Keepin up the momentum at Straits Times Run 2019

29 SEP 2019 – More than 13,000 runners took part in the seventh installment of The Straits Times Run this morning, with over 4,000 opting for the longest distance – 18.45km, created to commemorate the year the paper was founded. A 3.5km schools category was introduced in conjunction with SPH’s 35th anniversary.

As in previous years, one of the key highlight for participants was finishing their run inside the National Stadium, one of only two local races to offer such an opportunity. With the haze on everyone’s mind just a week ago, there was a collective sense of relief thanks to the rain over the past few days, and the cooling morning weather.

Last year, ONEathlete & Commonwealth Games Athlete, Ben Moreau won the 18.45km Men’s race at 1:02:57, but was away for a business trip this weekend. Taking the champion spot, was yet another non-Singaporean, but homegrown – Singapore Shufflers – runner Nick Impey, who won in a time of 1hr 2min 22sec, while Japan’s Maki Inami won the women’s race in 1hr 11min 55sec and successfully defended her title from a year!

ONE at the start line before 10km race flag-off

After finishing the recent Gold Coast Marathon in July with a time of 2 hours 44 mins, ONEathlete Giebert Foo, 3rd Singaporean Men’s finisher at SCSM 2018, took part in the 10km while in the midst of training with his sights set on SCSM 2019.

Besides being a well-organised and iconic race on the local circuit, Giebert also felt that the race had provided a timely opportunity for him to put in a hard training block and gain some speed in his legs. With just over 8 weeks to go to the biggest race in Singapore, Giebert feels that preparations have been on track and his main focus now is to continue to be consistent with his training and recovery.

ONEathlete Banjamin Quek receiving his 2nd prize on stage

Joining Giebert in the Men’s 10km category was UA Ambassador & ONEathlete Banjamin Quek who finished as the fastest Singaporean and 2nd overall with a time of 36 mins 24 secs, 30 seconds behind race winner and Singapore Shufflers runner Jerome Besanud. 

ONEathlete(s) who completed their 10km Men’s race this morning.

Banja, who just finished a 3-month long training stint in Kenya, is satisfied with his showing today and feels that it will be a good confidence builder as his training picks up heading into SCSM 2019.

ONEathlete Ashley Liew after finishing his 10km race in 37:15

Also racing in the same 10km category is Ashley Liew, who finished with a time of 37 mins 15 secs and 4th overall. He was also the 2nd Singaporean. After a slow start to the year, Ashley is pleased with the progress he has made over the last 6 months and he will be looking to build on this momentum for the remaining race season in 2019.

For inspiring stories related to running and sports, as well as discounts to local races, subscribe to ‘RunONE’ by adding +6588347638 to your Whatsapp contacts. Then send us the words, “Run With Me.”

Majulah together as ONE united people!

Running for social causes and using sports as a vehicle for social good, is both meaningful and efficient in the world we live in today! Here is one such opportunity!

Relay Majulah

Relay Majulah is a ground-up initiative by a group of like-minded and passionate friends to form a 200-runners team to conquer 2,000km over 8 days (2-10 Nov 2019) to raise funds for President’s Challenge and to unite the community, for the community. It is held specially in conjunction with the Bicentennial Celebrations and SG Cares.

The movement seeks to also create awareness of the social causes in our society and how that we stand in solidarity with our friends as they overcome and conquer all odds.

The ONEathlete and RunONE Team will also be participating with the rest of the 200 runners. Join us in championing change in the lives of many and in our society; and to build a nation that truly cares.

ONEathlete

Ashley Liew Running To Give, Love And Serve The Community.
Click here to donate!
Banjamin Quek Running To Help The Less Privileged.
Click here to donate!
Giebert Foo Running To Make Every Step Count For The Community
Click here to donate!

RunONE

Jed Senthil Running For The Youths Of Today.
Click here to donate!
Gideon Ren Running To Support Physical & Mental Wellness For Children/Youth.
Click here to donate!

Others in the running community

Prof Ansgar Cheng Running To Build A Better Singapore For Generations To Come
Gerrard Lin aka Ah Siao Running For A Brighter Future For Our Community
Neo Jie Shi Running To Inspire Others to Stay Positive In The Face Of Adversity
Neyton Tan Running To Step Up For Our Community
Poon Zi Li Running To Ignite The Fire In The Human Spirit
Muhammad Shah Feroz Running To Raise Awareness Of Diabetes
Liu Zhiyong Running To Spread Positivity And Open-Mindedness

On 10 November finale, Tan Chuan-Jin, Speaker of Parliament, will run the final leg from Havelock Road and finish off into the MES Theater at MediaCorp’s Star Ave Campus for the President’s Star Charity 2019 live televised show!

Excerpts and images from Justrunlah.com, giving.sg and relaymajulah.sg with thanks.

About the President’s Challenge

The President’s Challenge is an annual community outreach and fundraising campaign for charities selected every year by the President’s Challenge. It is a call to all Singaporeans in doing their part in building a more caring and inclusive society. Initiated in 2000 by former President S R Nathan, the Challenge represents the coming together of people from all walks of life, to help the less fortunate.

In 2012, under the leadership of former President Tony Tan Keng Yam, the Challenge was expanded to go beyond fundraising by including volunteerism and social entrepreneurship. In 2018, President Halimah Yacob announced a $10 million fund (Empowering For Life Fund) which will empower vulnerable groups through skills upgrading, capacity-building and employment.

Visit http://www.pc.org.sg/WhoWeSupport to find out about the benefiting organisations supported by President’s Challenge this year. 100% of the donations received go towards the charities we support.

Tales of a Triathlete #6 – Harmonising Work, Life and Sport

Work Ready

Benjamin Ooi – “I just don’t have time!”, is the common refrain of a working adult in Singapore. It’s a fair statement, as I’m learning since I started work and paying bills. Attaining serious fitness and skill requires dedicated effort and extended commitment. This is true for endurance sports, but just as applicable if you were to be learning dance or a new language.

The following tips are drawn from my experiences as a competitive amateur athlete:

Goals and Planning

Whether you are an experienced athlete or not, I cannot overstate the value of setting a target and laying out the plan to get there. Our demanding lives and matrix of priorities often present significant obstacles to achieving consistent, effective training.

Overcome ambiguity by setting out your training plan and sticking to it can be as simple as a commitment to exercise 60 minutes every other day, or to achieve a weekly target mileage. It can also come from a coach, from online, or from Ben Moreau’s weekly #STRun Column. Any simple plan works much much better than no plan at all!

Managing Routine with Agility

Post-Work Views: Take in the big picture of your training plans and adapt the individual workouts from there.

Building a routine helps but even I hate to schedule my life around training! That’s fine, life is better harmonised with flexibility. When juggling multiple workouts and life, it’s important to grasp whatever chunk of available time and be productive with it.

While building up for my Ironman while on exchange in Sao Paulo: I had numerous planned and easy runs, a couple gym sessions, bike rides, swim / water polo sessions each week. Concurrent with that, I had classes, cooking and the admin of living independently in a foreign land. To this, pile on other activities such as social drinks and BBQs, 2 AM parties, travel and the Carnaval do Brasil (i.e. month-long street parties) — activities that don’t seem to mesh well with athlete requirements.

A deliberate mix of flexibility and routine was required to utilise my time fully, meet my training goals while enjoying my time on exchange. How does one achieve this? Take in the big picture of your training plans and adapt the individual workouts from there. Spend less time thinking about logistics, and get right into the work! Despite my competing priorities, I was able to achieve a 3:03:34 PB in São Paulo running my first marathon with this philosophy.

Focused Efforts

Run and Run Some More

Finally, however you plan, there are only 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week and so on. We all want to, need to, find the harmonisation of effort, achievements, and sacrifices that is appropriate for us individually, and that is difficult.

Focus your efforts on the most productive areas — for me, as a triathlete, that has been running with its minimal logistical barriers and relatively time-efficient workouts. Swimming and cycling have to take a backseat during phases of my training cycle. I make my reduced workouts count (and not as junk miles), compensating with relevant functional strength exercises that I can do conveniently.

Hope that my tips are useful to you. Best of luck and enjoy!

Ben Ooi is an Ironman Triathlete and younger sibling to two national water polo sisters. He qualified to compete in the World Ironman – World Championships 2017 in Kona, Hawaii. The SMU alumnus is currently working in the private sector and would love a South American holiday, anytime.

For inspiring stories related to running and sports, as well as discounts to local races, subscribe to ‘RunONE’ by adding +6588347638 to your Whatsapp contacts. Then send us the words, “Run With Me.”

How Do You Run?

Banjamin Quek – Running is a simple sport – all you need is a pair of shoes and off you go! Yet, it is not an easy sport to master especially if you are not aware of the different types of training that a runner can use to achieve his/her goals and improve their performance. Besides, learning various skills of running can make you a better all-rounded runner, allowing you to benefit the most from your training while avoiding potential injuries at the same time.

Being a seasoned runner, I’ve come across, and used personally, a number of different training approaches. This include several types of training runs, such as Fartlek, Intervals, Tempo runs, Long runs, Recovery runs, and last but not least, Cross training. Yet, keeping in mind the busy lives of Singaporeans’, my personal take is that greater focus should be placed on the intervals and long runs

Let’s start with intervals. Intervals are essentially speed work done on a track to allow runners to experience and get used to the exertion and effort of running at a certain (fast) pace. During my training with the ActiveSG team, my Monday Interval workouts on Monday would be based on my 10,000m pace, with a dynamic changing interval workout depending on how rested I am and my condition on that day. A typical workout could be 15 sets of 1km repeats at 3:20 min/km pace, with a minute of rest in between.

Moving on to long runs, which were the bread and butter of my training program in Kenya when I was clocking an average weekly mileage of close to 140km. Despite its importance, many runners tend to have the misconception that long runs need to be fast. Yet, I’ve learned that long runs are more beneficial when they are done at a pace that feels relaxed and comfortable, yet challenging enough without pushing the body too hard.

Last but not least, runners should also invest time into strengthening their body through conditioning workouts to prevent injuries. If you are tired of pounding the roads and pavements, try doing alternative exercises such as cross training or hopping onto the elliptical in the gym.

