Maiqui Dayrit: ‘Ironman’ with a heart

Pinoy triathlete close to raising P1 million for children in need

The Ironman craze has officially taken over the country, thanks to numerous triathlon events, particularly the 2nd Ironman 70.3 Philippines held recently in Camarines Sur. People from all walks of life have now jumped into the triathlon bandwagon, and it is now commonplace to see runners, cyclists, and swimmers training.

But way before all of this, one man has been mounting his very own annual Ironman event for a very different purpose. No, his Ironman has no finisher’s medal, no qualifying slot, and no fanfare. He does not do it for himself.

In the last five years, Maiqui Dayrit has been doing this grueling distance on his own to help raise funds for children in need. His beneficiaries include cleft palate babies needing corrective surgery, as well as hearing- and visually-impaired children. On his sixth year, Dayrit is close to hitting the P1-million mark in donations which are coursed through the Gabriel’s Symphony Foundation of Sen. Pia Cayetano.

His real motivation? “The kids, of course,” said Dayrit, 39. “I’ve always had a soft spot for kids. Thanks to [fellow triathlete] Senator Pia, we are given a chance to put our training to good use and help change their lives. I’m really grateful that my friends and relatives have been supporting me the last five years.”

Dayrit recently competed at the 2nd Ironman 70.3 Philippines and wound up in the Top 50 of the physically punishing race, ranking 43rd in a field of 604 triathletes which included 172 foreign participants from 34 countries.

A full Ironman distance consists of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bike and a marathon (26 miles 385 yards or 42.195 km) run. Maiqui’s Ironman has been the highlight the yearly 12-hour Multi–Sport Celebration held by Gabriel Symphony Foundation at the Alabang Country Club in Muntinlupa City.

“It would be great if [donors] would pledge the same amount for a shorter distance so I don’t have to suffer for 12 hours or so every year, but I doubt it,” he says, with a laugh. “But I guess I have to earn their donations the hard way. During each Ironman, there’s always a point where I ask myself: ‘Why?’ But one thought about the kids we help and I keep going.”

“Honestly, I see myself doing this for many more years as long as people continue to donate. After all, it’s the best way to celebrate my birthday [which also falls on September],” added Dayrit.

In his own way, Maiqui brings a social dimension to the spirit of the Ironman. Although most of us may not be physically able to do what he is doing, we can support his cause and be inspired by his story. #

Note: Join the 8th Gabriel Symphony Multi–Sport Celebration on September 4, Saturday, from 6am to 6pm at the Alabang Country Club in Muntinlupa City. To support Maiqui’s Ironman, contact 09178554489 or email [email protected] Visit www.gabrielsymphony.com for event details and online registration.