Victories do not come easy and champions are not made overnight. At the recent Sundown Johor Malaysia 2015, many witnessed the smashing win by the 24 year-old Kellyn Tan from F1 Runners Team with her impressive personal best of 1hr 40m timing for the Half-marathon (women) category. Her determination, passion and love for the sport has enabled her to gain new heights in the running world. In this article, we chat with the rising star about her running journey and future plans.

JustRunLah!: Congrats on the win at Sundown Johor Malaysia 2015! How will you introduce yourself to Singapore running community?
Kellyn: Hi, I’m Kellyn from Penang! I’m still pretty new to running and I’m really enjoying it so far.

Kellyn (Middle) and her friends at her first 42km Trail Run Event

JRL: When did you first pick up running (what age) and what inspired you to do so? And run so fast?
K: I ran my first half marathon about 7 months ago and was ill-prepared. I had lower expectations and just went all out to do it for fun with my friends. It wasn’t the most enjoyable first half-marathon, but I finished it and I was proud of it.
I knew after crossing the finish line that I was hooked. Crossing the finish line was extremely rewarding which keeps me coming back for more. I like how I managed to shave minutes off in each of my half-marathon races and I think that’s what keeps me going 🙂

JRL: What would you consider to be your biggest running achievement so far?
K: Winning the recent Sundown Johor Malaysia was my biggest achievement so far, where I also achieved my personal best timing.

Image credit: Sundown Malaysia
Image credit: Official Sundown Malaysia

JRL: How has training with F1 Runners been for you?
K: It’s just amazing! With F1 Runners, I’m more willing to grind out harder workouts and more willing to hang on. I will always have to push myself harder as there will be many other F1 Runners pushing you and spurring you to go further and faster. I love the structured training program provided by Coach Lexxus. The training can be tough and exhausting but well worth the results.

JRL: You ran a very impressive 1hr 40min for the half marathon. What are your future goals?
K: My ultimate goal is to hit 1:30 for half-marathon and also to improve on my trail running speed. Oh, and I would like to try a full marathon too when I’m ready for it.

JRL: What advice would you give to someone taking that 21km race? Just Run Lah??
K: If it’s your first attempt, I think it’s better for you to run with a group of friends rather than running alone. Having running buddies will keep you from slacking off or burning out.

Don’t neglect the long run. You need to be comfortable with the amount of time you’ll be on your feet, as well as training your mind for the distance to prevent any negative thoughts which will result in an urge to walk or give up halfway through the race.

JRL: Do you have any pre-race rituals? What goes through your head every time you run?
K: I will go for a short run a day before the race. Since I’m a caffeine addict, I need to have a cup of coffee a few hours before a run to brighten my mood. Whenever I start to feel tired, I will always tell myself, “In just less than two hours, this run will be finished and I’ll be home, eating, relaxing, showering, sleeping …”

Orange Ribbon Run 2015

JRL: What is your mantra for when the going gets tough in a race?
K: Just keep running and aim for the finish line. If others can do, why can’t I?

JRL: What do you think makes a runner, especially someone who keeps at it, put feet to the ground day after day?
K: If you train with a runner’s mentality, attitude and belief, then you are a runner. It doesn’t matter if you are running 10 minutes per km or 5 minutes per km. That way of thinking and feelings that make you a runner – that is what running is all about.

JRL: Finish this sentence: Running is…
K: My happy pill! 🙂