Evan and Shuzhen (c) Image by Adidas Runners

Run for Love

This article was first published on rockay.com on Dec 30, 2018
Main featured image by Adidas Singapore.

DARA MORMILE – The roller coasters we endure in the dating world can sometimes be compared to the twists and turns we confront as runners taking on a new trail or path. We’re excited, cautious, hoping for the best, coping with new conditions and learning how to keep ourselves in control of the situation.

Some athletes choose to put training first, as their priority and prefer to make a commitment to running and fit life instead of hunting for and committing to Mrs. or Mr. Right. Others want to include their mates in the sport to some capacity and are able to share their athletic feats with someone who has the same overall health values. Another percentage of us don’t even care if whoever we’re dating isn’t the type to lace up and join us for the long run.

(c) ONEathlete / Mok Ying Ren

To each their own!

For runners who are passionate and committed to training – and want some passion in their love lives too – the hectic whirlwind of the dating world may require a careful balancing act. There are a couple of possibilities on the spectrum – runners who may have met that special someone at a race or running event, or runners who meet and fall in love with mates that have no interest in the sport altogether! In another scenario, maybe you’ve met someone who wasn’t a runner before and you’ve inspired their athletic muse (and vice versa)!

(c) ONEathlete / Ashley Liew

But how, exactly, does being a runner affect our ability to meet our match and gauge who our ideal mate would be? For runners who are married with children and have found the gracious balance between sports and personal life, you’re already ahead of the game and you’ve probably mastered dividing and compartmentalizing your time. Those still trying to find love in the midst of sticking to a workout routine – and divide their time while finding a mate – can consider the following points when looking for love.

  1. Making time and spending time
  2. Be honest about your expectations
  3. Chemistry and motivation

So, what’s great about having a running mate?
1. The unconditional love for a worn out athlete
2. Knowing how to cope with “Me Time”

Click HERE to read the full article.

(c) Image from Run Leeds

Happy Valentine’s Day 2019!

#RunforLove #RunONEwithLove!

Light moves fast!

30 Jan 2019 – With its efficient performance, comfortable support, and great aesthetic, the New Balance Fresh Foam series was made for neutral runners looking for responsiveness and cushioning in their running shoe. Always evolving and improving, Fresh Foam shoes deliver soft and smooth cushioning for running, training, trail or gym.

National Marathoner & New Balance Ambassador Mok Ying Ren with his Zante Pursuit. (c) ONEathlete

Birthed from an extremely lightweight and comfortable footwear series, the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit makes runners feel as though they are moving at the speed of light.

National Marathoner & New Balance Ambassador Mok Ying Ren shuttles in his Zante Pursuit. (c) ONEathlete

The latest Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit uses advanced laser-engraving technology that leverages on data-inspired design to provide uncompromising performance for wearers.

The NB Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit (c) RunONE

Simply put – featherweight! With excess material removed, Zante Pursuit promises an even lighter, better and faster run.

National Marathoner & New Balance Ambassador Mok Ying Ren leaping in his Zante Pursuit. (c) ONEathlete

The NB runners who wore the shoes for a run around the CBD area were quick to feel the little ‘springy’ sensation on the mid-soles, and the stretchable support at the cushioned collars. This was a bit more evident as they whisked and manoeuvered around the evening crowd and steps along the inclined route.

NB Ambassadors Jenny Huang, Marcus Reed, and Loh Guo Pei leading the run. (c) New Balance Singapore

For the competitive runners, having a light (read: high performance) shoe is everything! The run seemed a bit more effortless than usual for this elite pack.

NB Ambassadors Jenny Huang, Marcus Reed, and Loh Guo Pei leading the run. (c) New Balance Singapore

But the prowess of the Zante Pursuit is more evident during a rebounding session by the instructors from Beat x Studio. It sure looks easy, but your legs are nothing but wobbly as you bounce on the trampoline. That’s when you feel the one-ness of your feet with the shoe. The dynamic fit of the shoe helps you to land with ease, and jump up with no weights attached.

