SUBIC BAY — World-class lady triathlete Belinda Granger has been competing all over the world for the last 16 years, but there seems to be no stopping her from collecting more titles in her 40s.
At 42, Granger said what has been keeping her at the top of the game is the fact that she enjoyed the sport and the health benefit it gives her since her university days.
“I started like everyone else as an age-grouper because I was in the university,” recalled Granger, who, on Sunday, dominated the women’s event of the Century Tuna 5i50 Triathlon Philippine series for the second straight year.
“I wanted to pick a sport I like, be healthy and fit. And triathlon is good. In fact, after my first triathlon race, I got addicted and from there I switched to becoming pro and it became my life,” she added after clocking at 2:17.33, five minutes faster than her winning time in last year’s edition.
The soft-spoken Granger is married to Justin Granger, a top 10 finisher for more than 20 times in the Ironman 70.3.
Granger said she trains with her husband in Australia and would go on circuit each year, joining tough tournaments in the Asia-Pacific rim.
Returning to the Philippines to defend her Century Tuna 5i50 Triathlon women’s crown, Granger said she’d observe a strict discipline on the kind of food she eats everyday.
“I avoid fatty foods, food without nutritional value,” she said.
“Every time I pick something, I always ask, ‘what does this gonna do to my body?’ Because if it ain’t gonna do good to my body, I won’t take it. You don’t see me eat at fastfood.”
The highly-competitive Granger said she’s happy to see triathlon grow tremendously for the past few years in the Philippines as evidenced in the 52 percent increase of participants this year.
The inaugural staging of the 5i50 Philippine series last year drew 620, while this year participants from both the pro and age-grouper ballooned to 914.
“Triathlon in the Philippines is phenomenal with so many Filipinos getting addicted to the sport like I am. For me to keep coming year after year and seeing that (growth of triathlon in the country), I think it’s really wonderful,” beamed Granger.
With the rate Granger is going in her close to two decades of professional career, the 42-year-old Australian said retirement remains far from her mind, though she used to think that she’d stop competing once she reaches the age of 40.
“I told people I’ll retire, maybe when I turn 40. But I’m turning 43 this year, so I guess I’ll continue to do the sport I love, as long as I can. I just need to go out there with a positive attitude. Having the confidence within myself. The confidence to be able to make it to the finish line,” she added.
Granger’s impressive triathlon accomplishment includes finishing no. 1 in the Ironman Malaysia from 2008 to 2010. She also ruled the Ironman 70.3 in Japan and the defending champion in the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines.