Jaray was hoping to achieve 4:40 on the hilly Las Vegas course, but was slowed by the scorching sun, with no shade to be found on the tough bike and run courses.
The Ironman 70.3 consists of a 1.9 km swim, 90km bike ride and 21km run. His splits for the three disciplines were: swim 38:02; bike 2:45:44; and run 1:40:22, for an overall 5:09:38.
Jaray is the first Thai ever to compete at both the Ironman 70.3 World Championship and the forthcoming full Ford Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, which takes place on October 9, where he will be competing against the world’s best professional and age group triathletes.
A regular competitor in the Laguna Phuket Triathlon but a relative newcomer to overseas triathlons, Jaray was sponsored by Laguna Phuket to compete in the recent Ironman 70.3 Philippines, where he produced a storming performance to win the coveted Las Vegas and Kona slots.
Speaking after finishing in Las Vegas on Sunday, Jaray said: “It was a really tough course with about 90 per cent hills on the bike and run – constantly up and down, up and down.
“I’m now looking forward to taking on Kona, which will be another tough course, and I’m very grateful to Laguna for providing me with the financial support and time off that has enabled me to pursue this amazing opportunity.”
Next month’s full Ironman consists of a 3.8km swim followed by a 180.2km bike ride and a 42.1km marathon.
Jaray has been training every day for the upcoming test of endurance: “It makes me very proud to represent my country and Laguna Phuket at this level – I’m giving both races my utmost efforts.”
In another major coup for Laguna Phuket, the newly crowned male and female Ironman 70.3 World Champions – Australians Craig Alexander and Melissa Rollison – confirmed their intentions to be in Phuket to compete in the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship Race on December 4.
Alexander, now a two-time Ironman 70.3 world champion, completed the tough Vegas course in 3:54:48 to finish ahead of Chris Lieto of the USA and Jeff Symonds of Canada.
Rollison, who only competed in her first Ironman 70.3 race last year, trailed Julie Dibens at the end of the bike but her superior running ability put her out in front after five of the 21km run.
Both athletes will be hot favourites for the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship Race crowns later this year.