The last lap as you #RunWithMok

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

 

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

 

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Photo credits: ONEathlete / RunONE

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

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

 

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Photo credits: ONEathlete / RunONE

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

 

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

 

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

 

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Photo credits: ONEathlete / RunONE

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

 

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

Media Response

21 Oct 2018 – We noted Soh’s allegations on a fellow national runner, Ashley Liew.

Soh is entitled to his opinions. We stand by our athlete, Ashley, and the decision by SNOC and the International Committee for Fairplay to nominate and confer Ashley the Fair Play Trophy award. Award recipients since it was introduced in 1965 include, amongst many established athletes, Olympians Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin.

It is public knowledge that this is not the first time Soh has adopted a controversial and provocative stance towards fellow athletes. His actions speak contrary to his purported claims of professional camaraderie, teamwork and integrity. We firmly believe these values underpin the high standards of conduct expected, and deserving, of national athletes.

We also note that there is no material basis in Soh’s allegations that warrants any further comments. While it is anyone’s guess as to what Soh’s motives are, we choose to focus on our mission to help athletes focus on their development on and off the field, support meaningful social causes and bring national sports to a higher level. Soh’s actions are unhelpful at best, and spurious at worst.

We wish Soh all the best in his athletic pursuit.

Regards,

ONEathlete Team

Ashley Liew Interview with 938Now – Full Transcript

On 4 Feb 2018, national marathoner, Ashley Liew, was invited onto 938Now’s talkshow, The Champion’s Mind with host Paul Sng, to talk about how he pursued competitive running while completing his doctorate. In it, Ashley also touched on how he manages to stay focused and continue working towards realising his gifted potential amidst the ups and downs in life. Full transcript of the interview is below.

Paul: So Ashley, tell us a little more about how did you get into running?

Ashley: I started running with one humble aspiration: to lose weight. As an overweight non-sportsman through most of school, I unfortunately got teased a lot and earned several nicknames. Running offered an opportunity to shed kilograms and gain self-esteem. Canoeing/dragonboat in Junior College (JC) was one of the few sports that accepted individuals like me without prior sport background, as long as you manage to survive the training. Survive I did, but I also remembered particularly enjoying the running warm-up.

As a personal challenge at the end of JC in 2004, several teammates and I ran our first marathon. I struggled to finish in 4h29m, a below-average time, but still satisfying for a start. Every subsequent year I would run 5-10 minutes faster and lose a bit more weight, to the point where I thought I reached my “pinnacle” in 2008 by finishing in 3h34m.

Everything changed when God put me in the right time and place, with Singapore Management University engaging Mr. Rameshon as running coach of the Aquathlon Club we had just setup. I had lost most of my weight in December 2008 already but the first thing he said to me was, “Ashley, nice to meet you, but this (pointing to my belly) needs to go down some more.” My ego was bruised again, but I proceeded to trust in him. For the first time, I had structure in my training, but more importantly he instilled a sense of self-belief in me.

This new-found belief led to a miraculous turning point for me. From 2008 to 2009, I went from a 3h34m “average Joe” to a 2h51m local marathoner, finishing 2nd to Mok Ying Ren. On the podium, Mok even asked me on the podium what my name was. Conventional wisdom from books and from experienced runners told me such a dramatic improvement was impossible, yet this “wisdom” didn’t take into account the resolve of the human spirit. It was only in 2009 when we realized there was more potential to be tapped.

Fast forward, my 2h32m12s personal best in 2015 is almost twice as fast as my first timing in 2004. I’ve been blessed to have been top local marathoner in 2012 and 2015, as well as representing Singapore twice at the South East Asian Games. I believe there are more things to come, with hard work and a long-term approach. Now my “why” to run is no longer to lose weight, but to fulfill all the potential God has blessed me with.

Paul: The transformation from being a recreational runner to one of Singapore’s best. What learnings and takeaways have you gotten? How has it shaped your mindset towards sport and life in general?

Ashley: The journey from 4h29m humble overweight beginnings to 2h32m national athlete has firstly showed me anything is possible with faith, patience, and determination. We have it within ourselves to transcend whatever our starting or current point is. When I was training in Kenya, I got to know a Kenyan athlete who told me this: “No matter how slow or injured we are today, tomorrow will be a better day.” I adopt that same kind of positive mentality in not only sports but also all other aspects, because sports is a metaphor for life.

