Joyette Jopson runs for her life
Joyette Jopson is the first Filipina to race and hopefully finish the North Pole Marathon.
I guess it’s fitting that we feature a strong woman for today’s column because it is Women’s Month, but this young lady is powerful both inside and out — mentally and physically.
Joyette Jopson is of one of our top triathletes, having won the elite category of the Ironman three times, not to mention competing in local and international events for 13 years.
Now she faces her biggest challenge — competing in the “FWD North Pole Marathon,” regarded as the world’s coolest race.
This will be the third year that FWD will be sponsoring the event, and this is the second year that FWD Philippines will be sending a runner — Jopson.
Philippine STAR: You will be facing gruelling conditions. How are you preparing for that?
Joyette Jopson: Obviously, it’s very hard to even simulate running on ice, right? So the best I can do is really just imagine running on snow — like running on sand — so I’ve been running on the beach. I’ve been to Laoag to run as well. I do a lot of trail running and I do a lot of strength work, too, because it’s not just cardio. You will be using a lot of your core. Maybe pull your feet, because you’re going to be sinking.
What about simulating the weather?
Mindset. And the best I can do is to go early. So I’m leaving actually in two weeks to really prepare and acclimatize. I’m happy that FWD allowed me to go early. I need to prepare myself mentally.
What were your first thoughts when they told you that you were going to North Pole?
I was very excited, to be honest. It’s like winning the lottery. As an athlete, you have bucket-list races, right? But going to the North Pole, I mean who’s been there? You may know people who’ve been to the Boston Marathon or even Kona in Hawaii. I’m very excited. Who says no to an opportunity to make history — to be the first Filipina to race and finish the North Pole Marathon. Yes, it’s an opportunity of a lifetime.
Have you done some research on the conditions you might be facing?
Yes, definitely! There’s really nothing there but ice. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it’s the northernmost marathon on earth. You can’t just book a flight to the North Pole. You can’t book a hotel. Every April they set up camp there, the Russian scientists. The organizer uses camps and they actually built the trail track. It’s just going to be about a 4.2-km. track. They want to make it contained. So you just do loops. This makes it easy for them to track where everyone is. Imagine being out there for 21k and back. It’s going to be so hard. There will be a plane on standby for an emergency.
What’s your training regimen?
It’s actually like preparing for a marathon. It’s much simpler for me now compared to last year. Last year, I did two full Ironmans, so the training was more difficult and harder. But this time around it’s just run focused. I have run days where I do two runs, and then in between I either swim or bike or do strength work, because running is hard on the body. I try not to do it everyday so my body can recover. For strength, I do CrossFit. I also teach barre3.
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