Since it began in 1978 as a challenge between a group of Navy Seals, the Ironman has become a world-renowned endurance race. Here is one man’s account of the Aviva Ironman Triathlon 70.3 Singapore on March 20.
Contributed By Eric Toh
I started my training regime about a year before the competition. On certain days, I would wake up at 6 a.m. to cycle 70 kilometers. Otherwise, it would be jogging for 10 kilometers and swimming 1.5 kilometers. I trained about three times a week, tapering my training one week prior to the competition.
I also “carbo-loaded” myself two days before the competition, as my body would require as much energy as possible to sustain me for the grueling hours of the competition. The night before, I slept earlier and woke up at 5 a.m. for breakfast before heading to the competition ground at East Coast Road for an early preparation. The flag-off was at 8:30 a.m.
The atmosphere on the ground was exhilarating—I started visualizing myself finishing the race, telling myself that I could “do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and that “the joy of the Lord is my strength.”
The first leg of the competition was a 1.9-kilometer swim in the open sea. It was an especially tough and gruesome part of the race as the crowd of competitors was massive. I was not only faced with strong currents, but I was punched, kicked and pushed and wound up swallowing a few mouthfuls of seawater.
Next was the cycling segment, which stretched 90.1 kilometers. I prayed for supernatural strength for my legs as cycling was not my forte; in fact, I bought my bicycle just last year. However, I felt the presence of God giving me power in my legs and, surprisingly, I did not feel as tired as I thought I would be. Instead, it turned out to be the strongest part of my race. My speed averaged at 34km/h, with a top speed at 40km/h on long-stretching roads.
Fatigue had not kicked in yet but my legs started cramping. During the last leg of the competition (a 21.1-kilometer run), I was applying cream on my leg while running! I then felt my heel spur (a pointed outgrowth of the bone at the sole of the feet caused by prolonged running) acting up in the middle of the run. I could not jog for long and had to alternate between walking and running. Through it all, I kept singing that the joy of the Lord was my strength, and God just took away all my tiredness.
The going was tough but I kept my focus on the finishing line. As I approached the finishing line, the announcer shouted “Eric Toh, from Singapore!” That was my proudest moment; the moment I knew that I was a finisher. I finished 717 out of 1,748 competitors with a timing of six hours 17 minutes 37 seconds, earlier than my target of seven hours.
Eric Toh, 42, is the owner of Splash Swim Club. He participated in his first marathon, the 42km Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon, in 2009, and subsequently the Safra Biathlon and Osim Triathlon in 2010. This was his first Ironman race.
• Of the 1,748 entries for the Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore, 492 are Singaporeans, with 1,256 athletes from other countries.
• A total of 64 nations, including Australia, the UK and US, Japan, Germany, France, Malaysia, the Philippines and New Zealand were represented.
• 86.6 percent are male participants.
• The oldest participant was 75 and youngest 19.
• About 200 competitors did not finish the race.
• Ironman is a worldwide phenomenon with races across the world; there are upcoming races in Texas, California, New South Wales and Taiwan.
Find out more at www.ironman.com