One of the most important thing in life is to know your “why”. My “why” as a national runner is to fulfil the athletic potential God has blessed me with. This gets me up out the door at midnight to do a 2h45m run in the cold rain, complete a track workout despite my body starting feeling fatigued, and to finish strong in the marathon despite the discomfort.

In a similar way, my “why” as a Doctor of Chiropractic is to fulfill the optimum nervous system potential of each individual patient, no matter where they’re at along their health journey. This is how I can be 100% present with each patient even in the midst of a hectic day. I often share with my girlfriend Sandra that this phenomenon of “rising to the occasion” gives me joy and energy to serve in the clinic, even on days when I have to train twice.

I’ve also come to appreciate that life is like a marathon. You have to be consistent, pace yourself, and realize that if you’ve had a bad patch you can bounce back. There are no quick shortcuts. It took me 10 years of hard work to reach the SEA Games, and many years of schooling to become a Doctor of Chiropractic.

There is saying by Kenyan runners, “Train hard, win easy, the Kenyan way.” Contrary to belief, it’s not genetics, diet or altitude that makes Kenyans the best distance runner. It boils down to honest hard work. Running is a means for them to put food on the table, a job, even likened to going to war. They and their families sacrificed so much for that small shot of hopefully making it to the top one day, and throughout the journey the belief and confidence that someday they can be the best remains unshaken. In fact, my Kenyan friend couldn’t understand the concept of recreational running, because there’s nothing recreational about their training intensity there! That champion’s mindset is embodied in their drive and single-minded purpose which revolves around training, eating, and sleeping.

We need role models to look up to, just like how every Kenyan runner starts out being looking up to their village neighbor who has gone on to become a World Champion. My marathon hero has been ex-world record holder Wilson Kipsang, whom I had the pleasure of speaking to twice in Kenya (I love how humble and down-to-earth he is despite his achievements). My role models closer to sunny Singapore have been my mother (who served others with positivity despite cancer), father (who took up running in his 60’s to become age-group 10km champion), and Mr. Rameshon.

Another takeaway I have is that all actions follow your thinking. So, we should think positive thoughts rather than self-defeating ones. For example, in the midst of a difficult race moment I’ve shouted things to myself like. “I’ve got this” and “every step is a blessing”). If I were to say, “this isn’t my day” or “why am I doing this”, I am already framing my behavior to become a self-fulling prophecy. The brain can’t differentiate between “do” or “don’t”, it just processes that thought and it manifests.

On a related note, I’ve learned that “conventional wisdom”, well-intentioned as they may be, may not always be helpful to forging a champion’s mind. During my 2009 Ironman debut in Langkawi, experienced triathletes laughed at my intentions of finishing under 11 hours. I did not let that negative energy affect me so I let my legs do the talking, finishing in 10h48m and placing 4th in the international age group. Life’s pre-conceived limits can indeed be challenged.

Paul: How have you juggled between being a Doctor of Chiropractic and being a top athlete? What are the common threads that drives you to excel in both these areas?

Ashley: The common thread is that success is based upon moral character and values. You may be athletically talented or book smart, but without a strong core, you won’t get far. Values that are important to me include: determination, focus, resilience, and integrity.

Dogged determination is encapsulated by what my father used to instill in me as a child, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Mental toughness is built on doing the thing that is hard over and over again, especially when you don’t feel like doing it. I translate this determination into my running and patient care. It also helps when you have a routine; allow some room for flexibility but you must be invested in consistency.

Focus is another value that is crucial especially in our time-strapped lifestyles. I often get asked what I think about during a 42km race or 3 hour training run; the answer is hardly anything at all. My mind is not filled with thoughts about the past or future. Instead, I am focused on the present moment, the here and now: breathing patterns, running the tangent on course, running tall and strong, the immediate surroundings, and the kilometer I am in. As an overweight runner, I used to fixate on my reward at the end of the run (like Char Kway Teow) or ponder the stresses of the past. This distraction technique to disassociate yourself from discomfort can be initially helpful for new runners, but is hardly useful nor beneficial at the elite level.