Rebounding session by Beat x Studio instructors at Singapore Flyer (c) New Balance Singapore

As Youtuber Umehara Kenji put it, he found a new balance on the mat that day, while others were literally bouncing off to earn their dinner.

Rebounding session by Beat x Studio instructors at Singapore Flyer (c) New Balance Singapore

It was ‘no sweat’ while the instructors threw in some burpees and push-ups on the trampoline while at it.

(c) New Balance Singapore

For those who prefer a sleeker sock-like version, you can also consider the Fresh Foam Zante Solas. (National Marathoner Yvonne Chee rocks out in her purple Zante Solas in the image below.)

In essence, the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante is a lightweight neutral trainer that strikes a balance between being a soft cushioned ride and a fast snappy responsive feeling.

(c) New Balance Singapore

Feel light and fast again!

ONE Turns TWO

3 Feb 2019 – RunONE & ONEathlete celebrated our 2nd year! Both athletes and team members came together to look back on a fulfilling year, as well as look forward toward some of the exciting plans that lie ahead.

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With Chinese New Year just around the corner, it was only fitting that we started the gathering with a lo-hei. As #ONEturnsTWO, it was touching to notice that the community has grown considerably bigger as athletes are joined by their partners, and as staffing expands.

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The cosy setting also afforded many opportunities for athletes to mingle and catch up with one another. It was a welcome respite from ‘business as usual’ and allowed us to get to know one another better as individuals, not just the identity consigned by the sport that we do. At times, conversations would drift back towards the sport that we love and dedicate so much of our time to, as we shared our race plans and training woes as well as how we can support or provide advice through trying times and difficult moments. The point was not lost on each of us at ONE – there is so much more to being an athlete than any national record or personal bests can ever represent. Together, we can help each other achieve much more than any individual ever will.

Thus, we reaffirmed the spirit of family, community and ONEness.

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The candid sharing of concerns, challenges, as well as plans and opportunities was loosely structured to create a comfortable environment to review what went well in 2018, and what we could be done better in the year ahead. It was also an opportune moment for many amongst us to give thanks and be grateful for the advice help we have received. The chocolate cake at the end also marked another momentous occasion for the ONE community, as well as the beginning of another chapter together.

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From all of us at ONE, we wish our readers a happy Chinese New Year in advance, and fellow athletes an exciting and rewarding season ahead!

This is Spartan Race 2019!

“This is Sparta!” We all remember Gerard Butler (as King Leonidas), who declared this statement in anguish as he fought to a dramatic death. Since the release of the 2006 period action film 300, the concept of masculinity and strength has become synonymous with the Spartans.

(c) Jimmy Koh
The first official Spartan Race event was held in 2010 at the Catamount Outdoor Center in Williston, in the city of Burlington, Vermont. Nearly 500 competitors had to “run, crawl, jump and swim” and overcome an array of demanding obstacles to receive a finisher medal, with prizes for the top athletes.

For 9 years, the Spartan Race has been growing steadily and developed franchisees in 30 countries, including Singapore! The Sports Hub was a natural choice to host the prolific obstacle courses all around its fairly new premises on the 26 January 2019.

Though one might think this race is reserved for the fittest of the fittest, 88.3Jia FM’s DJ Jimmy Koh (@jimkoh) dragged our RunONE Co-founder Jed (@jedsent) there for an early morning Saturday workout anyway! They were going along just to ‘observe’, he insisted.

(c) Jimmy Koh

The obstacles were meant to strike fear in those gunning for their respective bragging rights. It even taunted the most seasoned racers. For example, there was the Rope Climb, where participants were required to employ both upper body strength and knowledge of how to hook with your feet. Immediately after completing that station, Jimmy felt compelled to show off his ‘manly scar’ that he ‘suffered’ from the Rope Climb.

DJ Jimmy Koh attempting the Rope Climb.

Jimmy also aced the atlas carry station by carrying the weight and going up and down the long stairs of the stadium! But the bigger jaw droppers were the endearing mak-chiks who unwittingly reminded Jimmy of their sheer power! (Read: Who runs the world?)

No sweat for DJ Jimmy?


