It is one thing to qualify for an IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships, and another if one has to pick which year to race in. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event has been cancelled, and qualified triathletes are given the choice to compete in next year’s race in Utah, USA or in 2022 in Taupo, New Zealand.

For Penang-born Karen Foong Miaw Choo, who qualified for the World Championships this year, she made the decision to opt for the 2022 race. She believes it will take some time for vaccine to be developed, tested, deployed and stabilise the overall global health condition.

Till then, Karen who turns 46 this year, has been busy keeping up with the IRONMAN Virtual Racing series. ToughASIA got in touch with Karen via email recently.

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ToughASIA: How have you been keeping yourself fit these days?

Karen: I have been delivering since IRONMAN VR1 during MCO and that really helps to keep me active and stay fit throughout the period. I will continue with 70-80% of my usual routine with a swim session, long ride and LSD run during weekend as usual. I would probably get really serious a year before the race.

ToughASIA: Why did you dabble in triathlon and how long have you been pursuing it?

Karen: I like the challenge to be competitive – skills and fitness – in multiple sports and never get bored from doing a single sport all the time.

I made a vow to complete Penang Bridge Marathon as a resolution on my 40th birthday.  Following a 9-month run program from Google, I managed to complete the race! I then embarked on cycling after a year of running, and an IRONMAN finisher voluntarily mentored to a few of us on sprint triathlon. The journey towards longer distance to IRONMAN races started from 2015 then.

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ToughASIA: What is your favourite triathlon race?

Karen: That would have to be the IRONMAN Race Series – especially the one in Cebu, Philippines with its beautiful and aquarium-like swim course, and the warmth of the cheering fans along the run course.

ToughASIA: What is your proudest achievement in triathlon?

Karen: That would be my third placing in 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 Bangsaen, Thailand. And followed with a second placing in 2019 Langkawi IRONMAN 70.3 which won me a pass to the 2022 Taupo IRONMAN 70.3 Championship.