This weekend will see triathletes pushing their body to the limits, as the Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya 2015 triathlon returns to the city for the second year running.
The three-day event, which was officiated at Kompleks Perbadanan Putrajaya, is sponsored by Time Fibre Optic Communications and supported by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, Malaysia Major Events, Tourism Malaysia, Putrajaya Corporation (PPj) and Putrajaya Holdings.
An estimated 1,300 athletes from 55 countries will be taking part in a race course that covers a 1.9km swim, a 90km bike race and 21km run across the city for a total distance of 113km.
Malaysia is the largest country represented with 34 percent taking part, followed by Singapore at 22 percent. International athletes make up 64 percent of the participants.
The Ironman 70.3 series, also known as the Half Ironman, culminates each year with a World Championship competition.
Competitors qualify for it by taking part in the Ironman 70.3 series 12 months prior to the championship race.
This time around, the stakes are high as 30 qualifying slots to the 2015 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Zell am See-Kaprun in SalzburgerLand, Austria, are up for grabs.
Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific region chief executive officer Geoff Meyer said that the number of Malaysian athletes taking part in the event had increased significantly over the years.
“We are concentrating our efforts on the grassroots movement to grow more local athletes and we’d like to continue our event in Malaysia in the future,” said Meyer.
Among the pro-athletes participating in the race are two-time Half Ironman World Champion and official ambassador of Ironman 70.3 Putrajaya, Craig "Crowie" Alexander, professional triathlete and multiple world champion Rebekah Keat, and professional triathlete Josh Amberger. All three are from Australia.
Others include professional triathlete Amelia Rose Watkinson (New Zealand), Parys Edwards (Great Britain), as well as two-time Half Ironman champion Frederick Croneborg (Sweden).
Due to Malaysia's hot and humid weather, the race is expected to be challenging for some of the athletes, but the pros take it all in their stride.
Alexander, who was in Malaysia last year as event ambassador, will be joining this year as a participant.
“I’ve raced around the world and it is not often that you get to use such good roads. Although the hot weather will be tough, I’ll race to the best of my ability,” said Alexander, adding that there was a boom in triathlon sports and races in Asia-Pacific.
Representing Great Britain is Edwards, who grew up in Africa and believes that her tolerance for heat will help her in the competition.
She advised first-time athletes to pace themselves throughout the race.
“It’s easy to get caught up in the adrenaline, but I think athletes should be conservative in their approach so as not to wear themselves out, take lots of fluid and keep hydrated,” she said.