Did You Know? How ‘The Game of Palm’ Became Tennis

SHAHEED ALAM – At present, I can confidently say that tennis is one of the toughest sports out there due to the physical, mental, technical and tactical aspects of the game. At the recently concluded Australian Open, Men’s Champion Novak Djokovic spent a total of 14hrs 4mins on the court throughout the entire tournament, across 7 matches. That is an average of around 2 hours per match.

However, was it always like this when tennis began? Certainly not.

Before rackets there were palms

When tennis first appeared in the 12th century, it was played with the palm of the hand instead of a racket. This continued up till the 16th century when rackets were introduced by the French and English, although it was unlikely that the games then tested anyone’s endurance or speed.

A cartoon of tennis when it was played during the 12th century without the use of rackets.
(c) Stock image from Google

Evolution of Tennis with Technology

It is generally accepted that Tennis has evolved tremendously since the time of Rod Laver and Ken Rosewell (1950s-1960s). Along with the leaps and bounds made in racket technology came increasingly challenging tennis matches, both physically and mentally. For instance, the increased size of the ball dramatically slowed down the court speed court and this indirectly had a knock-on effect of turning tennis matches into an endurance challenge.

Left : Bjorn Borg vs John McEnroe at 1981 final
Right: Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic at 2015 final

Notice the difference in the court. The picture of the left shows a lot more dead grass at the net area compared to the picture on the right, due to the evolution of tennis.
(c) Stock image from Google

Different playing styles and eras

With all these modifications to the game, players had to adapt by changing their playing style as well. With the ‘Serve and Volley’ game pretty much long gone (except for a few players), today’s game focuses more on the baseline.

(c) Stock image from Google

# Hit It Like Shaheed

With the sport itself having evolved through time, I can’t help but look back on my own journey too.

From a 5-year-old kid to a National Tennis Player. I’ve been very privileged to be able to have the opportunity to hold a racket and don the national outfit because tennis is a fantastic sport for all!

(c) ONEathlete

I’m especially excited to be able to don a pair of tennis shoes from Asics’s Tennis line and have my trusty Babalot racket on the Tennis court with me today!

Shaheed preparing to serve during his training (c) ONEathlete

Both brands have also evolved tremendously over the years and developed a number of products and prototypes that have gradually improved in response to how end-users (athletes) and the demands of the sport have changed with time.

This is something I, as an athlete, value and see in many of those who stay on top of their game. The key is to stay ahead of the curve and adapt with the times.

(c) ONEathlete

I highly encourage anyone to take up tennis as a sport because it is a great form of exercise. While it may be challenging to be hitting rallies from the get-go, once you get used to it, you will be having tons of fun with your friends in no time! While at it, remember to grab a pair of Asics Tennis shoe and Babalot racket – they might just give you the head start you need!

Shaheed Alam is a ONEathlete and Ambassador for Asics (Tennis) and Babalot. 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.

10 local athletes who made the sporting scene dope in 2018!

21 Feb 2019 – 180 guests gathered at Shangri-la Hotel Singapore today to celebrate the best of the local sporting scene!

The awards event, organized by The Straits Times Sports Desk and presented by 100PLUS Singapore, has always been cherished by those in the sports fraternity to honor the local athletes who had done exceedingly well.
Along with it, is also an assurance for greater support for athletes:

Excerpt from The Straits Times
Speaking at The Straits Times Athlete of the Year award ceremony, Minister Grace Fu said: “We want our athletes to excel at upcoming major Games… To encourage selected Team Singapore athletes to take on a full training load to start their preparations early for these Games, SportSG is rolling out extended campaign support of $3 million up to two years in advance, for athletes who display potential to excel at these Games and a podium finish.”

It was nothing but an atmosphere of hope and excellence to the athletes, who took no qualms about sacrificing much for their sport. But who are the 10 nominees (in no particular order) who were #lit on their ‘field’?

1. National Bowler, Muhd Jaris Goh

(L-R) Lee Yulin, ST Sports Editor; Grace Fu, Minister for MCCY; Jaris; and Jennifer See, Managing Director for F&N

Muhammad Jaris Goh, who fired the Singapore men’s team to a first medal at the World Men’s Championships and a long-overdue medal at the Asian Games in 2018, was named The Straits Times’ Athlete of the Year 2018 Excerpt from ST

2. St Andrew’s Hockey Captain, Sean See

Sean with RunONE Co-founder, Jed Senthil.

Sean was awarded the ST Young Star award after he displayed sportsmanship when he asked the umpire to forgo his own team’s goal, which led to the Saints losing to Northland Secondary School, during the National School Games. At the age of 17, he is all ready to be the 2nd Singaporean to receive the Pierre de Coubertin International Fair Play Award already !!!

Today, he was also awarded the ST Young Star of the Year 2018!

(Admin’s note: We think Jed is slightly biased and beaming with pride here, as both Sean and Jed share the same alma mater. #UpandOn)

Interesting trivia, he was coached by ONEathlete Tan Yiru before.

3. National Paddler, Yu Mengyu

(c) The Straits Times

The table tennis star rose above her career-ending injuries to securing a medal.

4. Bukit Merah Sec’s Floorball Player, John Alicante Embile

(c) Redsports Sg

It was mind over matter, to take his first penalty and he led his school to the first title in 8 years.

5. National Swimmer, Toh Wei Soong

(c) Active SG

The parathlete returned home as a Double Asian Para-games Gold Medalist from Jakarta, Indonesia.

6. VJC’s High Jumper Kampton Kam

(c) Redsports Sg

He jumped to 2 golds, 2 silvers, and 2 bronze medals at the SEA Youth Athletic Championships in Bangkok.

7. National Shooter, Martina Veloso

(c) Active SG

Martina’s former schoolmate & ONEathlete, Shaheed Alam would agree. She is not even 20, sho(o)t to fame at Commonwealth Games with unexpected medals, and is totally photogenic.

(Admin’s note: Enuf said. We are gel-uuz)

8. Queensway Sec’s Footballer, Putri Nur Syaliza

(c) The Straits Times

She bends it like Beckham! Woaaaaaaa(go)aaaaaaaal!

9. National Swimmer, Joseph Schooling

(c) redsports sg

No introduction needed. He is Singapore’s golden boy and continues to have such strong camaraderie on the pool at Asian Games.

10. ACS (Barker Road) C Division Table Tennis Team – Ryan Eng, Ryan Chong, Ryan Tan, Ethan Ong, Ethan Chua, Silas Chua, Benjamin Wee and Seth Wong

(c) The Straits Times

We saved this for the last.

Coming together from the Junior school, they formed their own team (in the absence of a CCA club), trained for 2 weeks, played, won a bronze medal, and formed their own legit club! Hyperlapse story for these guys, #tbytb

Bonus: National Marathoner, Mok Ying Ren


Did you #runwithmok during the Straits Times Run 2018 too?

Posters of the 100PLUS Ambassador were seen all around the Island Ballroom, gently reminding us to hydrate well and power our daily exercise regimes with the ACTIVE’s electrolytes, Vitamins B3, B6 and B12!

The Double SEA Games Gold Medalist & National Records Holder, who won Singapore’s first male marathon gold medal in 2013, made his ‘presence-felt’ even though he was not at the awards venue, and was probably at work on the surgical table.

Orthopaedic Resident, Dr. Mok continues to be iconic of many Team Singapore athletes who strive to give a stellar performance in their sporting dreams, professional endeavors, and personal commitments!

3 Ways to kick start your weight loss campaign!

BANJAMIN QUEK – It is easy to make fitness goals when it’s barely 1 month into the new year, when you’re brimming with enthusiasm (or festive goodies). A simple comparison of the number of gym-goers in January and June will be telling – how many of us will be disciplined enough to go the distance when it comes to health, fitness and weight loss?