Despite keeping safety in view, the race organizers fully attempted to test both the physical and mental strength of participants! Check out how Jimmy fared at the other stations:

But rest assured that after all the grilling, what awaited was a big finisher medal, a finisher tee that sealed bragging rights, as well as a very rejuvenating coconut juice station!

Till the next spart-capade!

Next Spartan Race!

Date: 3rd August 2019
Venue: 200 Turf Club Road, Singapore
Register here

Will you run for hope?

The Run For Hope 2019 is taking place on Sunday, February 17 2019. It is organized by Four Seasons Hotel Singapore in collaboration with National Cancer Centre Singapore. Similar to previous years, the funds raised will go towards the National Cancer Centre Research Fund. (More info: http://www.runforhope.sg/)

DATE                   17 February 2019

TIME                   6.30AM (TBC)

VENUE                OCBC Sports Hub

Other information:

·            Sign up link: http://bit.ly/rfh2019

·            Promo code: RFHTSG (UP: $57 / Promo price: $45)

If you are keen to be part of the race, click on the link above and wait no longer!

ST Articles 2018

Wk Title / Description Writer Themes
0 ST: On your Mok, set, go! Mok Ying Ren Launch >> ST Run 2018
1 ST: Importance of a Good Training Plan! Dr Ivan Low Training Plan
2 ST: The relevance of pre-participation screening Dr Yeo Tee Joo Risks & Injuries
3 ST: How do i manage my training sessions? Mok Ying Ren Training Plan
4 ST: Preparations to tackle an overseas run! Ashley Liew Overseas Runs
5 ST: How to maximise your recovery period? Mok Ying Ren Recovery
6 ST: Minimising risks in running Dr Malcolm Mahadevan Risks & Injuries
7 ST: Music to the ears! Mok Ying Ren Music
8 ST: Why runners run … away Ben Moreau Overseas Runs
9 ST: To outlast … run in a community! Jed Senthil Community
10 ST: Outdo yourself with proper hydration! Mok Ying Ren Hydration
11 ST: Running the right way Sharon Lim Running Gait
12 ST: Getting into the right kicks! Mok Ying Ren Footwear
13 ST: Master running as you age Evan Chee Inspiration
14 ST: Not an uphill task! Mok Ying Ren Slope Training
15 ST: Back in the days Dr Low Cheng Hock Inspiration
16 ST: The Final Countdown Mok Ying Ren Pre-race Tips
17 ST: You have done it! Mok Ying Ren Post-race Tips
18 ST: Remember The Poor Jed Senthil Community
19 ST: Sleeping right! Mok Ying Ren Sleeping
20 ST: Shredding my weight to go the distance! Banjamin Quek Inspiration
21 ST: Journeying through pain and injuries Mok Ying Ren Risks & Injuries
22 ST: Taking a (sick) break from running Dr Wang Mingchang Risks & Injuries
23 ST: Every drop counts! Mok Ying Ren Community
24 ST: Reflections of a runner’s wife Mrs Belinda Mok & Mok Ying Ren Inspiration
25 ST: Take a deep breath Mok Ying Ren Breathing
26 ST: Mastering your self during a run! Edgar Tham Sports Psychology
27 ST: 3 Important Factors to Ace Your Race! Mok Ying Ren Pre-race Tips
28 ST: Preparing during the next 24 hours! Volker Herrmann Pre-race Tips
29  ST: The Finish Line Mok Ying Ren  Inspiration

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More local stars emerge at SCSM 2018!

9 Dec 2018 – The weatherman told us it would be one of the coolest Decembers Singapore has seen recently. Expect showers, they said. Just not in the morning, we hoped. There is a fine line between comfortably cool, perhaps with a slight drizzle, and uncomfortably cats-and-dogs wet. Like the line that serious athletes who push their limits must (eventually) learn to run – too much and you risk blowing up; too gentle and you do not leave your mark. It is a calculated risk that athletes hone over their months and years of preparation.

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Photo credits: RunONE

On a particular December morning for the past 17 years, it  is a drill well rehearsed that see throngs of runners take to the streets of Singapore for the marquee running event on Singapore’s race calendar. Among the close to 50,000 who turned up in this year’s Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM), a few seek to race the clock and the shadows of yesterdays. But against the backdrop of gearing up for the World Marathon Majors, what made this year’s SCSM extra special, is the number of new faces and rising stars on the circuit.

