#HowToBeYou Sister Madonna Buder

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I do not do tri. I ever experienced doing any form or triathlon – be it short,  half or full distance, but I work in tri events and have been in numerous occassions been witness to some inspiring stories and accomplishments of various athletes of diverse capabilities and skills. That is why, when I saw this viral video of Sister Madonna Buder, I was really so awestruck. Nakakabilib! This and the many other inspiring stories that we have been witnessing in every Ironman 70.3 and 5150 Triathlon events that we work on, really are the perfect examples of sheer will and determination.

Sister Madonna, an American nun, became the oldest woman to ever complete an IRONMAN triathlon at 75 years old. At 82, she set a world record as the oldest IRONMAN triathlon competitor. Today, at 86 years old, Sister Buder has completed over 40 IRONMAN races. Her steely resolve has earned her the epithet the “Iron Nun.”

Here is Sister Madonna’s insipiring story, which is now part and a second installment to Nike’s Unlimited Campaign.

“The only failure is not to try, because your effort in itself is a success”, Sister Madonna Buder.



The “Unlimited Youth” film is the latest installment in the Nike “Unlimited” Campaign, which includes the “Unlimited Courage” film, “Unlimited You” film, the company’s recent series of athlete shorts and more, with more to come through the month of August, hails both the everyday athletes and the champion athletes who regularly push their limits — and who are poised to prove their unlimited potential this summer and beyond.

“Unlimited Youth” celebrates an extraordinary athlete, Sister Madonna Buder, and her determination to defy conventional conceptions of age.

When Sister Madonna Buder needed a little extra oomph to complete her first IRONMAN® World Championship triathlon in Hawaii, she predictably channeled the divine. “I thought of the finish line as the entrance to the final finish line, into the Pearly Gates,” she recalls. “That’s what drew me to [it].”

Sister Buder completed that race in 1985, at the age 65. At 75, the American nun became the oldest woman to ever complete an IRONMAN triathlon. At 82, she set a world record as the oldest IRONMAN triathlon competitor. Today, at 86 years old, she has completed over 40 IRONMAN races, each comprising of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run. Her steely resolve has earned her the epithet the “Iron Nun.” Along the way she’s had some setbacks — missing a race finish by a matter of seconds, multiple broken bones, wetsuit issues — but, she proclaims, “The only failure is not to try, because your effort in itself is a success.”

Sister Buder’s introduction to sport came just seven years before her first race in Hawaii, when she attended a workshop on the Oregon Coast that was led by a priest who championed running as a way to harmonize the mind, body and soul. Sister Buder took this creed to the extreme, burning out on the sport before discovering the variety of the triathlon. “That was the salvation,” she declares. Her physical endurance she attributes to listening to her body and maintaining a positive mindset.

“You carry your attitude with you,” Sister Buder elaborates. “You either achieve or you self-destruct. If you think positively, you can even turn a negative into a positive.” Along with this spiritual guidance, she imparts simple, yet easily applicable performance advice to younger athletes: “One step at a time makes a marathon.”

Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines HIGHLIGHT SHOW

Missed the showing of the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines Highlight Show at Studio 23 last Sunday? Or you saw it but would like to watch it over again? Fret not, here now is an online copy of the show. Happy watching!




Manila, PHILIPPINES – The Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines obtained a 97.6% rating on a participant satisfaction survey making it the 2nd best Ironman event worldwide.

The survey was conducted by the World Triathlon Corporation, promoter and issuer of licenses for all Ironman events, to more than 2,000 participants of the race held in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu last August 4.

The Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant in Quebec, Canada was ranked as number one. Canada also hosted a full Ironman and an Ironman World Championship event this year and is also set to hold all three events again next year.

According to Sunrise Events, Inc., the ratings from the WTC survey resulted from points gathered for the following criteria: pre-event activities like the registration and carbo-loading party, actual race management and handling from the swim, bike and run, to hydration and medical support and others like venue, entertainment, participant’s entitlements like medals and the post-event awarding ceremonies.

