Photographer Osman Adnan was in the thick of action at the recent Ironman Langkawi, watching 2,500 athletes aim to achieve what non-athletes view as crazy and impossible.
THE hilly terrain known to participants as Three Sisters and Mother-in-law didn’t deter the grit and fighting spirit of some 2,500 participants of the recent Ironman Langkawi 2019.
In fact, the scorching heat all day (with only a 10 to 15 minute rain) at Pantai Cenang became their biggest obstacle during the race.
The funny thing was, for a few days before the race, Langkawi was showered with rain.
This annual event is highly anticipated and as with previous years, it was challenging and festive at the same time, with locals and tourists cheering the participants on.
This year, 35 per cent of participants were locals, with Japan being the foreign country with the highest number of athletes.
Ironman Langkawi, which is part of the worldwide Ironman calendar, is a triathlon event where athletes swim, cycle and run in distances according to their categories.
For Ironman 70.3 (often called half Ironman), it involves a 7am swim at Pantai Kok for 1.9km, followed by cycling along the island for 90km and finally, the athletes run 21km to the finish line at Pantai Cenang. Athletes need to complete these disciplines within 8 hours and 30 minutes.
For Ironman, they need to double the distance and loops for a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42km run and the time given to them is 17 hours. They don’t call it Ironman for nothing.
For a normal person, these are crazy feats to achieve. But early preparation and mental and physical strength pushed these extraordinary men and women through these challenges because Langkawi is one of the toughest routes in the Ironman calendar.
One finisher said “Tobat”, upon reaching the finishing line just before the 17 hour cut-off time. It seems like he has learnt his lesson and will never do it again.
But I wouldn’t be surprised if after the victory has sunk in, he would be signing up for other events and train all over again.
I can’t imagine the sheer satisfaction of reaching the finish line and having your name called out, accompanied by the words: You are an Ironman!