The fact is, most of us can’t. According to a survey by Taiwan’s Health Promotion Administration, on average, we consume 39% more calories, and nearly 45% of people gain an average of 1.7kg during Chinese New Year. Multiply that by the number of festive seasons in multi-racial Singapore, and add in As the saying goes, ‘a moment on your lips, forever on your hips’.

Here are 3 simple, yet effective ways which can help you stave off those extra pounds.

  1. Using Calorie Counter

I am blessed with loving relatives and loved ones who never fail to shower me with home-cooked meals and food whenever we meet up. While I know this is their way of caring and showing their love, such generosity may not always be helpful when I’m working towards a target race weight. Taking one or two extra bites may not derail your plan, but it is still important to watch what you eat. Keeping track of your meal and snacks intake goes a long way in keeping you accountable to your weight loss plan.

Alternatively, you might want to download Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal app which can help you track your calories intake, and also set diet goals to remind yourself not to overeat during moments of indulgence (or weakness). Some snacks can be notoriously high in sugar and such blood sugar spikes could compromise your immune system and make you more vulnerable to sickness. As always, moderation is key.

2. Consistent exercise is key

If you are someone who ‘lives to eat’ and life would be decidedly un-worthy if devoid of snacks and treats, then consistent and disciplined exercise might be the way to go. #BurnMoreEatMore. Incorporating exercising as part of your daily regime is a simple way to ensure that those extra calories fill your heart, but not your stomach. Here’s a chart about how much exercise you would need to burn off the extra calories.

(c) Chart adopted from Channel Newsasia

Since running is one of the most efficient and calorie-bruning exercise, you might want to take a look at Under Amour’s Hovr Infinite. Their latest running shoe, launched in February 2019, has a new feature which allows you to track your run and calories burnt via the Mapmyrun app. UA Hovr Infinite is also comfortable for running over long distances and can certainly be one of, if not your best buddy for your runs.

A morning workout before the emails and work calls start coming in can also become a de-stressing routine. The cool morning weather also makes for a surprisingly refreshing run, unlike the hot and humid tropical climate in Singapore.

3) Choosing Healthier Options

Instead of chugging down cans of beers and soft drinks, you might be amazed by how much of a difference it makes to opt for water or low-calorie sodas. It’s little surprise that people put on weight during festive seasons, since everyone mostly hands out packets of sweet drinks during visitations. With the rising popularity of sugared beverages like brown sugar milk tea, it can feel like an uphill battle against the sugary goodness. However, the choice ultimately is ours to make, and taking the calories from sugared drinks out of the equation is definitely one of the secrets to not piling on the extra pounds. Sometimes, eating is just our way of dealing with boredom so why not fill in this gap by throwing in fruits as part of your diet instead?

(c) Stock image from Google

In a food-centric society like Singapore where a large part of our culture is built around what is served on our plates, it can be very challenging, and counter-intuitive at times, to lead a life that seems devoid of these tasty ‘parcels of love’. However, with a little mindfulness, we hope you can achieve the balance you need to enjoy a healthy body while fulfilling your heart’s desires.

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

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!

4 Ways to staying fit despite all the eating during CNY

REBEKKAH ONG – Chinese New Year (CNY) is a yearly holiday affair when everyone, including family and friends, gather to celebrate the joyous occasion of ushering in the Lunar New Year. It is also a season where festive goodies are in abundance and we can’t wait to enjoy seasonal treats such as CNY cookies and love letters!

During periods like this, overindulging can seem like an inevitable fact of life. So the real question is – how do you keep the festive spirit high, and yet shun those extra pounds? Must a ”moment on the lip” really become “forever on your hips”? Here are some tips that we hope can help you enjoy the New Year celebrations without fearing the post-festive guilt.

  • Know your CNY goodies calories

Chinese New Year snacks festive treats are generally pretty high in sugar and fat. Some of these snacks can even contain as many calories as a small meal. Hence, you should consume in moderation and adjust your physical activity level to avoid unwanted weight gain.

The picture below shows how much physical activity is needed to work off these festive treats. One pineapple tart contains about 82 calories, one love letter contains about 56 calories, and a single bak kwa contains a hefty 370 calories.

Chinese New Year goodies and calories

Calories are taken from HPB Online.*Values are based on a 60kg man.

  • Go easy on the drinks

Whenever possible, consider choosing beverages with reduced sugar or those with the Healthier Choice Symbol. Try to avoid soft drinks and alcohol as the sugar content for these drinks are likely to be high. Did you know that a can of soft drink or alcoholic drink can have about 80 – 150 calories lurking in it? If you can, just avoid the sugared drinks and opt for plain water.

  • Make time to exercise

While you may not always have time for exercise, you can always make time for it. During festive periods, it can be pretty hectic visiting friends and family. Make it a point to wake up early and go for a morning run or workout before these visits. If pre-dawn workouts are not your cup of tea, another option would be to exercise while you are out visiting. One way would be to plan your route with your family and friends such that everyone can walk a short distance to the next destination and benefit from being active. Don’t forget that the National Steps Challenge Season 4 is in progress – so get moving and clock those 10,000 steps for your Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) points.

  • Find opportunities to move

When visiting, find opportunities to keep yourself moving. There will be a stream of guests during house visits, so be prepared to stand and walk to greet guests at the doorstep. Also, offer to help your busy hosts serve drinks and titbits. As a plus, you’ll increase your likeability while burning twice as many calories as compared to sitting down. Give up your seat if there is a crowd, and stand to chat. Try to mingle more with other guests—the idea is to keep moving.

Find opportunities to stand during visiting.

We hope these tips will come in useful during this CNY period.

From all of at RunOne, here’s wishing one and all a happy and prosperous Lunar New Year! Stay fit and strong everyone!

Rebekkah Ong is a fitness junkie and F1 geek. The elegant foodie is almost at every run event! She presents all things in fours!

Runners running past MBS Singapore

4 Ways to run into the New Year

REBEKAH ONG – If this Monday has got you feeling more deflated than ever, there’s nothing wrong with you, and there’s some good science to back that up. The third/fourth Monday of a new year was crowned Blue Monday by psychologist Dr. Cliff Arnall, who devised an actual mathematical formula that factors in weather, debt and time since Christmas, timing of New Year’s resolutions, low motivational levels, and the urgent feeling that you need to take action, on top of the dreaded back-to-work Monday blues that many office workers face. The solution? Don’t turn it into a self-fulfilling prophecy by focusing on the things you can do to boost your health and mood.

At the top of this list would be New Year’s resolutions, which are pretty common things that most people would set at the beginning of the year. Setting goals and targets that you want to achieve in the course of the year often ties in with starting on a clean slate and taking on opportunities to begin a brand new chapter in life. One of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions is to get fit. The definition of being fit is to be in good health and one of the ways to do that is through regular exercise. For many in Singapore, running is a common way to keep fit and for some, this might be their resolution. If this is the case for you, here are some fun ideas to get you started on your journey!

Start small

Plan your weekly run sessions and set a distance goal. Always start small, then slowly progress further. You don’t need to go fast, but go at a comfortable pace, so you won’t get disheartened or stressed the next time you go for your run. Remember to always stick with something comfortable when you are just starting out.

Join a running group

If you are sociable and would like to make new friends, there are always running groups around to guide and help you become stronger in your run journey. Most of the running groups cater to runners of all levels. Do not be intimidated and go with an open mind to learn and improve. Some running groups which you can consider are Superhero Runners, Running Department, Adidas Runners Singapore, and Coffee Tea Runners, which are just a few of many such groups in Singapore.

Join a virtual run

Joining a virtual run is a good way to motivate you to get started on running. Depending on the site that you register at, there are different criteria for completion. One site that you can check out would be 42race.com. They have 2 types of virtual runs. One is a distance challenge where you are given a time period of a month to complete a certain distance. The the other option is like a typical run event which requires that you complete a pre-determined distance within a few days, but you can run anywhere and at your own time. These virtual runs are typically priced reasonably and some even provide a finisher’s medal.

Plan out your race calendar

In Singapore, there are lots of run events to choose from and our race calendar is one of the busiest in the region. Runs like the ever popular 2XU Compression Run and the biggest run on Singapore’s calendar, the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, all have different categories and enough goodies to entice you to join. This would be a good time to map out your training and race calendar for the rest of the year and commit yourself to train for them. The race atmosphere will definitely kick things up a notch and provide an entirely different experience from running alone. 

We hope the aforementioned ideas will kick-start your 2019 New Year’s resolutions to keep fit and launch your running journey!

Rebekkah Ong is a fitness junkie and F1 geek. The elegant foodie is almost at every run event! She presents all things in fours!

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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Mok Ying Ren

ST: The Finish Line

This article was first published in The Sunday Times on 16 Dec 2018.

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MOK YING REN A huge congratulations to all who completed last week’s Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, especially those who finished the arduous 42.195km full marathon!

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In the blink of an eye, 2018 has come to an end and so has this year’s #RunWithMok column, which was in partnership with the Straits Times Run and the Singapore Marathon. It feels like only yesterday when we embarked on this journey together to train up for two major races in Singapore.

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Over the span of just a few months, my fellow contributors and I have touched on a myriad of running-related topics. Many of these had also piqued my curiosity when I first started on my running journey. I hope that we have been able to address your doubts and queries adequately, as you #LearnWithMok. (Recap all articles for 2018 HERE!)

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It is also an opportune time for me to thank the ST Sports Desk Team for their support and inputs; fellow columnists who were generous with their experience and expertise; all the readers and race participants who were very forthcoming in writing into #AskMok to ask questions and attending the various talks and run clinics. A big pat on the back for those who diligently followed the RunONE training programme and our Sunday columns for 30 weeks! You have truly made the journey memorable! Thank you!

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Double SEA Games Gold Medalist & 7-time SCMS Local Champion, Mok Ying Ren against a common but scenic backdrop for local races. Photo credits: ONEATHLETE

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To conclude this column, I would like to share 3 takeaways that can be applied to your running journey henceforth, so that you can continue running!

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Be consistent

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Mok Ying Ren, Double SEA Games Gold Medalist & 7-times SCMS Local Champion. Photo credits: ONEathlete 

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Consistency is essential to any life pursuit, be it relationships, studies, work and, of course, running. Consistency means maintaining a certain level of frequency over an extended period of time.

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Consistency in your running journey would mean, for example, running at least twice a week, regardless if you are training for a specific event. This will prevent your fitness and muscular adaptations from degenerating and allow you to bounce back to high-quality training within a shorter time. It will also reduce your risk of injury risk when you step up for your next training programme.

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Be conservative

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Mok Ying Ren, Double SEA Games Gold Medalist & 7-times SCMS Local Champion. Photo credits: ONEathlete 

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Always adopt a conservative approach to your training programme. It is very easy, and almost natural, to allow our haste and impatience to hijack our plans. On days when we feel good, we tend to want to do more or push ourselves that bit harder. Sometimes, it is wiser to hold your horses and allow your body to adapt and enjoy the fitness it has achieved at a methodical pace.

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As you progress in your training, you should aim to increase your training volume and intensity incrementally. Take baby steps and avoid sudden ramp-up. Doing too much, too soon, is really a recipe for disaster. As the saying goes, ‘more haste, less speed’.

