The FWD North Pole Marathon 2019: The Who’s Who of the World’s Coolest Marathon (Part I)

THE FWD North Pole Marathon, which takes place on 9th April 2019, will feature athletes from the world over in an extraordinary Arctic adventure.

Powered by FWD insurance for the third year running, the world’s coolest marathon is designed to push participants to their limits where they can break their own barriers and overcome their fears.

The secluded track in the FWD North Pole Marathon requires the runners to cover 42.195 km (26.2 miles) while battling against extreme cold in one of the most deserted regions in the world.

Currently, Thomas Maguire from Ireland holds the record in the men’s category at 3 hours and 36 minutes while Germany’s Anne-Marie Flammersfeld holds the record at 4 hours and 52 minutes for the women.

It was seventeen years ago that an individual first ran the North Pole Marathon in a solo effort and ever since, the number of participants has only increased year after year. Some run to conquer the terrain, some run to conquer themselves while others run for a worthy cause.

However, what brings them all together is courage, determination and a will to celebrate life by exploring every facet of it, no matter how challenging.


The COO of FWD group, Rob Schimek is one of the most enthusiastic participants in the marathon that will be held in one of the coldest regions in the world. An apt embodiment of his company’s ethos of breaking barriers, the 54 year old still enjoys the physical and mental challenge of extreme events.

Mr Schimek is also a two-time competitor in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii (‘15 and ‘17) and a three-time competitor in the World’s Toughest Mudder – a 24-hour endurance event held in Nevada (‘14, ‘16 and ‘17).

He has completed more than ten marathons including London, Boston, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and most recently, Hong Kong.

He currently lives in Singapore where temperatures range between hot and hotter but has plenty of experience competing in cold weather.

Honouring FWD Insurance’s commitment towards powering dreams and providing support to worthy causes, his participation in the marathon is geared towards raising awareness and funds for the Special Olympics 


Fitness show host Ittiphol Sammuthong, also known as ‘Pok’, hails from Thailand and has been an active proponent of marathon running since the 80s, when he used to run professionally.

The 50-year old’s celebration of fitness and life hasn’t dimmed one bit with age, as he prepares for the FWD North Pole Marathon by subjecting himself to extremely cold temperatures in a cryotherapy chamber kept at minus 100 degree Celsius.

READ MORE: THE FWD North Pole Marathon 2019: The Who’s Who of the World’s Coolest Marathon (Part II)

Joyette Jopson from the Philippines – or the ‘pocket rocket’ as she is better known –  is a renowned triathlete who works as a FWD Financial Officer.

She has the incredible experience of having participated in the Ironman World Championships held in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii among many other triathlons.

She was one of the top 5 female athletes in her nation and perfectly embodies her company’s core values of Asian achievement, endurance and excellence.

Having recovered from an injury sustained a few years back, Joyette will take to the freezing cold in the hopes of supporting the Special Olympics alongside Ittiphol Sammuthong and colleague Rob Schimek.

Vietnam’s Phan Thanh Nhien conquered Mount Everest when he was just 22. In the eleven years since, he has established himself as a motivational speaker who inspires people to celebrate life and constantly strive to become better versions of themselves.

How fitting then that he was approached by FWD, a company that empowers people to break their boundaries and confront their fears by supporting and giving them confidence every step of the way, to challenge his own limits yet again – this time at the FWD North Pole Marathon 2019.

It is almost poetic how Phan Thanh Nhien will be running to raise funds to offer prosthetic legs to the disabled.

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