40-year old Tengku Ahmad Masirin Bin Tengku Mahmud, born in Terengganu but raised in Kuala Lumpur since age 10, considers himself a late starter to running. The business owner of a family-owned driving academy in Sungei Buloh took up running only because he wanted to support his wife’s healthy journey.
A father of two – with one more coming soon – runs and cycles with his wife to strengthen the bond of their relationship. Within a few years, he has progressed into triathlon and also trains with the clubs and teams including GoGetter Triathlon Squad, Denai Alam Tri Je-lah Club and VICC Club.
ToughASIA spoke to Masirin to find how he progressed from running to a three-disciplined athlete in triathlon.
ToughASIA: How, when and why did you get involved in running and triathlon?
Masirin: I started running in late 2017. It was for the purpose of supporting my wife, Afini for her journey to becoming healthy and fit. I could not quite run at that time because of my injury on my left knee area that required knee support. I was already cycling on mountain bike and road bike then but had not been actively running since my schooling days.
Through that period of supporting my wife’s journey towards a healthy lifestyle, I found love in running and cycling.
Since then, I continued running and cycling as a new hobby and eventually started joining my first duathlon and triathlon events in 2018. The main goal was to be an IRONMAN, besides spending time in running and cycling with my wife. Becoming an IRONMAN has become the new motivation to dive even deeper into swimming, biking and running.
ToughASIA: Where are your favourite training locations for running or cycling?
Masirin: I usually run around Denai Alam and Elmina, where I live in Selangor. For cycling, I usually ride on the Guthrie Corridor Expressway’s (GCE) bicycle lane towards towards Kuala Selangor. Occasionally, for a change into elevation training, I would cycle on the hilly terrain of Genting Peras in Hulu Langat of Selangor.
ToughASIA: How have you changed your training routine during this Ramadan month?
Masirin: I run at least 4 times on weekdays around 4-5km each time and do my long run on Saturdays around 13-15km. I have my bike session once on weekdays and once on Sundays. Weekday rides are normally 1 hour of bike and 20 mins of run, being a brick session. Sunday rides will be long rides of around 80-110kms.
Currently, I am on a personal training plan by my coach, Aldrian Yeo. In Ramadan, I train either in the evenings before breaking fast or at night after Tarawih prayers with short and structured sessions.
ToughASIA: Have you participated in any run or triathlon overseas?
Masirin: I had planned to join IRONMAN 70.3 Melbourne 2020 for my first overseas event but it did not happen as the world got whacked by COVID-19. I look forward for many overseas triathlons and running events in the coming years.
ToughASIA: What is your proudest moment in running and triathlon?
Masirin: My proudest achievement in running was my PB in my full marathon timing of 5h 13m during the Twincity Marathon 2020.
This shaved off 1h 34m from my KLSCM Marathon 2019 timing of 6h 47m. As an average runner, the new PB really boosted my motivation to train even more and to achieve the impossible. I am looking forward for a new PB in future races.
As for triathlon, to be an IRONMAN race finisher was my goal. After I completed the IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi in 2018, I was determined to complete IRONMAN Malaysia Langkawi 2019.
With great tenacity, I successfully “graduated” as an IRONMAN finisher class of 2019.
ToughASIA: What are your thoughts on virtual races – running and triathlon?
Masirin: Due to COVID-19 pandemic, we have no choice but to go virtual. Many events switched from physical to virtual one as these allows the participants to participate without travelling.
I do believe virtual races are a good way to keep us motivated and pumped up to continue staying fit and healthy.
In 2020, I joined a few of the IRONMAN Virtual Race (IMVR) series for triathlon during the first MCO. For running, my wife and I joined the Kuala Lumpur Standard Chartered Malaysia (KLSCM) Virtual Run in the full marathon distance. Ever since our government allowed outdoor activities after MCO 2.0, I have been enjoying the beauty of outdoor activities.
ToughASIA: What keeps you going into 2021 and beyond as a triathlete?
Masirin: Since I only started as a supporter for my wife back in 2017, my journey in this triathlon sport has evolved. New goals arise to get better and to keep on challenging myself and see what my body can do and cope.
The main benefit from triathlon, is that my body and fitness has improved, especially after I embarked on structured training with my coach.
Continuing my training in 2021 will enable me to become even fitter. I look forward to any running and triathlon races soon, especially IRONMAN Malaysia Langkawi, where it is one of the toughest IRONMAN race courses.
ToughASIA: Would you like to share any other perspective regarding your journey as a runner or triathlete?
Masirin: I would like to encourage others to join running and triathlon, as they are fun sports to participate in.
I was really scared of the swim leg of the triathlon as I was not a swimmer and I have quite a wild imagination of the creatures lurking underwater.
But, proper swim classes and courage brought me to where I am now. (I still have the wild imaginations but who cares). Other than improving our health and fitness, we gain new friends from different levels of age, occupation and race.
I started quite late in running and triathlon at the age of 36, and I wished I did it earlier! Come join the fun, guys!