Inspired by key local triathlon ‘legends’, Abu Amar Bin Darus – a veteran athlete himself now looks towards inspiring the young ones. The Royal Malaysian Navy officer from Pulau Pinang has joined the Putrajaya Triathlon society (TriPutra) as head coach recently.
Since getting his first taste of triathlon in 2012, the 41-year old Abu has not looked back and ventured further into the world of coaching. He counts his wife of 15 years as his number 1 supporter and that behind every IRONMAN is “a woman of steel”.
ToughASIA: What inspired you to take up triathlon?
Abu: The relentless and strong-willed IRONMAN Yee Sze Mun who took part in his first Ironman triathlon at the age of 58. He continued to race well into his 80s. Also, Mohd Sabki Arifin who races faster than many average athletes despite having only one arm.
ToughASIA: What keeps you motivated to train now, even when there are no races?
Abu: Training must go on to maintain the fitness and because of the lockdown, I only can run and focus on strength training. 4 times run in a week and 1 session strength training.
ToughASIA: Where are your favourite running and cycling routes?
Abu: I stay at Putrajaya, so naturally Putrajaya becomes my favourite location for triathlon training! The best running routes are at the Putrajaya Wetlands and around the core Putrajaya island.
The best and tough cycling routes are:
- P100 route around Putrajaya (100km)
- Putrajaya – Genting Peras hills – Putrajaya (160km)
- Putrajaya – KL International Airport – Putrajaya (130km)
- Putrajaya – Morib beach – Putrajaya (150km).
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ToughASIA: What is the most memorable race you have competed in?
Abu: Kenyir Triathlon 2012 being my first triathlon race.
2014 is also memorable for me as I completed my first half-distance IRONMAN (70.3) race and also my first full distance IRONMAN race. It also remains my proudest moment!
ToughASIA: How do you manage between training, races and family?
Abu: Training plan must include time with family. Sometimes, I bring my family along while training to races as my support crew.
ToughASIA: How do you keep active and fit for your job at the Royal Malaysian Navy?
Abu: As a military personnel, it is a must to keep fit and triathlon is the perfect way for me to maintain my fitness as it has 3 disciplines – swim, bike and run.
Once a year, the Armed Forces have our own triathlon event which is the Tanjung Bidara Challenge.
ToughASIA: What’s the most difficult part about triathlon and how do you overcome it?
Abu: For me, the difficult part in triathlon is “training time”. We have 3 different sports and each has their own training programme. To overcome that, I make my own training programme.
ToughASIA: We understand that you are now involved as a coach at Persatuan Triathlon Putrajaya (TriPutra) with the Early Identification Programme of High Performance Athletes. Please share more.
Abu: TriPutra started on 21 Sep 2019 with the mission to encourage participation in triathlon and multisports. They aim to identify and nurture talents and to make triathlon the sport of choice.
Recently, the Early Identification Programme of High Performance Athletes was kicked off to refine the skills and performances of athletes performing at the high level. The coaching team comprises of coaches Edwin Thiang, Mariana Mohammad, Heidilee Mohammad aka Dino and I.
To join the programme, candidates need to submit their timing (time trial) for 400m and 200m swim, 2x 10km bike and a 3.2km run. It is mandatory to complete two submissions: first submission for Base Timing before 19th September, and the second submission for Progression Timing before 31st October. More details about this programme can be found via TriPutra’s Facebook page.
Photos provided by Abu Amar