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.
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.
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.
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.”
We caught Jonathan Chong on a rare afternoon at home. The business major student is usually shuffling between school, work and canoe training. His well-built frame relaxes on the sky blue couch sofa as he stretches over for his favourite ‘SFO’ cushion. Say hi to Jonathan, the big friendly (and charming) giant.
Jonathan was relatively late to canoeing, having only started training at 17. Perhaps that’s what drives him to make the fullest use of his time, squeezing every bit of his youth and drive and walking the tight-rope between work, school and training. In between, he also keeps his sanity by having a social life, jet-setting and travelling, as well as spending time with his supportive family, friends (and books !?!)
Time management is critical for the achiever-go-getter, who jokingly shares that ‘time is just like a six-pack bod; squeeze hard enough and they will appear’. He also enjoys a flexible approach in his tight schedule and tries to ‘do the best with what he has’, although at times setting priorities and bearing with sacrifices is part and parcel of any dedicated athlete’s life.
Short of possessing superpowers and more hours in a day than others, Jonathan thinks the key behind his passion and drive is what he repeats to himself. “Never give up and chase your dreams. A great deal of sacrifice is inevitable, but it’ll be all worth it”
As a canoeing coach at Hwa Chong Institution (HCI), one of the powerhouses in the sport, the 25-year old is also passing on these lessons and training ethos to inspire the next generation of canoeists. His decision to return to his alma mater speaks of his Confucian-steeped education: to be grateful and always remember where his roots lay. So far his efforts seem to be paying off, with HCI ‘A’ Division Boys winning their 8th straight canoeing title in Apr 2017.
Looking back at his younger self, Jonathan is glad he has not left much room for personal regret. To him, that is the clearest reminder that he’s doing something right. That doesn’t include streaks of youthful craziness such as partying before championship races (yet somehow managing to pull through for a podium finish nonetheless!)
Throughout our interview, we can’t help but notice Jonathan’s soft-spoken demeanour hints at a closet introvert beneath his charismatic 1.78m muscular frame. He agrees that with age and moderation comes an increasing preference for more time to reflect and introspect. A cup of strong dark brew, a good read and a nice sofa. Pretty chill and laid back.
Jonathan will not be heading to the 2017 SEA Games as canoeing is not a participating sport. However, his training tempo has no intention of slowing as he works up towards his next…
16 July 2017 – Mok Ying Ren finishes as top Singaporean in the 18.45km category of the Straits Times Run in the City 2017. His timing of 1:04:15 earned him a 3rd place finish, just 21 seconds behind the Kenyan Champion. Mok was pleased with his win as he checks off another solid effort in what would likely be his last race before the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur this August.
“I am happy that the race went the way it did as I had been largely focused on preparing for the SEA Games. It was an honest effort today, and I enjoyed racing among some of the very best today,” said the New Balance & 100 Plus Ambassador. Coincidentally New Balance and 100 Plus are the official apparel and official hydration partner respectively.
Mok’s wife, Belinda, and his manager Jed received the prize award on behalf as he had to attend to work demands right after the race.
Also participating in the 18.45km race are ONEathlete Banjamin Quek and Aileen Tan. Banjamin finished the race behind Mok in 4th position with a timing of 1:09:12. “I had looked forward to this event as a validation race before AHM so I’m definitely aiming for a stronger finish in 3 weeks’ time” said the 22 year old NUS Engineering student. In the Women’s category Aileen also finished 7th with a timing of 1:26:20.
In the 10km race, ONEathlete Evan Chee crossed the line in 36:56 missing out on the top spot to Kenyan and Nepalese. Evan who will be competing in the Berlin marathon in sept, and has just started work at a new company 4 months ago, recalls “It has been a challenging time balancing work which involved quite a lot of travelling and training so I’m pleased with my efforts today”.
