Filipina runner Joyette Jopson overcame all odds and conquered the grueling 42-kilometer 78° North Marathon held near the North Pole last April 16.
Jopson, a triathlete, 2014 Ironman 70.3 Philippines Filipino Elite Champion and FWD Financial Wealth Officer, became the very first Filipina to run a marathon in the freezing temperature of Longyearbyen, Svalbard—a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.
Jopson and the FWD Team Asia runners ran amid a ruggedly icy terrain and freezing temperature. She finished the race with an impressive time of 4 hours, 10 minutes, and 59 seconds—good for third overall and first in the women’s group..
The lone Philippine representative in the marathon, Jopson joined other FWD runners from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand in the marathon sponsored by the global FWD group. Her participation, in turn, was sponsored by FWD Philippines, one of the fastest-growing insurance companies in the country.
“The FWD Group had initially been supporting the world’s ‘coolest’ marathon at the North Pole, returning as title sponsor for the third year in a row,” said Peter Grimes, FWD Philippines President and CEO.
“The Marathon was cancelled at the last minute because of geopolitical tensions between the Russian and Ukrainian administrations regarding flight plans to the Pole,” Grimes added.
Undeterred, FWD stepped in with the idea to create and organize its own marathon at Longyearbyen, which they called the 78° North Marathon, so that runners could still fulfill their ambitions to complete a marathon in sub-zero temperatures and extreme winter conditions while raising funds for their sponsored charities.
FWD successfully arranged the marathon against the odds in three hectic days, inviting all registered North Pole Marathon runners to take part.
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