Multi-sport athlete Louie Sangalang, the first Filipino cancer survivor to conquer the FWD North Pole Marathon, was given a homecoming party by Pan-Asian insurer FWD Life Insurance after successfully completing the marathon held on April 16. Sangalang’s triumph is an amazing testament to the resilience of the Filipino spirit, having finished the race in 11 hours and four minutes amid severe weather conditions.
62 participants from 23 countries took part in the marathon, which marked the second year of FWD’s title sponsorship and the first region-wide participation of 11 FWD-sponsored runners, dubbed FWD Team Asia. The entire trip to the North Pole was approximately two weeks long as participants needed to acclimatize and train before the race. FWD Team Asia raised over USD32,000 as they completed the race for the organizations they support, 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.”
Louie also said that the hardest part of the race was 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 he ever think of giving up during the course of the race. He faced the challenges before him, embraced them as he was determined to live his life to the fullest!
FWD Life Philippines President and Chief Executive Peter Grimes extended his congratulations to Louie for completing the run. “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,” said Peter.
“How Louie overcame all the challenges in his life, including this latest one, truly embodies what FWD Life Insurance stands for. FWD believes in grabbing the things you want out of life, to not let anything stand in the way of living your best life. Louie was determined to finish this marathon despite all odds, and he did it!” Peter added.
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. If it helps them live their lives to the fullest, FWD Life Insurance definitely has got their back!”