5 unique things about BB Blaze 2019!

13 Apr 2019 – Participants from ages 13 to 17 started streaming into the start location – the scenic Floating Platform – at 4.30am. They were sleepy, maybe, but undaunted, as they geared up for the annual (and may we add, grueling) BB Blaze 2019, an outdoor adventure and sport based trail race, organised by The Boys’ Brigade in Singapore.

1) Early Preparations

Preparations began as early as November 2018, kicking off with a preparation clinic by ONEathlete and former BB-boy himself, Ashley Liew. More about race prep clinic here!

Ashley Liew during his preparation clinic

2) Geared up by Mok ying ren

RunONE was also also on board as the Official Training Partner, allowing these young boys to train effectively in their lead-up to the competition, through a RunONE training programme created by Double SEA Games Gold Medalist, Mok Ying Ren.

Mok Ying Ren leading the youths in their warm up

It was thus apt for Mok Ying Ren to lead the 500+ boys in a set of dynamic warm-ups, also sharing medical/safety tips to keep in mind! He emphasized hydration tips – “Boys, remember to drink to the point of thirst” – as the organizing committee anticipated a very hot day.

Mok Ying Ren also mingled with the participants and heard them share about their planning phase and race strategies, before heading off for his hospital duties.

3) innovative race clocking 20+km in total

The organisers partnered with District Race – an innovative mobile app – to make the race more interactive and fun for the boys! If you had been in the city or Marina Bay area, you would have seen at least one of the 120+ teams in action.

4) camaraderie

We can learn a lesson about true sportsmanship just by observing as competitors mingled with one another, had fun together, and helped their ‘bros’! This characteristic of the boys from The Boys’ Brigade is quite the norm, but for any outsiders, it was a little more evident today.

5) Challenge Trophy & Social Media Challenge

What’s a competition without prizes? 5th Singapore Company, Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Secondary School (Team A106) and 14th Singapore Company, Anglican High School (Team A126) won the 3rd and 2nd prize respectively. Team A177 from 60th Singapore Company, Raffles Institution, emerged as the overall champion of BB Blaze 2019! They also received the coveted Winston Choo Challenge Trophy (named after the former BB Boy and former/first Chief of Defence Force (CDF), who flagged off the race in the morning). This was presented by Guest-of-Honour Dr Lily Neo.

Winners of the Top 3 positions

The Social Media Challenge was won by the 26th Singapore Company , Tanglin Secondary School, who took part actively with their creative posts to win $500 worth of sports gear, sponsored by RunONE.

While looking back on a challenging but rewarding BB Blaze 2019, we certainly hope that the months of training leading up to the race paid off!

Catch the video below for event highlights by the race organizers!

Breaking 3s & PBs @ Seoul Marathon 2019

17 March 2019 – Despite earlier scares over a dense haze that had descended upon Seoul and cast race prospects in shrouds, ONEathlete Evan Chee and Ashley Liew, and many other Singaporean runners assembled with great hopes for their season-opening race.

Singaporeans assembled in Seoul

First held in 1931, Seoul Marathon is the second oldest in the world after Boston Marathon. The IAAF gold label race is famous for its flat and fast course, with a men’s course record of 2:05:13 set by 4-time winner at this event, Wilson Loyanae of Kenya. Typically held in mid March, the cooling starting conditions of about 4 degrees and 8am start time makes it one of the preferred races for runners looking to lower their personal bests.

At this year’s Dong-A Ilbo Seoul International Marathon, Kenya Men and Women dominated as Thomas Kiplagat RONO won the men’s race in 2:05:56 under hazy conditions. While temperatures were near freezing at the start (- 1 degrees Celsius), the cloudless skies and light winds made for otherwise near-perfect conditions to race in.

Photo from Seoul Marathon 2019 English Page

Evan Chee, who finished 4th at the 2018 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, crossed the line in 2:41:01 – a new personal best and M35 category Marathon Record (pending Singapore Athletics’ ratification) – while Ashley succumbed to leg fatigue to finish in 3:08:57. The latter eventually managed to join in with the rest at the finish to celebrate his fellow ONEathlete’s achievement.

“I’m very happy. It was a fast course and I was fortunate to have good company along the way. Though the haze was a bit annoying, I am pleased with my performance this early in the season and hope to build on this over the next few months” Evan said, adding that he hoped to qualify for the 2019 SEA Games marathon which would be held in Philippines in November. The 38-year old Men’s veteran marathoner was recently nominated to the Singapore National Team (TeamSG) along with his marathoner sister, Yvonne Elizabeth Chee.

The seasoned marathoner usually competes in 3 – 4 marathons a year. However, with a relatively short 13 weeks between SCSM and Seoul Marathon, Evan incorporated longer tempo trainings and slightly less mileage. This regular review of training approach based on race results (and experience) has been part of Evan’s repertoire ever since he started running competitively. While it is nearly impossible to get everything perfect at your first attempt, he believes that every race can be seen as an experiment of one that we can learn from and improve. The Adidas Ambassador is currently training under Coach Steven Quek.

