Told to quit, Benedicto finishes race despite adversities
LAPU-LAPU CITY — Though August Benedicto failed to make it to the podium in the Asian elite category of the 2017 Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines on Sunday, the four-time winner still considers his run as a success.
After all, Benedicto had to fight through chest pains midway through the swim-bike-run course just to finish the race.
“People are telling me to no longer finish the race, to give up. But in my mind, I’m number one in the Asian elite so the pressure is different. All I wanted was to finish the race,” he said in Filipino.
The 33-year-old Benedicto felt a slight pain, which was later ruled as spasms, midway through the bike course when he almost hit a competitor who suddenly changed his path.
“That was when I felt the fatigue,” he shared. “Later on, I felt that my ribs were hurting. I was struggling to breathe. I put ice on my chest but people are telling me to no longer finish this.”
Despite the chest pains, Benedicto willed on and ended up eighth in his category, joyously crossing the finish line before falling to the arms of Sunrise Events founder Wilfred Steven Uytengsu.
It wasn’t the result the multi-time winner had in mind, but it’s a performance he can live with.
“I can say that I’m still successful. I’m proud of myself that I was able to finish the race,” he said.
Another source of Benedicto’s pride are his fellow competitors like winner Banjo Norte, who are showing that there are more Filipino triathletes capable of competing with the world’s best.
“I’m glad that they’re there and are all targeting me. I’m proud that they get a chance to win. I’m happy that they want to beat me and that inspires the younger crop of triathletes who also wants to beat them. We all get stronger and who knows, we’ll be able to compete among the elites in the future,” he said.
But Benedicto made it clear that he has a lot of gas left in his tank, and his failure in the Cebu tilt just motivates him to strive harder in the next races.
“They also become my motivation because I want to get back at them next time. It drives me harder. It makes me double or triple my effort to beat them the next time out,” he said.
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