Success for Filipinos at Malaysian Ironman in Langkawi Last September 27th 2014

To be able to call yourself an Ironman you have to Swim 3.8km, Bike 180km and then run 42.2km within the 17 hour cut-off period.  It is a demanding test of stamina, nutrition and mental strength.

There were well over 100 in the Filipino contingent for the Malaysian Ironman held in Langkawi last Saturday the 27th of September 2014.  All had dreams of achieving their own individual success story.  Many achieved their dreams, some exceeded their wildest dreams, and some experienced disappointment but will be steeled with the fortitude to fight again another day.


A picture of the Filipino contingent at the pre-race party in Langkawi, Malaysia.


IRONMAN marked its return to Langkawi Island after a 6 year hiatus.  Located within a cluster of tropical islands that attract visitors from all over the world, the race took the athletes on a truly Malaysian cultural journey. They swam in the warm ocean waters to Eagle Point and back, through  a tropical, hilly and demanding bike course passing traditional kampungs (villages), mangrove clusters and rainforest vistas, and then finally, a 4 loop run course lined with enthusiastic spectators of all nationalities, including many vocal Filipinos.



The 3.8km swim was fun.  A rolling start avoided the dreaded mass start and tension usually associated with Ironman races.  There were no wet suits allowed as the waters were a bath like 28 degrees.


The bike was considered by most to be hilly, hot and tough.  However, not for superman and number 1 male Filipino Jong Sajulga.  Jong is from Bukidnon and finished in a hugely impressive time of 10:17:32 to be 5th in his age category and 27th out of the 1075 starters.  Jong said his one regret is that he could not beat the marathon time of his roommate Chad Davis that was set at Melbourne Ironman 2014 (3:28:27)!  Better luck next time roomie!

The second Filipino to cross the line was Benjamin Rana in a time of 10:53:06 and third was John Omar Paredes.

Interestingly, only 85% of the field completed the grueling event with 100 of the 915 Ironman finishers representing the Philippines.  Great job to all.


The number 1 Filipina finisher was the mighty Joyette Jopson who stopped the clock at an impressive 12:38:17.  Joyette was 5th in her age category.  Second Filipina was the speedy Laarni Paredes in a time of 13:24;14.  The Philippine contingent celebrated the wonderful achievement of podium finishes for Celma Hitalia (13:20:09 – 2nd) and Mariela Powell (13:24:14 – 3rd).  Bernadette Tan was 2nd Pinay with a time of 13:17:58 and the Philippines also had 2 sisters finish close together with Jayline and Maris Balatibat (13:32:55 and 13:37:30 respectively).

When_In_Manila_Malaysia_Ionman_Asia_Tri_Celma and Mariela_1

Congratulations on your wonderful podium finish Celma Hitalia and Mariela Powell.



With sisters Jayline Marfori Balatibat, Maris Marfori Balatibat, Celma Hitalia and Barnett Angeles.  I am proud that I helped the sisters in a small way as they said my nutrition tips from www.primedforyourlife assisted them on the bike course.



The run was hot but enjoyable because of the loud and vocal support from all the spectators.  People like Jong Sajulga and Joyette Jopson finished in the daylight but other mere mortals had to settle for a night finish.  A special cheers to the last Filipino to cross the line in 16:41:09 – Emerson Go Tian (bottom row 2nd from left).  Emerson did his Greenhills tri teammates proud with his fierce determination to hear the words “Emerson, you are an Ironman.”


Congratulations again to our number 1 Filipino finisher Jong Sajulga, featured here just seconds from the finish line where your pain disappears for those magical moments as you savor the words “You are an Ironman!”




Just like Julian Valencia, I gave the Malaysian Ironman in Langkawi the thumbs up.  The event was well organized, safe for the competitors and very good for the spectators as well so they could really get involved and help create a fabulous atmosphere.

The beautiful island of Langkawi is only an hours flight from Kuala Lumpur and is a wonderful holiday destination for those not into the sport of triathlon.  For those who love the sport of triathlon it is time to hop on your bike and start training for Malaysian Ironman 2015.



Langkawi Island had so many beautiful sights that readers of WhenInManila.com will surely want to see for themselves in the future.


A special thanks to Vince Garcia (from wetSHOP) and Princess Galura (from Sunrise Events) for organizing our facebook page and the fun pre-race and post-race (looking forward to this already) events.

Another thanks to all the cool Filipinos who gladly and selflessly contributed to the Primed for your Life post aimed at helping future Filipino Ironman competitors learn from their experience in Ironman Lessons From The Filipino Contingent to Malaysia Ironman 2014.




If you  need wellness coaching and would also like to try the PRIMED DIET,  feel free to contact me with the following details:


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 Success for Filipinos at Malaysian Ironman in Langkawi Last September 27th 2014