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So, what is XTERRA? Well, they just happen to be the world's leading producer of off-road triathlon series, specifically, the XTERRA American Tour and the XTERRA Global Tour. The XTERRA America has about 50 races around the US where amateur racers compete for points the Regional Championship title. This title earns an invite for the XTERRA USA Championships. Top finishers in the Regionals and Nationals are then invited to compete at the XTERRA World Championships in Maui.

The Philippines joins Japan, Saipan, Guam, New Zealand, Brazil, South Africa, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic in the XTERRA Global Tour. Winners in this tour are then invited to the World Championships with the US qualifiers. The system is like the ATP Tour where tennis players earn points for their world rankings.

Cebu in general, and Liloan in particular, is lucky and honored to host this premier international off-road triathlon series, with some of the world's best all-terrain triathletes confirming their participation. Organized by Sunrise Events, Inc. of Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, XTERRA Cebu will fire off at the Amara North Face this Sunday at 7am. If you wish to witness our local prides battle the foreign invaders in the 1.5 km swim, 35 km bike ride and 10 km run, be at the staging area before 6am as roads will be closed from 6 to 12 noon. It's a loooong walk to Amara from the main highway if you come after 6 am.

We can't go wrong with the organizers. Mr. Uytengsu's firm was established mainly to stage the highly succesfull Ironman 70.3 Philippines that attracted 583 participants from 23 countries, including 9 top professional triathletes. Sunrise Events, Inc. was awarded by the World Triathlon Corporation a 3-year contract to stage world class events in different parts of the country, so expect more XTERRAs coming our way. Mr. Uytengsu himself is an Ironman finisher.

The XTERRA Cebu Race Team is made up of veterans in endurance racing headed by Mr. Boying Rodriguez as Technical Director. Former national swimmer and triathlon coach Loy Rafols handles the swim event. Prominent names in Cebu's cycling community like Mark Ylanan, Miguel Flores and Nino Surban takes charge of the bike race. Kenneth Casquejo and Annie Neric of RunCheck oversees the running event. Overall event coordinator is Ms. Anne Flores.

Joining this type of event not only requires an almost super-human effort but also a really fat wallet, the type where a .45 caliber bullet can't penetrate. A registration fee of $125 for individual entries and $175 for relay entries is quite stiff for us mere mortals. Think about shelling at least P300,000 for a mountain bike. And talking about comfort, rough would be the understatement of the year. The only thing soothing about the run and bike route is the scenery. I have seen some of the routes and, oh my freaking goodness, the run event takes you to a small cliff then you descend on jagged rocks to knee deep waters. The bike run? There's a portion that you just might need a ladder to get over the hill.

A total of $15,000 is at stake for the pro and elite category. The top 3 men and women's finisher gets $2,200, $1,700 and $1,200 respectively. The rest of the amount are divided amomg the fourth to 10th placers. There's an age group category where top finishers have the chance to go to the XTERRA Worlds in Hawaii this coming October.