In a similar way, what got me through my rigorous doctorate studies was focusing on quality, not quantity. Because I was training twice daily, I did not have the “luxury” of spending lots of time on my studies like my classmates. So instead of reading the material over and over again (which my peers frequently boasted about), I focused on fully understanding the conceptual links between different chapters, before I flipped that page. I took the moments before each examination as a race, literally covering my ears when peers talked about how ill-prepared they were, visualizing success, and trusting in my own quiet preparation. The results spoke for itself as I was often the top academic scorer, despite having the least quantity of studying time. It’s about quality, not just quantity, just like in training!

Another value is resilience. I take cue from what Rocky Balboa said in his movie as an underdog boxer: “It ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” I have suffered many setbacks in running, which is part and parcel of being human. What matters more is how we bounce back from such episodes to become not just a stronger athlete, but a stronger person.

Last but not least, integrity as crucial in sports and in work. Like how Prime Minister Lee quoted me during the 2015 National Day Rally, “It’s not always about the medals, but what you do in between.” Rather than merely chasing the medals, grades, or career success, focus on doing good during the “in between” moments, because “how you do anything in life (even for a split moment) is how you do everything in life.” Life is a 24/7 series of choices, so hopefully we can exemplify sportsmanship on the field and be ethical off the field.

Paul: Can you share with us some compelling stories of overcoming challenges – be it in your sporting or professional life.

Ashley: My biggest challenge was overcoming the passing of my mother who passed away in 2010, after suffering from 5 years of Stage IV cancer. She was my number one fan who supported me in local and overseas races, travelling with me to the 2008 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Florida to cheer me on in the hot sun despite her difficulties moving around. Her passing was hard on the family especially since she her health took a sudden turn for the worse, catching all of us even me off guard. I contemplated taking the rest of the university term off and foregoing my upcoming competitions. Then I thought about what she would have wanted me to do, which was to make the most of what I’m blessed with. I went on to finish the term strongly, and won my age group at the Singapore Ironman 70.3 in memory of her. I apply the same positive “serve others first” mentality to tough situations, whether contemplating to drop out of the 2015 SEA Games Marathon due to a hamstring pull midway, or persevering in the midst of Board examinations.

I also learned the meaning of resilience when bouncing back from setbacks. My most disappointing race was at the 2011 Singapore Marathon; we had high hopes for a top two finish but yet I faded early on to finish 7th in my slowest recent marathon. It was initially tough hearing criticism that I had already reached the pinnacle of my sporting career, and that my coach’s methods weren’t working; they neglected the fact that the whole of 2011 was filled with personal bests except that one race. Undaunted, I learned from my mistakes, bouncing back to set a new marathon best  at Hong Kong 1+ month later, and then placing overall local champion for the first time in 2012. Like Rocky said, “keep moving forward!

I also learned from my 2012 Texas Ironman episode the meaning behind the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” I was having the race of my life, until the 30km mark of the 180km bike leg; a competitor triathlete clipped my rear wheel at high speed, which didn’t cause me to fall but I started suffered frequent quadriceps spasms the moment I started pushing harder. It was frustrating knowing that I could bike harder but couldn’t, yet I told myself to “roll with it” because the nature of sports is unpredictable. I eventually finished in 10h3m29s, just a few minutes shy of the national record, but taught me a life lesson. Life, like sports, can be unpredictable; we just have to take a deep breath when things happen beyond a control, keep moving forward, and do it with a smile!  

Paul: How have you leveraged the mindset of a sportsman to his professional life? Or is it the other way around?

Ashley: It goes both ways. I happen to have been a runner longer than a practicing Doctor of Chiropractic, so I have a bigger bank of sporting experiences to tap on.

Since my first training stint in Kenya, I’ve been wearing a wrist bracelet with the Kenyan flag and the word “strong”. This is my visual cue whether when running or serving patients. During a marathon I repeat my mantra “strength and grace” (mom’s strength and God’s grace).

Muhammad Ali: “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief; and once that belief becomes a deep conviction things begin to happen” → I repeat these positive affirmations in the present tense rather than the future, so “I am” rather than “I will” → Similarly when seeing patients I sometimes repeat, “I am fully and presently focused on maximizing my patient’s health potential.”

