11 Nov 2018 – The scattered showers and mud did not dampen the spirits of either human or pup at the latest edition of the Singapore Specials Run, held last Sunday at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.
The Singapore Specials Run was first held by non-profit organization Action for Singapore Dogs in 2010, aiming to raise awareness of the plight of stray and abandoned dogs. All proceeds from activities surrounding this run go towards helping rescued dogs awaiting their forever homes.
Mr. Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development, kicked off the event with a welcome speech, while Real Yoga organized the warm-up for the human runners.
Participants could browse a variety of products on sale, such as uniquely flavored cakes by Gulalicious and premium dog food from Furry’s Kitchen.
The run provided opportunities for all dog lovers – both dog owners and non-dog owners alike – to participate, with a 5km Paw Lover’s Run and 2km Paw & Buddy Run. A few dogs with physical disabilities (missing/injured limbs) cheerfully making their way to the finish line was also an encouraging sight.
With various groups jostling at the front line and sprinting past puddles with both children and animals in tow, it became increasingly evident that running with a pet is an excellent way to come together with and bond with loved ones. You become more consistently motivated to run when seeking exercise as well as quality time with both humans and canines dear to you.
It’s clear that our furry friends – both the lean and long-legged as well as the lapdogs – inspire the old and young to get out and get moving, even in the worst of weather! So look out for the next edition of the Singapore Specials Run… or simply grab your running shoes to #runONE with your doggo!
SHAHEED ALAM – A bittersweet farewell to WTA in Singapore. 2014 – 2018. These 5 years will always be remembered by not only tennis enthusiasts but also sports fans in Singapore as the time when the top 8 Women’s Singles and Doubles Teams competed on our ‘little red dot’. As the Singapore Indoor Stadium dismantles the center court for the last time, we should cherish the experience we’ve had over these amazing 5 years.
I had the incredible opportunity to be the hitting partner for these players in the last 3 years (I was too young and not good enough in the first 2 years haha) Being their hitting partner was definitely an eye-opening experience because I got to see up-close the way they practice, warm up, prepare for matches. I got to see all of it. From the extremely focused Garbine Muguruza to the relaxed Caroline Garcia, I was privileged to witness the different personalities of each player which would otherwise have been very difficult to spot on TV. Over the past 3 years, I have had many awesome experiences but 2, in particular, stood out.
In 2016, Ali and I got called to practice with the dream team of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis! Before even stepping on the court, it was already pretty cool to even (just) think about practicing with them. The schedule was to practice for an hour on the practice courts at OCBC Arena followed by another hour on Centre Court at Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Understandably nervous, we both started practicing making several mistakes as we were (a little) overwhelmed by the situation. As the session went on, they realized that we were pretty nervous but nonetheless they were still super friendly and made us feel more at home.
After we ended our practice at OCBC Arena, Ali and I were going to walk across to the Indoor Stadium (10minute walk) while Mirza and Hingis were going to take the car that was waiting for them. Ali and I could not enter into the pick-up area as our accreditation did not allow us and only players/coaches could enter. Looking back, I felt that Hingis and Mirza thought we were going to take the car as well so they walked out first while we were still packing our bags.
About 5 minutes later, Martina Hingis came running out and told the volunteers to call us back. When we got to the facilities desk, we remember Hingis waiting for us and saying “Come on guys, the car is waiting for you guys”. Looking super shocked, we laughed and followed her to the pickup point where they were 2 Porsches waiting for us. She then continued saying ‘1 follows me and the other follows Sania’. I followed Hingis and for those precious 10 minutes, we chatted about everything and anything before our second practice session on Centre Court. That was an experience like none other, which only goes to show that they were both incredibly humble and down to Earth while being absolute legends in the sport!
The next memorable event was when I I practiced with Karolina Pliskova this year. She has to be the most relaxed player on tour. Incredibly effortless in her play, she’s definitely a joy to watch. I had the pleasure of getting to know her team as well, comprising her Coach, Rennae Stubbs, and Fitness Trainer/Agent/Husband, Michal Hrdlicka. We practiced every day from Saturday (before Day 1) up till the following Saturday (where she played her semifinals) and it was an amazing experience. They really made me feel like I was part of their team for that week as they were super friendly and humble. Overwater breaks, they would ask me about my tennis career and gave me plenty of valuable advice and encouragement.