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SCSM Day 1 – 10km Men’s and Women’s Race

In the 10km race category, Vanja Cnops, a Belgian-based researcher in Singapore, won the female race with a time of 40:07. She is no stranger to the podium, having most recently won the King of the Trails 4 female’s race! Goh Chui Ling was the top-ranked Singaporean female runner who came in 3rd with a time of 41:56, marking an improvement of over a minute from her results at the Great Eastern Women’s 10km race, where she also came in 3rd with a timing of 43:00. The rising track star (who trained for the race under former SA Technical Director, Volker Herrmann) shared with RunONE, that this would likely be her last 10km race as she turns her focus back towards the track season, which will get underway soon. Due to a lack of varied terrain for running in Singapore, it is not uncommon for track runners to diversify and switch up their training by either going into road, or trail, races, during the track offseason.

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Men’s and Women’s 10km Winners at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2018. (3rd from left) Kim Mangrobang from the Philippines, and (3rd from right) Ka Ho Chan from Hong Kong, with the Singaporean Winners. Photo credits: RunONE

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Separately, in the 10km Men’s category, ActiveSG athlete Shobib Marican was the top-ranked Singaporean, winning the silver with a time of 35:58. Shobib trains under coach Steven Quek, whose training ethos is based on a firm belief in consistency. In a short post-race interview with RunONE, Shobib felt that the familiarity earned through hard training gives him a certain level of confidence heading into the race – that the hard work is in the bag. One change that he liked about this year’s SCSM, was the reduction in bottle-neck as the race turned into a 2-day event with the half and full marathon event separated from the 10km. This allowed the 10km racers to better focus on executing their race.

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From Left to Right: Vanja (Winner Female’s 10km), Shobib (2nd Men’s 10km), Chui Ling (3rd Female’s 10km) Photo credits: RunONE

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SCSM Day 2 – Half and Full Marathon Men’s and Women’s Race

With the majority of race participants signing up for the half and full marathon, excitement was almost always certain to build up towards day 2, as the finale of this SCSM weekend.

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Photo credits: RunONE

ONEathlete & Under Armour Ambassador Banjamin Quek finished 3rd in the Local Men’s Half Marathon category with a time of 1:22 under trying circumstances.

Speaking to The Straits Times & RunONE at the end of the whole ordeal, Banja felt that the route was ‘good but tough’. He thought that the organisers could have done better by having more water points along the highways and better management of the human traffic who were  leaving the race village, as evident from the long queues and crowd bottleneck observed.

Banja also wants to acknowledge and thank the prompt medical attention he received when he nearly collapsed after crossing the finish, a sign that the organizers have paid strong emphasis and close heed to safety issues following earlier race-related fatalities.

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Men’s and Women’s 42km Local Champions of SCSM 2018. (From left) Rachel See, Mohd Iskandar, Soh Rui Yong, Lim Baoying, Giebert Foo and He Xiuying. 5 of them made it to the Top 20 Marathon Overall (Men’s and Women’s) leaderboard that was dominated by the Kenyans. Photo credits: RunONE

In the Full Marathon category, last year’s Men’s Champion Soh Rui Yong defended his title by winning with a time of 2:41:49. Trackstar Athletics’s Mohd Iskandar (2:49:46) who finished 5th Local in 2017, and Giebert Foo (2:54:14) etched into the Men’s top 3 to end the year with a well-deserved blast.

Newer faces on the podium, and more local runners in the sub-3 hour timings displayed the rising competitiveness of the local marathon circuit. Several others include Ho Ghim Khoon (2:56:02, 5th), and Tan Wei Jie (2:59:01, 8th) were also hopeful nominees who started off from the Elite Pen. Another notable young star is Daniel Leow who trains with the Singapore Shufflers and made a remarkable 38 minutes improvement over his 2017 results!

