MYRNA SALIBA, One To One Hotels Global Wellness Consultant, writes history
MYRNA SALIBA, One To One Hotels Global Wellness Consultant, writes history by earning herself the 1st Arab National official qualification for Ironman World Championship in Kona Hawaii.
Myrna (Al Taraya) Saliba a Bahraini - Canadian, of Lebanese origin was officially awarded the coveted slot to participate and represent Bahrain at the Ironman Kona Hawaii World Championship on October 8, 2016 (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2km run). Saliba earned the slot by her own merits via the roll down method at the Ironman African Championship on April 10 where she placed 2nd in her division. She will be participating in two other triathlon world championships as well this year: the 70.3 Ironman World Championship in Mooloolaba, Australia on September 4, (1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21.1km run) and the IUTA World Championships for the Double Ultra Triathlon August 26 to 28 in Panevėžys, Lithuania - a 36-hour continuous event covering back to back 452 km distance (7.6km swim, 360km bike and 84.4km run).
Ironman South Africa was Saliba's 3rd full Ironman race. She finished her first Ironman in 2009 at IMWA in Busselton, Australia ranking 8th in her age group; in 2015 she competed at the Asia Pacific Ironman Championship in Melbourne, Australia and earned 6th place in her division. Earlier in January 2016, Saliba became the 1st ever Arab female national to officially qualify by her own merits for the 70.3 Ironman World Championship; she earned the slot at the Dubai 70.3 Ironman. Saliba's husband Fouad has also qualified for the 70.3 World Championship earning the slot of his age group at the same race.
"Kona is every Ironman's dream, I am thrilled to have earned a slot in South Africa. This was not an easy course and I was up against 3 experienced female athletes who have raced for years and been to Kona numerous times. I had my own hiccups on the swim and I lost steam on the bike, but I kept plowing. The spectators were amazingly supportive on the run and it helped me move up the ranks narrowing the winner's gap from 55 minutes to 25 minutes. What I will do in Kona will be dictated by my preparation and my performance at the World Ultra Championship six weeks earlier."
Saliba dabbled with the Double Ultra distance a few times in 2015, but each time an official finish eluded her. In her 1st attempt a medical emergency sent her home in her 2nd race a night-shift substitute race director ended her goal by his poor knowledge of the rules forbidding her to walk with her bike along the course when her knee meniscus flared up; in Bakovci, Slovenia she completed 428 km of the 452 in 32:28:14 well below the 36 hour total cut off time but was short of 24 km on the bike due to the unusually tight 15 hours bike cutoff time (IUTA recommends 20 hours). Saliba received a DNF on paper but was unofficially recognized with an interview at the finish line. "You need true grit and fortitude in endurance sport. You stumble all right, but you learn to quickly get up, always moving forward, and every time you get up, you get stronger and you push the limit a little further. In Lithuania, I expect of myself much more than just an official finish, I can't wait to toe that start line."