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Be unique individually

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Mok Ying Ren, Double SEA Games Gold Medalist & 7-times SCMS Local Champion. Photo credits: ONEathlete 

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You would appreciate that we have placed great emphasis on each runner ’s individuality. This applies, not only to training programmes and routines but also to smaller details like hydration and nutrition needs. Truly, one man’s meat is, and can often be another man’s poison.

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I myself am guilty of having committed the cardinal mistake of replicating and religiously following training programmes of top runners in the world, only to be saddled with injuries and disappointment.

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This is not to say that you cannot draw inspiration from the best athletes or should not adopt practices that your well-intentioned friends have recommended – you can, and you should. However, you should first put some thought into what you have read or heard and then make a considered decision on whether to follow through and embrace them as yours. Blindly following the group may do you more harm than good.

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Photo credits: RunONE

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With this, the RunONE Team and I, are signing off! We would like to wish all of you an early Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Recap all articles for 2018 HERE!

See you again next year on #RunWithMok!

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

ST: Preparing during the next 24 hours!

This article was first published in The Straits Times on 8 December 2018

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VOLKER HERRMANN – Race days are often the highlight of an athlete’s career. You have invested weeks and months, and made substantial sacrifices in every area of your life, for these precious moments of racing. When so much is on the line, naturally you would want to make every moment count, and every step you take prior to your race day is crucial.
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D-1: Take it as just another day

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One of the biggest secret to succeed is to, ironically, approach race day as an average training day. While it is important to prepare well, you should not try to make the day an unusual one, especially if you are thinking of experimenting or trying something new.

If you are sharing your experience with your friends and supporters, remember to give them instructions beforehand, especially to be stationed at the parts of the race you would need their support and morale boosters the most!

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IAAF lecturer, Volker Herrmann sharing his race tips with National Marathoner & ONEathlete Ashley Liew, who will be running the SCSM 2018 tomorrow. Photo credits: RunONE

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H-18: Prepare early

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Prepare your equipment the night before, like your shoes, socks, shorts and singlet (pin your number bib). It is important not to wear anything you have not worn at least three or four times before, preferably for your training sessions. You would not want to experience any unusual (unexpected)  discomfort during your race. Tapes and lubricating gels should be used to cover sensitive body parts which are prone to abrasions.

If you are listening to music, prepare the playlist beforehand.

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H-12: Get some sleep

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It is normal to be anxious before your race –  all your hard work culminates in this one day. It is usual to not have the deepest sleep the night before your race. Even top athletes are not spared the sleeplessness and anxiety  before race day. It is actually the sleep several days out that plays a bigger role in your performance on race day. So, try not to think about your race on that night! If you are racing at a time that is not during your usual training hours, it is best to slowly adjust your sleep and training patterns accordingly, at least eight to ten days before the marathon. This will also greatly help in your sleep for the night before the race.
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H-3: Have a simple meal

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Try to have breakfast at least three hours before the start of the marathon, preferably food with a low glycemic index, so that  your blood glucose level will rise slower and more steadily. Avoid acidic fruits and fruit juices, and go for bananas. It will be best to stay away from dairy products too.

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H-1: Make your way to the start line

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Always be early for your race, and plan your way to the starting line taking into account road closures, long queues, and huge crowds!

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Get in your dynamic warm-ups.

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H: Stick to your race plan

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Facing competition often raises adrenaline levels, and naturally, you would  have a tendency to run too fastin the first few kilometers. It would be prudent to hold off in the first ten minutes and start slightly slower than  your planned race pace. If you are using fixed splits for different intervals (e.g. the 5k, 10km, or half marathon mark), write them down on your forearm. Having a quick look makes it easy to check whether you are following the race plan.
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Have a blast at 2018 Singapore Marathon!

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Volker Herrmann is an international high performance sport consultant and an IAAF lecturer. He was the former Technical Director for SAA, and works with athletes and coaches on a global scale.
Volker Herrmann is an international high performance sport consultant and an IAAF lecturer. He was the former Technical Director for SAA, and works with athletes and coaches on a global scale.

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