Giebert Foo’s SCSM2017 Ekiden Team, Victorious Secret Angels, retained their 2nd position in 2018, with the 5th and last runner, Soh Hua Qun speeding through to finish with a time of 2:44:46.

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ONEathlete Evan Chee finished in 4th place with a time of 2:55:00, narrowly missing out on the podium by just under 1 minute while Ashley Liew suffered in the latter half of the race to finish in 3:09. Having won the SCMS in 2012 and coming in 2nd last year, it was clearly not his best performance by a large margin.

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Photo credits: RunONE

While this year’s preparation was largely similar to previous years, Ashley had tried incorporating minor tweaks in this year’s SCSM lead-up by racing more short distance events. Nonetheless, with his 2:41 finish at the Tokyo Marathon earlier in Feb 2018, Ashley remains the second fastest Singaporean over the Marathon distance this year. The upcoming offseason will provide an ideal window for Ashley to rethink his training and race strategies, and regroup before the 2019 season.

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Photo credits: RunONE

Before the race, Evan had set his focus on a singular goal and that is to improve upon his 2017 results by snagging a season-best finish quicker than his Gold Coast Marathon result of 2:51. Training was definitely different this year as Evan had to lay off running while recovering from injury for good part of the year since Jan. Mileage remained low throughout most of 2018 until the 2 months leading up to SCSM, when he finally managed to put in consistent weekly mileage above 100km.

As a result, Evan has had to adjust his race execution by focusing more on execution and good pacing strategy for this year. In the end, he managed to secure a 4th place finish in a highly competitive event like SCSM, which also doubled up as the National Championship for the 2nd year running.

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Making the podium for the Women’s Marathon was, Dr Lim Baoying who was not an elite runner (starting from Pen A) emerged as the surprise winner with a time of 3:16:36; 2017 defending women’s champion, Rachel See, was strong through the first 30km of the race with an average pace of 4:25min/km and had to dig deep in the closing kilometres of the race to finish 2nd at 3:18:36. He Xiuying rounded up the podium with a very respectable finish of 3:18:57.x

Evan’s sister, Yvonne Elizabeth Chee, also competing in the elite female category for the first time, finished in 4th place with a time of 3:25. She had skipped the 2017 Marathon post-pregnancy, and geared her way into ‘her special spot’. The civil servant and mother of two also thanked her husband, who ‘made it possible’ by taking care of their children to afford her precious time away for her training runs. Singapore’s marathon Olympian, Neo Jie Shi came in 5th at 3:27:31.

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From Left to Right: The Chee Siblings and Dr Ansgar Cheng (2nd Local Men’s Masters). Photo credits: RunONE

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With the conclusion of SCSM 2018, the hectic running season in Singapore comes to a pause as we, runners and spectators alike, usher in the festive season and a time to share with our loved ones! As we gather to celebrate love, friendship and hope during this holiday, the future for Singapore’s running looks bright given the performance and number of rising local stars at SCSM 2018. A starry, starry future beholds.

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Members of the ONE team joined by friends of the running circuit. Photo credits: RunONE

Feel Good Giving!

26 Nov 2018 – The folks at lululemon brought together a bunch of highly flexible and creative individuals for a very thoughtfully planned weekend retreat at Sofitel Singapore. Not being one of the flexible ones, our Co-founder Jed was gratified to have been invited to join in! For all who attended, it seemed like a much-needed getaway from the buzz of really busy lives, on Sentosa Island.

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Photo credits (all the photos on this post): @stefanusian

All the lululemon Ambassadors and invited guests from Singapore and Malaysia were encouraged to put away their mobiles and anything that could potentially distract them from being fully present. Now, while you might feel that this would be like losing an arm or leg, our Co-founder – who stopped replying any messages or emails till the end of the day – said that it really gave him the time to reflect, process and be intentional about life in general. Ultimately, the virtue of MINDFULNESS was introduced.

Each of the sessions was centered around the core identity of the brand. For example, the participants encountered CHOICE when they explored possibilities during the first session, when they had a ‘unicorn brainstorm’ to list all the possibilities in their lives and overcome self-limiting beliefs to craft a reality-redefining ‘Possibility Statement’! After all, the biggest obstruction to our goals is our own limiting beliefs.

What are the values you stand for? What are the core values that define you? The facilitators got the peeps to identify these from a laundry list of values, before zooming in on the main themes and values. This effectively created a greater sense of self-awareness and MINDFULNESS of what is really important to and is driving us!

Every morning also began with silence (where participants did not engage in any conversation) and PRACTICE modern yoga and meditation. “The last time I did yoga was about more than 20 years ago,” Jed quipped. But we guess it did him much good, as he said he was more flexible and woke up with no back pains the next day. (Editor’s note: Can we send Jed to you guys again?)

No man is an island (pun intended, despite being on Sentosa!) and indeed, the COLLECTIVE of facilitators, organizers, 30 participants and support crew all played a pivotal role in each participant’s journey and experience. Intimate and transparent sharing knit their trust with one another and strengthened the friendships. New relationships were forged, and needless to say, the goodbyes were a little harder on the last day.

Despite this, a more meaningful finale would be to now go out as empowered individuals, and impact other lives positively! Lululemon S.E.A. wants these 30 Ambassadors and invited guests to experience the joy of giving and gave them 3 affirming cards and gift cards each, to bless others with.

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Photo credits: RunONE

It is indeed more of a blessing to give than to receive. Not just with gifts and cards, but also to give of ourselves to this world, through deliberate PRACTICE, intentional MINDFULNESS, and unlimited CHOICES, with this lululemon COLLECTIVE! May you #feelgoodgiving too!

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Photo credits (all the photos on this post): @stefanusian

The last lap as you #RunWithMok

1 Dec 2018 – The final pacer run before the 2018 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (#SCSM2018) was on 8th and 9th December 2018 was held in partnership with several partners comprising of Ironman, Under Armour Pacers (from Running Department), and 100PLUS together with their Ambassador, 7-time SCMS Local Champion & ONEathlete, Mok Ying Ren

 

Before the run, Mok Ying Ren took the stage to answer questions raised by the participants. This was an enthusiastic crowd, asking questions ranging from his pre-race warm-up routine to pacing strategies, to his preferred pre-race breakfast. One of the key topics he shared about was hydration.

 

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Photo credits: ONEathlete / RunONE

Hydration is of paramount importance to a successful race. However, he noted that a substantial number of runners visit the medical tent due to overhydration. They have drunk excessive amounts of water, resulting in a condition known as hyponatremia – low sodium levels. This results in them feeling giddy and fatigued, symptoms not unlike dehydration.

Mok advised that it is important to drink to the point of thirst and allow our bodies’ natural regulating systems to decide how much we should drink on race day. He also suggested that runners should get used to the isotonic drink (that will be available during the race day) during their training itself. 

 

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Photo credits: ONEathlete / RunONE

Thankfully, the early morning rain had cleared out just before the morning event started and participants got to enjoy beautiful, cooling weather for most of the run.

 

In this final pacer run, the participants were divided into pacing groups based on their targeted Half marathon and Full marathon timings. Half marathon runners ran 12km while the Full marathon runners ran 15km around iconic Singapore sites such as Marina Bay Sands and Singapore Flyer. Mok Ying Ren started off with the first pacing group before striking it out on his own for the last part of the run. 

 

Post run, Mok Ying Ren continued to mingle with the participants as they streamed into the finishing area after their runs and had their complimentary breakfast sets. It was also a great opportunity for the runners to #askmok their questions on hydration, pacing, and even their running gait! 

 

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Photo credits: ONEathlete / RunONE

The official hydration sponsor of SCMS, 100PLUS Singapore provided the hydration for the morning. There was no lack of hydration both during and after the run. With B Vitamins (B3, B6 & B12), Non-Carbonated 100PLUS ACTIVE is specially designed to facilitate energy production, as well as to aid in after-sports recovery. An apt choice for the pacer run and preps for #SCSM2018.

