JOHN Ordoñez of Bacolod City traveled around the world to join Ironman races in different countries.
Last weekend, the Bacoleño triathlete was in Denmark to take part in his 17th Ironman Challenge, a feat no other Filipino has achieved.
Held in Copenhagen, Denmark's historic capital, the Ironman is a long-distance triathlon race organized by the World Triathlon Corporation. The race is made up of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and a 26.22-mile (42.20 km) marathon, in that order.
"I wasn't at my fittest in Denmark, but the strong support I had from so many well-wishers, especially those in Bacolod, gave me the willpower and determination to finish," said Ordoñez, who now lives in Huntington Beach in California.
A graduate of La Salle Bacolod high school who completed his college degree in the United States, Ordoñez is now 57 years old and is showing no signs of slowing down.
"I've always been bitten by the sports and fitness bug having swum competitively in my elementary years. At the age of 50 I decided to try my luck in the 2014 Ironman in Arizona. I was immediately hooked and couldn't wait for the next Challenge," he said.
Since then, Ordoñez has competed Ironman Challenges not only in the US, but also in Europe, Asia, Canada and South America.
"My target is to do all the Ironman races throughout the world. Training is intense and it pretty much eats up all my spare time, but it's more than a sport for me. It's a lifestyle, a passion," he said.
"Next year, I'll be off to Kailua-Kona in Hawaii to compete in the Legacy category of the Ironman World Championships, having qualified by completing 12 Challenges in four years."
But before then, Ordoñez is planning to compete in Ironman Indiana on October 2 and once again Ironman Arizona on November 21 to close out the year with 19 Ironman finishes under his belt.
The mantra of the Ironman is "anything is possible" and for Ordoñez, the adage holds true.