Phuket triathlete Jaray Jearanai, the only Thai to complete back-to-back Ironman and Ironman 70.3 World Championships, aims to kick-start his season with an emphatic victory in this Sunday’s Sahaviriya Bangkok Triathlon.
He’s also bidding to improve on his second place finish in last year’s event, when his time of 2:28:59 over the distance of 1.850km swim, 55km bike and 10km run just four minutes behind winner Michal Bucek of Slovakia, underlined his growing status as Thailand’s leading long-course triathlete.
His 2012 season has been mixed so far, with fifth place overall and first Thai finisher at the Rayong Triathlon in March, and top Thai in 17th place at the five-day Friendship Bike Race from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi in May tempered by disappointment at the Koh Samui Triathlon in April, when illness forced his withdrawal.
“I want to get back on track with a strong win in Bangkok this weekend,” said Jearanai, whose spectacular rise in triathlon has come just a few years after adding swimming and biking to his running skills to take on the three disciplines of the demanding endurance sport.
His rise saw him win qualifying slots to compete against the sport’s elite at the 2011 Ironman 70.3 (half Ironman) World Championship in Las Vegas, USA, followed by the legendary full Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii – becoming the first-ever Thai athlete to achieve this feat.
Jearanai trains with Ironman legend Juergen Zack at the Thanyapura Triathlon Academy in Phuket, who sponsor him together with Laguna Phuket.
He’ll be back in Las Vegas in October to compete in the 2012 Ironman 70.3 World Championship, having won another qualifying slot at the Laguna Phuket Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship last December.
Before that, Jearanai will be on home ground on 10 June at Laguna Phuket, where he works as a marketing executive at Laguna Holiday Club, defending his 2011half marathon championship title in this year’s Laguna Phuket International Marathon.