First-ever Thai to complete back-to-back Ironman and Ironman 70.3 World Championships
Thai triathlete Jaray Jearanai of Phuket is on top of the world after completing the legendary Ironman World Championship in Hawaii, among an elite global field of triathlon competitors, in a time of just over 11 hours.
His achievement yesterday (Sunday, 9 October) is all the more remarkable as this was the first-ever full Ironman challenge for Jaray, a marketing executive at Laguna Holiday Club in Laguna Phuket – venue of the annual Laguna Phuket Triathlon and Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship – and just weeks after he successfully completed the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Las Vegas.
Jaray now holds the unique distinction of being the first-ever Thai to compete in both back-to-back Ironman and Ironman 70.3 World Championships in the same year.
The annual Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, comprising a 3.8km swim, 180.2km bike ride and 42.1km marathon, is considered the ultimate triathlon challenge and most difficult one-day endurance event in the world, with its 1,800 entry slots are highly coveted by triathletes worldwide.
Jaray, sponsored by his employer Laguna Phuket and Thanyapura Sports & Leisure Club where he trains, to compete in Hawaii and Las Vegas, crossed the Kona finishing line in a time of 11:04:35 after a swim of 1:04:35; bike time of 5:48:27; and run of 3:51:22.
An ecstatic Jaray (31), said: “It was the toughest experience of my life and I’m so happy to have completed it.
“It’s always been my dream to take part in a full Ironman – I just didn’t expect my first one to be the World Championship in Kona alongside some of my biggest heroes.
“This race and the Las Vegas Ironman 70.3 have been incredible experiences and I’m so grateful to Laguna Phuket for helping to make my dreams come true.”
The Kona World Championship was won by Australia’s Craig Alexander in a new course record of 8:03:56 and Chrissie Wellington of Great Britain took the women’s title in 08:55:08.
Alexander, who also won the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Las Vegas to make it a 2011 World Championship double, has been invited to compete at the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship at Laguna Phuket on 4 December.