29 SEP 2019 – More than 13,000 runners took part in the seventh installment of The Straits Times Run this morning, with over 4,000 opting for the longest distance – 18.45km, created to commemorate the year the paper was founded. A 3.5km schools category was introduced in conjunction with SPH’s 35th anniversary.
As in previous years, one of the key highlight for participants was finishing their run inside the National Stadium, one of only two local races to offer such an opportunity. With the haze on everyone’s mind just a week ago, there was a collective sense of relief thanks to the rain over the past few days, and the cooling morning weather.
Last year, ONEathlete & Commonwealth Games Athlete, Ben Moreau won the 18.45km Men’s race at 1:02:57, but was away for a business trip this weekend. Taking the champion spot, was yet another non-Singaporean, but homegrown – Singapore Shufflers – runner Nick Impey, who won in a time of 1hr 2min 22sec, while Japan’s Maki Inami won the women’s race in 1hr 11min 55sec and successfully defended her title from a year!
After finishing the recent Gold Coast Marathon in July with a time of 2 hours 44 mins, ONEathlete Giebert Foo, 3rd Singaporean Men’s finisher at SCSM 2018, took part in the 10km while in the midst of training with his sights set on SCSM 2019.
Besides being a well-organised and iconic race on the local circuit, Giebert also felt that the race had provided a timely opportunity for him to put in a hard training block and gain some speed in his legs. With just over 8 weeks to go to the biggest race in Singapore, Giebert feels that preparations have been on track and his main focus now is to continue to be consistent with his training and recovery.
Joining Giebert in the Men’s 10km category was UA Ambassador & ONEathlete Banjamin Quek who finished as the fastest Singaporean and 2nd overall with a time of 36 mins 24 secs, 30 seconds behind race winner and Singapore Shufflers runner Jerome Besanud.
Banja, who just finished a 3-month long training stint in Kenya, is satisfied with his showing today and feels that it will be a good confidence builder as his training picks up heading into SCSM 2019.
Also racing in the same 10km category is Ashley Liew, who finished with a time of 37 mins 15 secs and 4th overall. He was also the 2nd Singaporean. After a slow start to the year, Ashley is pleased with the progress he has made over the last 6 months and he will be looking to build on this momentum for the remaining race season in 2019.
For inspiring stories related to running and sports, as well as discounts to local races, subscribe to ‘RunONE’ by adding +6588347638 to your Whatsapp contacts. Then send us the words, “Run With Me.”
Relay Majulah is a ground-up initiative by a group of like-minded and passionate friends to form a 200-runners team to conquer 2,000km over 8 days (2-10 Nov 2019) to raise funds for President’s Challenge and to unite the community, for the community. It is held specially in conjunction with the Bicentennial Celebrations and SG Cares.
The movement seeks to also create awareness of the social causes in our society and how that we stand in solidarity with our friends as they overcome and conquer all odds.
The ONEathlete and RunONE Team will also be participating with the rest of the 200 runners. Join us in championing change in the lives of many and in our society; and to build a nation that truly cares.
Others in the running community
On 10 November finale, Tan Chuan-Jin, Speaker of Parliament, will run the final leg from Havelock Road and finish off into the MES Theater at MediaCorp’s Star Ave Campus for the President’s Star Charity 2019 live televised show!
Excerpts and images from Justrunlah.com, giving.sg and relaymajulah.sg with thanks.
About the President’s Challenge
The President’s Challenge is an annual community outreach and fundraising campaign for charities selected every year by the President’s Challenge. It is a call to all Singaporeans in doing their part in building a more caring and inclusive society. Initiated in 2000 by former President S R Nathan, the Challenge represents the coming together of people from all walks of life, to help the less fortunate.
In 2012, under the leadership of former President Tony Tan Keng Yam, the Challenge was expanded to go beyond fundraising by including volunteerism and social entrepreneurship. In 2018, President Halimah Yacob announced a $10 million fund (Empowering For Life Fund) which will empower vulnerable groups through skills upgrading, capacity-building and employment.
