AS AN ELITE triathlete and cyclist overcoming adversities is nothing new to Joyette Jopson.

So when put in another situation that required such, she delivered, banking on good old resiliency and determination to power her.

Took part in the 42-kilometer FWD ‘78° North” Marathon held near the North Pole on April 16, Ms. Jopson and the rest of the field faced a lot of obstacles but those did not stop them from forging ahead, with the Filipina finishing as one of the best performing by topping the women’s category and ending third best overall with a time of four hours, 10 minutes and 59 seconds.

Backed by FWD Philippines, Ms. Jopson, 39, was part of FWD Team Asia, joined by other representative FWD runners from Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand.

In a homecoming media conference hosted for her by the insurance group on Tuesday at The Grill in Manila House at the Bonifacio Global City, Ms. Jopson, who is also an FWD financial wealth officer, shared her experience in the lead-up and during the marathon, describing it as both challenging and fulfilling.

Apart from the elements, the runners faced the possibility of not being able to run as geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine barred any activity to be held on the North Pole itself.

Determined not to let their preparations go to waste, organizers of the North Pole Marathon, where FWD was the title sponsor for a third straight year, decided to push ahead but tweaking the event as the ‘78° North” marathon and holding it near the supposed area where the original run was to be held.

Ms. Jopson admitted to have panicked when she heard of the cancellation of the North Pole Marathon but eventually settled down and kept her focus on her way to conquering the rejjiged Arctic marathon.

“I’m extremely happy and grateful for the whole journey. Winning is just a bonus. Though the North Pole Marathon was cancelled, the 78° North Marathon was just as rewarding because it reminded me of the determination and resiliency within me all leading to overcoming adversities. It was an honor and privilege to represent FWD and the Philippines in this,” said Ms. Jopson.

She went on to thank the people who were part of her journey from FWD and outside of it, including fellow accomplished athletes Romi Garduce, Margielyn Didal and Carmela Pearson, who served as guides and inspiration for her as she prepared for the marathon in the Arctic.

“For the whole journey FWD wanted me to have a squad that would act as a support group and it was important to me because I’m going there by myself,” said Ms. Jopson.

“So Romi is an accomplished athlete who conquered the Seven Summits and I was going to somewhere where the conditions I had never gone to but he has. So he was very helpful in recommending the proper gear to bring and what to do in certain situations. Margielyn I was inspired by her. I saw parallelism between us as far as not having a place to train. It never stopped her from going for her goal which was truly inspiring. Carmela, meanwhile, is a good friend and was truly a big help in so many ways,” she added.

For her efforts and accomplishment, FWD Philippines hailed Ms. Jopson as an inspiration.

“We’re very proud of what Joyette has accomplished. Her experience as a triathlete and her sheer determination to succeed despite the challenges along the way indeed makes her the perfect representative for the Philippines,” said FWD Philippines President and Chief Executive Peter Grimes at the media conference.

“How she pushed on and performed excellently despite the uncertainties and sudden changes was truly admirable. At FWD, we’re all about celebrating life and doing your best no matter what life throws at you,” the FWD official added. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo