Japanese diplomat joins Davao triathlon to foster PH-Japan friendship

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 26 March) – A Japanese diplomat joined the Ironman 70.3 triathlon in Davao City for the last time on Sunday, five days before retiring from his job, to foster Philippines-Japan friendship.

Consul Tomoko Dodo, who called herself a senior, joined the race consisting of a 1.9-km swim, 90-km bike and 21.1-km run along with younger friends urologist Dr. Herman Sorongon and restaurant chain owner Eduardo Leuenberger.

Retiring Japanese consul Tomoko Dodo (middle) with friends Dr. Herman Sorongon (right) and restaurant chain owner Eduardo Leuenberger.

They sported shirts designed with orchids and sakura, the Philippines and Japan’s highest peaks – Mt. Apo and Mt. Fuji – and the flags of the two countries flapping over blue sea connecting the two nations.

“Our team is unique in every sense, mixed sexes, various ages, and two nationalities. We did this not only for our personal gain but more for promoting Davao in international arenas as well as further fostering Philippines-Japan friendship,” she said.

Dodo, whose three-year term ends on March 28, said she considers herself blessed to have her term end in time for the month-long 81st Araw ng Davao celebrations.

“What a fantastic way to culminate my three-year term and my wonderful time spent in your fabulous Davao,” she said, admitting that running under the sun’s scorching heat was quite challenging but manageable, this being her first time in a long distance international race.

Clocking 7 hours and 10 minutes, Dodo said she keeps a very active lifestyle to keep herself in the pink of health.

Back in Japan, she spent up to 10 hours skiing down the snow-covered slopes. In Davao, she does zumba, running, and yoga.

“On ski slopes, I become an 8-year old girl. Exercise is the best medicine. I don’t spend hours nor dollars on makeups and supplements,” she said. “I’m a senior. But the thing is I feel, think and act as if I were in 20’s.”

She is not a newbie to running. Dodo joined last year in the Mt. Apo rehabilitation run where she placed in the women’s 5-km fund-raising run organized by Tebow Cure Hospital.

The Ironman drew over 1,800 athletes from all over the world.

The 22-year old Mexican runner Mauricio Mendez finished first, followed by Australians Timothy James and Tim Vam Berkel in second and third places, respectively.

Finishers received a medal called “Duyan ng mga Magigiting” (Cradle of the Brave) designed by Dabawenyo artist Kublai Millan.

The race, organized by Sunrise Events, began with a one-loop swim at the Azuela Cove where the athletes went back back for their first transition. They exited into the main highway to start the 90-km bike course with the turnaround point in Tagum City.

They then headed back to Azuela Cove for the second transition, exited to J.P. Laurel Avenue towards the commercial district of Davao to complete the two-loop 21.1-km run. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)