In the long and arduous journey to the finish line, Gerald Anderson discovers that before he could run, swim and bike to the finish line, he must first learn how to walk, committing to endurance and patience, revealing the best shape (and state) of his life yet.
It’s a beautiful Saturday morning at Kerry Sports Manila at the Shangri-La Fort, and as the MEGA Man team mills around the squash courts getting the cover shoot set-up ready, Gerald Anderson is quietly sitting on a wooden bench, patiently waiting for the shoot to start. Clad in a white windbreaker, dri-fit shirt, running shorts, and black and white basketball shoes, he seems calm,focused and ready to go. It’s not because of the cup of coffee he’s clutching, though; he’s already done his morning workout.
“I was here at 6:00 AM,” he explains matter-off actly—a little cheerfully, in fact. “Sayang eh! Nandito na.” Unlike most people who talk about exercise (whether it’s at 6:00 AM or 6:00 PM) with a sense of doom or dread, Gerald talks about working out eagerly. It’s not a chore or a punishment for him, but something that he legitimately enjoys and integrates into his busy schedule. “I love it,” he declares. “It’s really part of my life. Bata pa lang ako, active ako sa basketball and different sports.” These days though, there’s a new sport that’s been taking up his time—triathlons.
While basketball will most likely remain the most popular sport in the country, Filipinos often become intensely fascinated with certain sports that become trendy. Once upon a time, it was tae-bo (A mix of taekwondo and boxing— anyone born after the year 2000 may not remember this at all). Then, it was badminton. Then, there came the rise of CrossFit.
But in the last few years, we have seen the rapid growth of triathletes in the country, and this trend may be one of the most mind-boggling. It’s not just a sport—it’s an endurance multi-sport, three disciplines fused into a single competition that not only tests speed and power but human spirit. It practically pushes each person to his breaking point. A sprint triathlon, the shortest and most basic type of a triathlon race, expects you to swim 750 meters (usually in open water), bike 20 kilometers, and run (or try to) 5 kilometers. For context, the total distance traveled in the sprint triathlon is only half the distance of an Olympic triathlon, and less than a quarter of the Ironman. This sounds like nothing anyone would want to sign up for voluntarily, but surprisingly, every time races open up their registration, the slots fill up after mere hours.
A couple of years ago, Gerald was one of these curious eager beavers. After seeing two of his co-stars from his TV show Nathaniel were into the sport, he decided to try it. “I just did it out of boredom and curiosity,” he explains.
“Some people watch movies,” I say incredulously.
“I do triathlons!” he shoots back jokingly.
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