I make a distinction between goals and targets. According to this book called “Magical Running” (Bobby McGee), goals are “who you want to be”, versus targets being “what you want to achieve”. Life is more fulfilling working towards goals, rather than just targets. Having a target like qualifying for the 2020 Olympics keeps you honest in your preparations, but that involves things that are sometimes beyond my control (e.g. weather, time off from practice for full-time training). Having goals, like “to grow as a better athlete” or “to be resilient in the face of adversity” are more all-encompassing and center on your core; most of all goals are more within my control. Similarly in the clinic, I focus on goals rather than pure targets.

Last but not least, visualization is key to success. Always have the end in mind before taking that first step. This process invokes positive mental imagery, using all senses to visualize success. Mr. Rameshon made me aware of how powerful this is, because according to Napoleon Hill, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.The night before the 2015 New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, in the middle of the race visualization he got me to visualize seeing 400 Facebook like’s on my post-race picture. This was unorthodox but I trusted him so I visualized it; I went on to run my 2h32m12s personal best, was presented with the Singaporean flag as overall runner-up in an international marathon… and yes, 400 like’s happened!

A 2008 study by Dr. Henry Davis 2008 study revealed that elite athletes watching videos of successful performance showed greater increase in neural activity of the right premotor cortex which plans actions. See, feel, then enjoy success.

Similarly when I head into a busy day in the clinic, I take cues from my pre-race routine (eat, visualize, shower, warm-up, pray) to prepare my headspace. I look at the patient schedule in advance, visualize a smooth flow, picture exciting health transformation stories, “keep my head” even with patients waiting in line, and even sometimes say a prayer before taking care of a complex case. What I do in the clinic is like a race, and more.

Another mantra I love is “keep your head” by Rudyard Kipling (“If you can keep your head when all about you. Are losing theirs and blaming it on you”)

Paul: What are some of your aspirations that have yet to be fulfilled?

Ashley: I hope to qualify for a major games beyond the regional level like the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and eventually the Olympics. If I still have it in me when my competitive running days are over, I would like to try qualifying again for the World Ironman Championships, which I narrowly missed by one place in 2010. I also hope to go back to Kenya to re immerse in the culture.

Paul: Last but not least, what is a Champion’s mind to you?

Ashley: The champion’s mind is a state of being innately connected to oneself, living one’s “why” and purpose.

To quote a bit from Dr. Jim Afremow’s book, “The Champion’s Mind” – Your mental game matters the most as physical ability or even naturally gifted talents alone cannot achieve innate athleticism. A champion MAKES greatness happen, despite what may seem like impossible odds. A non-medalist says, “One day I will,” whereas a gold medalist does it and says, “Today I did.”. There will be some days you won’t feel motivated or your nerves will get the best of you but that is your moment of truth (even Usain Bolt said if you’re body doesn’t feel up to it in training that’s potentially the winning moment). Anyone can either act like a champion or take the path of least resistance and not feel challenged. Ultimately, “how you do anything in life is how you do everything in life. 

Champions just smile; it makes them feel better (just like how German marathoner Anna Hahner keeps smiling throughout her painful PB-setting race).

938Now Talkshow : The Champion’s Mindset – Ashley Liew

From overcoming the grief of losing one of his dearest to cancer, to running a chiropractic practice while training twice a day, national-marathoner, Ashley Liew, has been in the sports for 13 years since the day he started with nothing more than an intent to trim the flab.

Today, he is a multiple Stanchart Singapore Marathon podium finisher and one of Singapore’s fastest marathon runner. How did Ashley stay focused and achieve all this amidst the ups and downs he has gone through? Ashley shares his winning mindset on The Champion’s Mind with 938NOW radio host Paul Sng. Below are some excerpts from the interview.

“I run in memory of her.”

Ashley was quick to point out who he thinks of whenever he is pounding the gravel beneath his feet one step at a time. His mother passed away in 2010 and she has always been the biggest influence on his life. Always a soft spoken but a staunch supporter of all my endeavours, she had supported him at races as far away as the 2008 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Florida. Her passing was hard on the family especially when her health took a sudden unexpected turn for the worse. At one point Ashley even contemplated taking the rest of the university term off and foregoing my upcoming competitions. Then he thought about what she would have wanted him to do, which was to make the most of what he has been blessed with. Ashley believes he has taken on a lot of her qualities since her passing, especially humility and a sense of quiet determination, so a big part of my running is in memory of her. 