This year’s Ironman 70.3 event in the Philippines was the second time that the race was held in Cebu with the first three years being held in the province of Camarines Sur. 

Participants revealed via the survey that they liked the attention given to every detail of the race, especially the carbo-loading party hosted by Lapu-Lapu City at Shangri-la’s Mactan Resort and Spa. It included a fast-beat production number with pop-jazz dancers, show violinist Jake Gacanga, a Cebuano DJ and fireworks.

But the best praise was given to the level of excitement that was provided by the crowd during the entire conduct of the race.  “It was the cheering that got me through the race,” said Courtney Atkinson of Australia, who topped the male professional category. “The highlight for me was the cheering, the crowd and the run through the local community.”

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, in a statement, congratulated Oponganons “for putting their best foot forward.” She thanked the thousands of public school students who lined up along the race routes in rainy weather to cheer on athletes, barangays that fielded colorful “vintas”, peacekeepers and residents. “We will have to outdo ourselves in 2014,” she said.

On the other hand, the race was not only all praises as initial feedback gathered from the participants was that roads were very uneven, especially the roads used by cyclists in the South Reclamation Project tunnel in Cebu City.

This fact and the challenge posed by SEI President Wilfred Steven Uytengsu for the event to hit the no. 1 mark by next year’s hosting gives the group the energy to not only aim high for the number 1 rank but also to work hard especially in addressing the identified concerns, so that they get a better chance of securing the top spot.

From 400 participants in 2009, the Cobra Energy Ironman 70.3 Philippines has grown rapidly to 1,700 signing up for the event last year and 2,150 participants last August from 35 countries with about 600 on the waiting list.

For 2014, the race will be held on August 3 but preparations will already start by next month.

Our IronMan Weekend to Remember

The first weekend of August 2013 will have to be hubby and mine’s most memorable weekend of 2013 so far. Well, for one it was our first out of town trip together without the kids – our first for almost 19 years! Best of all it was great because we were at Cebu and witnessed the Alaska IronKids and Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines events.

If you were there, you will have the same feeling as ours – pride for being Filipinos! These events, for the uninitiated, are international events which attracts foreign participants from various countries. This year alone, the IM70.3 event attracted 2,150 participants from 35 countries. It was a great chance to see the beauty of our country and our people. Aside from the excellent event organizing of Sunrise Events, the people of the province of Cebu came all out to support this endeavor. Foreigners were harping that our Half-Ironman event in the Philippines is the best IM event they have been to.

We will definitely come back again next year!

Meanwhile, let me share with you the highlights of both the Alaska Ironkids and Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines via these video clips. Also found after each video are the race results for both events.


Awards Per Age Group-CEO Per Age Group-Per Relay Team
Overall Results – Age Groupers
Overall Results – CEO Category
Overall Results – TOP 20 PRO and FILIPINO ELITE
Overall Results – PROs
Overall Results – Filipinos
Overall Results – RELAY TEAMS

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The Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines – Year 5

Preparations for the Philippine version of the most prestigous half-distance Ironman race dubbed as the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines is now in full-swing. Now on it’s fifth year of staging, this year’s edition was launched in it’s signature posh fashion and promises to be bigger – in terms of participation and event features.


During the launch at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel, most of this year’s event features and offering were presented by premier race organizer Sunrise Events, Inc. President and incidentally, Alaska Milk Corporation CEO, Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, Jr. If you were at the Rizal Ballroom, you will witness and feel the excitement of would-be race participants who are present there and feel how inspired non-participants came to be just by witnessing all the details unfolding right before their eyes.

In addition, we can’t help but have that longing to be in Cebu right away – what with all the food that came all the way from the Queen City of the South served to us – the famous and delicious Cebu lechon, my favorite Cebu ripe mangoes and the new rave, chocolate-coated dried mangoes! Yum!

