Laarni Paredes now holds the distinction of being the first Filipina to finish the brutal Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon in Norway.
The 38-year old Paredes conquered the 3.8-kilometer swim, 180-km bike, and 42.2-km run in 17 hours, 34 minutes and 57 seconds, to finish 19th out of the 20 women finishers.
Initially, Paredes made the cut out of 3,600 hopefuls to be among the 250 athletes that will test the punishing race.
It was the same race that her husband, Omar Paredes, joined and finished last year earning him the honor of becoming the first Filipino to conquer the race.
“Definitely the most difficult and hardest for me was the bike part. I spent about nine hours on it. By far, the hardest bike [race]I’ve done, hands down,” said Paredes.
A former swimming and track varsity at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños, Paredes said she endured temperatures ranging from 11 to 13 degrees during the swim part and crossed five mountains at 3,800-meter above sea level.
“I tried to keep an even pace throughout, especially on the hills where it was critical to conserve energy as much as possible.”
But what kept her going was the support she got from her crew that includes her husband, Omar.
“It helped a lot that my support crew was able to provide me adequate nutrition throughout the bike and run parts; and made sure I was kept warm,” said Paredes.
Paredes said she is proud to display the tenacity of the Filipino athlete.
“I was thinking of all the people supporting me. It’s a tribute to them that I finished the race and it’s a testament to our resiliency during tough times,” said Paredes.
Paredes offers some advice to those who wants to duplicate her feat.
“They must have a background in finishing several iron distance races because extreme triathlon is no joke. You must be in good physical condition and must be mentally capable of enduring the challenges ahead,” she said.
JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID