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Omar Paredes reveals toughness of historic Norseman triathlon conquest

By Ivan Saldajeno

MAKATI—It may be equivalent to a full Ironman triathlon, but the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon is on a way higher level.

A Filipino survived the tough challenge.

Omar Paredes became the first Filipino ever to finish the Norseman race that took place in Norway on Aug. 8, tagged as one of the most gruesome triathlons in the world.

Having to swim, bike, and run a full Ironman triathlon against the cold weather, the steep uphill areas, and even a storm that made the race even more challenging, the Los BaƱos native braved the obstacles and crossed the finish line way ahead of the Top 160 cutoff.

Omar arrived back home together with his wife Laarni and met select people from the media in a press conference at the Museum Cafe on Thursday.

The male Paredes then revealed how he got there.

"Thirty minutes bago mag-deadline para sa lottery, pinasok [ni Laarni] name ko. Napili ako, so ayun," Omar said, further baring that the draw was to decide the 250 triathletes who will start the race and that she also put her name in the lottery but was not drawn.

When his name was announced, the couple went to Eidfjord two weeks before the race for acclimatization and training.

However, come race day, he realized the race was tougher than he thought that he had to seek help from a newfound friend, who was on his third Norseman stint, to stay on track.

Even adding to the hardships, Omar told the media that pain began to linger on his right calf.

"Sobrang tight niya, pero nakakaya ko pa. But noong umaakyat kami, plus yung lamig, nahihirapan na akong mag-step," he revealed.

But he never gave up and eventually made the cut for the finishers.

"Noong nag-cross na ako [ng finish line], static pa nang konti, kasi pagod na pagod na pagod talaga eh. After three minutes, umiyak ako sa saya," said Omar, who actually went into tears in the presser as he once again remembered the grueling race.

Omar then revealed his plans of joining the two Xtreme Triathlon races along the Alps, the Swissman and the Celtman triathlons.

"Mas hihirapan ko yung training, mga isang buwan ang haba," he revealed his training plans.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno