#ChinoyProfiles: Running and triathlon’s ‘It’ girl, Lauren Lim

By Stanley Ong See 13 June, 2017
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It’s Sunday, June 4, 2017, 5:50PM and as I write this, athlete Lauren Alexi Go Lim’s (林柔玲) early afternoon Facebook post of “Placed third in my AG (20-24) for today’s 5i50 and hit my sub-3 target!” says a lot about this dynamo. For one, Lauren, for the nth time, stepped into the podium of a triathlon event (the 1.5 kilometer (KM) swim, 40KM bike, 10KM run Regent 5i50 Triathlon in Subic Bay) while the another is, with 455 Facebook reactions, she really has a lot of followers and supporters.

The funny thing is that her last event, the Regent 5i50 Triathlon seems “easy” compared to the three others lined-up through October 2017. The TRI United 2017 Exceed Long Distance is a 2KM swim, 60KM bike, 15KM run event happening on July 2, also in Subic Bay; Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines on August 6 in Cebu covers a distance of 70.3 miles or 113KM with a 1.9KM swim, 90KM bike ride, and a 21.1KM run; and the Chicago Marathon in October, while only involving the sport of running, traverses a distance of roughly 42.2 kilometers.

After conquering local running and triathlon events, Lauren Lim now turns her focus toward the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

It’s a normal reaction to be amazed at what Lauren has on her plate. What makes her accomplishments and plans even more remarkable is the fact that running and triathlon is not her regular “day” job; necessitating her to juggle her work as marketing manager in family-owned New Flavor House, Inc. with daily morning and evening trainings, proper diet, and weekend competitions. 

I initially met Lauren during a Skechers Performance Philippines’ meet-and-greet a few months ago and couldn’t help hearing personal stories of her battles and competitions. As official ambassador of the brand’s GOrun running shoes, this Immaculate Conception Academy (義德中學) alumnae was actually breaking-in a new pair of the top-of-the-line GOrun 5 the day I interviewed and took photos of her.

Over coffee (she needs the caffeine for the jolt of energy) and subsequent light jog around the PhilSports Arena (formerly Ultra) oval, Lauren tells me that lifting weights was actually her first serious sport.

“I started running (in) 2015, two years ago, around January. It all started out when I was in Japan and my friend told me that ‘I registered us in Color Run Manila’. At that point, I really did not like running. I had nothing to do with running and I was a powerlifter. My background talaga is I lift. I started lifting weights when I was around 18.” 

She finished her first ever race, a five kilometer, with a time of more than an hour and experienced firsthand what running was really like. A better showing and finish time of around 30 minutes on her next 5KM race urged her to join one more race to see if scraping rubber on pavement can lead to something bigger.

Pairing her Skechers GOrun 5 with cool/quirky/fun socks is one of Lauren Lim's trademarks.

“I started hitting 5K’s (in) under thirty (minutes). And then I decided after that to join a 10K and then it just clicked. I found my passion talaga. I just started really enjoying it. It didn’t become a struggle. Going to training at 4AM wasn’t a problem. I found myself awake before the alarm and super excited to train.” And so begins Lauren’s love affair with running.

The middle child of three siblings, Lauren joined a few more races before she registered for The Bull Runner, the first and only marathon in the world for first-time marathoners. Some runner-friends dissuaded her from participating, but placing third overall and first in the women’s category proved that she was on the right path. 

The theme of proving others wrong and having a chip on her shoulders continued as she transitioned from just running to the multi-discipline sport of triathlon. “People were saying, how can you jump from no swim, no bike, tapos basic pa yung running mo, then racing an Ironman?”

That’s when she decided to enlist top coaches for each discipline. One of whom is Titus Salazar, her running coach who we got to meet after transitioning from the coffeehouse to the Ultra oval. An International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Level 4 Coach, Salazar pushed Lauren and even forbade listening to music while running. “When I started training with coach Titus Salazar, coach told me ‘bawal earphones’. He’d make me warm up 5K. So sanayan lang talaga.”

Through Lauren, Skechers sponsored coach Titus Salazar's 5th Annual Running Clinic for Kids.

Visiting Ultra also allowed me to meet younger sister Isabel and to see how popular but accessible Lauren is, especially to young runners who idolize and want to follow in her footsteps. 

Aside from being a brand ambassador and being one of the faces running and triathlon, this Sante Barley Tri-Team member is quietly helping the next generation of athletes to match or even surpass what she has done. With the help of her growing influence and connection, Skechers sponsored coach Titus’ 5th Annual Running Clinic for Kids; hoping to produce not only the next Lauren Lim but also potential future members of the Philippine national team.

Aside from aspiring to someday compete and complete all six World Marathon Majors (Boston, New York, London, Berlin, and Tokyo are the others), Lauren also serves as an inspiration to ordinary people who think they aren’t athletic enough or blessed with good genes. “I was 185 pounds at one point in my life. I started running at 165 and I couldn’t run. I walked, it literally took me a few months to get into semi-jogging. Running, it’s not hard, all you have to do is look for a good running buddy and a really, really good pair of shoes.”

And in case you’re wondering, as of publishing, the number of Facebook reactions on that Sunday post has now jumped to 690.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 14 June 2017 06:24

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