the background,” Nicholas said.(PNA) RMA/FGS/RBB/CBD/EDS