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Meet Myanmar’s top ironwoman – Chris Kha Khrang

We are seeing a rapid growth of the sport in Asia especially in the nations of South East Asia. But the sport in Myanmar is only now taking it’s first steps thanks to some efforts from ITU, private event organizers and especially some of the local athletes who travel overseas to take part in triathlons in the region and represent their home country.

The story below is of one of these athletes. While now based in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, Chris is a Myanmar national and one of the pioneers of the sport in her country.  She is a multiple time Ironman finisher and has been selected by the Myanmar Triathlon federation to represent the country at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore. Learn more about her in exclusive interview to AsiaTRI:
Name:   Chris Kha Khrang(Kha Khrang)

Nationality:Myanmar(Kachin Ethnic)

Base:Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Occupation:Business Owner

Family Status:Single

Sponsors:None(but wouldn’t mind some)

 

Chris on the bike leg at Ironman Langkawi 2014
Chris on the bike leg at Ironman Langkawi 2014

 

1. Can you tell us about your background in the sport?

Based on my knowledge, I am the first triathlete from Myanmar.
I am a late bloomer as I first picked up running when I was 19years old.In 2005, I discovered triathlon through my running buddies in Malaysia. I bought a bike to join them for their rides and taught myself how to swim freestyle. Since then, I train swim bike run with friends and progressed with my lousy self coaching program. Just doing it all for fun.

I am 5x Ironman, 1x Metaman Bintan(Iron Distance) finisher and have taken part in lots of OD and 70.3 races in Malaysia and overseas. I have also completed adventure races and Xterra too.

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In 2013, I took part in the Maui Xterra World Championships after qualifying from the Xterra Malaysia event.
I also participated in Ironman Malaysia 2014 but I suffered from a bacteria infection after accidentally drinking stinky muddy water near the swim exit. I started feeling sick during the bike leg but I went on for the run until I was too sick to continue. I stopped after the 10km mark.

2. Can you describe a typical training week?

I do swim, bike & run all the time and I don’t have an off season as I just love exercising. Instead, I vary the the intensity of my training to avoid burning out.
When I sign up for an Ironman distance race, I train almost everyday and reach about 15 hours a week. I trained under a coach from 2011 to 2013 for my Ironman races.

3. What is your favorite race in Asia and why?

My favorite race in Asia is Phuket 70.3 as it has a tough cycling course. Moreover, I get to go toe to toe with top pro and age group triathletes. I can learn a lot and absorb knowledge to race better by observing how they race. Just observing their race form and focus makes my goosebumps pop.
Also, I love racing in local OD and Half Iron distance events as I get to win prizes and be on the podium most of the time.

Chris 3rd overall at the 2014 Miri Triathlon (Malaysia), Sprint Distance

 

4. What are your best results so far and what are the next goals for you?

In Malaysia, I usually manage to finish on the podium in most races be it in OD, Half Iron distance, Duathlon or Xterra.
My race times are not that good but local races are less competitive. As I have no sporting background in Swim Bike or Run, I only managed to complete an Iron distance race in 12hr+.
My next goal for Iron distance is to finish in sub 11 hours.

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Although I am just an amateur triathlete, the Myanmar Triathlon Federation has selected me to represent Myanmar at SEA GAMES 2015 in Singapore. I am humbled and thankful for this great opportunity.

For now, I have to focus on OD training. I have no speed and am still very slow in all three disciplines. My goal is to do my best in SEA GAMES and get the experience of racing among top South East Asian triathletes. It’s going to be an epic race that will be an experience of a lifetime for me.

 

The Myanmar national is based in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia

5. Which is your favorite training session on each discipline and why?

Honestly, I enjoy every session for all disciplines.In swimming, my favorite session is when the program includes lots of 50m and 100m fast swim. As I am a slow swimmer, the fast swim program makes me feel like I can sprint too.

For cycling, I love riding up hills and winding roads. I feel like I am Alberto Contador(the slower version) when I am attacking hills, and hills climbing helps strengthen my running legs too.

In running, I am trying to do more speed interval sessions.
I used to hate treadmill running but it is starting to grow on me now. I like to do speed intervals on it as it measures my exact effort.

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