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Pinoy Abroad

Abu Dhabi-based Pinoy triathlete and frontliner runs, bikes at home for COVID-19 relief drive


DUBAI - A seasoned Filipino triathlete, who has seen action in various international competitions, ran and biked while staying at home to promote awareness against COVID-19 and shore up relief goods as well as masks and PPEs for free distribution.

“I hope we could inspire and reach out to more people with our ‘Staying Heathy while at Home’ campaign and make a difference,” said Romeo Tumayao Puncia III, the first Filipino triathlete and UAE resident to conquer last year’s 517.5-km Ultraman Florida.

Staying indoors at his home in Al Ain, east of UAE’s capital city, Abu Dhabi, Puncia ran 19 kms in 19 days on a tread mill for a total distance of 361.34kms, clocking in at 32:32:42.

Using a stationary bike, he also did 19-km laps for a total of 370.29 kms and timing in at 13:03:39.

“Mahirap din kasi araw-araw,” said Puncia.


Puncia is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and healthcare provider with the ambulance section of the Abu Dhabi Police’s Emergency and Public Safety Department.

He is also noted for his “Race with a Purpose” advocacy involving Palawan’s tribal communities.

For his stay-at-home campaign dubbed “COVID19 vs 19,” Puncia was able to make available, through help by supporters and friends who passed the hat for his COVID-19 endeavor, around 3,500 pieces of surgical masks, 100 pieces of face shields, 100 pieces of KN95, 10 thermal scanners, Dh3,000 worth of food and relief items.

These are now being distributed at labor camps as well as hospitals and public ambulances. The “COVID19 vs 19” drive was held from April 5 to 24, 2020.

“We also sent five thermal scanners to Philippine General Hospital EMS, and boxes of running shirts to the tribal and indigenous communities in Palawan,” Puncia said.

Action ahead

Puncia is prepping up for a series of triathlon events that starts on July 26, 2020 with the SwimJunkie Caramoan 15-km open-water swim in Pili, Camarines Sur, followed by and culminates at the Ultraman World Championship UWC in Hawaii on November 27-29, 2020.

The UWC to be held in Kona, Hawaii involves a 10-km swim, 423-km cycling, and 84-km run.

“I will be representing UAE and the Philippines sa Ultraman World Championship as the first male UAE-based Filipino Athlete na napili to race this event,” he said.

“Kung matapos ko ito, I will be making history as the first Filipino and first UAE-based athlete na nakatapos ng Ultraman World Championship. Kaya ngayon palang, pinaghahandaan ko na sya,” Puncia added.

Puncia is also warming up for the August 23 Ironman 140.6 in Kazakhstan and the October 25 Ironman 140.6 in the Philippines. --KBK, GMA News