Visit http://www.pc.org.sg/WhoWeSupport to find out about the benefiting organisations supported by President’s Challenge this year. 100% of the donations received go towards the charities we support.
The Straits Times like to invite your school to join us in the ALL NEW category of The Straits Times Run – SPH 35 – Panasonic Schools Challenge happening on September 29. 2019. The Schools Challenge which is open to both local and international schools from all over Singapore is set to bring on some friendly competition in the 3.5km competitive run.
Each school must register at least 10 students, who will compete individually while attempting to win the team titles – fastest school (based on top 10 fastest student runners from each school) and longest distance (total distance run by all registered students and staff from each school) in their division.
Bring glory to the school and win attractive prizes such as Panasonic 43” Ultra HD 4K HDR TV and New Balance sponsorship. Rally your school and race on. Registration fee for the Schools Challenge is $20 per participant.
5 AUG 2019 – One can easily fly into the Brisbane Airport, and take a Con-x-ion shuttle service (costing about AUD$80 for a round trip) to the Mooloolaba Beach area at Sunshine Coast. The 90-mins shuttle ride will also be a scenic and comfortable one in the cool temperatures in August.
Sunshine Coast is a peri-urban area and the third most populated area in the Australian state of Queensland. Located north of the state capital Brisbane, on the Pacific Ocean coastline, its urban area spans approximately 60 km of coastline. The city is also home to the IAAF Bronze Label Sunshine Coast Marathon.
ONEathlete Mok Ying Ren and Evan Chee, together with other prolific Singaporean athletes had gathered in this slightly less-known city. It was not Mok’s first time in the city as he had visited the notable educational institutes at Sunshine Coast in 2018, such as the University of Sunshine Coast (USC) where some Team Singapore athletes go for a training stint.
But this time round, Mok was able to wake up and head out casually for a short jog along the Mooloolaba Beach. Just another typical morning, but Mok was able to see lots of people walking their dogs and playing around the beach with the warm sunshine amidst the cool sea Breeze. Ideal for a beach gateway, away from the buzz of a city life.
With a pretty straight forward race pack collection, and a homely setup with booths to sell race merchadises and tee-shirts, the athletes were all geared for the race (next) day on Sunday, 4 August 2019.
Sunshine Coast Marathon
With a start time of 6am, and a sunrise at 6:30am, it pretty much ensured a good cool weather of about 15-16 degrees at the start, eventually rising up to about 20 degrees towards the end.
Although the event focuses on the half-marathon event, there were about a total of 588 full marathon runners, with good pacing support with pacers from 3hours to 4hours timing (with a 15mins interval each). The Australians were vying for the Australian Championship.
For Mok Ying Ren, as training was disrupted by a 2 weeks flu episode close to the race, on top of the very tight schedule in medical residency, he decided to start conservatively and aimed to complete the marathon in one piece rather than blow up and have to walk the remaining way. “I decided to start with the 3hour 15mins pacer and it was a small group with only 5 runners.” The pacer was clearly a seasoned and well liked runner in the local community, as he was seen cheered on by both fellow runners and spectators. In the same group, Mok also met (for the first time) another Singaporean, Yep Min, incidentally when the pacer was getting to know his small group.
Mok describes the 3 loops course, as one with a couple of undulating hills, but overall, pretty flat. “We started on the 3 loop course with our pace right on target. The first loop was a 21.1km loop together with the half marathon runners, thus guaranteeing good company and ambience while the second 2 loops were 2 loops of about 10.5km to complete the 42.195km course.”
Describing his mood during the race, Mok said that, “I went through the first loop feeling fortunately comfortable because just the day before, I felt really smashed during my morning jog and thus was rather worried.” The good thing about running overseas is that the cool weather and nice sunshine that really gets the spectators out of their houses along the way to cheer the runners on throughout the race.