The 5th edition of the Straits Time Run in the City saw 13,000 participants taking part across 3 categories: 18.45km, 10km and 5km. There was a slight drizzle on race morning but it did not dampen the participants roaring spirits. The cool breeze and scenic route was a huge morale booster as runners were treated to dance and music parties along the way. Unlike previous editions this year’s race started on the Esplanade bridge, taking runners past the Singapore Sports Hub and Gardens by the Bay before ending at the iconic Padang. A symbolic nod, perhaps, to its partnership with the Singapore Marathon this coming December.
The Straits Times Run in the City 2017 will be donating $1 received from each registration fee to the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund. The Fund started in 2000 as a community project initiative by The Straits Times to provide pocket money to children from low-income families to help them through school, and currently supports more than 10,000 children and youth a year.
Since it’s inception, the Fund has disbursed more than $55m and helped over 150,000 cases of children and youth in providing them with monthly school pocket money to help take bread and butter issues off the table. Through its efforts the Fund has contributed significantly to promoting social causes and community charity.
RunONE is proud to be the official training partner for The Straits Times Run in the City 2017. We will also like to thank The Straits Time team for the partnership in the weekly RunWithMok columns and runONE training plan.
Media Release by 100 Plus & ONEathlete
01 July 2017
100PLUS is delighted to announce Mok Ying Ren, SEA GAMES double-gold medallist, as its new brand ambassador. The partnership between the two familiar names is rooted in their shared values. Both 100PLUS and Mok Ying Ren advocate the healthy pursuit of running to keep fit and empowering every individual to realise his/her potential.
As its Brand Ambassador, Mok will join 100PLUS in its support of Singapore’s efforts to promote healthy living through sports. He will also serve as 100PLUS’ representative at Singapore’s major running events and share his passion and expertise through a series of 100PLUS-sponsored race clinics. Mok will feature in 100PLUS’ branded merchandises and its marketing collaterals.
“100PLUS has been at the forefront of major sporting events in Singapore, supporting the hydration needs for both professional athletes and everyday fitness seekers. This resonates with me as I believe in an active lifestyle and growing the running community. I hope to do more good through such advocacy. I look forward to working with 100PLUS and have a good run with the brand,” said Mok Ying Ren, who is managed by ONEathlete.
Jennifer See, General Manager, F&N Foods Pte Ltd said,”100PLUS is delighted to welcome SEA GAMES double-gold medallist, Mok Ying Ren, as our Brand Ambassador. As one of Singapore’s most celebrated athletes, Mok’s stellar achievements and his strive for excellence exemplify what 100PLUS stands for. He is a shining example of Singapore’s best in the sporting arena and is an inspiration not only to budding sportsmen and women but also to everyday fitness seekers. Our new brand ambassador will help to amplify our brand’s efforts to support the development of our young athletes and also the many running enthusiasts who make an effort to keep fit through running.”
Mok’s appointment as 100PLUS’ Brand Ambassador coincides with the launch of the new non-carbonated 100PLUS ACTIVE. 100PLUS ACTIVE is the latest addition to 100PLUS’s portfolio of isotonic drinks, offering a non-carbonated alternative to cater to the palates and lifestyle needs of consumers.
“My preference is for the non-carbonated 100PLUS ACTIVE when I am training and running. 100PLUS ACTIVE is formulated to help me rehydrate and replenish electrolytes and minerals. I especially like to enjoy my 100PLUS ACTIVE ice-cold for a surge of refreshment during and after my run,” said Mok.
100PLUS contributes to sports development and supports consumers who pursue active lifestyles by ensuring that their hydration needs are taken care of. The calendar of major events supported by 100PLUS each year includes sports events for both serious athletes and weekend warriors. The list is extensive and includes many of the marquee sports events on the local calendar including The OSIM Sundown Marathon, The Straits Times Run and The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.
Released first by Integrated Marketing Solutions Group Pte Ltd on behalf of F&N Foods Pte Ltd.
– what it takes to be an F1 car. By Dr Ivan Low
Have you ever wondered what is the underlying physiology that dictates performance during endurance events? What are the physiological factors that makes a runner into an F1 car and why do they matter in recreational athletes?
In distance running, there are three main physiological attributes which contribute to performance, namely (i) maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max), (ii) running economy (RE) and (iii) lactate threshold (LT).