 

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Participants, Under Armour Pacers (from Running Department), and 100PLUS together with their Ambassador, 7-time SCMS Local Champion & ONEathlete, Mok Ying Ren. Photo credits: ONEathlete / RunONE

Marathoner Evan Chee’s Tour de Europe

21 Nov 2018 – While most of us have always imagined an ideal Europe road trip to be driving a caravan through the winding Alps and French countryside, or a shop(eat)-till-you-drop magical experience on the streets of London and Madrid, Evan is not like most of us.

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The 38-year old marathoner had always dreamed of racing a half marathon in Europe and the IAAF gold label, AIMS-certified Valencia Half-Marathon checked all the boxes. It was known to be a fast and flat course (world records were set here before), and the cooling conditions in late October meant the race’s schedule fitted perfectly into Evan’s overall preparation for Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 6 weeks later.

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Valencia Half-Marathon 2018

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Evan arrived in Valencia, also known as the city of running, after 24 hours of non-stop traveling and made it to one of the biggest race expos he has seen. The actual race kicked off at 9am on a cool Sunday morning. With temperatures hovering between 10 to 15 degrees, conditions couldn’t have been better along with the electrifying crowd support lined up along both sides of the race route and excellent race organization.

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In the end, Kenya’s Abraham Kiptum broke the Men’s Half-Marathon world record clocking 58:18 to take five seconds off the mark set by Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese in 2010. Evan would go on to clock 1:19 for a personal best and finishing in 94th place and 2nd Asian runner. While Evan had gone into the race with higher expectations, it was still a timely confidence booster after spending most of 2018 nursing a niggling leg injury which had hampered his training.

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‘THE’ Marathon

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2 weeks later, Evan would go on to run another epic European race, the Athens Classic Marathon, the birthplace of all modern-day Marathons. While it is an IAAF gold label race today, the race’s heritage and history stretch all the way back to 490BC. The Athens Marathon traces the same route that the legendary Greek messenger, Pheidippides, ran from the Battle of Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek’s victory over the Persians!

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Runners from around the world gather at Adidas Runbase in Athens

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As part of the pre-race lead-up, Evan had a rare opportunity to visit Adidas Runbase in Athens and meet like-minded Adidas Runners (AR) from all around the world (including Paris, London, Vienna, Dubai, Madrid, and Milan). Runbase is a 6-story facility catered for AR with running and all sorts of fitness sessions taking place almost daily!

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Group shot with Adidas Runners in front of the Acropolis

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Together, they would all participate in a shake-out sightseeing run organized by AR Athens to showcase the best of Athens sights and sounds, ending with a group shot taken in front of the Acropolis and a pasta party right after!

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Athens Classic Marathon 2018

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The Athens Classic Marathon counts as one of the most difficult major marathon race with a nearly 20km-long uphill climb, which dwarves the SCSM Sheares Bridge climb at the 37km mark. The course begins in the town of Marathon before passing by the tomb of Athenian soldiers, turning towards the city of Athens before finishing up at the Panathinaiko Stadium. The stadium is a landmark site for athletics competition in ancient times, and also where the 1896 and 2004 Olympics Marathon chose as its finishing point.

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xIn a fitting tribute to the race and area’s history, it has become a standard practice before every year’s race to carry the Marathon Flame, which is lit at the Tomb of the Battle of Marathon, to the finish point at the Stadium.

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Right from the start, Evan planned to maintain a comfortable long run pace as he tackled the seemingly endless uphills and slopes. After crossing the halfway mark in 1:30:30 as planned, Evan knew the race had only just begun with another 10km of slopes to go in what was proving to be a much more challenging route than SCSM. The Greek messenger, Pheidippides, couldn’t have been happier than Evan when he caught sight of the Stadium finish point, crossing the line in 3:00:50 with an average pace of 4:15′.

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Wrapping up his Europe ‘road trip’, Evan will like to thank everyone from AR Athens, particularly captain Deniz Dimaki, whose efforts helped make all this possible. It was a whirlwind 3 weeks in Europe but it turned out to be an out-of-this-world experience running ‘literally’ from Valencia to Madrid, Barcelona to Santorini before calling it a day in Athens.

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While his legs may feel like they’re running on empty (for the next couple days), but his heart is definitely full. Be sure to check in with Evan as he lines up for the biggest race on Singapore’s running calendar – the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon!