Amen for priests in Ironman
THE IRONMAN 70.3 Cebu triathlon event has always been a venue for a diverse community of triathletes, and religious practitioners joining the race is not something new.
For this year’s Regent Aguila-backed Asia Pacific Championships, two priests of Cebu coming from different teams will be among the 2,571 competitors.
They are Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral team member and vice-chancellor of the Archdiocese of Cebu Reverent Father Joseph Larida, who is a member of the Rider Omega Tri Team, and Novice Master for Asia and Pacific of the Brothers of St. John in Banawa Hills Father Clement Covacho, who is representing the Meta Fit Tri Team.
Larida will be competing in the swimming of the team relay while Covacho will be doing the full race.
The two shared the same goal for this year’s race, which is to top their personal records.
Rev. Fr. Larida has been into triathlon for eight years now and joined his first Ironman in 2011 in Camarines Sur.
“I was already into running even when I was young and I’ve found out that pure running is very strenuous and could damage the knees. So I switched to triathlon, which I find balanced,” Larida told Cebu Daily News. “It changed my lifestyle and made me more active in my priestly ministry.”
Fr. Covacho, who is French, said this year’s race will be his second stint in the Ironman. The first was last year’s Ironman 70.3 Philippines also here in Cebu.
“Before entering the religious life, at the age of 21, I was already in the army as a cadet and therefore was a lot into sport. At that time already, end of the 80s, I heard about the Ironman and was very attracted by that but hadn’t had the opportunity to do any,” Covacho said.
Since he is still in his second stint, Covacho said he still doesn’t considers himself a triathlete. He wants to keep practicing, though, since he believes it can help him stay physically fit.
“[Triathlon] requires a good amount of training. Therefore, very often, I [train] at around 4 a.m., to not take too much time dedicated to my mission. I try to find the right order among all my duties. Sport is one of these duties, because it helps to have a good balance between the fitness of the body and the life of the spirit.”
Covacho shared that his vocation has helped him in his journey in the sport.
“I hesitated to start because of that problem of time but then I prayed during training, and the race, and it was a kind of revelation that encouraged me to continue. Being from a religious order I have also the privilege to practice obedience, which helps me also in searching and finding for the good balance.”
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