■ Ofelia C. Empian
Every athlete needs time to recover and rehabilitate to come back stronger in future races.
This is what Sandi Menchi Abahan, the first Asian to hit the Spartan World Championship podium, is currently doing with her time away from competitions.
Abahan, who hails from Barlig, Mountain Province, spent time with family in her home province during the holidays.
“I will focus on recovery and rehabilitation from injury. I am with my family again and will start training when my body is ready,” she said.
Abahan, who joined the Philippine team in 2019, earlier sustained an injury on her shin to the calf, down to her foot in one of her trainings prior to the grueling Spartan championship.
After winning bronze in the Spartan Race-Beast 21-kilometer elite world championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates early in December last year, she and the rest of the Philippine team had a session with American Ninja Warrior Champion Daniel Gil during his visit in the country.
“Recovery week for me was insightful and informative. As an athlete I am able to learn and understand the phases of off season and on season, nutrition, rehab and all that is important to focus on when training and recovering,” she said.
“As a coach, it is not just giving programs, but being able to create a fun, safe and motivating environment for them to keep coming back for training and love for the sport,” she added.
Abahan also takes time to train young athletes in multi-sports and obstacle course racing.
The Cordilleran pride finished the grueling Spartan race in two hours, 45 minutes, and 42 seconds next to second place winner Lindsay Webster of Canada having 2:22:50 time while champion Eszter Hortobagyiova of Slovakia finished with 2:22:41 time in the Beast 21K.
Starting out as a trail running endurance athlete who raked in medals in national and international trail running events, Abahan slowly shifted into the OCR sports and has continued on the path since.
In the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, she won the gold medal in the five-kilometer OCR, her first medal in her first SEAG outing.
She delivered gold together with her OCR women’s teammates at the 32nd SEAG in Cambodia.