The IRONMAN Malaysia and IRONMAN Langkawi 70.3 is fast picking up pace with less than a month to go as one of the most anticipated multisport events in the country with over 1,500 confirmed participations.
As international sports events make their way back to Malaysian shores and Asia to a further extent, the return of this IRONMAN series could not have arrived at a better time.
While the pandemic had changed the way we had our workouts, there is nothing quite like sweating and challenging yourself in the realms of the outdoors.
This is one of the main missions of IRONMAN, to help newcomers embrace this new lifestyle brand into their daily routine, while directly helping the respective local tourism boom throughout this spectacle.
Jeff Edwards, who is the managing director of IRONMAN ASIA, outlines the vision of this successful international series for the Asian region.
How did you get into IRONMAN?
I was a recreational triathlete during the 1990s when the first North American IRONMAN event came to my city in 1999. I assisted with the race in the early years of the event, eventually gaining enough experience to become a Race Director and then manage events across North America.
Hundreds of events later, I received the opportunity to move over to Asia with the events here.
What were the challenges IRONMAN faced during the pandemic?
Physical participation is obviously at the heart of what we provide for our athletes. But during the pandemic, we had to adapt quickly to the development of virtual racing and participation.
Ultimately, that allowed IRONMAN to reach a new segment of participants hungry to try racing once global health and safety conditions improved.
IRONMAN has gained a strong presence in the Asian and ASEAN regions. What would you contribute this success to?
The growing economies in Asia have provided increased opportunities for people to explore health and fitness initiatives.
Young people in most Asia markets are very interested in lifestyle pursuits. IRONMAN is an infectious lifestyle that quickly absorbs people.
Are there expansion plans for IRONMAN in the Asian region for 2023 and beyond?
IRONMAN is very optimistic about the future of endurance sports participation in Asia. We expect to see excellent growth in participation and events over the next several years in Asia.
We are simply excited to return to a normalized regional event calendar but we will be providing some new event opportunities as the year progresses.
What are the advantages of hosting IRONMAN events in Asia?
All of our IRONMAN events in Asia provide truly unique cultural and geographic experiences, as each race is a true destination location suitable for a lengthy holiday.
The courses are some of the best we have anywhere in the world and the hospitality experiences are unparalleled.
The Asia region features races that remain somewhat hidden from IRONMAN athletes in other regions. We are really looking forward to showcasing these events to athletes all over the world.
Is there an ongoing strategy to entice mass participation?
We have our 5150 and Sprint distance races in several Asia locations. These events provide a nice introduction and gradual sequence for first-time athletes to prepare for our IRONMAN 70.3 races.
We have festival weekends with multiple distances available at the same venue.
Where do you see the future of IRONMAN in Asia in the coming decade?
For starters, we are looking to restart races in the regions that paused during the pandemic.
Besides that, we are also focused on expanding the network of races within Asia for unique IRONMAN experiences in different parts of Asia.
The 2022 IRONMAN Malaysia & IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi will be back on 5 November 2022 after two-year hiatus.