After the second loop, Mok was actually expecting to hit the wall sooner or later. “Just like what we all do in a marathon, we keep our energy expenditure to the minimum and focused on just keeping pace with the pacer.” But going through 30km and his body holding up well, it gave him more confidence to complete the marathon.
As he entered the last 10km loop, he experienced the fatigue setting in. His thigh muscles were tightening and cramping up. “I just wanted to hold on to the pace group as long as I could.” At this point, the group had dwindled down to 3, Mok Ying Ren, Yep Min, and another Australian. But the fatigue was rather overwhelming for Mok, in the final 2km of the race, and he dropped back from the group. “I was thankful to have finished the marathon and also enjoyed the experience thoroughly,” Mok recalls in his usual positive vibe.
For Evan Chee, who had a personal best of 2:38:58 from the London Marathon in April 2019, he was vying for this last opportunity to qualify for the SEA Games 2019 as the window closed mid-august.
However, he had to miss or stop at a number of the elite water stations (note: the stations were a first time for the race organizers) and felt that he was not able to give his best performance. He is now ranked 6th overall in Singapore based on his personal best timing, and will be preparing his lead up to the Singapore Marathon instead.
Great Beach Drive
The next day, the team of Singaporean runners headed for the great beach drive 4WD tours. This eight-hour, family friendly tour travels more than 70km of iconic beaches with the vehicles travelling right on the sand, so you can soak in the scenery and wildlife, such as dolphins, manta rays, turtles, soldier crabs, birdlife, birds of prey and whales (whale season is June-October). “It was an interesting experience driving down the beach as if it was just a road,” Mok summarized about his experience.
The tour boasts of a few key stopovers. Namely, Red Canyon, Great Sandy National Park, Lighthouse, Coloured Sands, Honeymoon Bay and Rainforest:
Red Canyon – Red and yellow sands form a unique canyon in the sand dunes where you will enjoy magnificent views over Teewah Beach.
Great Sandy National Park – A scenic and relaxing picnic ground where you might be visited by camera friendly Lace Monitors (Goannas).
Lighthouse – Double Island Point Lighthouse offers breathtaking 360-degree views across the Pacific Ocean and scenic surrounds of the Great Sandy National Park. It is here once can often spot pods of dolphins, turtles, sharks, manta rays and the majestic Humpback Whales (season is June-October).
Coloured Sands – This world famous attraction has more than 40 different shades of colour. The tour includes a demonstration of the traditional techniques used by the Aboriginal people (with respect to the Gubbi Gubbi people) to create artwork and decorate boomerangs
Honeymoon Bay – This area boasts a saltwater lagoon with some of the most scenic landscapes in Australia. One can swim in the protected waters of the bay, or body surf on the longest right hand breaks in Australia all year round. Or, like Mok, you can catch up on your work and podcasts!
Mok also recalled that the tour guides were thoughtful to personalize the trip, and make things really easy for the “tourists”. They had set up the tents for lunch and everything was catered for including wine and beer for their picnic lunch, against the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Fraser Island.
07 JUL 2019 – 26,287 Runners, from 56 countries had gathered at Queensland, Australia’s coastal city for the 41st edition of the Gold Coast Marathon 2019! Having held the IAAF Gold Label since 2014, boasting of a generally flat course that has allowed about 60% of the participants to set a personal best (PB) amidst generally favourable weather conditions, the Gold Coast Marathon (#GCM19) is arguably one of the most popular race spots in the region.
Which goes to also mean that if you are in town, enjoying the waves at Surfer’s Paradise or feasting at Cavil Mall, you might just #run into a couple of runners whom you might be familiar with.
RunONE takes a moment with 20 such personalities who have inspired us during the race weekend!
In an enthralling men’s race, 800m and 1500m track specialist Lachlan Barber (00:29:58) put in a withering finish burst to claim his first Southern Cross University 10km Run (Men’s). He edged over Tim Vincent in the last 400m and won by five seconds. “I was very happy with my performance. I’ve never raced anything over 1500m, so yes, I was really stoked to get under 30 minutes in my first ever 10km,” said Barber.
