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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Joining a Tri or Running Team

Humans are social beings. We tend to congregate usually to share and exchange ideas, take on challenges we cannot do on our own or simply to enjoy each other's company and deal with the loneliness. Our ancestors gathered together to hunt and to protect each other from predators and other rival or aggressor human groups. Over the centuries, the world has become less hostile but the need for teamwork, camaraderie, friendships or simply having someone share your moments and triumphs with still pervades.

As the sport of running and triathlon grows, it is inevitable that we group with like-minded individuals to provide companionship as we tough it out in training, but more importantly to have a support system as we go through our journey into the sport.

Roughly 7 years ago, two guys then in their early thirties joined a triathlon clinic out of curiosity. But, as what usually happens, they were bitten by the tri bug. Teree Eugenio, a marketing executive from a large local company and Victor Magno, a manager at a multinational shipping company decided to pursue the sport and even form a team. Thus giving birth to the "Tri Hard" team. They wanted a team that wasn't too hard core but whose members shared the passion for pursuing excellence, personal development and doing the best they can in triathlons. They then recruited friends into the team with the original members being Joel Munoz, now with Team Fitness First, Paul Fernandez, Chito Nombres, Armand Bautista, Vince Santos, Vinny Tongson, Ren (whose last name I forget) and myself, Greg Banzon forming more or less the initial team roster.

Original Member: Back Row - Vinny, Vince, Armand and co-founder Teree
Front Row - Vic (Team Captain), Chito Greg and Joel
Over the years, the team has grown and we now have a count of roughly 41 members of which 8 are female. The team is now called Century Tri Hard with the sexy healthy brand, Century Tuna brand as our name sponsor. Our line up comes from different backgrounds - lawyers, doctors, corporate executives, entreprenuers, bankers. We even have an international pilot and a congressman in our team. Our coach is National Team Coach, Southeast Asian Games medalist and 5 time Philippine Champion, George Vilog.

Coach George and Dr. Angeline "Lovs" Vilog

Philippine Record Holder, 2 time Philippine Champion and current Philippine Tri Team Captain, Nikko Huelgas is also a Tri Hard Member. We discovered him in the running races and recruited and converted him into a triathlete.
Philippine Record Holder and Tri Hard Member, Nikko Huelgas
The first and only Pinoy to break 2 hours in the Olympic Distance Tri
The Siblings and Former National Youth Team members, Joshua and Hanah Pe Benito were also Tri Hard members. They were part of our kids developmental team and were accepted to the Philippine Team soon after.They competed in many international triathlons and duathlons donning the national colors before migrating to Australia.

Hannah and Josh Pe Benito - former Philippine Youth Team Stalwarts.

We also grew the women's team over the years. Our first female recruit was Josette Dequina. A marathoner.

First female Tri Hard - Josette.

Others soon followed thus helping us be more competitive. It also helped us recruit more boys into the team. Here's why.

Elaine - runner!
Vanj - runner, finance executive.
Sam - runner, cyclist, marketing and sales manager
Andie - all around athlete, entrepreneur

All this adds to the color and character of the team which tend to train and race seriously but never really taking ourselves too seriously.

The advantages of being in a team are plentiful:

1. Induction/Introduction to the Sport

Joining a team allows you a smoother and easier entry into the sport. Depending on how long the team has been around, your new "teammates" would usually already have considerable amount of experience they can impart on the newbies. At the very least, you get the basic. Usually though, the "veterans" would be more than glad to show the newbies around.

But, being a newbie, also expect to really feel you are at the bottom of the totem pole despite your status in life. Like in my case, I was already a CEO of a large multinational company but my teammates, whom in our parallel life in the corporate world would be sucking up to me, would actually order me around.

Team Captain Victor Magno - he orders me around.
2. Training Programs and Injury Prevention

Teams would usually have a coach or access to some coaching. This saves you from trial and error with regard to training programs.

And proper training supervision also helps chart your progress from getting started, to conditioning, peak training and recovery. This will get you stronger at a faster rate while preventing injuries.

Our Coach - George Vilog. Need I say more?
A team also helps provide some security and support especially on long rides which have us ride outside of Metro Manila....way beyond the city limits.

Aside from coaching, our members come from different sporting disciplines. Runners, Swimmers, Cyclists but we also have a boxer, a Pilates instructor, coaches, water hockey, basketball players, a Polo Player (well not really). This mix of disciplines provides a melting pot of knowledge and tips on training and physical development.

BJ Manalo - Former PBA and UAAP Basketball Player (with matching glowing effect..)

BJ Manalo - Tri Hard Triathlete

3. Support during races

Going to a run or tri event can be intimidating. Especially if you go about it alone. The team is there to make you feel secure, part of a bigger entity. This also helps in logistics, defraying costs, making travel easier.

Your veterans would usually also already know key people in the sport like race officials, people who manage registration, other athletes and support crew like doctors, etc. This gives you a easier time to also get to know the key people in your sport.

Finally, the morale support is priceless. Going to battle with friends is inspiring.
The growing team

4. Fun and Camaraderie

In our team, Century Tri Hard - fun and friendships run deep. We've been around for about 7 years when our founders Victor Magno (who is the team captain) and Teree Eugenio, our treasurer got together and decided to form a team. Despite growing from the original crew of 8 members to more than 40 today, the spirit of fun continues to be ingrained into the team culture.

Tri Harder!

Pogi Shot!

Suka Finish
Our team motto - "SUKA FINISH" (which means "you have to race so hard you'll throw up your guts at the finish line").



  1. nice one idol. kudos to the team!

  2. Greg, as always, very well written. Pls post in our Facebook page and send a copy to all our sponsors. Thanks.

  3. Yes, Cap. Told you he orders me around.

  4. Hi. i'm interested in trying the sport and i wish to train with a team. Any suggestions on how I should start?

  5. i admire your passion as a team for the sport. Is there a way I can join a team such as yours or do tri teams conduct auditions /sessions before picking up a member? Im a runner for 2 years now and i've been wanting to take it to the next level.. My dream of becoming a triathlete someday.

    1. Hi, I am part of the Tri Hard team which trains in the south (Daan Hari, Ayala Alabang, etc.). You may want to try a few sessions with us to see if it's a team you will be comfortable with.

  6. @Tri Warrior : Any chance that I can join you for a short ride in Daang Hari on a weekend? :)

  7. How to join tri teams? I'm a beginner and I'm looking for team/s who I can learn from and train with regularly :)