IRONMAN is made up of extraordinary tales of participants overcoming all odds to make it to the holy grail of triathlon in hopes of fulfilling a big-time fitness goals, some even consider it a life achievement.

For Rainty Tioh, being afforded the opportunity to be part of the IRONMAN 70.3 Desaru Coast in itself is an act of sheer accomplishment. Eight years ago, the Sabah-born could not fathom the thought of being healthy after she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.

With the C word bringing so much of stigma and negative emotions, it can be an uphill battle to remain positive and keep fighting. Rainty remains as one of those resilient fighters. After one year of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and ongoing oral medication, the 46-year-old housewife is now cancer-free and ready to fulfil a lifelong ambition.

“My experience as a breast cancer survivor made me look at life from a different perspective. I learnt to treasure every moment,” recounts Rainty.

“I try to achieve my dreams as much as I possibly can and completing a triathlon has always been one of them.”

Rainty will be making her IRONMAN 70.3 debut in Desaru Coast this April (17-19), and like so many others, she did not know how to swim or bike, but her awe for triathlon brought out an unbridled passion to venture into unchartered territory.

“I joined a triathlon sports workshop. I also signed up for swimming lessons. My consistent progress in both cycling and swimming made me even more keen and determined to be a triathlete,” she explains.

Training for the IRONMAN 70.3 event has already had its pitfalls for Rainty, but her dogged perseverance stands out above everything else.

“Training for an IRONMAN 70.3 has taught me not to fear failure. Cycling is actually very challenging for me. I had fallen off a bike and got so badly injured that I had thoughts about giving up. But I was determined not to. Now I am glad to say that I am more confident with cycling.”

Like most athletes, Rainty trains every day for one of the biggest physical challenges that awaits her.

“I swim three times a week. It’s the same for running and cycling. Training for a triathlon needs a highly committed regime. I watch my nutrition as well, consuming more vegetables and fruits. Rest is also vital.”

Sensing many females might mistake triathlon as a male-dominated pursuit, Rainty says it is all about having the right mindset.

“Many women are burdened with numerous responsibilities. Thinking positive is one way to deal with challenges. Like for me, being active challenges me. I don’t feel the need to put pressure on myself, to compete with others. I am satisfied if I am able to perform better than my previous training.”

Rainty will be one of the standout stories when she arrives for the IRONMAN 70.3 in Desaru Coast this coming April. If she performs well, there will be another life success story for her to tell.

In conjunction with International Women’s Day on March 8, the IRONMAN family would like to honour and celebrate the strength and beauty of all female athletes, just like Rainty. Female athletes should continue to uplift one another and share their stories as it will go a long way in empowering and encouraging women gain confidence and go the distance.