Meet Thomas of V8Runners

Hi all! My name is Thomas Lee, hovering in late 30s with extra fats around my waistline. 😊 I used to run quite frequently at East Coast Park a few years ago. Running really helps me to de-stress and clear my mind.

In late 2015, my toddler daughter did not like to walk and always pestered me to carry her around. I started to experience sharp pain in every step I climbed up the stairs and doctor prescribed Glucosamine and advised me to stop running and carrying my daughter for the next 12 months. I have also tried other methods to reduce the pain such as buying a new pair of running shoes, but the pain did not go away. Ever since, I gradually cut down all my exercise activities and hence grew sideways.

I knew about V8Runners from the Vue8 Facebook posts by Stanley Tan. My work requires frequent travel and because of that, I am not at home with my family on weekdays. Hence, weekends are always reserved for family activities. The Sunday morning 7am timing for V8Runners is great and does not affect my other family activities, therefore, I decided to join in the running sessions and at the same time, I could get to know my other neighbors in the kampung.

I have joined V8Runners since the 1st run till today and will continue this weekly activity. Running with a group helps to motivate one another. After every run, although I still feel a little pain on my knee, I love the feeling that my body is refreshed. At this moment, I know that my legs are still not ready for long distance runs. However, in the near future, I hope that my knee pain will be gone and I am able to sign up for running events.


Packed field of Pros and Age-Groupers line-up for 2017 Foremost IRONMAN 70.3 Thailand in Phuket

The 2017 Foremost IRONMAN 70.3 Thailand will welcome it’s biggest field of professional triathletes ever when 34 Pros line up alongside 1,248 Age-Groupers for Thailand’s iconic IRONMAN event on 26th November in Phuket, the centre of triathlon in Asia. The warm waters off Bang Tao Beach and signature tough, yet beautiful, bike and run courses have made the Foremost IRONMAN 70.3 Thailand a favourite for triathletes from around the world who wish to combine the tropics with an IRONMAN event. Come gun time, it’s game face on for all and the 22 Male Pros and 12 Female Pros will square off for a share of the USD15,000 (approx. 500,000THB) prize purse.

In the male field, the race is open for the taking. Last year’s third placer, Tim Van Berkel (AUS) is back off a solid 15th at the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii and appears an early favourite, while fellow Australian Braden Currie, who won 2017 IRONMAN New Zealand and also competed at Kona, is looking to make his mark in his Thailand debut.

One to watch out for is Canada’s Brent McMahon. Having recorded the fastest IRONMAN debut ever (winning IRONMAN Arizona in 2014), McMahon set the course record at IRONMAN Lake Placid earlier this year and despite a disappointing DNF at the IRONMAN World Championship, is fit and looking to make amends at the Foremost IRONMAN 70.3 Thailand.

The male talent is deep and expect strong performances from Guy Crawford (NZL), Sebastien Jouffret (FRA), Michal Bucek (SVK) and many others, as well Phuket’s adopted Italian sons Massimo Cigana and Alberto Casadei, who as regular competitors in Phuket are looking to shake-up the Pro field this year.

In the Female Pro field Amelia Watkinson (NZL) returns to defend her title after a stand out win at the 2017 Cobra IRONMAN 70.3 Philippines earlier in the year, while last year’s bridesmaid, Phuket-based Dimity-Lee Duke (AUS), is hoping to go one better this time. Also looking to better her 2016 performance is Parys Edwards (GBR), who placed fourth last year and arrives in good form with a second place at 2017 IRONMAN Wales to her name, while 2016 and 2017 ITU World Triathlon Series World Champion Flora Duffy (BER) is definitely one to watch.

Immogen Simmonds (CHE) competed as an age-grouper last year, won her category, finished second female overall and beat many Pros in the process. Now competing in the Pro ranks, Simmonds comes into the event in hot form following a second place at IRONMAN 70.3 Xiamen in China last week and is looking to end her season in style with her first IRONMAN win.

For the almost 1,500 age-group triathletes from 68 countries, thirty age-group qualifying slots are available for the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii and thirty age-group qualifying slots for the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in South Africa.

Returning to Phuket for the second year, the 2017 Foremost IRONMAN 70.3 Thailand is organised by Sunrise Events (Thailand), the Title Sponsor is Foremost with Major Sponsors FBT and Fox Sports, and support from the Sports Authority of Thailand and the Province of Phuket. Event Partners include Angsana Laguna Phuket, Bangkok Airways, Thanyapura Health & Sports Resort, Gatorade, Pepsi, Aquafina, Bollox, UFC, Cetaphil, Zoot and Kitbrix. Media Partners include Mthai, Phuket Cable, The Phuket News, Phuket Bulletin, AsiaTri and FinisherPix.

Adapted from Press Release


Join The Clark Sunset Marathon December 9

DO YOU have a hard time waking up for an early morning fun run?  Is the morning sun too hot for you?

If so then check out the inaugural Clark Sunset Marathon that will be held on December 9, 2017 (Saturday) at the Clark Parade Grounds starting at 4:00 PM.  The novel race presented by the Tourism Promotions Board, Clark Development Corporation and organized by Runrio Events offers runners a respite from the hot weather, pollution and the Metro Manila traffic as they travel around the Clark Freeport Zone and then get treated to the Clark Sunset Music Festival at the finish line featuring top DJs Tom Taus and Ashley Rivera dishing out their brand of beats.

Runners will also get to experience a new AIMS-certified course thus allowing them to use the race as a qualifier for major international races like the Boston Marathon.  The certification is also sure to draw interest from overseas runners as Clark has the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport coupled with sufficient hotel facilities and road network as well as a host of tourist attractions.

CDC’s Noemi Julian flanked by Runrio’s Franco Bambico and Andrew Neri at the event launch.

Aside from the main 42.195-kilometer marathon, runners may opt to join the side events of 21, 10 and five kilometers.  Online registration is now ongoing until November 25 at while onsite registration will be held at Garmin branches located at SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, SM City North EDSA, Uptown BGC and Alabang Town Center and at Cycles and Brew located near the Clark Parade Grounds.

Cash prizes as much as PHP 100,000.00 await the overall champion of the marathon while the fastest Filipino will receive PHP 30,000.00.  All runners 42, 21 and 10km runners will receive medals while 42 and 21km finishers will get an additional adidas shirt.

Registration fees are set at PHP 1,800.00 (42km), PHP 1,400.00 (21km), PHP 850.00 (10km) and PHP 650.00 (5km) with the rates doubling for overseas runners.  The race kit includes an event singlet, race bib, loot bag and ticket to the Clark Sunset Music Festival.

The CSM is just the beginning.  Clark Development Corporation’s Noemi Julian bared during the recent media launch that CDC and Runrio just inked a 10-year memorandum of agreement to hold fun runs and other events in the area thus assuring that the CSM would grow and achieve its goal of being one of the premier destination races in the region while promoting Philippine tourism.


Comeback Run: The Performance Series 2017 – Race 3 @ Changi (by SY)

“An escape from the stopwatch tyranny of PBs and split times, this (the book) is a reminder of how to run for sheer joy.” – Runner’s World

This was the quote that ended my last blog in 2016 and for the whole of 2017 I stayed dormant mainly due to injury and re-injury. There was nothing to report but ‘bad’ news and more ‘bad’ news. So, I decided to give blogging a break and focus on my rehab for a possible comeback end of 2017. What I did for the large part of the year was slow and short runs and only tried out a couple of short 5k races. Although it was uneventful, I was able to just run for the joy of it and took time to do other stuff, e.g. strengthening and rehabilitative therapy.

In August, sensing that I may be on the mend from my injury, I decided to write in to JustRunLah to see if I can get a promo code to sign up for the last of the Performance Series 2 at Changi. This race on a new route was scheduled to take place in early November, giving me ample time to prepare for the race. I was grateful that they gave me a slot at a good discount and that gave me motivation to really focus on coming back strong.

Race Pack Collection

This was one of the fastest race pack collection I ever had. Although it was a small counter but I was in and out of the place (located at One Raffles Place) on a Saturday afternoon within 5 minutes. There was absolutely no queue at all. The goodie bag was no frills which to me was good. I rather organisers spend the money on the logistics for the smooth running of the race than providing freebies that do not contribute to a good running experience.

Race pack collection


Pre-race Preparation

To get myself geared up for the race, I debated with myself if I should attempt a trial 10km run prior to the actual race to see how my body and recovering injury responded to the distance. I thought long and hard over this and finally succumbed to my heart to do a relatively slower 10km two weeks before the actual race. As it turned out, my plantar fasciitis did not worsen, neither did my legs and body fatigued too much. Happy with the trial, I went on to gear up with shorter runs below 8km.

Preparation Run

Race Day

Sleeping fitfully the night before the race, I woke up early at 5am to prep myself. The usual one toast, one banana and one coffee – my essential trinity breakfast, was what I needed to get ready for the race. Weather forecast the night before predicted rain but it turned out to be fairer than expected. I took a ride from a fellow running friend, Mike and arrive at the race village about 30mins before flag off time. There was surprisingly ample parking space at the start line. This was really helpful for those who drove; no hassle whatsoever. The organizer also housed the information counters and sponsor booths in one of the warehouses next to the Changi Exhibition Centre. I supposed this was where they intend to hold future air shows in Singapore.  Mike and his sons went on to the start pen while I had to pay my routine visit to the toilet before the race.  I only saw him later at the medal collection point.

The Race

Morning light began to dawn on the runners preparing at the start pen. With music blaring away, and a few more diehard ones stretching away, I made my way to the front. I wanted to get into Wave One to avoid the crowd in later waves. I was told that one side of the road would be closed for the race so this meant there would be sufficient room for all runners to maneuver in either directions.

The road stretched out long as far as my eyes could see. It reminded me of my NS days at SAFTI when I used to run the 10km route along Pioneer Road. It was a DNF then, but not today. I hoped I could better my timing from my test run two weeks earlier. I breathed a grateful prayer: “Lord, thank you for such beautiful weather this morning and a completely flat course for my comeback race.”

The Tanah Merah Coast Road stretches into eternity. Photo Credit: LTA

As the 10k runners prepared to be flag off, we welcomed and applauded the winner of the 21km category coming in under 80mins. Incredibly fast. Of course, these are elite runners whose bodies are toned and streamlined for running. Some of us who are slower will probably take that amount of time to finish a 10km course! Nevertheless, as amateur runners, it is always silly to compare and compete with others. I snapped back to reality from my runaway thoughts when the emcee started the countdown.

The horn sounded and we were off. The elites sprinted off while the rest of us jostled our way through others to get ahead and find some space to run comfortably. Mindful not to get ahead of myself, I settled to a comfortable 6:15 pace and slowly worked myself towards each km marker. I wasn’t aware of my increasing faster pace until I glanced at my TomTom. Can I sustain this pace? I had not done this pace at this distance for more than 6 months and no basis to think I could. But I felt good so I decided to go with the flow.  I also met Kenjoe, one of the JRL bloggers, also running buddy, at round 2-3km mark.  As I passed him, I applauded him and gave him the thumbs-up.  We saw each other again when I did the return loop; it was good to see him keeping up a steady pace.  Waved at him and later caught up with him at the finish line (but no photos, sorry bro!)