As a parting note, one should always aim to enjoy running in spirit of the sport! As much as it is important to explore a multitude of training methods, it is also equally important to keep the flame and passion for running alive by switching up your running routine every now and then! !

Banjamin Quek is a ONEathlete and Under Armour Ambassador. The mid-distance runner majored in business, and is passionate about the environment.

For inspiring stories related to running and sports, as well as discounts to local races, subscribe to ‘RunONE’ by adding +6588347638 to your Whatsapp contacts. Then send us the words, “Run With Me.”

Match Day – Game On!

SHAHEED ALAM – People have compared a tennis match to a game of chess while running a marathon. An intense match-up could take around 2 hours to complete, with strategy and tactics vital in getting that win over your opponent. Therefore, it is very important to ensure that you head into every match with a good game plan in mind. Most importantly, decide on a game plan that has previously worked for you – one that you’re confident and comfortable with. In today’s article, I will be sharing 3 ways on how to have a good game plan. Take note that this is just a base for you to build on because the entire game plan can only be decided by you, and only you, because no one knows your game better than yourself

Playing To Your Strengths

Rafael Nadal using his Forehand to dictate the point

It is very important to understand your strengths. Understanding your strengths means having the ability to know what gives you the best chance of winning the point.  For example, if playing a hard and fast forehand is your strength, you would want to hit the first ball after your serve (assuming you’re serving). Rafael Nadal averages about 85% of the time he hits a forehand after his serve. Hence, if this is how you want to approach your game, you would want to plan beforehand on how you are going to use the forehand, especially on the first shot after your serve, to start dictating the points.

Defending Your Weakness

Just like how everyone has a weakest subject in school, everyone has a weakness in tennis too. Even the very best, like Roger Federer or Nadal. However, it is how efficiently they defend their weakness that makes them so good. For example, Roger Federer has been known for having a weak backhand against Nadal’s heavy forehand spins but over the years, he has changed his game plan to better defend his weakness. From playing slices to taking a step back, or even stepping into the court and taking it early (the best tactic in my opinion), Federer has changed up his style of playing to have the best chances against Nadal. Therefore, as important as it is to level up your weaker areas, it is almost impossible to escape from it during a match when you go head-to-head with an opponent of matching standards. Therefore, it is much more important to try and defend your weakness to the best of your abilities.

Roger Federer putting the slice to good use

Studying Your Opponent

This may be the toughest to do but if done well, you will (almost definitely) gain an edge over your opponent. For amateur matches, it may be difficult to study your opponent as most of the time you will be playing against someone you’ve never met before. But wherever possible, try to search him/her up. You can also ask your peers if they have seen how your opponent play. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of studying your opponent prior to the match so when you go into the match, you will be fully prepared on what to do. Dig out his/her strengths and weakness and use it to your advantage.

Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail so always go in every match with a game plan that will give you the best chance of winning the match. Don’t be shy to DM me on Instagram @shaheedalam_ if you have any question, I’ll be more than happy to answer! Till next time, continue to #hititlikeshaheed!

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE – JUNE 29: Shaheed Alam of Singapore celebrates winning his mens singles play-off match against Hesam Esmail Yazdi of Iran during day four of the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group III at OCBC Arena on June 29, 2019 in Singapore. (Photo by Lionel Ng/Getty Images for Singapore Sports Hub)

Shaheed Alam is a ONEathlete and Ambassador for Asics (Tennis) and Babalot. He is also supported by Grip String Sports and Pro’s Pro. The tennis prodigy had his first match at the age of 5, and progressed to the Singapore Sports School, before becoming the first male Singaporean to win the ITF Junior Singles Title.

For inspiring stories related to running and sports, as well as discounts to local races, subscribe to ‘RunONE’ by adding +6588347638 to your Whatsapp contacts. Then send us the words, “Run With Me.”

Soaking the Sunshine at the Coast!

5 AUG 2019 – One can easily fly into the Brisbane Airport, and take a Con-x-ion shuttle service (costing about AUD$80 for a round trip) to the Mooloolaba Beach area at Sunshine Coast. The 90-mins shuttle ride will also be a scenic and comfortable one in the cool temperatures in August.

Sunshine Coast is a peri-urban area and the third most populated area in the Australian state of Queensland. Located north of the state capital Brisbane, on the Pacific Ocean coastline, its urban area spans approximately 60 km of coastline. The city is also home to the IAAF Bronze Label Sunshine Coast Marathon.

ONEathlete Mok Ying Ren and Evan Chee, together with other prolific Singaporean athletes had gathered in this slightly less-known city. It was not Mok’s first time in the city as he had visited the notable educational institutes at Sunshine Coast in 2018, such as the University of Sunshine Coast (USC) where some Team Singapore athletes go for a training stint.

Mok Ying Ren at USC in April 2018

But this time round, Mok was able to wake up and head out casually for a short jog along the Mooloolaba Beach. Just another typical morning, but Mok was able to see lots of people walking their dogs and playing around the beach with the warm sunshine amidst the cool sea Breeze. Ideal for a beach gateway, away from the buzz of a city life.

With a pretty straight forward race pack collection, and a homely setup with booths to sell race merchadises and tee-shirts, the athletes were all geared for the race (next) day on Sunday, 4 August 2019.