VO 2 max
A runner’s VO2max is amongst the most widely used parameter to evaluate his/her cardiorespiratory fitness. It measures the maximum rate by which oxygen can be supplied and utilized by the body for energy production during exhaustive exercise. Thus, it provides a good indication on the maximum work capacity that a runner’s muscle can achieve using oxygen for energy production. Essentially, VO2max is analogous to the fuel tank capacity of a car – the larger the tank capacity, the further the distance a car can travel.
While a car’s fuel tank capacity may be indicative of the potential distance by which the car can travel, whether the car could fulfil its potential still greatly hinge upon the car’s engine efficiency (fuel consumption rate). Likewise, runners possessing high VO2max can only perform well if they are able to run efficiently, a concept known as Running Economy.
An individual’s RE depicts the oxygen cost (or energy demand) for a given running speed and it represents a complex interplay of various physiological (cardiorespiratory, neuromuscular and metabolic) and biomechanical factors. While improvement in RE can be attained via conscious correction of running gait (such as less vertical bounce or unnecessary arm swing amongst many others), it can also be improved gradually via training adaptations. That is to say, the more time spent running on the road, the more efficient one becomes.
The third physiological attribute dictating successful distance running performance is the concept of LT. At low running intensity/speed, a runner relies predominantly on aerobic respiration (producing energy using oxygen) for locomotion. As running intensity increases, the body eventually reaches a point where energy demand exceeds the capacity of aerobic respiration and the body starts to rely on less sustainable sources of energy without using oxygen (anaerobic respiration). The point where lactate starts to rise above resting level marks the LT of a runner. Although the science attributing fatigue to lactate accumulation is far from convincing, there is nonetheless a strong relationship between LT and endurance performance.
The LT is akin to the horsepower of a car engine. Regardless of the fuel tank capacity, a car requires a high horsepower engine before it can be sustainably driven at high speed without going into overdrive. Similarly, a higher LT allows runners to sustain at a greater running speed without relying on anaerobic energy production. Endurance training can improve LT, but there are currently no consensus on the best training method for the improvement in LT.
Why do these matter?
The concepts of VO2max, RE and LT have been the cornerstones for training prescriptions and the monitoring of training progression in elite endurance athletes, and they can be easily applied to the everyday runners too. Unfortunately, accessibility to exercise lab testing is limited in Singapore and they can come with high costs.
Marathoner Evan Chee, an everyday runner, who was the fastest Asian in the inaugural Bangkok Midnight Marathon in May 2017, shared his grouses: “I personally have not done a lab test as my coach (Rameshon, National Record Holder for Marathon) and I had found success to gauge my fitness using my performance in time trials and races. Moreover, it can sometimes be costly to do a lab test.”
Evan was not alone on this. Banjamin Quek, an NUS undergrad who is managed by ONEathlete, also quipped that treadmill tests feel different than running outdoors. He said, “I sometimes just can’t push myself as hard on the treadmill as compared to running outdoors because of the lack of visual cues of speed. Besides, the tests are not readily available too.”
Photo Credits: ONEathlete
However, there is no need to fret. Key indicators such as VO2max can be easily and reliably estimated via GPS-sports watches or even simple running tests. For instance, VO2max can be scientifically predicted using the time taken to run 2.4km or the maximum distance covered in 6 minutes. This will suffice to serve as guidance for the prescription of exercise intensity to achieve optimal training stimulation with minimal risks of injury. To learn how to utilize these data in your daily training, check in next week!
Dr Ivan Low is a Research Fellow in the Department of Physiology, NUS. The exercise physiologist ran the Boston Marathon in 2015. He also extends his expertise to runONE’s Training Programme for ST Run 2017.
This column was first published in The Straits Times on 20/5/17.
Three x ONEathlete(s) in ONE article!
MOREAU Ben, Dual Commonwealth Games Athlete. He is a British citizen, now based in Singapore; and
OOI Benjamin, Qualifier for World Ironman World Championship. He is an SMU Accountancy Undergraduate; with
MOK Ying Ren, Double SEA Games Gold Medallist.