Tax consultant Chan Jhan Yong had a target to race at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. Always prioritising family and friends over triathlon, he took to completing his training in the carpark before work!

As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise the 30-year old hailing from Seremban in Negeri Sembilan. All built into his system, he has the full support of his family, friends and colleagues to help him overcome challenges. ToughASIA spoke to Jhan Yong on how he manages his time as the key to his success.

ToughASIA: What inspired you to take up triathlon?

Jhan Yong: I used to follow my parents for evening runs while I was a leisure swimmer. Once, I watched a documentary interview of Javier Gomez on a sport channel where he talked about his journey to be the world champion and his weekly trainings. It then flashed across my mind that  I could practice cycling and join the sport of triathlon. And Port Dickson Triathlon, near to my hometown, was where it all began.

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ToughASIA: What keeps you motivated to train now, even when there are no races?

Jhan Yong: To be honest, I was lacking motivation to train during the lockdown because there were no races. However, I realised that I have to maintain my fitness to avoid it dropping drastically. Due to work commitment, I continued to train 5 times a week: 3 x 30-min sessions on weekdays and twice on weekends.

From a different perspective, the lack of races would be a good step back for us to enjoy cycling and running alone or with friends in a more relaxed manner.

ToughASIA: Where are your favourite running and cycling locations?

Jhan Yong: For running, Petronas Sri Hartamas to Mayor Hill in Kuala Lumpur is my favourite route for LSD (Long Slow Distance) with all the hills. It is like a playground for my triathlon squad, Gogetters. Another is Bukit Jelutong, brick bike-run session; there are plenty of loops around the housing areas with all the hills as well.

For cycling route, I like cycle on the Guthrie Corridor Expressway (GCE) to Ijok in Selangor and also the cycling haven of Hulu Langat from Batu 18, Selangor. Both routes provide rolling hills and climb to build strength endurance and a strong base.

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Jhan Yong took to triathlon with the best that Port Dickson has to offer in swim, bike and run. (Photo: Fiz Said)

ToughASIA: What is the most memorable race you have competed in?

Jhan Yong: Definitely, it was the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in South Africa. It was about the preparation before the race – crazy work commitment, trip planning. During the race, the scenic view of the race route, accompanied by great Malaysian triathlete couple Karen Siah and Gary Fong, the crazy cold and wet race from beginning until the end was memorable.

ToughASIA: What is your proudest achievement in triathlon?

Jhan Yong: It was at the IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi 2018, where I achieved a sub-5 hour finish. I had originally planned for the world championship in South Africa but only achieved in Langkawi although I had a crash on the bicycle leg. The satisfaction after the race, of not giving up, was indescribable!

ToughASIA:  What’s the most difficult part about triathlon and how do you overcome it?

Jhan Yong: TIME. Insufficient time is my biggest challenge. With all the work commitment, family and friends and traffic jam!

That is where time management comes in. I would put my main training session as early as 5 or 5:30am before work, swim at the pool near my workplace or bring my bike and trainer to complete the training at carpark or run around my office area.

This is because no one will look for me in the early morning, nor ask me out for ‘yum cha’ (casual outing). And most importantly, there will be no traffic congestion when I travel to work place at that hour. By 8 to 8:30am, my training is done so I have the rest of my day for family, work and friends.

Do not make training as a priority. Always put family, work and friends first, and then fit training to our lifestyle routine.

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Culminating his triathlon journey at the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in South Africa.

ToughASIA: How does GoGetters play a part in your triathlon journey?

Jhan Yong: The Gogetters Triathlon Squad gives me massive support, the team supports one another, pushes one another during training, travel together for races, makes joke of one another. The Gogetters are a family not just a triathlon training group.

The team is unselfish: coach Aldrian Yeo and the team members brought me to IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. For example, teammates Yi Heng and Kwee lent me their ZIPP wheels and never asked to return them. Without the team, the World Championships would not have happened for me.

ToughASIA: What keeps you going into 2021 and beyond as a triathlete? Are you looking forward to any race in particular?

Jhan Yong: In 2021, I decided to focus on my career, upgrade my skillsets and learn a new language. Yes, I am looking forward to IRONMAN 70.3 Desaru and Powerman Malaysia.

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