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Paredes 1st Pinay to finish punishing Norway triathlon

MANILA, Philippines – Laarni Paredes bucked chilly weather and a punishing course to become the first Filipina finisher of the Isklar Norseman Xtreme Triathlon in Norway recently.

Paredes survived the grueling 3.8k swim, 180k bike and 42.2k run distance that featured mountainous terrains, clocking 17:34:57 and finishing at 19th out of 20 women white shirt finishers.

Her husband, Omar, became the first Filipino to conquer the event last year.

The 38-year-old Paredes, who trained in Baguio and Los Baños before flying to Norway five weeks ahead of the event to acclimatize, hurdled temperatures ranging from 11 to 14 degrees in the swim phase, then pedaled through five mountains at 3800-m elevation in the bike leg, and ran a flat then a steep climb of 1800-m in the run part of the rain-drenched race. She crossed the finish line in tears as the national anthem was played on the background.

Omar, acting as her support crew this time, joined her to the finish, waving a Philippine flaglet.

“There were many times that I wanted to give up but there’s really no mountain too high to climb for anyone. I was able to prove the Filipino’s resiliency, that we thrive wherever we are,” said Paredes during the presscon in Makati Shangri-La yesterday.

Paredes is co-captain of the Herbalife women’s triathlon team and had several podium finishes in her age group in local triathlon races, including the TriUnited 1 and 2 this year where she placed second and third, respectively. She has also participated in seven full-distance Ironman races.

The annual event only limits its participants to 250 for safety reasons, picked through lottery draw.

The couple were among the 3,600 at most who tried to join the 15th edition, but it was only Laarni who gained the slot.

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