FWD Team Asia Blazes a Trail in the Arctic

FWD Team Asia conquers FWD North Pole Marathon 2018

Having had the best of time in last year’s FWD North Pole Marathon, pan-Asian insurer FWD Insurance gathered together an A-team of marathoners, each representing its markets— China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Called FWD Team Asia, the group consists of elite runners, each with a story to tell. Representing FWD Group are Ben Scully, 54, who is a veteran runner and avid marathon, having finished over 36 marathons across four continents and Todd Latta, 51, who has finished over 30 Olympic distance races and countless marathons. From Hong Kong are Gi Ka Man, a professional runner and coach and has been once touted as the “poster boy of Hong Kong road running;” Leung Siu Wai, a famous visually-impaired runner and a half marathon and full marathon record holder; and Chik Wing Keung, 47, an avid marathoner who has already conquered FWD North Pole Marathon in 2017. He has come back this year to serve as Leung Siu Wai’s guide. Also part of the team are Indonesia’s Fedi Fianto, 43, who has finished several Ironman triathlons and Half-Ironman races; Japan’s Kyo Satani, 43, who has conquered numerous international marathons and founded a social marathon in Japan called “Cial-Thon;” Misaki Izuoka or Izu, a famous Japanese model, J-Pop idol, and an experienced marathon athlete; Singapore’s MD Shariff Abdullah, 50, who was born without a left foot and is called “Singapore’s Blade Runner;” Vietnam’s Tang Nguyet Minh, a mother of two and a fashion retail shop owner who has finished a number of local and international marathons; and Philippines’ Louie Sangalang, 40, a three-time MMA champion, multi-sport athlete, and a proud cancer survivor who has finished countless half-marathons, marathons, duathlons, triathlons, and mountain bike races.

FWD Team Asia were dropped off at Tromso, Norway, where they started their training and preparation in order to be 100% ready for the FWD North Pole Marathon. In between training sessions and mock races, teams had their photo and video shoots. After Tromso, they flew to Svalbard, Norway, where they prepared and acclimatized. 

After Tromso and Svalbard, they rode a jet and travelled en route to the remotest part of the planet—The North Pole. Runners were dropped off at Barneo Ice Camp, a.k.a. Camp North Pole, which is home to explorers and scientists, and at that very moment, to the FWD North Pole Marathon. 

On April 16th, the ultimate race took place. Runners raced on the frozen Arctic waters, 6-12 feet thick, and 12,000 feet high above the sea bed, against extreme weather conditions and life-threatening wind chills that really pushed their bodies to the limit.

In the men’s category, Kyo Satani finished 10th clocking in at 6:34:48 while Ka Man GI clocked in at 7:17:09, placing 18th. Todd Latta and Benjamin Scully tied at 19th (7:25:04) while Wing Keung Chik finished at 10:30:03. 

MD Shariff Abdullah finished the Men’s Half-Marathon at 7:33:54 while Izu clocked in at 4:39:20 in Women’s Half-Marathon.

Philippines’ Louie Sangalang made history as the first Filipino cancer survivor to ever finish the FWD North Pole Marathon. His triumph showcased the Filipino spirit of never giving up. Louie is no stranger to challenges, having been diagnosed with cancer of the appendix as a young adult. But he forged on, fought against cancer, and won. At the FWD North Pole Marathon, Louie displayed the same never-say-die spirit and at the finish line, he proudly waved the Philippine flag. 

Altogether, FWD Team Asia conquered their greatest challenge yet, surmounting one of the tortuous and grueling, yet fulfilling races in the world—FWD North Pole Marathon.

Great job, FWD Team Asia! You make us very proud!