On the day of the finals, when they were at the stadium to collect their belongings before returning home, they asked if I was in the stadium as they would like to say a few words of thanks and goodbyes in person. Fortunately (for me), I was, and so we met at the player lounge and had a chat before they left. We promised to keep in touch and Pliskova even said that she’ll give me a call when she’s in Asia if she needs a hitting partner(not sure how true that will be though 😂) All in all, it was a superb experience and I couldn’t have wished for a better end to the last year of the WTA Finals.
At this point, I would also like to thank Sports Singapore, Singapore Tourism Board, WTA and all the sponsors for hosting this prestigious tournament over the past 5 years. As they say, when one door closes, another opens so we should hope and look forward to more world-class tennis tournaments being hosted in Singapore. Perhaps even the ATP Finals.
BELINDA MOK – Over the past 5 years that we have been together, friends have often asked me what it’s like being in a relationship with a competitive marathon runner, especially when I initially didn’t even enjoy running. The truth is that I didn’t think much about what I was getting myself into! That may be why it felt, occasionally, that the relationship required quite some effort to work (which we did!). But looking back, it has also been such a fulfilling and enjoyable journey as we grow and learn to support one another.
When we first got together, Mok was training to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. He was so committed and focused that we would have to plan our dates around his training and work needs. Because he was training after work every day, it also meant we didn’t get to meet up much. This was also a rocky period for our relationship as we had to navigate our different interests and expectations in this relationship. For example, we hardly shopped together as he wanted to save his legs for training. Saturday night dates were also often an early affair as he would have to do a long run the next morning.
Thankfully, with the experience from previous disagreement and advice from our friends and mentors, we now have something which works for us.
Things would appear to be comparably worse now. Mok is doing his Orthopaedic Surgery residency, which is stressful enough as it comes with exams and overnight shifts. Add in daily training and other running commitments and there is even less “couple time” as his schedule perpetually packed!
As my way of showing him support, I would watch his training sessions, which led to me deciding to join him on his runs. I also started cycling and rollerblading during his long runs at East Coast Park. As I got better, I started to enjoy running more and now we actually go for runs together! Also, the more I run the more I am impressed by what Mok puts himself through every day. As a physiotherapist in a restructured hospital, I know how hard it is to drag yourself out of bed to run before/after a busy hospital shift, but Mok still does it anyway. He has the uncanny ability to be very focused and determined on the task at hand, be it running or at the hospital. While this was initially a point of contention for me, it is now something that I really admire about him, and that makes our relationship even stronger!
He says …
MOK YING REN – The biggest lesson I have learned after being married is how selfish our pursuit for excellence can be. For many years, I was so focused on challenging limits and breaking barriers on the track (and road) that I left everything on the sidelines. It was like a game that can never end. But I have come to realize that excellence in any field, when achieved at the expense of loved ones, will invariably by a sense of emptiness in our hearts.
Success in any form will never be able to fill this void. As I learned and recognized the sacrifices Belinda had to make, I found myself trying to prioritize her needs in my decision making. While some might think that this may cause my performance to suffer, on the contrary, this has allowed me to do better, both at work and running. It’s interesting how things actually work contrary to what we have been conditioned by society to expect and it’s worthwhile for all to spend some time to ponder on what the purpose of life and marriage is.
Part 2: Her tips to make a running marriage work!
1. Be open to new experiences
I used to be someone who disliked running – I found it too hot and dirty. However, as I accompanied Mok to his training sessions and running clinics, I met so many passionate runners that I decided to join in too! As I got better, I also started to enjoy it and finally understand Mok’s passion for running!
Taking part in run events also gives you a chance to make new friends. Unlike other more specialized sports, anyone can walk/ jog/ run and runners come from all walks of life so you will easily meet people outside your social circle.
We have had to change our plans countless times because of Mok’s schedule. Sometimes he might be asked to go into work early at the last minute and not have time to run in the morning – we will then have to cancel our dinner plans so that he can run in the evening. As a supporter, I try to be flexible to support him in meeting his training needs.
Our running standards are vastly different, but we still try to go for a run together fortnightly. We plan it such that he does his easy runs when I’m doing my hard runs. It works for us both as I have Mok who can push me while he also has me to avoid overdoing his easy runs too quickly.
Being an athlete is tough; sometimes they may have a bad training session or an injury to deal with. They may try to not talk about it but they will definitely be feeling down, so try to empathize and encourage them to continue with their rehab.