“How you do anything in life (even for a split moment) is how you do everything in life.” 

Instead of a lifelong endless pursuit of the medals, grades, or career success, I like to focus on doing good during the “in between” moments, because life is ultimately a sum of the choices you make and hopefully, as athletes we can embody this spirit by exemplifying sportsmanship both on and off the field.

“Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits.” 

Another takeaway I have is that actions follow thoughts. So it is important that we should think positively rather than ruminate on self-defeating ones. For example, in the midst of a difficult race I’ve had moments where I tell myself – “I’ve got this” and “every step is a blessing”. If I were to say, “this isn’t my day” or “why am I doing this”, I am already framing my behavior to become a self-fulling prophesy. The brain can’t differentiate between “do” or “don’t”, it just processes that thought and it manifests in our actions.

If you’ll like to catch the repeat podcast just click here.

You can also access the interview transcript here!

ONEathlete Co-Founder Jed Senthil: Behind The (sports) Curtain

“They have so much stress from life, work and family. The least we can do is support them. We are in the business of understanding them and you have to love them by serving and supporting them” – Jed Senthil, Co-Founder ONEathlete

Behind every successful man is a supportive wife, but what about aspiring or successful athletes? What does it take for an athlete to be successful – is winning races sufficient, or was it ever? How does ONEathlete help our family of athletes so that they can focus on doing what they do best?

ONEathlete co-founder Jed Senthil shares his philosophy on supporting athletes as a team of, not merely racing machines, but friends who understand each other as dedicated professionals, the weight of their passion as well as the expectations and struggles of everyday life. Check out some snippet shots of ONEathlete family in action, or click on the links below to read more:

‘A Growing Market for Sports Agents’ – The Straits Times Sunday Times, 7 January 2017

‘Change bulbs, 3am calls, book flights… all just part of the job’ – The Straits Times Sunday Times, 7 January 2017

ONEathlete Co-Founders: (Left) Jed Senthil and (Right) 2-time SEA Games Marathon Gold Medalist Mok Ying Ren

 

ONEathlete Co-Founders Jed Senthil (2nd from right) and Mok Ying Ren (1st from left) catching up with athletes, national tennis player Shaheed Alam (2nd from left) and national badminton player  Ong Ren Ne (1st from right) 

ONEathlete Ong Ren Ne (left) getting ready for a photoshoot with Jed Senthil (right) putting on the finishing touches
ONEathlete out in force to support Dr. Ashley Liew (right) and Evan Chee (left) who came in 2nd and 3rd Local Men respectively at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2017
ONEathlete family photo after the Straits Times Run 2017
ONEathlete in support of Community Chest Heartstrings Walk 2017 with Guest-of-Honour Mr. Tan Chuan Jin (centre), para-athlete Md Shariff Abdullah (1st from left), 15 year-old special needs Olympics 100m runner Shawn Goh (3rd from left) 
ONEathlete family at the inaugural Bangkok Midnight Marathon 2017 where Soh Hua Qun (1st from left) debuted at the marathon distance and Evan Chee (centre) finished as top Asian

National Marathoner Mok Begins ‘Lifetime Marathon’

Press Release

 

30 Dec 2017 – ONEathlete and National Marathoner Mok Ying Ren held his traditional wedding ceremony and michelin-starred luncheon banquet this afternoon, with his wife Belinda Ooi at the Regent Hotel. The Double SEA Games Gold Medallist struck another holistic gold. Family and their close friends were present on this joyous occasion to extend their blessings and well wishes, including school teachers, coaches, partner sponsors, as well as Belinda’s water polo teammates, friends from her alma mater and colleagues from the medical fraternity.

Being a national marathoner, Mok’s wedding theme was aptly set as the start of a ‘lifetime marathon’. Therefore, as a tribute to the brand partners’ unwavering support for Mok at each and every monumental milestone in his life, the gatecrashing ‘brothers’ were ceremoniously decked out in sponsors’ attires featuring ONE, New Balance, Oakley, Keypower Sports and 100 PLUS SG as they once again help Mok overcome the various ‘gate-crash’ hurdles to the dream of his life.

