My first ever full marathon run was the 2015 edition of the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS2015). Before that I had 3 half marathon experiences with some semi-decent results. I had thought about running a full marathon since I was a teenager but I had a lot of respect for and fear of that 42.195km distance. I knew it was no joke as we had seen even world class runners get badly destroyed over that distance.
It was in a moment of weakness/impulse that I signed up for the SCMS2015. I actually did not think much about it until I found that I was too late to start off properly preparing for it. I had great support from my fellow fast runners at FlexiFitness. Erich is my age and he is a sub-3 hours marathoner (top 1%). He has been always encouraging and supportive. Erich extended his support all the way to the actual day of the SCMS2015 and I tried to hang on with him as far as I could go, which was about 21km (Erich’s handsome face above). After that point, I was fully accompanied by various cramps in my legs and lower body including muscles I read in anatomy books but I did not know they actually exist… That was a lousy start for my marathon running. I earned a few bruised toes and very very sore legs for two weeks.
After being badly damaged in the SCMS2015, the vision of ‘mastering’ it became more vivid. With FlexiFitness, under our master chief coach Rameshon, I just kept up with as many training sessions as possible. My two daughters and wife were getting more interested in running and for the first time, my wife would wake up at wee hours in the morning to go running!! Surprise, surprise, right? Especially for Moon, who was allergic to running earlier in life!
Next I found that I came in first in the Asia Masters Athletics Championship 5000m event in my age group (50-54) in May 2016, which was followed by a rather long period of nagging aches and pains that I had to deal with. Then I had a botched 10,000m relay race (felt terrible for disappointing my teammates) together with another 10,000m run in Singapore came in first place. To make things more interesting, Moon ‘encouraged’ me to take part in the World Masters Athletics Championships in the 5000m event in October. This event was conveniently held in Perth, Australia where her best friend, Jin Kar resides. I always liked to hang out with Jin Kar and her family as they are easy going, down to earth and level headed – all of which are precious qualities. Jin Kar’s sister, Jeanne, is an amazing athlete. She is an outstanding masters swimmer and she is one of those who can run a marathon almost at anytime and produce very respectable results (came 11th in 2016 World Masters half marathon in her home court, Perth!!) (my extended families & friends in Perth below)
With some reasonable volume of preparation, we headed off to Perth in October 2016. Out of 49 runners from around the globe in my event, 10 of them were better prepared than me… Distance running has no short cuts and luck seldom counts. Those who prepared better stay ahead. It is that fair and that is exactly why I like running. No excuses! Self-pity also means nothing much… but it is OK to get help (no cheating)…
As usual, I never asked for the details of my trips as Moon knows everything. The morning after my run, I was told that Moon and Jin Kar had decided to just chitchat among themselves for the next 6 days! Not even shopping was in the agenda! 6 more days!!!
Perth is a beautiful place with strong breezes. While my girls were having fun among themselves, I figured out that the best way for me to enjoy my semi-solitude was to run. In other words, apart from having some healthy conversations with our host family and exchanging ideas of self-defence with the boys (the gals were great but they don’t understand these boys self-defence thingy), my time there basically was turned into a ‘training camp’. This training camp was garnished by many naps, hard boiled eggs, coffee and yummy food from Jin Kar, who is a great cook, by the way.
2016 December 4, after almost 365 days from SCMS2015, at SCMS2016, more than 10 runners from the FlexiFitness team ran in the marathon. Many of us ran a personal best time or best local time. Brilliant results indeed but it was not only the runners.
Running is always considered as an individual sport but in fact it is a team sport at team FlexiFitness. The brilliant results were the product of a combination of great coaching and support from our fellow student teammates. I would say with a high level of certainty that no one, absolutely no one in Singapore, had this level of professional team support in the running arena. It helped to unleash the potential from within.
For me, I am still short of my personal goal of going under 3 hours in a full marathon in Singapore. However, what surprised me was I came in shortly after the fifth placed Singaporean finisher and Erich was hot on my heels! FYI, the second place local marathoner, Dr. Ashley Liew, and fourth place local marathoner, Evan Chee, are my FlexiFitness teammates. Interestingly, I also heard that the fifth place finisher was previously trained by coach Rameshon too. I am not too surprised to hear this. 🙂