Barber added that the conditions ‘weren’t ideal at the start line.’ He was referring to the very strong winds (and about 4-5km/h of headwind) and icy-cold rain shower that left everyone drenched when the skies open up just 2 minutes before the start of the 10km race at 6.30am.
Leanne Pompeani (00:33:00) won her second Southern Cross University 10km Run (Women’s), becoming only the second woman to win the race more than once in the event’s history. She had also represented Australia at the World Cross Country Championships in March and followed that up with a win in Canberra over 10km in April.
Looking back on the wet and cold conditions at the start, Leanne said, “A little bit unfortunate about the wind. It’s usually pretty good conditions here so I was kind of expecting that, but you just have to deal with whatever you get on race day.”
One of Asia’s most famous and humble ‘citizen runner’, Japanese Yuki Kawauchi, had achieved 2:09:18 (2017) and 2:09:01 (2016), being the only athlete to have his name twice in the Top 10 All Time Performances honors.
Be careful that it’s Zane and not his twin brother Jake when you approach him! The 30-year old New Zealander brothers had moved to Iten, Kenya to train and further their running careers. ONEathlete Ashley was acquainted with Zane in Kenya during the former’s training stint in 2015.
Zane was actually selected to represent New Zealand in the Commonwealth Games Marathon Male event, but had to drop out due to a groin injury. About 15 months later, he is back in the game at #GCM19 !
The marathon debutant placed third in 2:08:19. He was very consistent throughout the race, staying in distance with the lead pack. He gives us a very detailed breakdown, “I was pretty conservative at the start. We knew the wind would be tough and it was but I kept the pacemakers in check by making sure the pace did not exceed 3:03min/km at the beginning.”
It was also an extra special moment for Zane as he had also set a new New Zealand record, bettering the previous mark set by his brother – Jake’s 02:08:26 set at Lake Biwa in 2018. It was no wonder then, that Zane seemed to be in high spirits at the finishing line – perhaps even ready for another run – as he was seen obliging quite a number of media interviews, including RunONE.
What’s even better was the sportsmanship he demonstrated, describing his race rivalry with great class and giving Shitara credit where due. “I think Yuta, the Japanese (runner), a world class athlete who played the game and played it smart. He expected to win and came through just when we were beginning to die. We had nothing left to go with him.”
Lagat, a Kenyan-American, is a five-time Olympian, having competed in the 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 games. He is also a thirteen-time medalist in World Championships and Olympics including five gold medals.
The Dual world champion over 1500m and 5000m on the track improved his marathon pb to 2:12:10 and finished seventh. The cool dude was seen focusing on recovery and getting a cold compression (as above), and enjoying a little muffin on one hand (while probably catching up on race updates on the other.)!
Do also check out his Instagram to spot his ‘deeply invested and impressive’ drink bottles for the #GCM19!
The first runner-up in 2018, Sinead Diver (01:09:46), beat 2-time champion, Sara Hall (01:1159) in the ASICS Women’s half-marathon race. This was also her first win, and fifth fastest performance in the race’s history. The 42-year-old from South Yarra, Melbourne was too strong for her rivals over the closing 5km. The Australians also had a clean podium sweep by claiming all top three positions in this race!
What was also envious to watch, was the level of sportsmanship that the champ exhibited. She said, “To race against Ellie and Sara and Lisa, it was such a tough race and anyone of us could’ve taken it out. It (just happened to be) my day today, so I was just lucky I think.” She has also qualified to represent Australia in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Marathon event.
The Glen Iris, Melbourne native, Jack Rayner won his second ASICS Gold Coast Half-marathon race (Men’s). The 23-year-old with a personal best of 01:01:01 set in Oct 2018 at Cardiff, crossed the line in 1:02:30, bettering his winning time from last year (1:03:12).
The defending champion came away with the win after a good tussle with Japanese runners Yuki Sato (01:02:36, six seconds outside his personal best set in May 2019) and Yuma Hattori (01:02:39), making his winning break 1km before the finish. Japanese runners filled places second through to eighth in the men’s race.
Rayner was asked about his competitors, and he replied in the vein of good old sportsmanship. “I didn’t quite know what to expect going into it. There was a really strong field of Japanese this year. I had a race there (Japan) at the start of this year so I knew how they ran.”
Rayner will be meeting the Japanese again very soon, as he has also qualified to represent Australia in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Marathon event.
Yuta Shitara. He is THE second fastest Japanese marathon runner in Japanese history. But now, with the win at the the IAAF Gold Label race in 2:07:50, Yuta has also laid claim to being the fastest runner in Gold Coast Marathon history! The previous record was set by Kenyan Kenneth Mungara (2:08:42) who won the race in 2018.
It was the eighth win by Japanese men in the event’s 41-year history. Yuta added “My training was really good. I think that the race really showed the quality of my training. It really brought out my performance today,” spoken by someone who clearly believes in the process!
This feat was despite a very visibly bloodied white vest, from what looks like a terrible case of chest fissures/abrasions. But without a single look of pain on his face and fully focused on the race ahead of him! “I didn’t have any race plan. I just wanted to go in and run the race that happened,” he says.
The 27-year-old champion who mostly carries a neutral expression, had an exciting duel with Kenyan, Barnabus Kiptum and New Zealander, Zane Robertson over the final 12km before making his final move in the last 2km. Shitara took home $20,000 in victory prize money and an additional $10,000 time bonus for his record-breaking effort.
With the likeliness of a K-pop star, a friendly and wide smile greets you from across the room, even though you are at least four meters apart. It turns out to be Shin Kimura, a rising marathon star from Honda Running Club in Tokyo, Japan.
He had spent a training stint in Boulder, Colorado to prepare for this marathon. Nike athletes, Shin Kimura and Bernard Lagat, took turns to pace each other and the former finished just 2 secs behind the latter at 02:12:12. Keep your eyes peeled for this star’s growth!
While Kenyan Rodah Jepkorir held off a strong finish from Milly Clark to win the Women’s Gold Coast Marathon Title, it was the latter who was received by the home crowd with a great loud roar! The Tasmanian sweetheart lost the lead at the 30km mark, but kept her rhythm and finished in 2:28:08 to claim the runner-up spot.
Despite being about two minutes and five seconds behind the Kenyan at the 30km mark, she finished just 12 secs behind the winner. She was clearly giving it all to catch up and edge in to try win the race!
The crowd probably helped too, she said as she reflected. “I had a lot of fun. There wasn’t a moment that I wasn’t loving it. I am just really stoked that I had the crowd and everyone around me cheering. You put in all the hard work in training and this is your prize. Instead of running alone and slugging it out on the roads, you can use the crowd. It gives you that extra burst.”
Clark had set off to do all that she wanted. She enjoyed the race. She recorded a personal best, lower than the Tokyo Olympics qualifier (2:29:30). She finished on the podium. The veteran at Gold Coast Marathon weekend, had won the Half-marathon in 2014, and second for 10km in 2013.
20th overall and South East Asia’s fastest in the Half-marathon Category, Agus Prayogo (01:06:27) broke Indonesia’s National Record to rewrite his own half marathon national record of 1:07:05, which he set at the Singapore Marathon in 2009.
The father and military personnel may seem like a young teenage man. But probably has collected more accolades than his age count. Enuf said, wait up for the SEA Games 2019 to see him shine!
Meanwhile, in the full marathon, Malaysian, Muhaizar Mohamad, finished in 35th place after recording 02:26:42. However, it was 15 secs slower than his personal best, 02:26:27 set at the 45th Berlin Marathon.
Muhaizar had became the first Malaysian to win a SEA Games medal in the marathon, after bagging a bronze in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur edition. His team mate Leo, finished fourth in the same race. The athlete in his early 30s, is now focusing on the SEA Games 2019 in Manila.