Midway to the U-turn, I met the 21km pacers coming back on the return route. Some of my friends whom I met on Instagram who amongst the pacers. I called out to them when they passed me. Those who the 2:30 pacers. Seeing familiar faces put a spring in my strides and for a moment I was running faster. I quickly checked myself to conserve energy.

Photo Credit: Running Shots (near the finish line)

Frankly speaking, the route was boring, unlike the Farm route from the 2016 Performance Series. There was practically nothing to see, save some cycling enthusiasts and far away planes over our heads. It was just trees, lampposts and the road ahead of me. So, I started to notice the different runners that I overtook and thought what were the reasons that made them wake up early on a Sunday morning and drag their legs for a 10km run. What was their motivation? Could it be for fitness, fulfilling a dream or responding to a dare from a friend? Even as I was pondering over this question, the U turn came into view.
After the turnaround, time somehow began to speed up. I noticed myself picking up speed again without putting a strain on my strides. Soon, someone from the other side called out to me. It was Rebekah, a fellow blogger from JustRunLah! too. She was all decked out in her spiderman (or woman) attire, running under the Superheroes banner. Waved and smiled at her and making a mental note to catch up with her after the run.

Someone commented later that the water points were badly spaced out (I think it’s more for the 21km runners) because I did not use them until around the 8km mark. That pit stop for water cost me almost 1 min of my timing, but it’s okay. Looking at my watch, I knew I was averaging less than 6:10 which means that I had already met my target timing of 65mins. The road began to turn left which meant that the finish line was in sight. As I neared the finish, I realized that the distance was going to be 200-300m short of the intended 10km. As the runners went faster towards the finish, I did likewise. After passing the finish arch, I ran a bit more just to fulfill the 10km – haha.

Official Results showing as sub60 timing (less than 10km)

Post Race Experience

For the first time in a race, the medal and finisher tee collection booths were at least 400m from the finish line, right inside the warehouse, right next to the stage. In a way, this was good. It was sheltered and away from the sun and any possible rain. However, as more runners finished and gathered inside the warehouse, the place was getting stuffy. Drinks were aplenty and there was even a queue for people who wanted a neck and shoulder massage (sorry no full body scrub down.)

After collecting my medal and finisher tee, I walked around, stretched a bit and cooled down. Then I decided to go look for the Superhero Rebekah and some of my pacer friends. Here are some photos with them.

Good to catch up with fellow blogger Rebekah and her superhero friend, Chi Song.

At around 8.45, the sun was still hidden behind the clouds. There was a gentle breeze and overcast skies. No rain was imminent. All the finishers were enjoying catching with friends, taking wefie and boomerang jump shots. There was much celebration and mutual congratulatory messages were offered. As the curtains descended on this year’s Performance Series, many were be wondering if TPS would make a comeback again in 2018. Will it include a marathon category, which means a logistically humongous task to stage, let alone draw runners to participate? It is still anyone’s guess.

Catching up with my pacer friends from the 21km category – Jaz and Karen.
Bumped into Tracy just before she zipped off home.

Closing Thoughts

There is still one more race in my bag before I close the year 2017. It has been a year of ups and downs and a very humbling experience for me. Injury will always humble a runner, whether professional or amateur. It has a way to cut us down to size and make us more humane when we thought we were invincible. And I am very thankful and grateful to God who gave me this humbling experience and also lifted me up again in His timing. TPS Changi was the race that He commissioned me back to racing. Now I am more convinced and persuaded that I run because He enables me, not because of my own training or fitness. And thus I dedicate this finisher medal and tee to the Lion of Judah.

Finisher Tee and 10km Medal (Silver) Thanks JustRunLah for mailing me the replacement medal 🙂
Series Completion Medal which I received by mistake and I got to keep it too – by courtesy of JustRunLah 🙂

In conclusion, let me share this quote from the Runs and races will come to and end; but running does not.  Looking forward to my next sharing.  Meanwhile, run safe and run happy!

You may also follow me on Instagram @twtwriter for more updates on my running journey.


6 Simple Rules For Eating Right As A Runner

We runners need to fuel ourselves well to be able to go the extra mile. What we put in ur body is very important. Here are 6 simple rules to ensure you are fuelling yourself in a proper manner!

#1 Go Empty Sometimes

If you’re doing an easy run or anything less than an hour, try to go empty occasionally. It trains your body to use fats as a source of energy instead of carbohydrates. Running empty means your body will first tap into the carbs stored in your glucose and liver. But once this starts to run low, it taps into burning stored fat. Fat however is oxidised slower as compared to carbs. So if you’re planning a steady state exercise for about an hour, you wouldn’t have a problem – your performance won’t suffer from running empty. However,if you’re doing a high intensity workout, it is not possible to mobilise and oxidise fat fast enough.

#2 Eat Simple

Keep it simple pre-workout. Fuel yourself with something your body is familiar. It’s best to always reach for the same pre-workout snack to allow your body to familiarise itself with it. Grab something that is easy on your digestive system, something high in carbs, low in fat, and low in fibre. Grab a banana for instance!

#3 Eat At The Right Times

Eat at least 30 minutes before your run such that you won’t be hit with gastrointestinal problems. Allow time for your food to digest. Post-workout, make sure you have something to eat within the 15-20 minute following your run. This is to kickstart the recovery process. And it is also during this window that your body absorbs nutrients at it’s best. Bring along a packet of chocolate milk or a banana or an apple to munch on.

