Cancer survivor to represent Philippines in North Pole Marathon
ABS-CBN Sports on Mar 24, 2018 08:24 PM
From overcoming life challenges to conquering the world’s summit, Luisito “Louie” Sangalang's (second from the left) resilience is second to none.
Triathlete and cancer survivor Luisito “Louie” Sangalang is set to fly to the northernmost point on Earth to represent the Philippines in the North Pole Marathon on April 9.
He will join ten other sponsored runners from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Japan in the grueling marathon.
The runners, hailing from all over the globe, will be running on ice sheet measuring 6 to 12 feet thick, resting 12,000 feet above of the Arctic Ocean.
They will be traversing a 42-kilometer path with an average temperature of negative 30 degrees centigrade, even going as low as negative 40 degrees centigrade at times.
The marathon is unique and at the same time, infamous because it is run on a small 4.22-kilometer (2.62-mile) loop about 10 times, over hard snow or ice.
The FWD North Pole Marathon is recognized by the Association of International Marathons & Distance Races (AIMS) and is the only certified marathon that is run entirely on the frozen water of the Arctic Ocean.
To prepare for the race of a lifetime, Sangalang has joined various local marathons to keep his body in top physical shape.
To enable his body to adjust to the extreme cold weather, he has continuously trained inside an industrial freezer with a temperature that mimics that of the negative 30-degree centigrade temperature in the North Pole.
Triathlon coach Ani De Leon-Brown as well as Sangalang’s running coach Ige Lopez provided the athletic training and guidance. Romi Garduce, the first and only Filipino to have completed the Seven Summits in 2012, gave valuable advice on how to survive the extreme cold.
Other members of the Squad include celebrity mom Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan and son Benjamin, who gave motivational support for Sangalang, and radio DJ and host Sam YG, who joined Sangalang in his rigorous training sessions.
From overcoming life challenges to conquering the world’s summit, chief backer Peter Grimes says Sangalang’s resilience in overcoming different challenges is one trait that resonates well in Filipinos and this made him the perfect choice to represent the Philippines in the marathon.
“Louie's inspiring story of being a cancer survivor and his passion for fitness, which he uses to inspire Filipinos to live an active lifestyle, also best represent what FWD stands for: embracing the opportunities in your life without hesitation,” said Grimes.
Apart from Louie, the other runners have their own life challenges but are pursuing the FWD North Pole Marathon experience nonetheless.
Representing Singapore and Hong Kong, respectively, are para-athlete Shariff Abdullah, dubbed as Singapore Blade Runner, and the visually impaired Leung Siu Wai.
Louie’s send-off party was held on March 22 at the Bonifacio Technology Center, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, and was attended by executive and team members of the backing company, North Pole Marathon campaign collaborators, Louie’s friends and relatives, and his support squad.