 

While the couple had initially preferred a cosy and quiet wedding ceremony, their minds were changed after seeing how many wanted to be present for their start of a new chapter in life. Mok and Bel also hoped this would be a fitting nod of grateful appreciation to those who have witnessed and helped them grow and mature throughout the years.

Mok and Belinda were clearly enjoying every moment together, mingling with the guests during the cocktail reception and sharing anecdotes over the years of friendship. The stage-shy Mok also overcame his fears and performed a magic trick said to have won him Belinda’s heart years ago.

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Above: Hosts Jed (left) and Adeline (centre), warming the crowd before Mok prepares to work his magic on Bel; Bottom: Mok is blindfolded during his magic trick

To prepare for the wedding dance, Mok and Bel devoted time to 10 dance classes from Auntie Rosa (whom Mok knew for her sports massage skilled hands) & her husband. The couple has started this dance sessions as soon as SEA Games ended, amidst moving to their new homes and other wedding preps. For the couple who have been together for 4 years since their junior college days, this day couldn’t have come faster and it’s easy to understand why seeing the chemistry they share as they took to the dance floor. Fun-loving and always full of smiles, the wedding’s vibe was an extension of their personalities – lively, easy-going and classy.

39909232_unknown-1Mok and Bel performing their couple dance at the wedding

Although an all-star crowd was in attendance given Mok’s background in triathlon, cross-country and marathon running, including overseas friends who have had to work around their holiday schedules to attend the ceremony, they all candidly remarked it was refreshing to see Mok outside of his doctor’s garbs or running attire, testimony to Mok’s dedication and commitment to all that he does.

Mok pulled off a surprise, a wedding vow that was sincere and straight from his heart.

The couple also took this opportunity to appreciate and thank every person whom had impacted their life, the wedding brothers/sisters who supported them in this journey, family and all the well-wishers who took vast efforts to express their love for this couple!

Reflecting on what has been a long year culminating in this momentous occasion, Mok feels very blessed to have his friends and family present on this special day, because ‘‘their advice, support, camaraderie and gift of friendship is what gives me the strength to continue when I thought I couldn’t; they have also seen me grow and mature through the years as an athlete, just as Belinda has, and I have them to thank for who I am today.’

Here at runONE & ONEathlete, we wish Mok and Belinda a blessed marriage and many years of joy in their lifetime marathon ahead.

Author and Photo Copyright © 2017 ONEathlete. All reproduction and representations rights reserved. For queries pls email jed@onemanagement.sg

Stars and Crescent Shine for Debutant Benjamin Ooi at 2017 Ironman World Championships

Press Release for IRONMAN World Championship – Benjamin Ooi

KONA, HAWAII – 24 year-old SMU student triathlete, Benjamin Ooi, had an amazing debut at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, and also his first ironman-distance event (3.9km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km marathon) to finish as top Singaporean male in an overall time of 10 hours 34 mins.

Joining Ben is also multiple Kona-qualifier and one of Singapore’s best female triathlete Choo Ling Er, who finished in 10 hours 32 mins.

As an ex SMU Aquathlon captain and water polo player, Ben was introduced to triathlon 2 years ago as a way of keeping fit for his annual army physical proficiency test (IPPT). Within that short span of time, Ben has gone from learning to ride a bike to racing the very best at the IRONMAN World Championship, a qualifications-only holy grail of triathlons.

Race Morning

The day started positively as the age group athletes were flagged off in waves after the Pro Men’s and Women’s race began at 6:35am. Ben showed his pedigree and water polo background, exiting the 3.9km swim in just over 62 mins along with a large pack of race-eager age groupers vying for position.                                                 

Heading into transition 1, Ben knew that he was the first Singaporean out of the water and stood a good chance. After coming in 2nd at his Kona-qualifying Hefei 70.3 race last October (which also happened to be his first ever 70.3 race), Ben had dedicated the past year getting ready for Kona. He even brought his bike along for his 4-month overseas exchange programme in Sao Paulo, Brazil (as part of his overseas exchange programme), so that training can continue uninterrupted. It shows the dedication and commitment he has in his pursuit of the sport.