#4 Drink Up

Make sure you are well hydrated throughout the day. It is very easy to mistake thirst for hunger. So drink up to avoid snacking unnecessarily on crisp or chocolates or even ice-cream. Make sure you are drinking at least 2-3 litres of water everyday. This is the baseline. One way to ensure you’re drinking enough water is to track the colour of your urine! If it is too yellow, you know you need to drink more water.

#5 Eat A Balanced Meal

Make sure you’re meal contains sufficient carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats and fibre. Dedicate approximately half your plate to carbs, a quarter to protein and the rest to healthy fasts and fibre. Fats aren’t fried chicken skin – it is more like fats from avocado or olive oil.

#6 Cut The Rubbish

Try to avoid eating crisp, chocolates, and all the high sugar high fat food. The secret lies in getting rid of them in your house. This reduces your temptation and likelihood of snacking. Instead fill your house with healthy snacks such as nuts, edamame, greek yoghurt or fruits. Opt for the healthy option!


Why 10,000 Steps A Day May Not Be Enough!

Our FitBit, JawBone, Garmin tells us 10,000 steps should be our daily goal. But, where do they get this number from? There is actually no scientific evidence as to why 10,000 should be the magic number.

The 10,000 Idea

The 10,000 steps ideal surged to popularity when the pedometers were introduced. The early version was called manpo-kei which translated to 10,000 steps in English. Over time, 10,000 steps just became the standard baseline what everyone tried to achieve. But does this really work for everyone?

Should You Be Taking More Than 10,000 Steps?

10,000 steps should roughly be equivalent to a 5 mile distance. Of course if you’re trying to be fit, the more steps you take, the better. Why stop at 10,000? Many of us unfortunately live a very sedentary lifestyle. Many of us are struggling to even hit the 3000 mark. However, if your goal is really to be healthy and maintain a healthy weight, this is the very minimum mark you should be hitting – nothing less!

Are Fitness Trackers Accurate?

Photo Credits: Tech Crunch

Your Jawbone, your Fit Bit does come with a hefty price tag doesn’t it? Some models go up to hundreds of dollars. However these models count you steps, count your calories, and even help analyse your sleeping patterns. They use precision monitor sensors and algorithms to track your steps, your active type and even your idle time. The devices also have a built-in accelerometer that maps the human body’s biomechanics to give you a super accurate number of steps you’ve taken in a day.

Reaching Your Daily Goal

You don’t need one of these expensive gadgets to track your 10,000 steps. If all you want is your step count and you don’t need the rest of the details such as sleeping patterns and calorie-count, you could consider a basic pedometer. They are a lot lighter on your wallet and performs the very same function of counting steps. Try increasing your daily steps by 10-20 percent. Take the stairs instead of the lift! Make a lifestyle change!


Race Review: Athens Marathon “The Authentic” 2017 (by Doctor Will)

Athens Marathon Course map

As I started preparing for my first marathon back in 2008, if you had told me I would run a second one, I would have said you were crazy. If you had told me I’d be running my 25th marathon on the route of the original marathon, I would have called the hospital and had you committed. And yet, on November 12th, there I was.

Known as “The Authentic” because it is the origin of the modern marathon, the Marathon-to-Athens race actually has two important places in history. The first, of course, is the legend of Phidippidies, the messenger in 490 BC who ran from Marathon to Athens to deliver news of a victory in battle, and then dropped dead (all marathoners should remember that the first person to do this died!). Greece’s second role in the marathon’s beginnings came in 1896, when the modern Olympic Games were revived. Held in the Panathenaic Stadium – the world’s only marble stadium, built on the site of a stadium from 2,500 years ago – the Games featured the marathon as a uniquely Greek part of the competition. Though the distance was slightly different – the 42.195km/26.2mi standard came in 1908, as I later learned at the Marathon Route Museum – today’s Athens Marathon follows the same route, and ends in the same stadium (also the site of the 2004 Olympic Marathon Finish Line).

The Panathenaic Stadium
Our Finish Line would be in the Panatheniac Stadium, the site of the original Olympics 2,500 years ago — though unlike those athletes, we would not be nude.

So, the first thing we had to do was get to the town of Marathon. The race provides buses, and through sheer luck (certainly not any planning on my part), my hotel was at one of the main pickup points. I boarded at 6:15am for the 1-hour journey. We walked from the drop off point to the Marathon Stadium, leaving our clothes for after the Finish with a fleet of DHL trucks that would be waiting for us in Athens. The stadium was packed; they had 18,500 registrations this year, the biggest field ever. At the stadium, in addition to 300 porta-potties, were the Marathon Flame and the pillars showing the starting line for the 1896 Games.

Original Starting Line
Celebrating #MedalMonday back at the Starting Line of the 1896 Olympic Marathon.

I was in Block 7 and we were scheduled to go at 9:14:30am. We were a couple minutes late, but not enough to matter, and as we headed out I was pleasantly surprised that the road did not seem as crowded and full of elbows as I have come to expect. I had been warned to start slowly because the hills ahead would suck the energy right out of us, and I tend to go out fast because I’m excited, so I purposely watched my GPS and kept my pace about 30 seconds slower that I would normally start.

The race would go along Marathon Road between Marathon and Athens, taking us through a number of small towns along the way. When we hit a town, the local folks were out in force to cheer us on. In between towns, we relied on our own motivation. I was wearing my Team USA singlet and got lots of “Go USA!” and “We love America!,” and I only got spit on once (though that was by another runner just after a water stop, and he apologized profusely, so I’m pretty sure it was an accident).

Between kilometers 11 to 32 – so, half the distance of the race – the route pretty much goes uphill. There are a few dips that will deceive you, but before you know it you’re heading up again. I knew it was coming, but knowing it and being mentally prepared for it are two different things. I remember climbing a steep hill and then leveling off at kilometer 16, thinking “wow, that was probably the steepest one,” but every time I thought that, Greece had a surprise for me around the next turn. The biggest incline was between kilometers 21-23, but at least by then I was beyond the halfway point, which is mentally helpful.

Around kilometer 27 I could feel the pain starting in my legs so I decided to pop a couple Tylenol. I slowed to a walk along the right side so I would be out of people’s way while I dug through my belt for the pills. By the time I started up again, I was cold. Like, really cold. The sun was behind the clouds (it didn’t come out until I reached 33km), the temperature was about 20C/68F, but we had a headwind, and by walking I had stopped generating a lot of body heat. That meant that my sweaty clothes were getting cold and I didn’t have the heat to counteract it. I had learned this in a cold-weather race a couple years ago, but was not thinking about it in the context of Athens in November. I saw some people who had stopped to get help with something from the paramedics, and now they were wrapped in foil blankets and in some cases even had people hugging them. I did not want to be one of those people.

I managed to pick up the pace again and after a while the feeling of cold went away. After the 32km point the uphill battle also went away and the downhill battle started. I don’t have a lot of experience with hills, so I definitely learned one new thing: just because you’re going downhill doesn’t mean it won’t hurt as much as going uphill, it simply hurts in a different way. By this point in the race my legs are going to be aching whether I’m running flat, up, down, or sideways, so my plans to make up time in the downhill stretch were pretty much dashed. Doing the math in my head I realized I wasn’t likely to hit my goal time, and that’s a real psychological blow when you still have about ten kilometers to go. It makes it hard to push yourself when you know the goal is out of reach, and so I started doing more high-fives with the kids along the route without worrying about my time, which probably wasn’t a bad idea anyway.

Not a whole lot of smiles late in the race. (thanks to Michael McPhail for the pic)

As we came into the outskirts of Athens the crowds got bigger and more excited. I was still getting “Go USA!” but also “Go William!” and I figured if they could read my name on my bib that meant I was running too slowly and should pick it up. I also did some more math and realized that even though I couldn’t hit my goal, I could still finish faster than my last few races, and that would be nice. So I found my last bit of adrenaline and really started pushing through the final 5km. (In the end, I finished my fastest in two years, suggesting that maybe it’s not age, but instead perhaps poor training, that has led to my slowdown these last two years…and that’s something I can fix.)

Approaching one of the final aid stations, I needed something other than water, and I saw this was one of the stations that had Powerade. I grabbed a cup, and then a few meters later saw volunteers pouring cups of Coke (Coca-Cola is a sponsor, hence the Powerade). I haven’t had Coke in a race for a few years but figured “why not?” and grabbed a cup for the road. A tiny sugar and caffeine boost could be helpful in the final stretch.

As we neared the Panathenaic Stadium the crowds got really big, and really loud. Running through the final kilometer I felt my excitement rising, knowing that the last 170 meters would be on the track inside the stadium itself. A friend had told me to run that distance slowly, just to absorb the feeling of running in such a historic space. I took his advice, even if it meant losing a few precious seconds, and am glad I did. It was like finishing as an Olympian. I was looking at the crowds in the stands so much that it’s a miracle I didn’t run into any of the runners in front of me.

Athens Marathon Finish
Happy to have run it, but also kinda happy to be done!

Overall, I enjoyed it. The weather was pretty good, the race is very well organized, the runners had plenty of room on the roads, and the crowds got into it. It’s very international; in my block alone I saw people from the US, UK, Russia, Italy, Belarus, PRC, Taiwan, Latvia, Germany, Portugal, Mexico, and Switzerland. And of course, there’s the history; it isn’t just a marathon, it’s THE marathon.

Getting to Athens is easy enough, even though the flights are pretty long. Scoot flies between Singapore and Athens twice a week, and most of the European and Middle Eastern airlines can get you there with one connection. Hotels in the central part of the city, especially around Syntagma Square and the Acropolis areas, can be a little expensive, but they are still reasonable, and you can also find Airbnb’s around these good neighborhoods. The marathon also gave us free public transit passes for 5 days, which I put to a lot of use.

If you’re looking for a run through a city on flat streets with huge crowds of spectators, Athens is not the place for you. But if you want to dip yourself into the history of the sport and take on a challenging course, then nothing beats the Athens Marathon.


5 Common Mistakes When Hiring A Personal Trainer

Struggling with the motivation to workout? Need to get stronger? Need to shed a couple of kilos?- Hiring a personal trainer is a great option! You get all the motivation you would need. You are less likely to bail on a workout when someone is there to hold you accountable. A personal trainer would also give you the extra push – making you stronger, faster, better. But, before forking out your dough on hiring a personal trainer, you’ve got to make sure you hire one that is good for you – suits you and your training needs. Here are 8 common mistakes people make when hiring a PT!

#1 You Don’t Know Their Credentials

Always ask them about their credentials. You want to be able to be sure you are in good hands, that you are training with someone who really knows his or her stuff. Ask them what courses they’ve taken or whether they’ve gotten any certifications. Also ask them about their experiences!

#2 You Don’t Know Their Area Of Expertise

Photo Credits: Prevention

Every personal trainer has their own area of expertise. Some specialise in training the elderly, some are experts in training those with joint pain and some are body builders. Identify your needs and match them with their area of expertise. For instance, if you’re a runner looking to improve your marathon timing, it wouldn’t exactly be smart to hire a body builder would it?

#3 You Did Not Have A Trial Session

Always have a trial session to see whether their personality is compatible with yours. If you don’t like military style motivation, having someone constantly shouting in your face would not be pleasant. A more laid back personal trainer would be a better fit for you. It all depends on what suits you! Have a trial session to help you determine this.

#4 You Are Getting Along Too Well

Photo Credits: Strength Sensei

If you’re getting along too well with your personal trainer, that could also be a problem. You would spend your time chatting away instead of actually working out. It will interfere with your progress because instead of running an extra mile, you’re too busy gossiping. You need to find a trainer that strikes a balance between being motivating yet being able to push you to your limits at the same time.

#5 Don’t Forget To Ask Yourself If You’re Making Progress

If you’ve been putting in the effort and training for awhile, but you realise that you’re not making much progress, you need to ask yourself the question whether this trainer is actually right for you. The best trainers listen to what you want, not tell you what you want. They help you achieve what you want. If your goal is to lose weight, that’s what they help you with, not bulking up and putting on more muscle. Constantly make sure there is progress to make your monies worth!


Getting Dizzy After Racing? Here’s Why!

Photo Credit: Rebalance Life

Feeling lightheaded after a workout is a normal phenomenon. A sudden stop after running can cause dizziness because of the sudden drop in blood pressure.

#1 Suddenly Stopping

When we run, our blood vessels dilate and our heart pumps faster to meet the oxygen demands of running. This is such that Oxygen can be quickly transported to the muscles that demands it. The stronger pump serves to assist with the venous blood flow.

But,a sudden stop in running, your heart loses this pumping assistance. However, your blood vessels remain dilated. This causes blood to pool in your extremities, hence causing your blood pressure to drop significantly. This drop leads to you getting dizzy!

#2 Dehydration

Running a race differs from a standard training run. You push harder and run a faster pace as compared to a training run. This leads to a higher heart rate and more sweating, which means losing more fluids. We also don’t rehydrate as well as we blaze pass water stations. This loss of fluids causes a lower blood volume which means low blood pressure.

Photo Credits: BBC

So, instead of  just stopping and plopping down at the finish line, here’s what you should do instead to prevent you from feeling dizzy for what could be a whole 20 minutes.

#1 Just Keep Moving

Keep moving even after you’ve crossed the finish line. Just walk up down or walk in place. Take deep breaths and keep moving for at least a couple of minutes. You can shake your legs out. You can clench your fists to help contract your upper body muscles.

#2 Hydrate Yourself

Doesn’t a nice 100plus or gatorade at the finish line sound so good? Remember to always rehydrate yourself! Pick up that can of 100plus or water and start drinking up. You need to replace your loss fluids and electrolytes. This also helps return your blood volume and hence your blood pressure.

#3 Wear Compression Socks

Photo Credits: Top Stretch

Another option is to wear compression socks. Compression socks help return your blood to you heart. This assists in blood flow and circulation, hence decreasing the likelihood of dizziness happening.

#4 Cooldown

After a fast and furious race, plenty of us give the cool down a miss. We sit around, catching up with friends, and talking about our run. This is not wise. It is always wise to cool down. This is to give your body time to return to normal. Cooling down allows for your heart rate to gradually return to normal.

But should you start to feel dizzy after a run, lie down and elevate your feet on a bench or chair. This will assist blood to flow back to your heart!


5 Spices That Boost Your Immune System

The riggers of running long distances temporarily lowers your immune system. When you put your body under stress, your body churns out the stress hormone – cortisol. This hormone suppresses the immune functions, hence lowering our immune system. Here are some spices that will help you boost your immune system to keep falling sick at bay.

Why Spice It Up?

Did you know spices help boost your metabolism? – Yes, your spice rack holds a hidden power. Having a higher metabolism means your body burns more calories. Boost your metabolism by adding these herbs when you cook. Not only does it take your cooking up one notch, it’s healthy eating!

#1 Garlic

Garlic is a great antioxidant and is known to help fight cold and flu due to the presence of the compound – allicin.

#2 Ginger

Ginger is very well known for it’s anti-inflammatory capabilities. This is in addition to it’s ability to quell nausea. Ginger also improves blood circulation – much needed for recovery.

#3 Tumeric

The bright yellow colour spice gets it’s colour from cucurmin. It’s anti-inflammatory, it’s anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and an antioxidant. it’s trademark health benefits are immense.

#4 Cayenne Pepper

Photo Credits: Green Blender

Cayenne Pepper is a great anti-oxidant. It also has great anti-inflammatory properties making it a great spice for a runner. It’s spicy kick also makes food really tasty.

#5 Cinnamon

Cinnamon is well known to help you weld off the cold because it is a great immune stimulator. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps regulate blood sugar levels.

These spices are a great way to flavour your meals. This way, you can reduce using too much salt. For instance, you cayenne pepper to give your grilled chicken breast some kick instead of using too much salt. Or, use more garlic to cook your vegetables instead of salt and soy sauce.


Malaysia’s Premier Running Event – Standard Chartered KL Marathon Bags Two Gold SPIA Asia Awards

The Standard Chartered KL Marathon (SCKLM) cemented its pre-eminent position as the premier running event in the country by clinching Gold in two categories at the annual SPIA Asia event (Asia’s Sports Industry Awards and Conference) held here recently. Dirigo Events, the owner and organiser of SCKLM, won for the Best Mass Participation Event and SCKLM technology partner MYLAPS earned the Gold in the Best Sports Digital Platform category for the SCKLM App.

