Philippine Airlines fielded two teams in the recent 4th Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines triathlon with both finishing in the top ten in the corporate category – a remarkable result for first-time competitors in the high-level international event.
PAL Team A bagged sixth place in the 22-team field with a respectable time of 5 hours, 54 minutes and 25 seconds, well behind the 4:20:02 turned in by corporate division champion First Endurance-CPK Tri Team but still impressive for a rookie squad.
PAL Team B was less than seven minutes behind Team A in eighth spot, with a time of 6:01:09, also a highly notable finish for a side with no prior triathlon experience.
Both PAL teams were composed of employees from the flag carrier’s flight deck and cabin crews.
Team A was made up of pilots Capt. Katherine Pijuan, who tackled the swim leg; Capt. Jose Balinghasay, who handled the bike race segment; and Capt. Mike Ugalino who ran the anchor foot race.
Team B comprised Capt. Raymond Pabalan (swim), flight steward George Tayag (bike) and flight steward Cris Casalla (run).
The prestigious Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 competition, held earlier this month in Cebu, drew over 1,600 participants from 31 countries, easily making it the biggest sporting event in the Visayas this year.
The event was a grueling 70.3-mile triathlon race where competitors swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles and run 13.1 miles around a demanding course from the Shangri-La Mactan Resort, traversing the cities of Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Cebu and Talisay, and back to Mactan island.
While the individual race for the mythical “Ironman” title was the main focus of the event, a separate triathlon relay race for corporate teams was also staged. This attracted 22 teams, including contingents from corporate giants Meralco, PLDT, Unilab and, for the first time, PAL.
PAL was also the official carrier of the event.
PAL pilots and cabin attendants exchanged their uniforms for triathlete suits to represent the flag carrier during the recent Ironman Triathlon held in Cebu. The two PAL teams – a maiden appearance for the airline at the annual triathlon – gave respectable finishes in the corporate category that had 22 teams. The PAL triathletes are, lower photo from left: International Flight Steward Christian Casalla, International Flight Steward George Carag, Capt. Ramon Jose Balinghasay, Second Officer Katherina Pijuan, Capt. Michael Ugalino and First Officer Raymund Pabalan.
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