Also spotted in Seoul: A Team of Singapore Shufflers displaying their racing prowess with a number of them finishing close to the 2 hour 45min mark. Jason Tan who narrowly missed his sub-3 hour timing at SCSM2018 just couple months ago, crossed the line in 2:45:05. His team mate, and young talent Daniel Leow, followed closely behind with a 2:45:43 finish. Other runners prolific in the Singapore running circuit, Andy Neo and Hiroto Ogawa finished in 2:49:01 and 2:50:30 respectively. RunONE’s in-house editor, Lester Tan, or more commonly known by his handle @runningtan, finished with a new personal best of 2:57:16 to join the sub-3 club.

Red dot in Seoul

But the icing on the cake for Singapore was the new Marathon National Marathon Record as national marathoner Soh Rui Yong finished in 2:23:42. “It took a few years of work and I finally found the race and opportunity to do it, so I’m definitely happy with that,” Soh told The Straits Times.

The previous record was set by Murugaiah Rameshon at the 1995 SEA Games which was held at Chiangmai, Thailand. (Soh had previously claimed, on his website, to have broken the 1995 record, with his Chicago Marathon 2016 timing of 2:24:55.)

Photo from Pocari Singapore Facebook

As a IAAF gold label race, Seoul Marathon had delivered on expectations. Although the pre-race registration process was slightly challenging for international runners due to language barriers, the race was well organised, with adequately spaced drink stations serving Pocari and water, as well as full road blockage to ensure the IAAF Gold Label standards were upheld.

More than 37,000 took part in the 2019 edition of the race which winds through the streets of Seoul before ending in the Seoul Olympic stadium that played host to the games during the 1988 Summer Olympics.

ONE would also like to express its gratitude to The Singapore Embassy in Seoul, Korea and Ambassador Yip for hosting the ONEathlete team earlier this week.

[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.”]

“We were hoping our experience and teamwork would make up for the lack of fitness”

BELINDA OOI – This year, for the first time, my ex-national team teammates and I came together to form a team to compete at the Singapore Water Polo National League.  The tournament took place over 4 weekends from January – February 2019.

Forming up to attack

I have always enjoyed playing water polo and was very excited to play (somewhat) competitively again. The other teams competing in the league consisted of various university and junior colleges teams so we were mentally framing our approach to this tournament as a matchup of fitness vs. experience.

Water polo is a very intense sport that requires speed, strength, and skill. While most of my teammates no longer train/play water polo regularly, we were hoping that our tacit understanding and experience from years prior of playing together would somehow make up for our lack of fitness.

It’s important to always keep your head above the water when you’re swimming so you know what’s going on!

Personally, I have to thank the gym workouts and run training over the past few months for getting me fit enough to sprint up and down the pool during critical junctures in the game. I also pleasantly surprised myself with a number of effective drives and even scored a few goals!

The endurance from my training runs was particularly helpful during one of the games when every one of us on the team could not afford much rest as we did not have enough substitutes.

Lots of aggression going on!

The league started off in a round-robin format before progressing to the knockout stages. My team got through to the finals where we beat NUS 15 – 4. What’s amazing to me was that we still played together like the team we were, even though we’ve stopped water polo training for so long!

My team lining up before our finals against NUS
The obligatory team shot before the match
Team talk during a rest period
Team cheer lead by our esteemed cheer captain Low Seet Teng

The tournament was a great opportunity for the entire Water Polo community to meet up and also for the national team coaches to identify up-and-coming young talents!

Us with the impressive youngsters from team NUS!

Hopefully with more leagues like this, our younger girls will be able to develop the skills and match experience they need to bring Singapore Water Polo to greater heights!

Staying hydrated with 100PLUS, and the 100PLUS Ambassador, Mok Ying Ren

Belinda Ooi is a national water polo player, and wife of National Marathoner, Mok Ying Ren. The physiotherapist by day is not short of stellar performances on the pool, road, trail, or for the matter, at home.

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!

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

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!

Run one with the doggos!

11 Nov 2018 – The scattered showers and mud did not dampen the spirits of either human or pup at the latest edition of the Singapore Specials Run, held last Sunday at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

 

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The Singapore Specials Run was first held by non-profit organization Action for Singapore Dogs in 2010, aiming to raise awareness of the plight of stray and abandoned dogs. All proceeds from activities surrounding this run go towards helping rescued dogs awaiting their forever homes.

Mr. Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development, kicked off the event with a welcome speech, while Real Yoga organized the warm-up for the human runners.

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Participants could browse a variety of products on sale, such as uniquely flavored cakes by Gulalicious and premium dog food from Furry’s Kitchen.

