Jack Ah Beh. You may have heard of his name or know him personally. But you cannot not know this cameraman behind most running, cycling and triathlon races in Malaysia. Born in Pahang and having grown up in Klang, the 44-year old Jack likes to meet people and hope that everyone “can be his next model”.
The Triathlon Way Of Life
Like many readers, Jack started his sporting journey in running before he progressing to triathlon. But his journey started a long time ago, before the days of hype and fancy gear chats. To be exact, Jack took part in his first triathlon in 2002 at Bukit Merah, Perak. Back then, triathlon was pretty much an unknown sport in Malaysia. Jack did not know anything about the sport too, then.
It was only when a friend signed up for the race and he decided to join that he then realised he needed to complete swimming, cycling and running in the race.
He did not where to start and began to hate it The sport required lots of time and money to get started, and then to train.
However, Jack liked the values associated to get the sport done: challenge, persistence and endurance.
Eventually, Jack got down to download some foreign coaching guidance and suggestions, and trained daily with a few friends. Back then, he recalled there were only six bike shops in Kuala Lumpur, and just a handful of coaches. He bought his first yellow aluminium bike for RM2,200. All he wanted was to ride the bicycle to complete the training, and he would be a happy camper.
For the next ten years, he ran 10km almost everyday, and swam 4km twice a week. On weekends, he would cycle up to 100km. He saw it as a way of life.
Between 2002 and 2006, he only took part in local short distance and half-IRONMAN distance events. He remembered it was relatively very cheap to take part in races back then. Registration fees were only RM70 per event. And for RM500, one could register for all local triathlon competitions.
In 2007, when Langkawi hosted the full distance IRONMAN, Jack knew he had to have a go at the 3.9km swim – 180km cycle – 42km run triathlon. First time at the full long distance category, he was nervous because he did not have any experience.
When the going got tough during the race, all he could think of was to pray to finish the race and cherish it. He clocked 14:45 hrs.
He got hooked, and thought this was what the kind of challenge he would go again for. The following year, he made improvements to his training, nutrition and preparations, and completed it in 13 hrs.
For Jack, triathlon completes his life. He enjoys the self-discipline needed to compete in the sport.
When things at work do not go well, he turns to triathlon to give him the positive energy. It gives him satisfaction and pride.
After having trained in IRONMAN races for 10 years, Jack thinks he has had enough. He is not planning to take part anymore, but he will always be involved in the sport that he loves. He thinks it is now time to support triathlon for the newbies and also the children, so they can become future champions.
On Turning To Sports Photography
Jack believes that everyone wants their photos to be taken during a race. That there is an expectation that every race needs to have a photographer supporting it. Therefore, he turned to sports photography so that he can share the photos with his friends and make them happy.
His shooting style is both very personal and commercial. As triathlon is an individual event, and with his experience being a racer, he feels that he has an edge because he knows the end shots that racers want.
In the last few years, Jack has been to Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, China and Indonesia to photograph athletes in triathlon competitions. He then shares his photos with his friends to let them cherish the memories of those races. His photos are free, but welcomes people to buy his photos; he will then remove the watermark.
Jack Ah Beh’s parting words,”I hope people who have not participated in a triathlon must give it a try. I believe you will never regret it. Believe in yourself, no one can stop your madness!”.
To view some of Jack Ah Beh’s photos taken during events and competitions, follow the I Love Swim Bike Run Facebook group.
Photos provided by Jack Ah Beh.