Oh but before I make you all crave for these good food, let me share to you the most important information that we were able to gather during the launch, read on!


August 4, 2013 (Sunday)
Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa, Cebu
Individual and Relay
1.9K Swim, 90K Bike, 21K Run


  • The Cebu Provincial Government is under new management but same, if not even higher, level of support is to be expected
  • There are 2,150 registered participants creating a new registration record for this race because slots got sold out in 4 days, with 650 still in the waiting list
  • Registered participants come from 35 countries, 6 continents
  • A new race category, the CEO category, was created this year and is open to Chief Executive Officers, Presidents or Managing Directors of companies that earn $5 million in annual revenue. Mr Uytengsu said that this category was created to accommodate the CEOs who still want to race despite lesser time for training and practice. Participants of the CEO Category gets the privilege of starting the race together with the Pros.
  • The race has an outstanding line up of Pros, including Philippines’ very own, Ms. Monica Torres who have just elevated to the Pro ranks this year (starting with the Century Tuna 5150 Triathlon race in Subic last June)

PROS_page1 PROS_page2PROS_page3

  • 2012 Ironman World Championship Winner in Kona, Hawaii and three-time Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines Champion Pete Jacobs will return to this race to defend his title
  • 2013 Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines Top Female Pro Winner, Caroline Steffen will also return to defend her title.
  • Making the event more exciting is the confirmed participation of 2-time Ironman World Champion Chris “Macca” McCormack who will be joining the IM70.3 Philippines for the first time. Macca got his “short but sweet” Philippine experience just a couple of weeks ago when he went here for the Century Tuna 5150 Triathlon.
  • Popular Filipino celebrities in the field of politics, entertainment, media and lifestyle/fashion such as Sen. Pia Cayetano, actors Piolo Pascual, Matteo Guidicelli, hosts Drew Arellano, Kim Atienza, newspaper columnist and fashionista Tessa Prieto-Valdez, salon king David Charlton, will put glitter amidst this challenging but fun event.
  • As usual, a surprise participant will be seeing action also in this event for the first time.


left to right: Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, Mr. Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, Jr., Sunrise Events Inc. President and Alaska Milk Corp. CEO, Cobra Energy Drink AVP Mr. Abe Cipriano and Mr. Kenneth Cobonpue, world-renowned furniture maker who is a Cebuano

left to right: Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, Mr. Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, Jr., Sunrise Events Inc. President and Alaska Milk Corp. CEO, Cobra Energy Drink AVP Mr. Abe Cipriano and Mr. Kenneth Cobonpue, world-renowned furniture maker who is a Cebuano

  • The race event still has the full support of Cobra Energy Drink, who have been the event’s title sponsor since it’s debut in Camarines Sur on 2008.
  • Newly-elected Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III pledged the full support of the provincial government of Cebu and its people in the second year of the Cobra Energy Drink IM70.3 Philippines’ staging in their turf.
  • Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza also pledged once again their support and warm hospitality as she said that they will be putting up a fisherman’s village and 100 tents with well wishers at the Discovery Bay, commonly known as Mangal, which is the turn-around area for the run section of the race.  
  • Mayor Radaza also promised to mobilize a strong 20,000 manpower to line every kilometer of the race route with cheerers, supporters and traffic enforcers to ensure a memorable and positive race experience. “We will make sure that when you go back to your respective places after the race, you will bring with you only happy memories because it is double the fun in Lapu-Lapu City”, said the esteemed Mayor as she ended her speech.
  • Kenneth Cobonpue again provides his talent as support to this race event. For the second straight year, Mr. Cobonpue has designed the finisher’s medal and winner’s trophies of the event. 



countries countrycount


age profile


World-Renowned furniture designer and proud Cebuano, Kenneth Cobonpue was once again tapped to lend his talent in the design of this year’s Finisher’s Medal and Winner’s Trophies.

In his presentation at the launch, he proudly shared to us the following:

  • The 2012 Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines Finisher’s Medal which he designed, got the best looking medal recognition, next to the Olympic Medal, for year 2012.