Instead of grumbling about losing your precious morning sleep because of a run, see it as a healthy lifestyle change that you’re making. For me, I like that we can get so much done before noon. In fact, Mok usually starts and finishes his long runs so early (because it would be too hot otherwise) that we usually end up beating the weekend brunch crowds!
03 Nov 2018 – “During the training, there were times when I questioned why I had joined Blaze in the first place, when I could have been like my peers who were having less strenuous physical training and who did not need to face the pressure of keeping physically fit.” This is how the then-14 year old Samuel Song from Zhonghua Sec felt during the preparations for BB Blaze 2017!
Preparations are key in an adventure race, or for that matter, any race. What more for teenage boys preparing for the adventure-based and mentally and physically challenging #BBblaze2019!
RunONE will be joining The Boys’ Brigade Singapore as their Official Training Partner, supporting the preparations for the 400 participants and their trainers during this pivotal stage. You can also expect for the 2019 edition to involve more pre-race and race digitalization, with an extended partnership with ONE.
To kick off the preparations, the organizers arranged for a Train-the-Trainers session that was attended by officers and boys from various senior programme companies (CCA units in various secondary schools).
The Pierre de Coubertin IFPC Trophy Winner and National Marathoner Ashley Liew shared his experiences with the boys and officers. He started by stating his hope to inspire and went on to share how he has transcended different challenges in life, such as when transforming from fat to fit.
Ashley had rushed down from his chiropractic clinic, amidst two weeks of reservist commitments. It is not surprising that the ONEathlete was very enthusiastic about speaking to the boys, as a former BB Boy of the 12I Singapore Company (ACS Independent). He has certainly not forgotten his roots, acknowledging the role of The Boys’ Brigade in shaping who he is today during his self-introduction.
After throwing in some awareness of chiropractic and the nervous system, Ashley went on to share tips on running forms, injury prevention, and the importance of a training programme. He also shared how the youths could build up their endurance, strength and conditioning to be at their optimal capacity to blaze the trail, come April 2019!
Can runners donate blood? Will it affect my performance? – Anonymous
How long will i take to completely recover and run again, if i had donated blood? – Anonymous
MOK YING REN – Every hour, the hospitals in Singapore require 14 units of blood to save lives (one unit is equivalent to about 450ml). As a surgeon-in-training, I have seen how easily blood is lost – patients bleeding from wounds, in their internal organs, and even through long and complicated surgeries. Unfortunately, the national blood supply is not as easily replenished.
Why is blood so important?
Purpose of Blood
Blood delivers oxygen from our lungs to all other parts of our bodies. Our red blood cells contain a key protein – haemoglobin (Hb). Oxygen cells in our lungs bind to Hb in red blood cells, and are transported to body cells for metabolism.
During metabolism, oxygen reacts with glucose and other chemicals obtained from food to produce energy. This also helps cells to grow and reproduce, and stay healthy.
Carbon dioxide produced during metabolism is then carried back to our lungs by blood, where it is exhaled.
Impact of Blood Donation
Our body holds about 5 litres of blood. For every blood donation, 1 unit (or 450ml) of blood is withdrawn.
According to a 2016 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Blood Transfusion, the Hb concentration in our bodies is reduced by 7% after making a blood donation. The Hb concentration in our bodies then gradually returns to normal over the next 2 weeks.
This is expected, but how exactly does this impact your performance as a runner?
Effect of Blood Donation on Performance
A reduced Hb concentration will result in lower oxygen carrying capacity. There is no doubt that your running prowess will be affected.
In 1995, a study published in the American Heart Journal evaluated 10 male cyclists before and after donating blood to test the effect of blood donations on exercise performance. Results showed a decrease in the maximal performance of all the cyclists for at least a week.
More recently, in 2016, a randomised controlled trial published in the Sports Medicine Journal found that maximal power output, peak oxygen consumption and Hb mass all decreased for up to 4 weeks after making the blood donation.
Interestingly, both studies found that the submaximal performance of their test subjects was not affected. Therefore if you are a recreational athlete exercising at submaximal intensity, you should not have any negative experiences other than a higher than usual heart rate.
Recovering from a Blood Donation
To recover faster after a blood donation, you may consider taking iron supplements.
A randomised controlled trial was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of iron supplements post-blood donation. The results were published in the highly-regarded Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2015 – it was found that with iron supplementation, Hb recovery time was halved from a mean of 78 days to 31 days.
More drastically, for people who usually have low iron levels, their Hb recovery time dropped from a mean of 158 days to just 32 days!
Making a Blood Donation
As you can see, your running performance is not necessarily a barrier to donating blood.