Sunshine Coast Marathon

With a start time of 6am, and a sunrise at 6:30am, it pretty much ensured a good cool weather of about 15-16 degrees at the start, eventually rising up to about 20 degrees towards the end. 

Although the event focuses on the half-marathon event, there were about a total of 588 full marathon runners, with good pacing support with pacers from 3hours to 4hours timing (with a 15mins interval each). The Australians were vying for the Australian Championship.

For Mok Ying Ren, as training was disrupted by a 2 weeks flu episode close to the race, on top of the very tight schedule in medical residency, he decided to start conservatively and aimed to complete the marathon in one piece rather than blow up and have to walk the remaining way. “I decided to start with the 3hour 15mins pacer and it was a small group with only 5 runners.” The pacer was clearly a seasoned and well liked runner in the local community, as he was seen cheered on by both fellow runners and spectators. In the same group, Mok also met (for the first time) another Singaporean, Yep Min, incidentally when the pacer was getting to know his small group.

Mok Ying Ren with fellow Singaporean runner in his group, Yep Min.

Mok describes the 3 loops course, as one with a couple of undulating hills, but overall, pretty flat. “We started on the 3 loop course with our pace right on target. The first loop was a 21.1km loop together with the half marathon runners, thus guaranteeing good company and ambience while the second 2 loops were 2 loops of about 10.5km to complete the 42.195km course.”

Describing his mood during the race, Mok said that, “I went through the first loop feeling fortunately comfortable because just the day before, I felt really smashed during my morning jog and thus was rather worried.” The good thing about running overseas is that the cool weather and nice sunshine that really gets the spectators out of their houses along the way to cheer the runners on throughout the race.

After the second loop, Mok was actually expecting to hit the wall sooner or later. “Just like what we all do in a marathon, we keep our energy expenditure to the minimum and focused on just keeping pace with the pacer.” But going through 30km and his body holding up well, it gave him more confidence to complete the marathon.

As he entered the last 10km loop, he experienced the fatigue setting in. His thigh muscles were tightening and cramping up. “I just wanted to hold on to the pace group as long as I could.” At this point, the group had dwindled down to 3, Mok Ying Ren, Yep Min, and another Australian. But the fatigue was rather overwhelming for Mok, in the final 2km of the race, and he dropped back from the group. “I was thankful to have finished the marathon and also enjoyed the experience thoroughly,” Mok recalls in his usual positive vibe.

ONEathlete(s) Evan Chee and Mok Ying Ren post race

For Evan Chee, who had a personal best of 2:38:58 from the London Marathon in April 2019, he was vying for this last opportunity to qualify for the SEA Games 2019 as the window closed mid-august.

However, he had to miss or stop at a number of the elite water stations (note: the stations were a first time for the race organizers) and felt that he was not able to give his best performance. He is now ranked 6th overall in Singapore based on his personal best timing, and will be preparing his lead up to the Singapore Marathon instead.

Great Beach Drive

The next day, the team of Singaporean runners headed for the great beach drive 4WD tours. This eight-hour, family friendly tour travels more than 70km of iconic beaches with the vehicles travelling right on the sand, so you can soak in the scenery and wildlife, such as dolphins, manta rays, turtles, soldier crabs, birdlife, birds of prey and whales (whale season is June-October). “It was an interesting experience driving down the beach as if it was just a road,” Mok summarized about his experience.

A pristine stretch of white sand with stunning headland views all the way from Noosa to Double Island Point

The tour boasts of a few key stopovers. Namely, Red Canyon, Great Sandy National Park, Lighthouse, Coloured Sands, Honeymoon Bay and Rainforest:

Red Canyon – Red and yellow sands form a unique canyon in the sand dunes where you will enjoy magnificent views over Teewah Beach.

Great Sandy National Park – A scenic and relaxing picnic ground where you might be visited by camera friendly Lace Monitors (Goannas).

Lighthouse – Double Island Point Lighthouse offers breathtaking 360-degree views across the Pacific Ocean and scenic surrounds of the Great Sandy National Park. It is here once can often spot pods of dolphins, turtles, sharks, manta rays and the majestic Humpback Whales (season is June-October).

Coloured Sands – This world famous attraction has more than 40 different shades of colour. The tour includes a demonstration of the traditional techniques used by the Aboriginal people (with respect to the Gubbi Gubbi people) to create artwork and decorate boomerangs

Honeymoon Bay – This area boasts a saltwater lagoon with some of the most scenic landscapes in Australia. One can swim in the protected waters of the bay, or body surf on the longest right hand breaks in Australia all year round. Or, like Mok, you can catch up on your work and podcasts!

Mok also recalled that the tour guides were thoughtful to personalize the trip, and make things really easy for the “tourists”. They had set up the tents for lunch and everything was catered for including wine and beer for their picnic lunch, against the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Fraser Island.

Sandra Runs With Ash

03 Aug 2019 – In a Catholic ceremony held at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, National Marathoner and ONEathlete Ashley Dominic Liew married the love of his life, Sandra Faustina Lee. Ashley had dated Sandra for about 2.5 years before sealing his commitment to the dynamic entrepreneur and dancer.