Biking Through The Lava Fields

On the bike heading out to Hawi, the punishing headwinds and crosswinds were unforgiving and many athletes, including Ben, were starting to feel the effort. Uncharacteristically, Ben had to work hard to keep his focus just 40km into the bike. Perhaps the nerves were getting to this Kona debutante. 

Although Ben had clocked training rides as long as 160km, his packed academic schedule and congested roads in Singapore had conspired for a less-than-ideal prep on the bike. Ben had to reassure himself he had the legs just as the scorching lava fields were sapping his energy. Working through his hydration and fueling provided some mental respite as Ben tackled the elements and his inner monsters.

As is always, the return leg from the turnaround at Hawi, and then the last 50km, is where the damage is done as stronger riders start to pile on the pressure  before entering transition 2. With big gaps slowly opening up, Ben once again found himself stranded in no man’s land, mentally and physically, as he inched back towards transition. It was going to be a long day in office.


The Final Stretch

Once off the bike, Ben knew that he had his work cut out for him on the run. The abnormally hot weather at this year’s race, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees at the Energy Lab, had turned the run into a game of survival. Back on the tarmac in his running shoes, Ben felt the punishing 180km bike in his brick-like legs where every step felt heavy as lead. He made quick work to follow a group of strong runners as he settled into a strong pace. The race was approaching noon at this point, the unforgiving sun and heat giving running in Kona its infamous nickname – the ‘Ironman shuffle’.

Ben had flown into Hawaii earlier to acclimatize to the heat and humidity. His 20-hour training weeks, with runs that end as late as 1pm in Singapore and Sao Paulo, had also prepared him to face the tough and hot Kona. As a time crunched student-triathlete, Ben was always trodding a fine line between school, training, and the crucial 4th discipline of triathlon – recovery. Despite that, Ben professes it was not the allure of outgunning his competitors but bettering himself that drove him to this sport, and eventually led him to Kona.

“As an athlete, and in life, success is a matter of discipline and habit. Day in and day out, the open-ended challenge to better myself continues. I trusted my training and a little common sense to take me through the unknown come race day. Sometimes things don’t go flowingly, but I know my efforts have still made me a better athlete.

Shortly after the 21km mark, Ben still managed to stick together with the group as they try to conserve energy, mentally and physically, for the second half of the marathon and the Energy Lab –  an infamous 5-km stretch of heat and destitute. At the 28km mark, runners turn off the Queen K highway to complete a loop around the Lab and when they leave, they’re rarely the same. At this point, Ben knows it’s about finishing the run before it finishes you. He digs deep and knows that he must hurry, but more haste can mean less speed too. It’s a high-wire act of energy management in the last 10km, one that he has trained and rehearsed for the past year.


Finishing Down Ali’i Drive

As the Sun begins its gentle descent, Ben  finds the second wind he’s been searching the whole day. Covering the last 3km at 4:10min/km pace and with a final right turn down Ali’i Drive towards the coveted finish, Ben was greeted by his sister, Belinda Ooi, as well as brother-in-law and national marathoner ONEathlete Mok Ying Ren. Both of them had turned up to lend their fullest support for Ben’s Kona debut, providing valuable support as family and also professional advice as athlete, physiotherapist and doctor in company.

Ben is looking forward to enjoy the remaining of his vacation on the tropical sunny Hawaiian paradise before working towards a local race come year end, for a gratifying finish to what has been a long training season for him.

 

“Competing with the best here at Kona has given me an appreciation of the possibilities ahead. Very honoured to have raced with this bunch of dedicated triathletes. Last but not least, I’m unspeakably grateful to the throngs of supporters who lined the streets and livened up the race atmosphere, as well as to have had my family here cheering me on, and throughout the lengthy lead-up to this day!”

Benjamin will like to put on record his deep appreciation to his family and friends, as well as ONEathlete, whose unwavering support over the past year made today’s result possible.


For further enquiries, kindly email jed@onemanagement.sg. Thank you.

Whoever said accountants are plain characters?