29th overall and South East Asia’s second fastest in the Half-marathon Category – beating Singapore’s Half-marathon National Record Holder, Soh Rui Yong – was a 29 year old, young lad named Prabudass Krishnan, finishing at 01:07:29.
The feat saw the Royal Malaysian Navy member erase the 15-year-old Malaysian National Record. He has been training under Coach JP, who had also helped Malaysian National Marathoner Leo set a new Marathon National Record, earlier this year.
Despite such a remarkable achievement, Prabu greets you a with a very unassuming and humble smile in the elite athletes room. Prabu is gunning to win the 5,000m Gold Medal at the SEA Games 2019. He had previously won the Silver Medal in 2017.
Burton He had won the Singapore Marathon 2018’s Half-marathon category in 01:20:11. But no fanfare, nothing pompous. The 29 year old, IT student in SIM University has become a regular at the podiums.
The relatively low profile athlete, was in Gold Coast with his Track Star Athletics team mates, ran his race, and left. He would have ‘escaped your eyes’ if you had blinked. He ran overall 53rd and emerged as the fastest Singaporean in the 10km Category.
Another Track Star Athletics athlete making his mark as the fastest Singaporean at the Gold Coast Marathon was Melvin Wong.
Melvin paced the race with his team mate Iskandar Mohamed and finished overall 69th in 02:37:28. The father of two, manages work, fatherhood and runs his life in great style! His team mate, Iskandar (who was also the runner-up at Singapore Marathon 2019) finished 92nd overall, at 02:42:36. Great camaraderie and working together as ONE to achieve goals are always worth mentioning!
We spotted him and congratulated on his overall 72nd position and emerging as the second fastest Singaporean in the Half-marathon category! Shohib Marican (01:13:14) was pleasantly surprised of course.
The ActiveSG athlete who is coached by Steven Quek, was initially filled with doubts and anxiety about his race. With a renewed mindset, he willed to go hard, focused on the pack ahead and finished with a personal best timing, no less. Go hard or go home, indeed!
Its always encouraging for those in the running circuit to see young athletes push the barriers, and achieve greater excellence!
Speaking of young, the Master’s runner, Ansgar Cheng is more than just young at heart. He emerged 2nd overall in the marathon category, for Master’s Male with a personal best timing of 02:54:16.
The father of two teenage daughters, and dentist in his early 50s, is also awaiting ratification by Singapore Athletics for a new national record of his age group.
Among one of the core members of the Kampong Runners, Ansgar and his wife Moonlake Lee are an affable couple who makes the effort to connect with individuals from the various running groups. That in a sense, kinda depicts the essence of sports and affirms the spirit of the running community!
The newly minted ONEathlete, Giebert Foo ran his first overseas marathon. He emerged 104th overall with a personal best of 02:44:15, 45 secs below his personal best that he had set after winning 3rd at Singapore Marathon 2018.
The civil servant had just completed his 9-month long stay-in training course recently. With the help of his partner, Esther (who was on wheels), Giebert paced his long runs and chased his training mileage over the weekends. On weekdays, he would also try to squeeze in some track tempo and intervals in the evening. Besides sticking to the discipline and controlling his diet, the 27 year old also read motivational quotes from Facebook page “Sweat Elite” to prepare for the race.
But during the race itself, Giebert remembered the prayers and encouragement of loved ones, absorbed the energy of the renowned Gold Coast crowd, and “High-fived” the kids along the way keep up the energy to the finish line. Crossing the line below his target, he said, “It is like a dream come true and has made me realise that i can go further in this marathon journey. I’m thankful for the support of the ONEathlete team which had made this PB a wonderful ONE!”
19. ashley liew
Running his 6th Gold Coast Marathon, and 33rd marathon since 2004, was ONEathlete Ashley Liew.
The 32 year old – with a personal best of 02:32:12 (2015) – believed in the process and prepared like it was his first. Along the way, Ashley had to balance six-day work week at Family Health Chiropractic Clinic while training twice daily. His peak weekly mileage of 160km, not to mention solo 30+km long runs and treadmill speed workouts, amidst intensive wedding preparation, proves that Ashley was determined to make it work.