If you are a competitive runner aspiring to set personal records, I would still encourage you to make a blood donation. You can plan your blood donation based on your running calendar. For example, you can do it right after a major marathon, as you would need down-time to recover from your race anyway! Once you are physically ready to get back into training, your Hb levels should be ready too!
However, if you any reservations about blood donation, an alternative would be to make a plasma donation, which will not affect your Hb levels at all.
You can run and donate blood. Let’s give our precious blood to someone who may need it for survival today.
31 Oct 2018 – Let’s go back in time to last Friday and enter the supposedly abandoned Pasar Panjang ‘A’ Power Station. You’ll find it pulsing with hip-hop beats, and will be greeted by a giant merlion float, cartoonized and rainbow-hued.
Turn the corner to find a live tattooing station, vintage shirts, parkour demonstrations, fusion street food like bacon chai tow kway and laksa udon… and row upon row of designer sneakers, not just for sale but on exhibition. This is Street Superior, the 6th edition of Singapore’s premier sneaker and streetwear convention.
Street Superior is a haven for the lover of kicks, featuring sneaker vendors like Boost and Sneakship, shoe care providers such as Sneakers Spa, and custom shoelace brand No Agenda. You could also ascend the Sneakers Cleaning Throne by Jason Markk and Go Native App for a free buff and shine.
Must-sees also included the unique statement T-shirts by LoBorn and gorgeous vintage jackets by PlayHood, featuring one-of-a-kind paintings by resident designer Sarah Lai. There’s also the quirky Misadventure Time (responsible for the aforementioned merlion float), which creates merchandise inspired by the popular cartoon Adventure Time, with a darkly humorous Singaporean twist.
Our resident ONEathlete Banjamin was on site to support our partner, Under Armour (UA), which will be releasing more running and training shoes next year. The display at Street Superior featured new designs such as the UA Forge 96 and the Curry 5 – the latter is endorsed by American basketball star Stephen Curry.
Speaking of which, Banja is not only a runner but also a basketball lover, which could be seen when he went all out to shoot hoops in the nifty basketball arcade game on site! He also hung out with other UA athletes, in the likes of Team Singapore swimmer Amanda Lim, Bowler Shayna Ng, and fitness junkie cum personal trainer Darren Lim!
FUTURO SG – The 3M subsidiary rounds up their Futuro Ambassadors and three of our #ONEathlete(s), Mok Ying Ren, Shaheed Alam and Ren-ne Ong; and get them to share on their pathway as a successful competitive athlete! No flower blooms on its own, and they share who/what supported them thru their budding competitive sports endeavors.
“Surround yourself with people who support you. Find champions.”
– Sarah Gavron
Especially for athletes, you will notice that the common pattern is to share your goals and plans with your family and ask them to help encourage you to achieve the goals/plans. Consequentially, the ones closest to them are probably their biggest fans! They have seen the blood, the sweat, the tears, they have seen it all.
Now, with the next 6 videos, Futuro hopes to bring you a tad closer to our ONEathlete(s)!
We hope that each of their (Part 1) personal story video will be an inspiration to all aspiring athletes and a tribute to their fervent supporters.
We also hope that their (Part 2) quick exercise tips video will be a great information tool on techniques.
You also have some hampers for grabs (Part 3)! You can follow Futuro SG’s Facebook HERE.
Standby, your napkins, and click on the video links below:
Double SEA Games Bronze Medalist
Managed by ONEathlete
“Whatever you do, do not regret!”
– Ren-ne Ong
Part 1 : Get inspired with Ren-ne Ong
Part 2 : Preparation with Ren-ne Ong
Part 3 : Hamper Giveaway
What is your inspiration for keeping fit and playing sports?
Share with Ren-ne on the (below) Instagram post’s comments section and stand a chance to win 5 Futuro™ hampers, worth $100 each! … leggo guys!
ITF Junior Singles Title Winner
National Tennis Player
Managed by ONEathlete
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
– Shaheed Alam
Part 1 : Get inspired with Shaheed Alam
Part 2 : Preparation with Shaheed Alam
Part 3 : Hamper Giveaway
What is your inspiration for keeping fit and playing sports?
Share with Shaheed on the (below) Instagram post’s comments section and stand a chance to win 5 Futuro™ hampers, worth $100 each! … Hit it now!