“There were some big names vying for the same awards and equally notable personalities within the judging committee, so to be crowned winners is indeed an incredible honour. This industry recognition validates all our efforts thus far and will serve to spur us on to continue to deliver the best event experience for all our SCKLM stakeholders. We would like to thank all our sponsors, partners and participants without whom this achievement would not have been possible,” 

-Rainer Biemans, Director of Dirigo Events and Project Director of SCKLM-

SCKLM2017, which was the ninth edition of the event, recorded the highest turnout for the event to-date with close to 36,000 runners taking part. Of these, over 1,700 were international running tourists contributing towards the country’s tourism revenues and in total more than 70 nationalities were represented, making SCKLM a truly inclusive mass participation event.

The SCKLM App was developed by MYLAPS and launched for SCKLM2016. To date the App has been downloaded a total of 23,096 since its launch and become the most downloaded sports app in the App Store and Google Play on 21 May 2017, the day of the event, with 1,085,782 screens viewed.

“The App has proven to be really popular with our runners as it has useful features like a Live tracking page which allows users to track any runner, all Race Day related info, access to the Runners’ Guide and seamless social media connectivity that allows users to instantly post race photos,”

-Gloria Ng, Director of Dirigo Events-

SPIA Asia is an annual event which celebrates the brands, agencies, marketers and organizations which positively influence the sporting landscape in Asia. The Awards are a meaningful and credible platform judged by industry experts, while committed to create legacy through raising funds for local development initiatives. The SPIA Asia Sports Business Conference is the only one of its kind, which brings thought leaders of the industry together to discuss the specific topics and themes that are changing the face of sport in Asia.

For more information and updates on SCKLM, please visit:


For more information, please contact:

Suthan Narayanan | 603.7887.4717 | [email protected]

For more information on Standard Chartered KL Marathon:

Gloria Ng | 603.7887.4717 | [email protected]

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“The Art of Energy” an amazing Running Data display at the Shanghai Marathon

BMW China gave every runner in the Shanghai marathon a personalized art piece by using their individual running data to celebrate their achievement, encouraging them to “LET THE WORLD SEE OUR ENERGY”.

In China, BMW is not only one of the most beloved car companies but also has a profound history with running. Thanks to BMW, if you ran the Shanghai marathon this year you received a personalized 3D art piece after finishing the race.

Partnering with China’s most popular running apps such as CoDoon, JoyRun and Rejoice, BMW dove deep into runners data regarding speed, pace, distance and total calories burned. In collaboration with world class visual data artist Joshua Davis, BMW visualized runners’ running data in a beautiful 3D way using codes, colors and shapes. For example, cylindrical shapes represent the runner’s pace – the taller the cylinders, the faster your pace. Color represents speed: red is slow, blue is medium, and green is fast. By interacting and rotating their personalized art, runners discovered even more data from different angles.

Once runners created their unique 3D art pieces, they could compare with friends, share on social media and use the information to improve their next performance. That’s BMW’s invitation to runners: LET THE WORLD SEE OUR ENERGY.”

“BMW aspires to earn a place in running culture while staying authentic to their brand. So we asked ourselves, if cars and running have almost nothing in common how can BMW add value to the running experience? The simple truth was performance. BMW has a rich heritage using technology to enhance performance in everything they do and we thought, what if they could do it for runners? This was leap off point our creatives took and ran with.” said David Lin, Senior Strategist from Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai.

The campaign also included OOH, WeChat promotions and an H5 encouraging everyone to LET THE WORLD SEE THEIR ENERGY.

Adapted from Press Release


Hallasgo, Tadlas Best of MILO Butuan

BUTUAN CITY – The penultimate qualifying race for the 41st National MILO Marathon was completed Sunday (November 12) at the Father Saturnino Urios University Gym with familiar faces sharing podium honors.  Bobby Tadlas recaptured the title he last held in 2015 while Christine Hallasgo completed the double conquest by their team the Malaybalay Runners.

Tadlas, who qualified last season via winning the Tagbilaran leg, clocked 1:13:31 over the 21-kilometer course.  Coming in Second Place was Jemarwin Cabran (1:18:31) followed by Alvirg Busa (1:21:18).

Hallasgo, a back-to-back champion of the Cagayan de Oro leg in 2014 and 2015, tasted success again with a time of 1:30:45 that is good enough to land her among the Top 10 of the Men’s Division.  She was clearly the runaway winner against Janette Mendoza (1:47:59) and Jaylou Maloloy-on (1:51:27).

Tadlas and Hallasgo will lead the city’s qualifiers to the National Finals set for December 3 in Cebu City.  Tadlas hopes to improve on his 18th Place finish in last year’s Nationals hosted by Iloilo City.

In the other distance categories, the 10 kilometers was won by Ruel Alguffera (35:03) and Lovely Andrin (45:36) while the five kilometers went to Rico Jay Patanao (17:22) and Afjeel Clampiano (22:34).  The three-kilometer children’s race was ruled by John Paul Esoro (11:43) and An Mansacoban (13:33).

The MILO Marathon will hold its final qualifying race this Sunday (November 19) at Cagayan de Oro. This will be the last chance for runners to earn slots in the Philippines’ oldest and most prestigious footrace.


The Finale of Trilogy: TPS 2017 Race 3

5 Nov was the finale of the trilogy, organiser marketed it as the race to clock PB, as the route will be flat and straight. I was very excited, hoping to clock a sub-2 for my graduation run. Whether true or not, I had already bought the bundle when they launched the series, even “up the mountain cross the river” also will attend.