The bride sewed her own bridal gown, which has the base piece of Ashley’s late mum’s wedding gown extended with a 3D floral skirt.

Beyond that, the bride and her company Free Movement Singapore sewed all the bridesmaids’ gowns and groomsmen’s suits. Waala for effort!

In the evening, the couple held a ‘Beauty and the Beast’ themed Chinese banquet for about 400 guests at Mandarin Oriental.

It was an artistic feast, as the entire dinner was centered around the fairy tale story line, and the bride pulled off a very entertaining costume change on the stage.

Leave your well wishes and messages behind, in the comments section, for Mr & Mrs Liew!

Tales of a Triathlete #6 – Foodie-athlete/Nutrition

Benjamin Ooi – So, one of the perks of athleticism is that I can eat anything I want, and as much as I want. Right? Well, (technically) yes, but not quite!

A snapshot of a typical meal before my Ironman World Championships race in Kona, Hawaii

When it comes to nutrition, there are various competing schools of thought. Most athletes follow strict and professionally-administered meal plans. Some avoid certain types of foods perceived as unhealthy, while others invest heavily in daily nutritional supplements.

As for me, I’m too much of a foodie to do any of that. I do have two principles that sum up quite aptly my outlook on eating as an athlete. While I hope they don’t sound trite to you, these simple concepts have genuinely taken me through a swimming/water polo childhood, and continue to be relevant as a long-distance triathlete.

  1. Calorie intake
  2. Balanced diet

Calorie in, Calorie out. I’m a firm believer in this – how much food one takes in vs. how much energy one expends forms the basis of every weight-loss/gain scenario, athletes and non-athletes alike. By this logic, I don’t consider avoiding delicious fatty or fried food as critical to keeping in good shape, but I would indulge in lesser quantities to compensate for the relatively denser caloric content in these ‘sinful’ food. This is also probably how I manage to shock many fellow athletes by continuing to eat my favorite foods right up to race-day. A close parallel would loosely be the late Mr Lee’s philosophy of ‘eat(ing) till you’re 70% full’. Also, try not to eat too close to bed time.

Balanced Diet. Having said the above, a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for the body to cope with a heavy training workload. Many hawker dishes here contain very little protein or greens, and this needs to be actively managed. It is also important to take in some food soon after a workout. Personally, I would have 4 (or more) eggs at the food-court nearby and a healthy amount of soy milk if I am not able to have a meal immediately after my workouts.

Coffee is surely part of any (sane) athlete’s diet!

Finally, a learned self-awareness and discipline is an overarching factor when speaking about how diet impacts athlete (and athletic) performance. Google may provide simple easy answers to questions of what to eat, how much to eat, but what really matters is when you internalise these habits. While not the easiest thing to do, truth to be told, this self-control comes quite naturally with self-awareness and understanding of what is necessary for your goals.

Ben Ooi is an Ironman Triathlete and younger sibling to two national water polo sisters. He qualified to compete in the World Ironman – World Championships 2017 in Kona, Hawaii. The SMU alumnus is currently working in the private sector and would love a South American holiday, anytime.

For inspiring stories related to running and sports, as well as discounts to local races, subscribe to ‘RunONE’ by adding +6588347638 to your Whatsapp contacts. Then send us the words, “Run With Me.”

Body & Soul S7: Preventing Atrial Fibrillation Stroke

24 JUL 2019 – In 2007, during a SEA Games Triathlon Time Trial event, a young and active athlete and friend of Mok Ying Ren passed away due to cardiac arrest. This taught Mok Ying Ren that life is fragile, and how some precautions can be taken, more so as an athlete.

Did you know that there is more than one type of stroke that can affect us ? If you engage in a lot of vigorous sporty activities or if you love running long marathons, do be cautious of Atrial Fibrillation (AF) related stroke.

#LearnWithMok as you watch ONEathlete Mok Ying Ren and former national sprint icon U.K. Shyam share their experiences on how to prevent this health condition with Host Daniel Martin and Dr Carolyn Lam on Mediacorp Channel 5 Body & Soul, Season 7, Episode 6.

In this episode of Body & Soul, they also talked about the signs of an AF related stroke. Catch the episode on toggle catch up TV right here.

Click here to watch on toggle
From left to right:
Daniel Martin, Dr Jeremy Chow, UK Shyam, Mok Ying Ren, and Dr Carolyn Lam

You can also catch up on the following related reading:
ST: The relevance of pre-participation screening by Dr Yeo Tee Joo
ST: Minimising risks in running by Dr Malcolm Mahadevan
ST: Taking a (sick) break from running by Dr Wang Mingchang

20 Personalities You Might Have Run Into At Gold Coast Marathon 2019!

07 JUL 2019 – 26,287 Runners, from 56 countries had gathered at Queensland, Australia’s coastal city for the 41st edition of the Gold Coast Marathon 2019! Having held the IAAF Gold Label since 2014, boasting of a generally flat course that has allowed about 60% of the participants to set a personal best (PB) amidst generally favourable weather conditions, the Gold Coast Marathon (#GCM19) is arguably one of the most popular race spots in the region.