IRONMAN World Championships Triathlete 
Managed by ONEathlete 
Singapore
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Whoever said accountants are plain characters? Not content in spending a day in and day out with his college textbooks, Ben joined set his mind on a new sporting challenge in triathlon and soon rose to captain his college Aquathlon team.
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2 years down the road, Ben qualified for the World Championship in his first 70.3 race at Hefei 2016 with a performance that bested other more experienced competitors. Perhaps coming from a background playing water polo similar to Ironman legend Dave Scott has had great benefits, or perhaps it’s his discipline for competition.
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Racing the Kona Ironman is doubly exciting for the young rising star of Singapore’s triathlon scene— an event of a lifetime, as it is—because is also to be his first full-Ironman race. Defying the odds is not new to the 25-year-old, born on a leap day.
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Since qualifying, Ben has pulled out all stops to excel atthe new substantial distance, including taking his training across the globe when he spent months living in São Paulo, Brasil as an exchange student. Racing has been a constantly evolving adventure he thoroughly revels in. No doubt his journey continues on after this World Championship.
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Look out for him in Kona, Hawaii and wave to say hi to this suave gentleman with a sunny disposition, or simply follow him on Instagram, @ironmanbooi for regular updates!

ONEathlete Marathoners join hands with ‘Blade Runner’ and Special Olympics 100m Dash runner at Heartstrings Walk 2017

SINGAPORE – This morning’s Community Chest Heartstrings Walk saw close to 8,000 participants, including members of the public, social service organisations and corporate partners who came together to provide opportunities for meaningful interaction among persons with different abilities. It also aimed to show how every person can be empowered to self-advocate, be self-reliant and give back to the community. This year, an increased number of beneficiaries, including persons with disabilities, seniors and youth-at-risk stepped up at the event to volunteer in various roles, such as teaching other participants how to play inclusive games and facilitate interaction.

 

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Athletes with different abilities also joined in to exchange sporting tips with event participants. Prolific marathoners (managed by #ONEathlete, a social enterprise), Evan Chee (4th in Singapore Marathon 2016) and Ben Moreau (Commonwealth Games participant, based in Singapore) as well as Md Shariff Abdullah, a para-athlete (affectionately known as “Blade Runner”) with a prosthetic leg, took part in the Fun Walk.

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They walked alongside 15-year-old Shawn Goh, a special needs student from MINDS Towner Gardens School who participated in the 100m dash at the Special Olympics this year. Diagnosed with a congenital intellectual disability, Shawn has managed to overcome the challenges he faced and pursued his passion for sports. Shawn’s infectious cheery disposition and affectionate demeanour caught onto the other athletes! These athletes demonstrated how sports and social interactions can be inclusive.

 


Evan Chee said, “It was heartwarming to see so many volunteers, partners and beneficiaries come together as one community to support the cause, and to even interact and understand one another.”

 

Ben Moreau highlighted the significance of athletes using sports and running to give back to the community thru events such as this. He added, “I’m glad to help in whatever way I can because everyone has a role to play. We can also seek inspiration from those who overcome their challenges in life, like Shaun Goh.” 
 

Other than the Fun Walk, the Sky Vertical Marathon up the Marina Bay Sands, and the family carnival was part of the charity event. The 4-km Fun Walk along the Waterfront Trail at Marina Bay was flagged off by Guest-of-Honour, Minister (Min) for Social and Family Development (MSF) Mr Tan Chuan-Jin. This is likely to be the last community event for Min Tan, in his capacity as Min MSF. Indeed a suitable swan song, as the event was helmed by the National Council of Social Services (NCSS), a statutory board under the Ministry of Social and Family Development. Min who initiated SG Cares (a national volunteering movement), will be moving onto becoming the 8th Speaker of Parliament in Singapore.

Highlighting the true spirit behind the event was the Chairman of Community Chest, Mr Phillip Tan (right of Min). He said, “At the heart of our community outreach and fundraising efforts is enabling a better quality of life for our beneficiaries. This year, we are involving our beneficiaries to take on more roles at the event. They are no longer just at the receiving end, but are empowered to co-create solutions and self-advocate. It has been a privilege for us to partner like-minded organisations to foster a more caring and inclusive society. Each of us can give back to our community and make Singapore a better place to live in.”