Press Release for Berlin Marathon 2017 – Evan Chee (PB 2:42:18)
Berlin 24 Sep 2017 – The sun was nowhere to be seen on this cold Berlin morning of the last Sunday in September. Yet more than 43,000 participants from 137 countries, including 106 Singaporeans, had converged onto Brandenburg Gate ready to conquer the 44th edition of the BMW-Berlin Marathon.
This year’s Berlin marathon had also attracted plenty of pre-race hype focused on a battle between the ‘big three’ of Eluid Kipchoge, Wilson Kipsang, Kenenisa Bekele which could lead to a new marathon World Record under 2:02:57. Eventually, Eluid Kipchoge would go on to take the win in a time of 2:03:32, finishing 14 seconds ahead of Ethiopian Guye Andola, a half-marathon specialist (personal best 59:07) who finished with the world’s fastest marathon debut besting Dennis Kimetto’s debutante record of 2:04:16 set in 2012.
As in previous years, the Singapore embassy in Berlin hosted a lunch reception for Singaporeans participating in the Berlin marathon. Known for its fast course and iconic finish under the historic Brandenburg gate, the Berlin race is hugely popular amongst Singaporean marathoners, new and experienced alike. Leading this year’s representation are prolific elite athletes, like 2015 SEA Games national runner Melvin Wong, who is competing in his first Berlin Marathon, as well as Evan Chee, who is managed by ONEathlete and trains with Flexifitness under Singapore’s national marathon record holder M. Rameshon.
Remarkably, this is Evan’s 3rd marathon in 2017, having set his personal best of 2:45 at the Tokyo Marathon in Feb before finishing 4th (and as Top Asian) at the Bangkok Midnight Marathon. 2017 has been a punishing race calendar for him who has had to frequently travel overseas for business, but Evan seems to be taking it in his stride. Because of the unpredictability of overseas run routes and travel schedules, gym treadmills became his training partner of choice. Prior to Berlin, Evan frequently clocked treadmill runs of up to 30km, which honed his mental focus as much as it did his fitness.
On race morning, the heavy rain before the start made for a very wet and humid race with slippery road conditions. The surprising chill took a lot of Singaporean runners by surprise; many were aiming for fast timings and personal bests, but were not adequately acclimatized to take full advantage of the race conditions.
“I am happy that my race went well despite the heavy rain and wet conditions. It was a fantastic experience being here and celebrating the togetherness of international marathoning with my participation. I also had my own fanboy moments watching 3 of the very best marathoners in history battle it out today, so it was very inspiring and enjoyable experience for me, and many of the Singaporean runners as well.”
Coming off months of hectic business travel, a new work environment, and a 3rd-place hard-fought finish at the POSB Passion Kids Run 10km race just 2 weeks before Berlin Marathon, Evan had set himself realistic targets heading into this race. Evan also caught up with Matthias Hoffman, a Hong Kong-based German runner and fellow Adidas athlete who most recently came in 3rd at the Sundown marathon in Singapore.
Having a running group for the first half of the punishing race helped Evan stay focused on the task at hand. Crossing the halfway mark in just under 1:20, Evan quickly realised he was on track for a sub 2:40 finish and set his sights on that target despite losing touch with the group he had been following. That he was sharing the same course with the marathon greats, and quite possibly partake in marathoning history, gave Evan the mental edge to overcome rough patches when he was alone during the punishing second half of the race. Towards the final kilometre or two, Evan pulled away to finish strong in a timing of 2:42:18, lowering his personal best (set just 6 months ago) by over 3 minutes!
With another personal best in his bag, Evan is looking forward to enjoy the remaining of his stay in Berlin before working towards his fourth and last marathon for the year, the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon in December 2017.
As mentioned on his social media, Evan will like to put on record his deep appreciation to his coach, M. Rameshon, and training mates from Flexifitness, as well as his supporting sponsors, Adidas and ONEathlete, whose unwavering support was key in making today’s results possible.
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