Writer Ho May Ai completed her first run-bike-run challenge at the Powerman Malaysia 2018 duathlon.

“A hard earned medal” said a good friend – Ismail Cheah, after our celebratory selfie with our finisher medals at the recent Powerman Malaysia 2018 duathlon held in Putrajaya.

The atmosphere on race morning was bustling as early as 6am, with athletes busy in preparation at the Transition areas where we had parked our bicycles the day before. All the bicycles on the racks looked like a field of alien transport ready to launch because of its bright colours. 

Armed with my Suunto Spartan Trainer watch, Trek mountain bike and bright orange Asics Gel Kayano running shoes, I was excited to embark on my first multi-sport event with running and cycling combined over 5km run – 30km cycle – 5km run.

As I started warming up just before my short distance category flagged off at 8am, I witnessed the Elite runners blazing through to complete their first 10km run in the Classic distance category. I’ve been participating in some running races over the last one year, but this would be my first time cycling as part of a race and I had been cycling around my neighbourhood as training.

Upon flag off, I completed my first 5km run in a breeze and proceeded directly to my bicycle for the next 30km bike leg.

Over the first hour, I found myself lagging behind as many cyclists zoomed pass me, but I did not give up as there were some riders cheering me on as I struggled with my mountain bike.

A nice gentleman in orange race shirt cheered on each participant as he cycled passed, and then later stopped to help a lady changed a flat tyre. Although it was a race, there was atmosphere was full of positive energy!

After completing the 30km cycling challenge, then came the toughest of them all – the last 5km run leg which I found myself jogging instead of running.

My eyes, heart and legs screamed with joy when I saw the Finish sign ahead which kept me going until I was awarded my finisher medal by cheering volunteers.

The organisers of Powerman Malaysia 2018 should be commended for a successful event that was well organised starting from collection of the race kit, staging bicycles before race day and right up till the end when we complete our race with volunteers patiently waiting on us with our medals.

I loved the challenges of what Powerman offered, and to see men and women of all ages going through the race is awe-inspiring, motivating and yet heart warming.

As for myself, I will see you next year at Powerman 2019, with a greater determination to clock in a better timing and looking forward to more saddle pain!

More about the author

Ho May Ai seeks out sporting adventures to challenge herself beyond limits in becoming a stronger person, through trial and error. With minimum sports background, she now paddles with the KL Barbarians Dragon Boat team, dives to chase after whale sharks, runs, hikes and swims too. What will be her next adventure?