Multi-sport athlete Louie Sangalang is now officially the first Filipino cancer survivor to conquer the grueling FWD North Pole Marathon. The event was participated in by 62 participants from 23 countries last April 16. Sangalang finished the race in 11 hours and four minutes despite adverse weather conditions.
The entire trip to the North Pole was approximately two weeks long as participants needed to acclimatize and train before the race. Sangalang was part of FWD Team Asia which raised over USD$32,000 for the organizations being supported, including Special Olympics, the largest sports organization for people with intellectual disability.
The marathon participants ran on a 42-kilometer path in a terrain with temperature ranging from negative 30 to negative 33 degrees centigrade. Adding to the challenge of the race was the icy path which was in parts soft and powdery and sometimes solid and slippery.
“Around 75% to 80% of the course was in snowy, uneven terrain which made it difficult to find firm footing. As a result, we had to walk on some parts of the race course,” Louie said. “We had great weather with clear skies and minimal wind. However, the extreme cold made the race very challenging.”
It was certainly difficult managing the cold and running at nighttime with the midnight sun. However, despite the highly challenging marathon path and the freezing weather, not once did Sangalang ever think of giving up during the course of the race.
This is the second year of FWD Life Insurance Corporation’s title sponsorship of the marathon, and the first time for them to organize the region-wide participation of 11 runners, dubbed FWD Team Asia.
As the sole delegate of FWD Philippines, Sangalang was given a grand homecoming party at the Bonifacio Global City last April 25.
FWD Life Philippines President and Chief Executive Peter Grimes said: “We are very proud of Louie! His healthy lifestyle and background as a multi-sport athlete made him the perfect choice to represent FWD Life Philippines in the North Pole Marathon.”
Roche Vandenberghe, FWD Life Philippines Head of Marketing, said, “The FWD North Pole marathon was a great and equally unique platform to celebrate living, which is what FWD is all about. As the country’s most exciting insurance brand, we are here to encourage people to overcome their fears and fulfill their biggest dreams! That may be as extreme as fulfilling their bucket list by running a marathon on the North Pole or as simple as planning for their future today with proper insurance protection.”