Spotted with bloodied socks from a burst blister, Ashley said “I’m grateful to still have the body responding well towards the end which was a positive difference from my last 3 marathons.” Finishing overall 175th in 02:51:42, Ashley was pleased to achieve his season best.
20. bonza, the mascot
He ain’t a frog tho he spots a green sleek body! Bonza is a bearded dragon, the mascot for the Gold Coast Marathon. He charmingly convinces that he loves to run, just like all his other bearded dragon friends. As a young lad, Bonza had run at Burleigh Head National Park,
Typically during a morning training run at Miami Beach, he tells us, “I was inspired by thousands from all over the world running up and down my beautiful coastline and thought ‘you little rippers!”.
Instead of hibernating in cooler months like July, Bonza decided that he wanted to be part of the good times, and for this one-of-a-kind race. He was determined to become the first bearded dragon to run at the Gold Coast Marathon, and took a break from chilling with his surfing buddies at Surfers’ Paradise to start training. “I’ve been clocking up plenty of kilo meters on the beautiful beachfront in perfect conditions along the marathon route.”
The 41 year old, is stoked that the race date for 2020 is scheduled to be on 4-5 July, and has already set his goals for the 42nd Gold Coast Marathon race! In good old gold coast fashion, he waves and high-fives to say, “See ya nex july mate!”
On 1 June 2019, the 12th edition of the OSIM Sundown Marathon Singapore saw nearly 25,000 participants take to the streets of this iconic night race that has become a hallmark on Singapore’s running calendar over the years.
Understandably, there has been some speculation over its fate after Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon announced it will also be embarking on a night race format on 30 Nov 2019. However, most runners felt that the developments would ultimately benefit Singapore races as the cooling conditions at night would be more conducive and appealing to runners, in addition to the novelty appeal of hosting the first World Marathon Majors (WMM) night race should Singapore succeed in our bid.
While the 10km race got off to a clear and earlier start at 10pm, it was unfortunately not the case for the half and full marathon which was delayed by nearly an hour. The organisers have issued a public explanation for the delay, which was due to ‘unforeseen obstruction on route which had to be cleared to ensure the safety of the runners’.
Two members of ONEathlete participated in the team of four 10km challenge. Evan Chee and Giebert Foo, who finished 4th and 3rd at last year’s Singapore Marathon, were joined by Gordon and Desmond. They finished in a cumulative timing of 2:26:03 to win the champion’s trophy, edging ahead of the Singapore Shufflers by a slight margin of 10 seconds. It was understood that there was a point during the 10km race when the lead pack was wrongly directed by race marshals and had to back-track. While the technical issue is something the race directors and organisers have to address, it did not appear to dampen the post-race camaraderie as the top 3 teams were all smiles on stage.
Separately, in the Men’s Marathon race, Hillary Kipkering of Kenya cliched the Men’s title with a timing of 2:49:33, while Singapore’s Sharon Tan won the women’s category in a timing of 3:23:16. In the Half-Marathon race, Soh Rui Yong won the men’s race in 1:11:47 while Maki Inami of Japan took the women’s category win in 1:22:19.
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.”
28 APRIL 2019 – For runners and running enthusiasts both in Singapore, and around the world, this weekend has been one that they have been anticipating and packed with exciting races. Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge ran the second fastest marathon in history to win the Virgin Money’s London Marathon for a fourth time while Britain’s Mo Farah finished fifth. And just a mere 12 hours before that, NTUC Income’s Eco Run was on, against the scenic Singapore skyline backdrop! We bring to you, interesting observations on the 5 things these 2 races have in common!
Virgin Money: “When it comes to banking, you want an honest deal with no surprises. So we’ll always tell you the things you really need to know up front.”
NTUC Income: “We are a co-operative where, quite simply, people come before profits. Our values set us apart from other insurance companies. They are what make us different. “
it is pretty obvious that they stand for doing business right, and not for profiteering.
