FOR some runners, entering a triathlon race, no less an Ironman competition, certainly ticks a box off of one’s bucket list.
But for triathlon coach Patrick Joson, he took the challenge for a bigger goal.
“Maraming reasons why we do this, reasons for trying triathlon. Ako personally, it calls attention to everyone that this is a big thing and a good platform to any advocacy, for environment, for health, for camaraderie. Yun talaga yung malaki to get people to rally for a specific cause. For me, it’s racing for Levi,” he said of his crusade.
Baby Levi Abundo, nicknamed “Levi Little Lionheart,” is a 26.4-week-old infant who was born prematurely on January this year. He has stayed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to survive.
Joson, who is friends with baby Levi’s parents, has used triathlon as his avenue to share the story and garner support for the infant.
“May mga complications sa birth niya. We’re trying to raise funds for his hospital bills tsaka for his complete recovery,” he said.
And that’s what led Joson to the 2018 Century Tuna Ironman race in Subic in early June, with him testing his mettle for the first time in the country’s maiden Ironman race.
Joson raised P1,000 for every kilometer he ran in the event as he finished the course in 12 hours, 19 minutes, and 44 seconds — all for the benefit of baby Levi.
In his own little way, the 41-year-old coach hopes to have made an impact and serve as an inspiration through the sport of triathlon.
And for Joson, that’s exactly what the essence of this sport is: fostering camaraderie.
“When we go through challenges in life, just remember that we have family, friends, other people to support us. It’s similar to doing triathlon,” he said.
“Triathlon is a joint effort. It takes a village to raise an athlete. Kahit individual yung sport, maraming sumusupport sa amin, ako individually. Kahit di mo pa natatapos, kahit di ka pa nagsisimula, just to be here, it demands a lot of effort. Ganoon din sa buhay, ang daming challeges. Wag mo lang isipin na nagiisa ka. Maraming tutulong. Ganoon din ang triathlon.”