Which goes to also mean that if you are in town, enjoying the waves at Surfer’s Paradise or feasting at Cavil Mall, you might just #run into a couple of runners whom you might be familiar with.

RunONE takes a moment with 20 such personalities who have inspired us during the race weekend!

1. Lachlan barber (@lachiebarber)

(c) Gold Coast Marathon 2019 Media Team

In an enthralling men’s race, 800m and 1500m track specialist Lachlan Barber (00:29:58) put in a withering finish burst to claim his first Southern Cross University 10km Run (Men’s). He edged over Tim Vincent in the last 400m and won by five seconds. “I was very happy with my performance. I’ve never raced anything over 1500m, so yes, I was really stoked to get under 30 minutes in my first ever 10km,” said Barber.

Barber added that the conditions ‘weren’t ideal at the start line.’ He was referring to the very strong winds (and about 4-5km/h of headwind) and icy-cold rain shower that left everyone drenched when the skies open up just 2 minutes before the start of the 10km race at 6.30am.

2. leanne pompeani (@leannepomp)

(c) Gold Coast Marathon 2019 Media Team

Leanne Pompeani (00:33:00) won her second Southern Cross University 10km Run (Women’s), becoming only the second woman to win the race more than once in the event’s history. She had also represented Australia at the World Cross Country Championships in March and followed that up with a win in Canberra over 10km in April.

Looking back on the wet and cold conditions at the start, Leanne said, “A little bit unfortunate about the wind. It’s usually pretty good conditions here so I was kind of expecting that, but you just have to deal with whatever you get on race day.”

3. Yuki kawauchi (@yukikawauchiok)

One of Asia’s most famous and humble ‘citizen runner’, Japanese Yuki Kawauchi, had achieved 2:09:18 (2017) and 2:09:01 (2016), being the only athlete to have his name twice in the Top 10 All Time Performances honors.

He finished the race in 13th place at 02:15:32.

4. zane robertson (@zane_robertson_nzl)

Be careful that it’s Zane and not his twin brother Jake when you approach him! The 30-year old New Zealander brothers had moved to Iten, Kenya to train and further their running careers. ONEathlete Ashley was acquainted with Zane in Kenya during the former’s training stint in 2015.

Zane was actually selected to represent New Zealand in the Commonwealth Games Marathon Male event, but had to drop out due to a groin injury. About 15 months later, he is back in the game at #GCM19 !

The marathon debutant placed third in 2:08:19. He was very consistent throughout the race, staying in distance with the lead pack. He gives us a very detailed breakdown, “I was pretty conservative at the start. We knew the wind would be tough and it was but I kept the pacemakers in check by making sure the pace did not exceed 3:03min/km at the beginning.”

It was also an extra special moment for Zane as he had also set a new New Zealand record, bettering the previous mark set by his brother – Jake’s 02:08:26 set at Lake Biwa in 2018. It was no wonder then, that Zane seemed to be in high spirits at the finishing line – perhaps even ready for another run – as he was seen obliging quite a number of media interviews, including RunONE.

What’s even better was the sportsmanship he demonstrated, describing his race rivalry with great class and giving Shitara credit where due. “I think Yuta, the Japanese (runner), a world class athlete who played the game and played it smart. He expected to win and came through just when we were beginning to die. We had nothing left to go with him.”

5. Bernard lagat (@lagat1500)

Lagat, a Kenyan-American, is a five-time Olympian, having competed in the 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 games. He is also a thirteen-time medalist in World Championships and Olympics including five gold medals.

The Dual world champion over 1500m and 5000m on the track improved his marathon pb to 2:12:10 and finished seventh. The cool dude was seen focusing on recovery and getting a cold compression (as above), and enjoying a little muffin on one hand (while probably catching up on race updates on the other.)!

Do also check out his Instagram to spot his ‘deeply invested and impressive’ drink bottles for the #GCM19!

6. sinead diver (@Diversinead)

(c) Gold Coast Marathon 2019 Media Team

The first runner-up in 2018, Sinead Diver (01:09:46), beat 2-time champion, Sara Hall (01:1159) in the ASICS Women’s half-marathon race. This was also her first win, and fifth fastest performance in the race’s history. The 42-year-old from South Yarra, Melbourne was too strong for her rivals over the closing 5km. The Australians also had a clean podium sweep by claiming all top three positions in this race!

What was also envious to watch, was the level of sportsmanship that the champ exhibited. She said, “To race against Ellie and Sara and Lisa, it was such a tough race and anyone of us could’ve taken it out. It (just happened to be) my day today, so I was just lucky I think.” She has also qualified to represent Australia in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Marathon event.

7. jack rayner (@jackrayner7)

The Glen Iris, Melbourne native, Jack Rayner won his second ASICS Gold Coast Half-marathon race (Men’s). The 23-year-old with a personal best of 01:01:01 set in Oct 2018 at Cardiff, crossed the line in 1:02:30, bettering his winning time from last year (1:03:12).

The defending champion came away with the win after a good tussle with Japanese runners Yuki Sato (01:02:36, six seconds outside his personal best set in May 2019) and Yuma Hattori (01:02:39), making his winning break 1km before the finish. Japanese runners filled places second through to eighth in the men’s race.

