Love binds Ahmad Radzuri and Nor Junaida strongly and propels them even further in triathlon.

Husband, Ahmad Radzuri (Juri) and wife, Nor Junaida (Jun) truly reflect the word ‘synergy’ which comes from the Attic Greek word synergia meaning “working together”.

Currently residing in Terengganu, both 40 year-old engineers in the oil and gas industry only delved into triathlon in 2017, but have already completed their first IRONMAN distance race in 2019! They joined Rupert Chen’s RC Langkawi Training Camp in 2018 before racing their first IM70.3 Langkawi. Subsequently, they enrolled personal coaching with Rupert for their first full IRONMAN distance race in 2019.

ToughASIA spoke to them to uncover the love connection which forms their strong bond throughout their triathlon journey.

ToughASIA: Who started triathlon first?

Juri: Jun started running way before I did, and I started cycling first. Swimming was something we did leisurely, we signed up for swim lessons when we thought about getting more serious into triathlon. So basically, we started our triathlon journey together.

Jun started her fitness journey with running before pursuing triathlon. (IRONMAN 70.3 Bangsaen)

ToughASIA: What inspired you to take up multisports?

Jun: I started following a few female triathletes on Instagram like Nursya Jusoh, Harum Delima, Hafiza Othman and Diana Hazari and was really inspired by their journeys – the passion and purpose that drives them.

I even persuaded Juri to go to Langkawi in 2017 to watch them race the IRONMAN Malaysia, which was an exhilarating experience for us even as spectators. The vibes and energy were nothing similar to the events that we’ve attended or participated before. We got hooked since then.

ToughASIA: Did you ask your wife to pursue multisports with you? How did she get started?

Juri: It was a joint decision and the best decision we have ever made as it got us closer and stronger as a couple. We started with Powerman duathlon first, and after two swim lessons, we braved the Tanjung Bidara Olympic Distance (OD) triathlon in Nov 2017. I was the second last person out of the water but the experience was priceless.

First time for everything you’ll ever experience in tri-ing we experienced together – the fear of open water swim mass start, the washing machine effect (we were swimming with a bunch of armed forces group that time and they were very aggressive that we forgot everything we learnt in class and went back to breast stroke), T1 and T2, the scorching heat and brick effects. It was a steep learning curve for both of us.

ToughASIA: Who prepares the bicycles, equipment, hydration and nutrition for training or race days?

Jun: Juri, of course. I am bad at this and amalways panicking at the last minute.

ToughASIA: Who takes care of the training and racing laundry?

Jun: I wish I could claim all the credit but Juri helps me all the time. So 60:40 on this one.

ToughASIA: Who has the more expensive equipment?

Jun: Haha! I know Juri’s going to say I have the more expensive ones. But, if I take out the calculator now, I’m sure we’re even! We share most of the stuff basically, especially when our sizes are similar. Except when I don’t feel like sharing, I turn all my stuff pink, though it doesn’t really work these days.

ToughASIA: How does it feel to have a competitive husband and wife in multisports?

Juri: We’re not really competitive with each other. But she still holds better timing in IM and FM and this pushes me to train when I don’t feel like it. Though I don’t think I’ll ever beat her swimming time. Haha.    

Jun: It’s healthy and I love it. We’re not extremely competitive, just that I do get jealous when he trains a lot. However, crossing the finish line before him has never made me feel good as I’ll get anxious and worried waiting for him. But I do hope I’ll hold the swim record forever.

ToughASIA: Do you turn your races into race-cations?

Juri: I’d always like to think of all races as race-cations, since we live in Terengganu and will likely spend on travels. And, it’s where we could gather and meet up our triathlon friends from RC Coaching and all over Malaysia. It’s like a reunion vacation.

Jun: IRONMAN Langkawi and IRONMAN 70.3 Bangsaen were great tri-cations, and we’ve enjoyed a few other race-cations in Port Dickson, Malacca, Perak, Desaru and Perhentian Island.

We will also travel to Kuala Lumpur for the KL Standard Chartered Marathon (I made my whole family from Seremban and Penang participate). We’ll be staying at nearby hotels with pools for the kids from our extended family to enjoy. We also raced at the Gold Coast and Chiangmai Half Marathon few years back.

Lovebirds Jun and Juri completed their first IM70.3 Langkawi in 2018.

ToughASIA: What races have you planned for this year?

Juri: IRONMAN 70.3 Bangsaen in February again, the compulsory SCKLM in June, and second full IRONMAN Langkawi. We actually wanted to try a few IRONMAN 70.3 overseas this year, but would have to rethink that as most dates clash with work commitment and then there’s the corona virus outbreak recently.

ToughASIA: What do you both like to do after a race?

Juri: Eat!

Jun: Same, but also to check out Instagram and Facebook for photos and learn what other people think of the race.

ToughASIA: How do you both manage your training schedules?

Juri: We don’t have kids so our training schedule will mostly depend on our work schedule. We are lucky to have like-minded friends here and formed a club called EC-Tri (East Coast Tri). We’ll try to commit to daily trainings together around Kerteh and Kuantan, otherwise we’ll update each other on our individual trainings.

On the flip side, we do have a cat named Simba and he’s always supportive of our trainings. He goes to the cat hotel when we leave home for outstation races

Jun – from a newbie triathlete to a proud IRONMAN finisher in 2019.

ToughASIA: What does a typical weekend training day would look like?

Juri: We usually have our LSD (long slow distance run) and long rides during the weekend. LSD on Friday mornings & long ride on Saturdays. I’ll set up both bikes the night before, charge DI2 / eTAP / Garmin if need to before bedtime. In the morning we’ll wake up around 6.30am, have some light breakfast after prayer, prep our nutrition and start rolling thereafter.

We love coffee breaks at the famous Hai Peng Kopitiam in Kemaman, so I would normally plan our routes there. We’d also have a few coconut water breaks in between around the nearby villages to re-energize, making sure we enjoy the rides and would normally complete by lunch time to celebrate with hefty meals. After a few hours’ nap, the washing and cleaning starts while we lounge on Netflix.

ToughASIA: What are your next couple goals?

Juri: IM Barcelona! And maybe one of the World Major Marathons.

Jun: Since we’ve already completed the IRONMAN Langkawi last year, I dream of completing a cycling tour somewhere serene and scenic together, perhaps a week or so just doing nothing but cycling, relaxing and enjoying the view. Also, I aim to complete another full Ironman in under 15 hours in the near future.

Love goals, checked!

Photos were provided by Jun and Juri.