DR WANG MINGCHANG – You’ve meticulously drawn up a weekly training plan in the lead-up to your race, diligently following it and clocking the mileage. The weekend’s long run is coming as you near the end of the work week. But alas, your plans are blighted when you wake up with your throat feeling like sandpaper and your nose leaky as a tap. Undeterred, you carry on with your scheduled run, dismissing your symptoms as minor.
Should one continue exercising when one is ill?
The neck check
A neck check is a quick way to determine if you should continue to train/run when unwell. If your symptoms are above the neck, e.g. teary eyes, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or a mild cough, then it is probably okay to continue. However, if your symptoms occur below the neck, e.g. fever, chills, body aches, malaise, chest congestion, nausea/vomiting or diarrhea, then I would strongly encourage you to give your body a much-needed rest.
Running with a cold
Exercise may be beneficial when one is suffering from an upper respiratory tract infection, commonly known as the common cold. Symptoms include a runny or congested nose. Adrenaline, a hormone released during exercise, is a natural decongestant and helps in relieving nasal congestion as well as the widening of our airways. Research suggests that heart and lung functions (and hence exercise tolerance) do not appear to be altered by an upper respiratory tract infection. This means that the common cold will not affect your ability to run at your usual intensity. If you’re running in a group, do be mindful that sneezing or coughing in close proximity to others can lead to their not remaining your friends for long.
Running a fever? Do not run
Exercising with a fever is dangerous. Exercise further raises one’s body temperature and heart rate, which are likely already elevated, to begin with when one is having a fever. Our heart rate increases by about 10 beats per minute for every 1 degree Celsius rise in temperature. Running whilst febrile can result in excessively fast heart rates. Viruses are a common cause of fever and side effects may include inflammation of heart muscle. This inflammation, coupled with a fast heart rate, presents much more stress and strain to the heart than the intensity of exercise would suggest. Ultimately, this can precipitate abnormal heart rhythms and, in severe cases, even result in sudden cardiac arrest and/or death.
Protecting your immune system
It has been well-established that regular exercise can boost one’s immunity. On the other hand, too much exercise can have the opposite effect. Prolonged high-intensity endurance exercise (e.g. running a half or full marathon) can cause one’s immunity to be weakened for up to 72 hours. The cause is not clear but one plausible reason could be the excessive free radicals and stress hormones produced during intense exercise which can suppress one’s immune system.
If you find yourself frequently falling ill on the days after an intense training, it may be helpful to take in more foods that are rich in antioxidants, such as green tea, dark chocolate, blueberries, strawberries and beetroot as part of your recovery diet, to give your immune system a boost.
Sufficient rest and sleep are also needed for a healthy immune system. Depending on how fatigued you feel, it is prudent to always listen to your body and schedule a rest day or two after a session of hard running.
26 Oct 2018 – Singapore’s first ITF Junior Singles Title Winner & #ONEathlete Shaheed Alam has an axe to grind with Kiss92 FM’s Jason & Arnold.
As part of the new series The Gentleman Loser, Shaheed was invited to spar with Jason on the tennis courts. Jason qualified that he has not been to the tennis court any more than ten times his whole life!
Little grace was shown, but Shaheed was just adhering his brief by the SPH radio station to be “totally brutal.” No chances given then, as both Shaheed and Jason gamely put on their acting hats to play their respective roles as winner and gentleman loser. This entertaining video is now on Kiss92’s Facebook!
Shaheed was on air this morning to promote the video and, as Jason dug deeper, to share his experience with the beautiful female tennis pros who are now in Singapore for the WTA Finals. Shaheed was on the courts for their warm-up sessions.
21 Oct 2018 – We noted Soh’s allegations on a fellow national runner, Ashley Liew.
Soh is entitled to his opinions. We stand by our athlete, Ashley, and the decision by SNOC and the International Committee for Fairplay to nominate and confer Ashley the Fair Play Trophy award. Award recipients since it was introduced in 1965 include, amongst many established athletes, Olympians Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin.
It is public knowledge that this is not the first time Soh has adopted a controversial and provocative stance towards fellow athletes. His actions speak contrary to his purported claims of professional camaraderie, teamwork and integrity. We firmly believe these values underpin the high standards of conduct expected, and deserving, of national athletes.
We also note that there is no material basis in Soh’s allegations that warrants any further comments. While it is anyone’s guess as to what Soh’s motives are, we choose to focus on our mission to help athletes focus on their development on and off the field, support meaningful social causes and bring national sports to a higher level. Soh’s actions are unhelpful at best, and spurious at worst.