Evangeline Hayco goes through life’s race slowly but surely
By Deneb R. Batucan
EVANGELINE Hayco describes herself as unnaturally talented — for her, when she finds something she loves to do, she has to work hard to master it. And in her newfound love for racing in triathlons, she finds triumph in endless training. Winning, for her, is slowly and steadily finishing the race.
She first started as a runner. She was invited by a Facebook friend to join a triathlon relay team. It was there that her love for the tri-life first ignited. “I was so inspired when I joined that relay race. It was so full of life. It was there that I told myself that I would join Iron Man,” she said.
At first, Evangeline hesitated. She was already a decent runner and swimmer — not to mention she played football early on — but she never knew how to ride a bike. But that didn’t stop her. “I borrowed my dad’s bike. Other triathletes would tease me (about the bike), since a lot of them have really awesome ones,” she said laughing.
Eventually, Evangeline learned how to bike and two weeks after, she joined her first triathlon, Hunat Sugbo Triathlon 2014 where she finished first place.
Mind over body
For athletes who compete in Iron Man, the rule of thumb is to at least enter four small races before the international race. That was what Evangeline did. After Hunat Sugbo, she joined four more races. But in the last race a month before the Iron Man, the Tabuelan 111 Triathlon, she had a knee injury. It was her first time to get injured.
“The Tabuelan 111 was the only local race that follows the distance of Iron Man but with a hill trail. It was my first very long distance and my knee blew out,” she said. Her doctor gave her two choices: to rest her knee or continue training where there’s a bigger possibility she wouldn’t be able to join Iron Man. “I was so sad. I was preparing for Iron Man for a year, so I didn’t want to miss it. I didn’t want all my hard work to go to waste,” she said.
There is no such thing as cramming in triathlon, only consistent training. So when Evangeline stopped training a month before the big event, she began doubting her capability to finish Iron Man.
“Before the Iron Man, I talked to my training partner and told him I was so afraid of not finishing the race. He was really shocked because I’m usually overconfident about myself. He just told me to let the adrenaline take place. And I did. That’s how I realized that a lot of the race is a mental game,” she said.
When she ran during the Iron Man, she was dragging one of her legs. During the swimming competition, she experienced being pulled down by another competitor. But even with all the hardships she had to go through, she finished the race at 10th place in the whole country.
Aside from Evangeline’s tri-life, she works full time in her family’s restaurant business, the Port Restaurant at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino. She works as the chief operating officer and with her leadership, the restaurant won in Sun.Star’s Best of Cebu as Cebu’s Best Buffet Restaurant for 2013 and 2014.
“Our family is very honored. It’s especially rewarding for us that Sun.Star recognized us as Cebu’s best for two years in a row. Port is turning 18 next year and we hope to keep the standard and move up together,” she said.
Ideas that matter
Evangeline is also into philanthropy. She recently spoke to a large audience in Switzerland during a TED Talk, a nonprofit organization aimed at spreading ideas that matter. She was the representative of the successful Bancart Project held during the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.
Since most of the beneficiaries in the northern part of Cebu were fishermen, the Bancart Project was a relief program that centered on giving the typhoon victims a Bangka for them to have a chance to start their lives over. Cebuano craftsman initially built 10 boats which was colorfully painted on by several volunteer Cebuano artists.
The project was spearheaded by Clayton Tugonon, a local furniture designer and businessman. Evangeline decided to ask help from her alma mater in Switzerland, Les Roches Hospitality School, and immediately the students there organized a fund raiser. And with that partnership, 10 boats became 13 boats, and eventually, became 300.
Speaking to a large audience during the TED Talk in Switzerland, Evangeline realized that helping others is not one sided. “It was very surprising. I was a nobody, but they listened to what I said. I was so honored. I realized in the talk myself that helping other people is not just us helping them. They help us back too. Every speck creates a dessert. Even the smallest things count,” she said.
In the story of the Rabbit and the Turtle, Evangeline considers herself as the turtle. She goes through life’s race slow and steady. “People don’t really track your trainings, how you prepared for the sport or what your previous races were. They just see the end result. If you’re a champion, they’d automatically think that you’re the best at what you do,” she said.
“But it’s not just about getting the championship. It’s all about being disciplined to train consistently. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
Photos: Alfred Gregory E. Bartolome
Make-up Artist: Carlo Damolo
Hair Stylist: Jerwin Bastatas
Locale: Beverly View