3. IN SUPPORT OF a social cause
Being the official fundraising website for the Marathon, Virgin Money Giving has helped thousands of events and charities, big and small, throughout the UK raise hundreds of millions of pounds. This year, the London Marathon also broke the $1 billion mark in donations raised! And because it’s 100 per cent not-for-profit, an extra £9.5 million has reached charities because fundraisers used virginmoneygiving.com instead of a site with higher fees. (Source: London Marathon). In yet another first, London Marathon racers will be drinking from edible pods made of seaweed extracts instead of a plastic water bottle, and is part of the organisers’ initiative to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced and its waste foot-print!
Locally, the 9th edition of NTUC Income Eco Run 2019 kicks off its 3rd year of ‘zero waste running’ with the introduction of its first Zero Waste 5km race category. More than 9,000 runners took to the street on this surprisingly cool Sunday morning in support of eco-conservation and green causes, with innovative measures such as re-usable cups for runners to refill at hydration stations during the race.
4. SPOT THE british
Alright, we were kidding about this! But in a comedic twist it isn’t too far off either!
The 2019 Virgin Active London Marathon was shaping up to be one of the most hotly anticipated spring race as many looked forward to another masterful performance by reining world record holder Eluid Kipchoge who remains unbeaten in all but 1 marathon in his career. His rivalry with 4-time Olympic medallist & one of Britain’s most accomplished runners, Sir Mo Farah, who has recently stepped up to the marathon distance and was looking to take victory on home soil, also added another dimension to the competition amongst the deep elite field assembled for a showdown. It was intense!
Back here in Singapore, it was a lot more light hearted! The Income Eco Run saw, amongst the 9,000 runners, a prolific author, broadcaster, journalist, and in his words – ‘1st runner-up in the 44 to 45 years old Men-who-don’t-puke-and-run 5km category’, Neil Humphreys. The Englishman quipped that he was very proud of himself for racing his heart out while his guts stayed intact, as he posed gamely for the photos!
5. Spot a ONEathlete!
Against the backdrop of intense speculation and spectatorship on the elite field, ONEathlete Evan Chee also waged his own race against the clock on the streets of London, in an attempt to lower his personal best (2:41:01) attained just 5 weeks ago at the 2019 Seoul Marathon.
Evan had felt that preparations had gone smooth and well since the beginning of the year, and hoped to ride on his earlier marathon fitness preparing for Seoul by straddling a short training cycle leading into London. He knew this was a risky move that could increase his risk of injury but also potentially pay off big dividends as he seeks a qualifying performance to represent Singapore at the 2019 SEA Games in December.
Evan’s bid paid off as he dipped under the 2 hour 40 minute mark to finish in 2:38:58 (unofficial), clocking a new personal best as well as what is understood to be the third fastest Singaporean Men’s Marathon finish in 2019, thus far. Evan’s sister and national marathoner, Yvonne Chee, also finished the race in 3:03:13 (unofficial). Congratulations to the Chee siblings, Evan and Yvonne!
Back in Singapore, running his first race as an ONEathlete at the 2019 Income Eco Run is marathoner Giebert Foo. In the half-marathon category, Giebert finished in 1:21:35 to clinch the Union Men’s Open Champion with a strong performance and officially kick off his 2019 racing season.
The veteran runner had started running from the track, representing his alma mater NYP in shorter distances such as the 1,500m before moving up to the marathon in recent years. At last year’s Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, Giebert rounded up the podium in the Local Men’s category with a 3rd-place finish in a time of 2 hours 54 minutes.
Giebert’s partner, Esther Khoo, also bagged a respectable performance with a 4th place finish in the Union Women’s Open 10km race.
*Source information and photos of London Marathon from virginmoneylondonmarathon.com
(Editor’s note – Evan’s results at the London Marathon is not the second, but third, fastest Singaporean Men’s timing in 2019 thus far. We apologise for the error, and the article has been amended as such)
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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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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 2019edition 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.”]
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.