Sisterhood of the triathlon

25 Oct 2019 / 10:52 H.

FOR TRIATHLETE Patricia Lim, completing the 2019 Ironman 70.3 Langkawi relay team event tomorrow with her girlfriends, Diana Hazari and Harum Delima, would be to achieve their ultimate #friendshipgoal.

The bubbly café owner, who will be toeing the swim start for the first leg of their relay, explains: “We have all done the full Ironman in Langkawi before and we are familiar with the routes, so this time, we just want to go out there and have fun.

“I want all of us to finish the event with a big smile.”

Lim is grateful that she met both Diana and Harum through this small yet close-knit community of female triathletes.

She says: “We met over four years ago, and we have bonded really well ever since.

“We do not train together because we do different events, but even having a meal together brings us closer.

“I did my first relay in Port Dickson in 2015 and was inspired by many of the women out there.

“I now look at the older generation and draw my inspiration from them.

“Some of them are in their 60s, but they can complete a full Ironman in 12 hours. Amazing.”

Overcoming setback

For Diana, a bike accident that happened during an Ironman training session could have deterred her from ever touching a bicycle again, let alone competing in another race.

Instead, the gutsy housewife used that setback as an added motivation to achieve her goal of becoming an Ironman.

“I was training for my first Ironman in 2016,” recalls Diana about that accident which happened just weeks before race day.

“I still participated in the event, but with stitches and a blurry eyesight. I did not manage to finish the race. I was heartbroken.

“But I became more determined to complete a race. So I signed up the following year looking for ‘revenge’.

“I worked extra hard and was more careful during training. It paid off and I finished my first race in 2017 and become an Ironman. It was one of the best moments of my life.”

Diana will be doing the bike lap with memories of 2016 spurring her on to power her team to the finish line.

Blessing in disguise

For Harum, her participation in the Ironman came by way of a misdiagnosis.

The real estate agent had fallen in love with running when trying to overcome her obesity problem.

But she was devastated when a doctor she consulted about her knees told her that running could worsen the condition.

“I cried for days because I love running,” she recalls.

Harum then decided to seek other specialists’ opinions and they said her knees were fine.

She adds: “I went home with a renewed confidence and told my husband I was going to join a triathlon.

“He wasn’t interested, but I knew I was going to do it with or without him.

“He saw my passion and learnt to swim with me. After swimming 1,000 metres non-stop, we were motivated and shopped for a bike.”

Harum’s Ironman adventures have taken her to Estonia, Italy and Norway, but she always remembers her first Ironman Malaysia experience.

“I DNF (did not finish) and told myself I wasn’t going to do another one. But if I had stopped then, I would not have achieved all this.”

So her advice to other triathletes: “Don’t succumb to pressure, move at your own pace.”

Harum will be taking on the last leg of the relay for her team which consists of the 21.1km run.

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