22 MARCH 2017, Philippines – Pan-Asian insurer FWD Life Insurance, one of the fastest-growing insurance companies in the Philippines, is sending off the country’s lone representative to the FWD North Pole Marathon.
Multi-sport athlete and cancer survivor Luisito “Louie” Sangalang is set to fly to the northernmost point on Earth to represent the Philippines in the Marathon, which will be held on April 9. He will join ten (10) other FWD-sponsored runners from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Japan in the grueling marathon. Collectively, the 11 runners are dubbed “FWD Team Asia”.
The FWD North Pole Marathon runners, hailing from all over the globe, will be running on ice sheet measuring 6 to 12 feet thick which is above 12,000 feet of Arctic Ocean, literally on top of the world. 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 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.
FWD Life Insurance prepares Louie Sangalang for this once-in-a-lifetime experience
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.
Sangalang says the support given by “The FWD Squad” helped him in preparing for the FWD North Pole Marathon. 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
According to FWD Life Philippines President and Chief Executive Peter Grimes, 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, FWD is also sponsoring runners who 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. The FWD-sponsored send-off event was attended by FWD executives and team members, North Pole Marathon campaign collaborators, Louie’s friends and relatives, and his support squad.
This is the second year that FWD has sponsored the North Pole Marathon.
FWD Life Philippines Head of Marketing, Roche Vandenberghe shared, “FWD saw the North Pole Marathon as a unique and important platform to communicate the idea that everyone should live life to the fullest, stay true to their passion, and not give up their goals, because FWD will always have their back!”