The run provided opportunities for all dog lovers – both dog owners and non-dog owners alike – to participate, with a 5km Paw Lover’s Run and 2km Paw & Buddy Run. A few dogs with physical disabilities (missing/injured limbs) cheerfully making their way to the finish line was also an encouraging sight.

 

With various groups jostling at the front line and sprinting past puddles with both children and animals in tow, it became increasingly evident that running with a pet is an excellent way to come together with and bond with loved ones.  You become more consistently motivated to run when seeking exercise as well as quality time with both humans and canines dear to you.

 

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It’s clear that our furry friends – both the lean and long-legged as well as the lapdogs – inspire the old and young to get out and get moving, even in the worst of weather! So look out for the next edition of the Singapore Specials Run… or simply grab your running shoes to #runONE with your doggo!

 

Hitting on WTA!

SHAHEED ALAM – A bittersweet farewell to WTA in Singapore. 2014 – 2018. These 5 years will always be remembered by not only tennis enthusiasts but also sports fans in Singapore as the time when the top 8 Women’s Singles and Doubles Teams competed on our ‘little red dot’. As the Singapore Indoor Stadium dismantles the center court for the last time, we should cherish the experience we’ve had over these amazing 5 years.

 

I had the incredible opportunity to be  the hitting partner for these players in the last 3 years (I was too young and not good enough in the first 2 years haha) Being their hitting partner was definitely an eye-opening experience because I got to see up-close the way they practice, warm up, prepare for matches. I got to see all of it. From the extremely focused Garbine Muguruza to the relaxed Caroline Garcia, I was privileged to witness the different personalities of each player which would otherwise have been very difficult to spot on TV. Over the past 3 years, I have had many awesome experiences but 2, in particular, stood out.

 

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Martina Hingis and I after a practice session in 2016

 

In 2016, Ali and I got called to practice with the dream team of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis! Before even stepping on the court, it was already pretty cool to even (just) think about practicing with them. The schedule was to practice for an hour on the practice courts at OCBC Arena followed by another hour on Centre Court at Singapore Indoor Stadium.

 

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Pliskova and I in 2017, the first time that we practiced together

 

Understandably nervous, we both started practicing making several mistakes as we were (a little) overwhelmed by the situation. As the session went on, they realized that we were pretty nervous but nonetheless they were still super friendly and made us feel more at home.

 

After we ended our practice at OCBC Arena, Ali and I were going to walk across to the Indoor Stadium (10minute walk) while Mirza and Hingis were going to take the car that was waiting for them. Ali and I could not enter into the pick-up area as our accreditation did not allow us and only players/coaches could enter. Looking back, I felt that Hingis and Mirza thought we were going to take the car as well so they walked out first while we were still packing our bags.

 

About 5 minutes later, Martina Hingis came running out and told the volunteers to call us back. When we got to the facilities desk, we remember Hingis waiting for us and saying “Come on guys, the car is waiting for you guys”. Looking super shocked, we laughed and followed her to the pickup point where they were 2 Porsches waiting for us. She then continued saying ‘1 follows me and the other follows Sania’. I followed Hingis and for those precious 10 minutes, we chatted about everything and anything before our second practice session on Centre Court. That was an experience like none other, which only goes to show that they were both incredibly humble and down to Earth while being absolute legends in the sport!

 

 

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Pliskova and I during her warm up before her semi-finals this year

 

The next memorable event was when I  I practiced with Karolina Pliskova this year. She has to be the most relaxed player on tour. Incredibly effortless in her play, she’s definitely a joy to watch. I had the pleasure of getting to know her team as well, comprising her Coach, Rennae Stubbs, and Fitness Trainer/Agent/Husband, Michal Hrdlicka. We practiced every day from Saturday (before Day 1) up till the following Saturday (where she played her semifinals) and it was an amazing experience. They really made me feel like I was part of their team for that week as they were super friendly and humble. Overwater breaks, they would ask me about my tennis career and gave me plenty of valuable advice and encouragement.

 

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Karolina Pliskova and teammates (Rennae Stubbs and Michal Hrdlicka) and I at the player lounge to say our goodbyes this year

 

On the day of the finals, when they were at the stadium to collect their belongings before returning home, they asked if I was in the stadium as they would like to say a few words of thanks and goodbyes in person. Fortunately (for me),  I was, and so we met at the player lounge and had a chat before they left. We promised to keep in touch and Pliskova even said that she’ll give me a call when she’s in Asia if she needs a hitting partner(not sure how true that will be though 😂) All in all, it was a superb experience and I couldn’t have wished for a better end  to the last year of the WTA Finals.

 

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Dream team – Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza with Ali and I at the practice courts

 

At this point, I would also like to thank Sports Singapore, Singapore Tourism Board, WTA and all the sponsors for hosting this prestigious tournament over the past 5 years. As they say, when one door closes, another opens so we should hope and look forward to more world-class tennis tournaments being hosted in Singapore. Perhaps even the ATP Finals.