Rayner was asked about his competitors, and he replied in the vein of good old sportsmanship. “I didn’t quite know what to expect going into it. There was a really strong field of Japanese this year. I had a race there (Japan) at the start of this year so I knew how they ran.”

Rayner will be meeting the Japanese again very soon, as he has also qualified to represent Australia in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Marathon event.

8. yuta shitara (@yutashitara1218)

(c) Gold Coast Marathon 2019 Media Team

Yuta Shitara. He is THE second fastest Japanese marathon runner in Japanese history. But now, with the win at the the IAAF Gold Label race in 2:07:50, Yuta has also laid claim to being the fastest runner in Gold Coast Marathon history! The previous record was set by Kenyan Kenneth Mungara (2:08:42) who won the race in 2018.

It was the eighth win by Japanese men in the event’s 41-year history. Yuta added “My training was really good. I think that the race really showed the quality of my training. It really brought out my performance today,” spoken by someone who clearly believes in the process!

This feat was despite a very visibly bloodied white vest, from what looks like a terrible case of chest fissures/abrasions. But without a single look of pain on his face and fully focused on the race ahead of him! “I didn’t have any race plan. I just wanted to go in and run the race that happened,” he says.

ONEathlete Giebert, in a once-in-a-lifetime moment with his idol, Yuta, So star-struck that he closed his eyes.

The 27-year-old champion who mostly carries a neutral expression, had an exciting duel with Kenyan, Barnabus Kiptum and New Zealander, Zane Robertson over the final 12km before making his final move in the last 2km. Shitara took home $20,000 in victory prize money and an additional $10,000 time bonus for his record-breaking effort.

9. shin kimura (@kimurunner)

With the likeliness of a K-pop star, a friendly and wide smile greets you from across the room, even though you are at least four meters apart. It turns out to be Shin Kimura, a rising marathon star from Honda Running Club in Tokyo, Japan.

He had spent a training stint in Boulder, Colorado to prepare for this marathon. Nike athletes, Shin Kimura and Bernard Lagat, took turns to pace each other and the former finished just 2 secs behind the latter at 02:12:12. Keep your eyes peeled for this star’s growth!

10. Milly clark (@millyjane14)

(c) Gold Coast Marathon 2019 Media Team

While Kenyan Rodah Jepkorir held off a strong finish from Milly Clark to win the Women’s Gold Coast Marathon Title, it was the latter who was received by the home crowd with a great loud roar! The Tasmanian sweetheart lost the lead at the 30km mark, but kept her rhythm and finished in 2:28:08 to claim the runner-up spot.

Despite being about two minutes and five seconds behind the Kenyan at the 30km mark, she finished just 12 secs behind the winner. She was clearly giving it all to catch up and edge in to try win the race!

The crowd probably helped too, she said as she reflected. “I had a lot of fun. There wasn’t a moment that I wasn’t loving it. I am just really stoked that I had the crowd and everyone around me cheering. You put in all the hard work in training and this is your prize. Instead of running alone and slugging it out on the roads, you can use the crowd. It gives you that extra burst.”

Clark had set off to do all that she wanted. She enjoyed the race. She recorded a personal best, lower than the Tokyo Olympics qualifier (2:29:30). She finished on the podium. The veteran at Gold Coast Marathon weekend, had won the Half-marathon in 2014, and second for 10km in 2013.

11. AGUS PRAYOGO (@agusprayogo21)

20th overall and South East Asia’s fastest in the Half-marathon Category, Agus Prayogo (01:06:27) broke Indonesia’s National Record to rewrite his own half marathon national record of 1:07:05, which he set at the Singapore Marathon in 2009.

The father and military personnel may seem like a young teenage man. But probably has collected more accolades than his age count. Enuf said, wait up for the SEA Games 2019 to see him shine!

The smile of a new Indonesian Half marathon National Record

12. Muhaizar Mohamad (@muhaizarmohamad)

Meanwhile, in the full marathon, Malaysian, Muhaizar Mohamad, finished in 35th place after recording 02:26:42. However, it was 15 secs slower than his personal best, 02:26:27 set at the 45th Berlin Marathon.

Muhaizar had became the first Malaysian to win a SEA Games medal in the marathon, after bagging a bronze in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur edition. His team mate Leo, finished fourth in the same race. The athlete in his early 30s, is now focusing on the SEA Games 2019 in Manila.

13. PRABUDASS KRISHNAN (@prabudassk)

29th overall and South East Asia’s second fastest in the Half-marathon Category – beating Singapore’s Half-marathon National Record Holder, Soh Rui Yong – was a 29 year old, young lad named Prabudass Krishnan, finishing at 01:07:29.

The feat saw the Royal Malaysian Navy member erase the 15-year-old Malaysian National Record. He has been training under Coach JP, who had also helped Malaysian National Marathoner Leo set a new Marathon National Record, earlier this year.

(c) Malaysian Photographer @fizsaid

Despite such a remarkable achievement, Prabu greets you a with a very unassuming and humble smile in the elite athletes room. Prabu is gunning to win the 5,000m Gold Medal at the SEA Games 2019. He had previously won the Silver Medal in 2017.

