On August 11, 2012, members of Fil-Am Tri Club – East Coast, Tao Tri Club and the Morningstar New York parish eagerly gathered to man a bike aid station for the inaugural Ironman New York. The event consists of a 2.4M swim in the lovely Hudson River (sarcasm!), 112M bike down the Palisades and 26.2M run finishing in Riverside Park under 17 hours. Volunteers drove and rode to the bike aid station at miles 37 and 73 of the bike route and got to cheer on future Ironmen, including the pros, whilst in transit to the aid station.
As with every Ironman race, a city needs to literally close down to house a race of this distance and magnitude. The Ironman and local New York / New Jersey communities were giddy with excitement at the prospect of hosting this event and finishing in a city as vibrant as New York. Even at a hefty price tag of $895 (normal registration is ~$600+), the race sold out in a mind-blowing 11 minutes!
Volunteers braved the typical heat and humidity of an East Coast summer to the aid station – including a jet-lagged Arland Macasieb, who just arrived from the Philippines a few hours ago after competing in his own Ironman distance race, Bohol 226, and our youngest volunteer, Lily Mangabat (age 11). “The King” Andrew Casino, even donned his infamous cape, crown and a megaphone to cheer on athletes and give them some comedy relief. We hung up our Fil-Am Tri banner so athletes could spot us and were briefed by our Ironman aid station captain. Volunteers manned their stations, passing out basic race essentials: Gu, Bonk Breaker bars, Gatorade/ water, and fruit. As the temperatures warmed, our ice machine broke, and some athletes welcomed our warm bottles of water with a big swat. Ohps.
We were excited to see fellow triathletes brave the brutal weather and course and cheer them on – Wirt Villanueva got a personal shower and massage from his fellow Fil-Am Tri volunteers – now that’s service! And if anyone deserved to be called an Ironman, it was definitely Paul Casino who had a bike accident early in the course, and still crossed the finish line only to be rushed to the medical tent immediately after. There must have been something in our water, because several volunteers appeared in a local newspaper’s article covering the race!
After we broke down the aid station and all were rewarded with left over goodies, some volunteers made our way to the finish line to cheer on our Ironmen where Isang Smith manned a massage table. It was truly exciting to hear each athlete’s name and the ubiquitous, “You are an Ironman” so close to our respective homes.
Sadly, the logistics for holding this event were too challenging and the increased $1200 price tag for 2013 unwarranted. But, we were inspired to be on the other side of the course and honoured to be a part of the inaugural, and only, Ironman New York.
Fil-Am Tri Club and Tao Tri Club received a $400 grant, which was matched by the generosity of the Macquarie Foundation and donated in its entirety to victims of the recent Typhoon in the Philippines via the American Red Cross. This photo was taken of a couple getting married in the Philippines during the wake of the Typhoon – Pilipinos are truly a resilient bunch! Morningstar New York also received a $400 grant to be used towards its Youth Ministry program for at-risk children.
It was wonderful to see so many groups and people selflessly come together to build a sense of community and fellowship through the medium of endurance sports – and for good causes nonetheless.
Many thanks to all for being a part of such a memorable and historical event!