Grey heavy clouds shrouded Teluk Bahang’s hills and brought a surge of hope that the hot spell would end soon.
But none could be happier about it than about 1,000 ultra-fit men and women pitting their prowess against each other at the 4th Penang International Triathlon and Duathlon.
All set to fight the risk of heat stroke, event organising chairman Ben Woon said his team loaded extra supplies to nine water stations for the participants on Sunday.
“At the running and cycling parts, the body temperature of triathletes will rise to almost 39° C. If the weather is hot, they will need a lot of water to keep cool.”
One look at the clouds blocking out the sun, however, told Woon that the participants, who had come from 22 countries, would have a good time.
At 10am, it rained for 15 minutes for the athletes to cool down.
“It was totally unexpected, the weather and the tides were perfect for the race,” said event advisor and G-Club Cyclists Penang chairman Datuk Dr Lim Seh Guan.
The triathlon event comprised 1.5km of swimming at sea, 40km of cycling and 10km running, while the duathlon entailed a 7km run, 40km bike race and another 10km run.
Englishman Chris Wright, 33, was the Men’s Open triathlon champion, finishing the race in 2:49:48s, and Malaysian student Jason Loh, 23, was the Men’s Open duathlon winner in 2:32:36s.
Wright was at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Putrajaya on April 3.
“I was seventh in a lower category in that race and it is a delight to win this one,” he said, adding that he had put in 15 hours of training a week since last August.
Myanmar triathlete Pan Seng Kha Khrang, 31, aced the Women’s Open with 3:23:46s and Singapore Airlines executive Sarah Tan Huizen, 25, came up tops in the Women’s Open duathlon with 3:15:39s.
Other triathlon categories were Men’s Veteran (40 and above) and Women’s Veteran (36 and above).
Duathlon was divided into Men’s Open (18-29) and Women’s Open (18-29), Men’s Junior Veteran (30-39) and Women’s Junior Veteran (30-45), Men’s Veteran (40-49), Men’s Senior Veteran (50 and above) and Women’s Senior Veteran (46 and above).
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng flagged off the Sunday event at 7.45am.