14. burton he (@burtonhe)

Burton He had won the Singapore Marathon 2018’s Half-marathon category in 01:20:11. But no fanfare, nothing pompous. The 29 year old, IT student in SIM University has become a regular at the podiums.

The relatively low profile athlete, was in Gold Coast with his Track Star Athletics team mates, ran his race, and left. He would have ‘escaped your eyes’ if you had blinked. He ran overall 53rd and emerged as the fastest Singaporean in the 10km Category.

Burton He (most extreme left) with his team members from Track Star Athletics. (c) Moonlake Lee.

15. melvin wong (@melvinwongyh)

Another Track Star Athletics athlete making his mark as the fastest Singaporean at the Gold Coast Marathon was Melvin Wong.

Melvin paced the race with his team mate Iskandar Mohamed and finished overall 69th in 02:37:28. The father of two, manages work, fatherhood and runs his life in great style! His team mate, Iskandar (who was also the runner-up at Singapore Marathon 2019) finished 92nd overall, at 02:42:36. Great camaraderie and working together as ONE to achieve goals are always worth mentioning!

16. shohib marican (@shibbylax)

We spotted him and congratulated on his overall 72nd position and emerging as the second fastest Singaporean in the Half-marathon category! Shohib Marican (01:13:14) was pleasantly surprised of course.

The ActiveSG athlete who is coached by Steven Quek, was initially filled with doubts and anxiety about his race. With a renewed mindset, he willed to go hard, focused on the pack ahead and finished with a personal best timing, no less. Go hard or go home, indeed!

Its always encouraging for those in the running circuit to see young athletes push the barriers, and achieve greater excellence!

17. ansgar cheng (@runningprof_dentist)

Speaking of young, the Master’s runner, Ansgar Cheng is more than just young at heart. He emerged 2nd overall in the marathon category, for Master’s Male with a personal best timing of 02:54:16.

The father of two teenage daughters, and dentist in his early 50s, is also awaiting ratification by Singapore Athletics for a new national record of his age group.

Among one of the core members of the Kampong Runners, Ansgar and his wife Moonlake Lee are an affable couple who makes the effort to connect with individuals from the various running groups. That in a sense, kinda depicts the essence of sports and affirms the spirit of the running community!

Ansgar (second from right, in white) seen at the finishing line with runners (L-R) from Hong Kong (David and Jeremy) and ONEathlete (Ashley and Giebert).

18. GIEBERT FOO (@gieberty)

The newly minted ONEathlete, Giebert Foo ran his first overseas marathon. He emerged 104th overall with a personal best of 02:44:15, 45 secs below his personal best that he had set after winning 3rd at Singapore Marathon 2018.

The civil servant had just completed his 9-month long stay-in training course recently. With the help of his partner, Esther (who was on wheels), Giebert paced his long runs and chased his training mileage over the weekends. On weekdays, he would also try to squeeze in some track tempo and intervals in the evening. Besides sticking to the discipline and controlling his diet, the 27 year old also read motivational quotes from Facebook page “Sweat Elite” to prepare for the race.

But during the race itself, Giebert remembered the prayers and encouragement of loved ones, absorbed the energy of the renowned Gold Coast crowd, and “High-fived” the kids along the way keep up the energy to the finish line. Crossing the line below his target, he said, “It is like a dream come true and has made me realise that i can go further in this marathon journey. I’m thankful for the support of the ONEathlete team which had made this PB a wonderful ONE!”

19. ashley liew

Running his 6th Gold Coast Marathon, and 33rd marathon since 2004, was ONEathlete Ashley Liew.

(c) Tsukasa Kawarai

The 32 year old – with a personal best of 02:32:12 (2015) – believed in the process and prepared like it was his first. Along the way, Ashley had to balance six-day work week at Family Health Chiropractic Clinic while training twice daily. His peak weekly mileage of 160km, not to mention solo 30+km long runs and treadmill speed workouts, amidst intensive wedding preparation, proves that Ashley was determined to make it work.

Spotted with bloodied socks from a burst blister, Ashley said “I’m grateful to still have the body responding well towards the end which was a positive difference from my last 3 marathons.” Finishing overall 175th in 02:51:42, Ashley was pleased to achieve his season best.

20. bonza, the mascot

He ain’t a frog tho he spots a green sleek body! Bonza is a bearded dragon, the mascot for the Gold Coast Marathon. He charmingly convinces that he loves to run, just like all his other bearded dragon friends. As a young lad, Bonza had run at Burleigh Head National Park,

Typically during a morning training run at Miami Beach, he tells us, “I was inspired by thousands from all over the world running up and down my beautiful coastline and thought ‘you little rippers!”.

Instead of hibernating in cooler months like July, Bonza decided that he wanted to be part of the good times, and for this one-of-a-kind race. He was determined to become the first bearded dragon to run at the Gold Coast Marathon, and took a break from chilling with his surfing buddies at Surfers’ Paradise to start training. “I’ve been clocking up plenty of kilo meters on the beautiful beachfront in perfect conditions along the marathon route.”

The 41 year old, is stoked that the race date for 2020 is scheduled to be on 4-5 July, and has already set his goals for the 42nd Gold Coast Marathon race! In good old gold coast fashion, he waves and high-fives to say, “See ya nex july mate!”