For mere mortals, perhaps just being a part of PASKAL for a moment in time, is already considered a major life achievement. But for the super humble “superhuman” Abdul Rahman Bin Abu Hassan, he has been with the Special Operations Forces for the Royal Malaysian Navy since 2004! Born in Bukit Kuda, Klang, the 38-year-old has earned his stripes in IRONMAN triathlon races too.
Together with his wife Tahira Aliya, both are passionate in triathlon and multisports, although she was more in tune towards adventure racing and trail running. They had met at a few of such races, but became closer at the 2008 Perhentian Island Challenge event and the wedding bells tolled soon after.
ToughASIA had the privilege of chatting with Abdul Rahman to discover the secret to striking a balance with his work, and passion for sports. He dropped a big hint by citing his gratefulness for his wife’s support.
“She is an athlete herself. As much as I support her, she supports me even more as she is the one who juggles between training and family while I am always busy at work”.
ToughASIA: What inspired you to take up triathlon?
Abdul Rahman: It is the challenge of the race itself, to prove to myself that I can do triathlon and keep pushing for the next one.
ToughASIA: What keeps you motivated to train now, even when there are no races?
Abdul Rahman: Basically, I train and stay active with or without races because it is my lifestyle and duty as a Malaysian Navy Special Forces personnel. I love working out and staying fit. I usually train five times a week with a fixed routine.
Being a PASKAL, we have to always stay fit. Our daily routine includes running, open water swimming, pool swimming, diving, Crossfit exercises, shooting and others. We have a fitness tests three times a year to ensure we are in our best conditions.
ToughASIA: Where are your favourite running and cycling locations?
Abdul Rahman: As I am located at the naval base in Lumut, Perak, I do not have that many choices to run and cycle. Most trainings are done in the base itself – doing loops, up and down Bukit 300 or Bukit Engku Busu, runs around Lumut and Teluk Batik beach, or hop onto a ferry to Pangkor and run on that island.
When I return to Tanjung Malim in Perak, I love to run and cycle up Frasers Hill with my wife. We will run from the Kuala Kubu Baru (KKB) town at the foothills, up to Frasers Hill. Alternatively, we will also cycle from KKB to Frasers Hill, from Gombak in Selangor to Janda Baik in Pahang, or other routes around Perak.
ToughASIA: What are your memorable and proud achievements in triathlon races?
Abdul Rahman: They are all at IRONMAN races:
- IRONMAN Langkawi 2009 – 2nd Best Malaysian. Finished in 10:41:40hrs
- IRONMAN 70.3 Putrajaya 2009 – 1st in age group. I qualified for the World Championships at Clearwater, Florida USA 2009
- IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi 2018 – 5th in age group. I qualified for 70.3 World Championships at Nice, France 2018.
ToughASIA: What is the most difficult part about triathlon races and how do you overcome it?
Abdul Rahman: The run leg. The legs are the most draining; you really need to dig deep and push yourself to cross the finish line.
ToughASIA: How do you manage between training, races and family?
Abdul Rahman: We try our best to balance things out. We always make time to train but also ensure that we bring the kids out too. Honestly, my wife handles most of this part. During races, we would usually bring the kids and get someone to take care of them while we race so that we can go “jalan-jalan” with them too. But if we cannot bring them, then we would ask our family to assist to take care of them.
ToughASIA: What keeps you going into 2021 and beyond as a triathlete? Are you looking forward to any race in particular?
Abdul Rahman: It is the love for the sports. I have always loved doing triathlon. I was supposed to do a Patagonman Xtreme Triathlon in 2020 but due to current COVID-19 conditions, my registration has been postponed to December 2022.