2012 medal

  • He created this year’s medal design in a span of 2 months and have toyed with the below concepts:


  • The final medal design is made up of three segments of metal looped together making sure each segment will not touch at the center. Each segment represents triathlon’s three sports disciplines: swimming, biking and running.


  • The winners’ trophies are a spin-off of the medal’s design with the colors of the metal representing the swim leg made to adapt based on the winning rank – gold for 1st place, silver for 2nd place and bronze for 3rd place. Just like the medal, the trophies’ are entirely made of metal with the bike leg’s metal covered with rubber.

trophy-1 trophy-2

For sure a lot of other exciting pre-race, race and post-race features will be announced to the public as event day nears. As Sunrise Events, Inc. have always never failed to don their thinking cap, for sure a slew of other exciting surprises will be unveiled on race day. Of course all of these in the primary objective of making it known that “Triathlon is more fun in the Philippines“.


*Note: Credit goes to Sunrise Events, Inc. for all the videos seen on this post.


All Roads Lead to Cebu for the Cobra IRONMAN 70.3 Philippines!

Yep, yep, yep! The battle moves from CamSur to Cebu and I am definitely going! My bag is packed and ready. 

In a few hours, I will be feeling the festivities that goes with the preparations and what-nots of Sunday’s Cobra IRONMAN 70.3 Philippines in Cebu. Oh and of course, not to forget, the mini-event on Saturday is also a must-see – The Alaska IRONKIDS Triathlon race, also in Shangri-La Mactan, Cebu!

The Cobra IRONMAN70.3 Philippines triathlon race generates a fever that no other race of its kind does. With the excitement of seeing friends and familiar faces competing side-by-side with the PROs the trip will all surely be worth it.

I will be there to cheer on my friends, see PIOLO (of course!) and cover the event as I happily got media accreditation (thanks P!).

Here’s the full schedule for this weekend for all who may be in Cebu and would like to be expectators:

See you all in Cebu!

*Thanks to Sunrise Events and Kyn Firmalino for the creatives. 😉

Where will the COBRA Ironman 70.3 Philippines 2012 be held?

That now folks is the biggest question triathletes here in the Philippines have been asking for a time now in relation to the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines 2012. My most relieable source from Sunrise Events (mwaah, hugs!) have given me the go-signal to share these tidbits of information:

1. No, the final site is not yet determined as of this date.

2. No, final site is not CamSur. There has been some confusion since the existing COBRA Ironman 70.3 Philippines logo has the name of the province of “Camarines Sur” in it. The logo folks is yet to be updated, I am assuming, pending the finalization of the new site.

3. How about Mr. Fred Uytengsu’s trip to CEBU with a visit to Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia and Cebu-Mactan Intl AirportAuthority GM Villarete, among others? Does this mean that the event will be  in Cebu particularly in Camotes Island for 2012? The answer is still a NO. Although Mr. Uytengsu is the main man of Ironman Philippines (him being the one who is the main reason why there is an Ironman Philippines), everyone should also know that he too is the main man for the XTERRA Philippines Series of races – him being the chairman and president of Sunrise Events – the company organizing both franchise events. The Cebu leg may be an ocular for a possible Ironman venue but it is more for the primary purpose of finding a venue for the XTERRA Trail Run which will be held in Cebu on March and will be a qualifying race for the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship. (so there’s another revelation!)

4. The site will have to be where there is an “open water”. Judging from the number of participants that this event have been generating, the necessity for an open-water venue for the swim leg is becoming a must. (Start open-water swim training now folks!)

5. The announcement of the FINAL SITE for the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines 2012 has been moved from November 15 to December 1 – swak right into the first day of registration.

So there you have it folks. I hope I was able to share exciting and useful information here. I too am looking forward to where the venue will be as I am looking forward to be there (as an expectator or maybe as a relay participant – who knows!).

I will post more updates as they come! Cheers!