The 2018 edition of the Tokyo Marathon was held on Sunday, 25 February 2018, with a grand total of 320,794 applicants fighting for the 35,500 full marathon slots. One of the most popular World Marathon Majors and the only in Asia, Tokyo Marathon is well-known for its efficient and smooth organization as well as fantastic crowd support, not to mention the quality caliber of Japanese runners which translates into a steeped field and sweeping fast finishes.
This year’s race saw uncharacteristically cold temperatures on race morning, and along with a slightly revised race route, meant lots of uncertainty even for seasoned marathoners like Ashley Liew, one of Singapore’s top marathoner who finished 2nd at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) 2017 just 10 weeks ago.
Although this was an important season opener race for Ashley, he hasn’t had much time to prepare for it the way he would have liked, owing partly to his hectic work schedule. Many an occasion he’s had to complete a 2 to 3-hour long run after work, which meant ending past midnight and then returning to his work the very next morning. Such is the discipline and commitment required of him, which Ashley feels is worth it because he’s realizing the true worth of the potential he has been blessed with.
For Ashley, the crux of training is not just the sacrifices by the athlete, but also the family and friends who stood by his side and supported him over the months and years, and having it all boil down to under 3 hours come race day.
CNA SportsWorld Feature
Which is why it’s also fitting that on the evening of the Tokyo Marathon (25 Feb 2018), Ashley had the privilege of appearing on ChannelNewsAsia’s SportsWorld Weekend, where he candidly touched on his experience as a Singapore marathoner. Ashley recalled how his harrowingly close encounter at the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing was a grounding moment for him to ‘make the most of we have, right here right now, rather than waiting for tomorrow‘, particularly as he continues to walk the fine-line balancing work and training while working towards the 18th Asian Games later in August this year, as well as qualifying for the 2019 SEA Games.
Tokyo Marathon 2018
After nearly a decade of running, it was probably the culmination of these life experiences and stories, as well as the friendship ties and bonds, that carried him through the bad patches, such as when he was clipped at the 36km mark and suffered a bad hamstring cramp for the agonizing 6km remaining. Thankfully, he preserved and went on to complete his season-opening race in 2:41, over 9 minutes faster than his finish at SCSM 2017.
Ashley’s no. 1 supporter and then-girlfriend, Sandra, also flew over to Tokyo to accompany Ashley for this race and assist with pre-race preparation and arrangements so that Ashley could focus on what he needed to do. Having his loved one be there with him, for him, meant a lot to Ashley and he feels that her presence and support in many ways underscores what his athletic pursuit embodies – his passion and priorities in life. This is perhaps one of the many reasons that urged Ashley to commit to a lifetime together and propose to Sandra on this trip! The couple were on Mount Fuji, and in cloud nine, no less!
From us here at runONE and ONEathlete, we extend our heartiest congratulations to Sandra and Ashley, and wishing you both a blessed beginning to the next chapter in your lives together, and Godspeed Ashley, as you train towards the upcoming 18th Asian Games!