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Ironman Langkawi Race Report by Jason Thiang

This year, Langkawi Ironman celebrated its 10th anniversary, which was the first of twenty-two Ironman Worldwide series. Langkawi Ironman is considered the "Toughest Show on Earth", most renowned for its hilly cycling course and hot and humid weather. The total distance for an Ironman event is :-

Swim - 3.8 KM
Bike - 180 KM (Total 226 KM)
Run - 42.2 KM

The qualifying time is 17 hours. I had decided to participate in this Ironman because I wanted to experience the ultimate challenge in the sport of Triathlon. I had planned for a 7 months training program with a group of Pacesetters members who were 1st timers in the Ironman. They were:-

1) Jason Thiang - Team Manager
2) Raymond Ng - 1st time Ironman
3) Michelle Looi - 1st time Ironman
4) Lee HP - 1st time Ironman
5) Juliana - PowerBar Team Elite
6) Tony Quay - Team Coach (not taking in Ironman)

We also received support from PowerBar to provide sufficient performance bars, gel and other beverage system drinks to help us to go through the whole journey to Langkawi Ironman. As for endurance sport, the usage of proper nutrition is important not only during the race day but more vital that is being using before/during/after those hard training sessions. I spent about 12 hours per week for training and Fridays were rest days. The most time consuming training is cycling. We also cycled in group which was for fun and safety. The regular cycling routes were Ulu Langat, Titi, Salak, Putrajaya, Broga Hill, Sepang Goldcoast, Ulu Yam, Kuala Selangor, Batu Arang, Fraser Hill (Gap), etc.

We had two long ride to test our endurance. They were:-
1) Tour de Ipoh (one day) - 180 KM, total 9 hours
2) Interstate to Kuantan - 465 KM, 3 days

As for swimming, I took up a 5 month training program with PowerSwim in Bukit Jalil. The training session was 3 times a week. The training for running was much more easy because we are already runners. We spent more time in long distance runs without doing much speed work. I think speedwork is not so important in the Ironman race.

With over 40 years of runnning (including duathlon & triathlon) experience, I would like to emphasise that resting and tapering is also very important. We needs to listen to our body for burn-out, stress, injury, etc, if not you may not have the fun to complete the race.

On the event day, I was very excited but not nervous. Met a lot of friends and exchanged good luck messages. We were welcome by warm morning sun when we started the long 3.8 KM swim. Smooth sailing without any problem and looking forward to the cycling leg.


This was going to be a long hot, hilly and windy ride. I really suffered during this cycling leg because I experienced my first cramp just after the half way mark. This really worried me and I started to visit the medical station at every 10 KM. Go slow, man, I thought. Eventually, I completed the bike course in amost 8 hours. This really worried my family and all my supporters.

The running course of 5 loops were flat all the way with not so good road condition. Although my body was completely super-tired, my mind always thought that I wasn't running alone. I always remembered the support and encouragement from all my sponsors, family members and supporters. Especially for the last 2 laps, my wife (Sook Ying) and my son (Edwin) took turn the run with me during this last past of the marathon. Finally, I did it in 15 hours 39 min.

This year event had attracted about 730 participants including the professional from overseas, with 466 crossing the finishing line within the qualifying time of 17 hours.

The Overall Winners were :-
Men - Luke McKenzie (Aus), 8 hrs 26 min
Women - Belinda Granger (Aus), 9 hrs 21 min
The best Malaysia are :-

Men - Mohammad Hafiz Wong, 10 hrs 20 min
Women - Carmen Leong, 12 hrs 02 min
Three incidents that still very clear in my mind are :-

i) I was really worried that I could not complete the race because of the cramp at my left leg at the 100 KM mark during cycling
ii) I really enjoyed the sweetest moment by kissing the floor 3 times after crossing the finishing line.
iii) I had a bottle of champagne for celebration after the race.

In view of my 1st Ironman which I intended to make it more meaningful and memorable, I started "Project 226". The total distance for the Ironman event is 226KM and I am getting sponsorship for running 1KM for 1 RM. I feel very glad and honoured that many of my good / closed had supported and sponsored the Project 226. Most of them are my teh-tarik kakis, happy hour buddies, jogging mates, etc.

Below are the full list of my sponsors :-
PB Tan
Tay CK
Khoo Weng Onn
LK Leong
Chris Ho
Larrie Lee
Peter Teh
Ms. Chen
Gramson Loke
Ng Wei Loon
Ng Weng Tuck
Gary Gan
Tiger Loo
Yvonne Yap
Victor Siow
Wan Yew Leong
Freddie Lee
Lok Chan Chuan
Jenny Lee
Goh Choon Aun

I would like to thank all my supporters and sponsors for making my 1st Ironman a success.

Happy running,

Jason Thiang
23 Mar 2009


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