The Philippines’ top triathlete Monica Torres urges her fellow Filipinas not to hesitate to go beyond their limitations.
Torres, 32, is building up her name in the international racing scene especially in long-course triathlon events.
“I never imagined that I would one day pursue becoming a professional triathlete. As a young woman growing up in the Philippines, where it is still uncommon in many places for females to be riding bikes, and where the sport of triathlon is even more unfamiliar, you would understand why [becoming a]pro athlete was not on my list of career options,” Torres told The Manila Times.
“I hope to empower other Philippine triathletes to compete at the pro level. And ultimately, to move them to excel and enjoy in their own journey, whether in sport or other facets of life.”
A former member of the National Dragon Boat Team, Torres first took up cycling after being influenced by her father who is a recreational cyclist.
She built her athletic strength early on. As a Sports Science student at the University of the Philippines, Torres remembers going to class on a bike and training with the national team.
“Looking back at my daily mileage then, plus the weight of a backpack of books and wet clothes, and the stress of traffic and pollution, it now makes perfect sense that I gravitated toward triathlon,” she said.
She started competing in duathlon and triathlon events in Luzon in 2007.
In synch with the rapid growth of triathlon in the last five years, she developed her skills by exposing herself to higher levels of competition, training and coaching.
Torres is undefeated in local non-drafting events since 2009 and is aiming for a strong finish in the fourth and final leg of the prestigious Thailand Tri-League Championship slated on February 18 in Thailand.
“I’m running third overall now but there’s some distance between me and the top two. I’m just holding on for a podium finish. Hopefully, I can get to the podium,” said Torres, who finished third, and fourth twice, during the previous editions of the meet.
She admitted that she still needs a lot of training to be at par with her Australian rivals.
Besides the Thailand race, Torres is eyeing to make a mark either in the Powerman Asian Championships in Malaysia on March 5 or the Ironman 70.3 in Subic Bay also in March.
Torres is currently based in Subic, where most international triathlon events are frequently held.
She desires to represent the country in the Southeast Asian Games or Asian Games if only triathlon is included in the said competitions.
Long-course triathlon includes a 1.9-kilometer swim, 90km bike ride and 21km run while regular events only have a 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike and 10 km run.
Torres wants to test her mettle in competitions where no Philippine triathlete has competed before like the Ironman 70.3 and Challenge Half.