As usual, the route only released not long before the race. What a disapointment, its a 2 x 10k loop, meaning running the same stretch of road for 4 times. The route is really flat and straight, no devil slope and bottleneck, wide path for overtaking, perfect!

But the actual run wasn’t that perfect for me. The route is so straight that it is like never ending, no turns, no bends, and boring. No volunteers to cheer us up, no views to enjoy, no motivation, the 5k stretch seems longer than usual. Finally come to a U-turn and then the same 5K in opposite direction. I tried not to look in the opposite side as what I can see is a stretch of orange army.

There are only 2 hydration points along the route and not evenly positioned. I think there should be another 1 station at the u-turn.

Instead of clocking a PB, I struggled till the end and finished with the worst timing of the series.

Only can blame myself for not running for 3 weeks before the race and just did a warm up run 3 days before.

Every failure will have a lesson learned. Will make sure to be more prepared before the next race. HM is not that easy especially for leisure runners like me.

Will do more long distance run and be prepared for my 2 FM (Tokyo Marathon and Sundown) in 2018.


How To Find The Perfect Sports Bra For Running?

There’s just so many choices. You don’t know where to begin. You don’t even know how to begin. It is however worth taking the time to sort out the choices to find the perfect sports bra, because like running shoes, sports bras do matter. It is equally as crucial to find a sports bra that suits you. Running is a high impact sport and will cause any cleavage we may have to bounce. This could actually lead to breast pain or chest pains. This is why it is of utmost important we find the perfect sports bra – for us!

Size Does Matter

Size does matter. Breast pain is directly related to size. The more well endowed, the more likely you are to have a problem during vigorous sporting activity. Compression bras are better at alleviating this kind of pain as compared to looser fitting bras. So this means, if you are well-endowed, go for a sports bra that has some sort of compression. Runners with a D Cup or E Cup should always choose a bra with more support.

Photo Credits: Virtual Sport Injury Clinic

If you have smaller breasts – A or B cup, should they not cause you any discomfort of pain, this means any sports bra would do for you, even those designed for low impact activity such as yoga. You could use them for running.

However, regardless of size, some form of support is always good. Bouncing can very unfortunately lead to premature sagging. However, using a sports bra with support will help alleviate bouncing and help keep this issue at bay.

Better Support For Better Performance

A good sports bra with the right fit could shave off a couple of minutes off your run. With the right fit, our pectoral muscles would not need to expend energy to keep things in place. This helps make or running form more efficient. This saved energy is channeled to our running – what really matters! So yes, get a good sports bra with the right fit and good support for a better race time!

Find The Right Fit

C’mon girls, sports bras are expensive! And if you are going to be forking out so much dough, you better make damn right sure it is the right fit and it is comfortable. Choose a sports bra with a snug fit. Always try them before purchasing. The straps should not hang loosely over your shoulders, neither should they dig into your skin. Run up and down the store, it’s fine. It’s more important to test it out thoroughly before spending on it. Make sure the material is breathable and comfortable!

Photo Credits: Groupon

And one more thing, lots of people wear the same sports bra for years, maybe even a decade. It is important to replace them often. Think of them like running shoes. Running shoes have a life span, and so does sports bras. A good benchmark would be to replace them as often as you replace your running shoes for them to perform it’s function of providing you the support you need, for you to go the extra mile!


7 Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally

High Cholesterol puts you at risk of many coronary diseases, and could also lead to a fatal heart attack. The standard limit of cholesterol level in our body is at 5.2 mmol/L. Every 1mmol/L above the normal limit is associated with a 35 per cent increase in risk of death by heart attack! If you’re cholesterol level is high, it’s never too late to do something about it. Here are a couple of ways to lower your cholesterol levels naturally!

#1 Cut The Trans Fat

Trans fat is one of the worst culprits! The main source of trans fat are processed food containing partially hydrogenated fats or shortening such as pastries, crips, fries and sweets. Put that don’t down for a healthier you!

#2 When You Go Out, Don’t Go Deep Fried

Deep Fried Food outside tend to be fried with oil that has been re-used many times. Reheating oil repeatedly produces harmful compounds which will increase your risk of heart problems. If you are really craving that deep fried chicken, don’t head out to KFC, cook it at home yourself and ensure you discard the oil after use.

#3 Choose Unsaturated Oil

Photo Credits: Style Craze

Cook at home with unsaturated oil. Options are – olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, rice bran oil and corn oil.

#4 Eat More Soluble Fibre

Soluble fibre helps reduce your cholesterol by binding it to the bile acid in your small intestines. Have a serving of oats for breakfast. Or boil barley gingko as a dessert. All these contains soluble fibre. Other products that contain soluble fibre are oat bran, fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans and nuts.

#5 Choose Snacks Wisely

Lay off the Pringles, crisp, m&m’s and Baskin robins. Opt for a handful of almonds or cashews instead. Grab a banana instead of that cream puff!

#6 Exercise Regularly

It is recommended to have 30-60 minutes of physical activity 2-3 times a week. You can brisk walk, or cycle in the park, go kickboxing or just do some squats and planks. Pick an activity you like, and make it a lifestyle!

#7 Limit Your Saturated Fat Intake

Saturated fat is present in animal products – meat fat, skin, butter, lard, and cream for instance. They are also present in plant derived products such as coconut milk and palm oil. Saturated fat increases your cholesterol level hence the need to limit your intake.

Make these 7 ways to lower your cholesterol habit!


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