A Tough Cookie

Nowadays many people take up running as a hobby or habit in Singapore and Hong Kong. Running is a rather low consumption sport, nothing much in terms of facilities is needed for running.

It is also a lovely form of exercise as long as it is done at an easy pace. An easy pace is important. Singapore marathon record holder, Coach Rameshon Murugiah, shares, because too much of a hard workout increases injuries, which essentially putting runners out of action for a prolonged period of time. This is counter-productive in training, not to mention that it is hard to race well under the influence of injuries.

manson kwok

Mr. Manson Kwok has been training the St Louis School Cross-Country team for about a decade. He is 20 years my junior from St. Louis. I met him through our old boys Facebook group. Interestingly, he coach the teams mostly using his own time. Hats off to him. He is a very busy teacher in his own up and coming private tuition school. His time is his income!

The interschool cross-country event is a team sport as well as an individual sport. Each school is represented by 5 to 6 runners. The results of the fastest 5 runners of each school will count towards the overall score. The school with the best score wins. At the same time, fast overall individual runners receive individual medals too. In short, every single runner counts. It is not uncommon to see 100 to 200 runners running in the same 6km+ race! As there is no lane assignment, some squeezing and pushing is expected at the start and finish.

Anyway, this year the St Louis cross-country team did fairly well but there was a little story in the B-grade (14-15 years old) team. There were 122 runners in that category from 27 schools. For sure, all schools sent off their best in such an event.

thomas chiu ansgar cheng

I met Thomas Chiu a few times when I visited my alma mater while the team was having training. He is a nice boy and a focused runner. Thomas told me that he chose to start off the race on the extreme right side of the course. I would have made exactly the same decision – this avoids running into other racers at the start. After all, the race is long and the result is not determined by the first few steps… but there are always exceptions…

As the starting gun went off, maybe there was a push. Thomas lost his balance and fell down rather hard. He managed to pick himself up and finished running that 6.8km hilly course and came in 69 among 122 runners, in the middle of that pack.

A few days later, the team was told that he had to stop his training for a few months. Why? Thomas had developed some severe discomfort in his right forearm after the run. He was taken to the doctor and it was eventually discovered that he had a broken arm! Thomas literally ran the whole 6.8km race with a broken forearm and he managed to put almost half of the competition through the meat grinder!! Bravo! His B grade team came in fourth overall.


As we Aloysians were all taught: ‘Bring Honor to Thy name’.

Thomas Chiu lived up to that. Mission accomplished.

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