Friday, May 27, 2016

Calling all 4hours plus marathon runners - Waiting is a waste of time

By Saranniya

From no experience of running a marathon, Dr Ansgar has done 3hr 08min within 1 1/2years of training

In our group, at present, there are several athletes with sub- 3hours timing for the marathon. As an aspiring female athlete, I am amazed to see this in our group and I feel honoured in mixing with these runners.

We have Ashley Liew who has done a 2hr 32min for New Orleans Marathon, year before last year. He is our front runner. He is the top in the league, just few minutes away from our coach, Coach Rameshon's marathon time of 2hr 24min 22sec. We are hoping that Ashley will go for Olympics in  future and break the national record for the marathon set by Coach Rameshon, himself.

Few weeks from now, or in the future, I will write in detail on all the athletes with sub-3hours. Right now, we have Mr Evan Chee, who will be taking part in the Sundown Marathon, tomorrow, although a number of them, in the group are running in Chicago Marathon 2016. There are confirmed 5 athletes who are running, in total.

For 40/50 years and above age category, we do have Mr Erich, Dr Ansgar, and Coach Rameshon who are capable of doing sub-3hours this year. Whether they will be running in the Standard Chartered Marathon 2016 or not, it is left to their decision. For now, many in Flexifitness and other running groups, plus Singaporeans as a whole, would like running overseas, as opposed to running in Singapore.

Recently, I have heard myself from some runners asking for Coach Rameshon just to help them do a sub- 4hours for the marathon. As I have seen for the past 4 1/2 years that I have been training with Coach Rameshon, I have done my best by coming in 2nd in National Schools' Cross - Country Championships 2015. In the past, to tell you the truth, I was an absolute non-runner in the past. In my experience, all athletes who trained up for it in the group have attained it.

For me, it was a sad thing to hear that about 5 of the athletes who have joined us are, after so many years of training, not able to do the sub-4hours. They did all their best to do it but it was of no help. Upon being tested, it was found by Coach Rameshon that the runners have made some controllable mistake in the methodology and some by running with wrong technique and posture of running. Some have got injuries because of poor technique.

Within 1 1/2 years, Dr Ansgar Cheng, 50, a dentist by profession, has done just two marathons and have done a 3hr 35min in Stanchart Marathon 2015, before doing a 3hours 08min in 5 weeks for the Hong Kong Marathon 2016.

It is in the hope that those aiming for sub-4hours, in not delaying the target time too long that I am inviting these aspiring athletes to aim to go for group training session with us or do personal training with us too expedite your performance. However, at first, you should give yourself 3 years and below time to do own training to attain the sub-4 hours for the marathon. Time and tide waits for no man!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dr Ansgar Cheng - A Podium Finish for 5000m Asian Masters Track and Field Championships 2016

By Rameshon

Dr Ansgar Cheng - One of the heroes of Flexifitness and for Specialist Dental Group as well. 

The counterman is Dr Ansgar Cheng (with red singlet)

It is interesting to find out on how I got to know Dr Ansgar Cheng, 50, a dentist by profession, from Specialist Dental Group. From my memory, it was about one and a half year ago that he joined Flexifitness. His wife, Moonlake, was a very supportive person to his running passion. As a coach for Dr Ansgar, I am in fact his fan as well, as I like the courage that he shows during a race. 

Dr Ansgar with 2 medals, from 5000m (1st) and 4 x 400m (3rd)

While I was having a running group, he came to me and ask, "Do you think that I can do my personal best time for 5000m?." I was asking him on what his time was in the past. He told me that he has done a 18m 30sec, around there.

Colin Chua (left) and Evan Chee, came to see Dr Ansgar's race, after their 5000m race. 
Immediately, I felt that he was trying to fool around with me. I was puzzled. I knew that he was a dentist and it was not easy to do this kind of time. I gave him a strategic answer, " So long you dedicate your time, why not!". It was only then that Dr Ansgar started training like 'The Rocky' movie's hero Rocky Balbao. I think all he wanted was an answer 'can'. I was thinking, that is going to be a mammoth task for him to get a time that was done when one was 18 years of age, in the first place.

Dr Ansgar, is meticulous about running technique and posture in running

It was very surprising for me to see that this gentleman who was going for it at the age of 48 years old plus, now.

Over time, in the running programme, I found that his 5km time was about 20min and the 10km time was 42min plus, as I can remember. At first, he used to run too fast at the start and then fade away towards the end. Actually, in that situation, he doesn't really fade away but he will do a very slow progressive time, which was trivial for me. Over time, heeding to our wisdom to take it easy at the early part of the run, and reserve his strength towards the end, it was then that Dr Ansgar started doing timings that were amazing and remendous.

He became a role model, over time, here for young kids as he gives his 100% and nothing less, in front of everyone, in a daring manner. His time for half-marathon improved from 1hr 35min plus to a 1hr 32min, subsequently, going to 1hr 28min, after several months of running continuously. Recently, he did a 1hr 24min for the half-marathon race, where the elaboration of the race details will be mentioned in an interview with him, late on in another blog post.

Moonlake (right) came to support Dr Ansgar for all the runs
Ansgar, brought his 5km time back to 18m 30sec over time and the time was stuck there for sometime. Also, for 1km all out time trial he did a 2min 50sec. With this he did a 3hr 35min for Standard Chartered Marathon, December,  2015, before doing a 3hr 08min, in Hong Kong Standard Chartered Marathon 2016, February.

In a number of 10km races, he was put in Men Open category, instead of being registered into the veteran category, and he still has been coming in top 10 position. usually. His wife Moonlake also. at the same time, takes part in the same race or she will support by photographing him in the race and supporting him in the race. Moonlake is an excellent supporter for Dr Ansgar. 

Dr Ansgar, rises up to occasion in 5000m race by doing 17m 39sec at age 50

To fellow runners here, Colin, Evan, Erich, Andreas, Jensen, and other good runners here, it is usual trait to be well liked by all our young and old, male and female runners.

The amazing thing about Dr Ansgar is that he let the leg do the talking. When he does not do well, he becomes silent and finds out solutions that will make him run faster.

Recently, on last Thursday, we discussed what the research papers say on running and we talked on the running technology to run faster. He is usually open to idea and to act upon to do well. He told me that his strategy for this 5000m race is to win a medal and not the time. I was surprised that he and I had the same thought. I was glad to hear this.

In the race, taking a more conservative strategy, as compared to his 800m where he did 2min 17sec and came in 4th, he followed the China and Mongolian runner behind all the way until he was at the last 1km mark. Dr Ansgar, instead of kicking at the last part of the run, decided to open up the gap earlier. Dr Ansgar found that he was well hydrated to brave any hot and humid climate and finally came in first in the race.

Signboard displaying the notice on Free Admission at Gate 21 of Sports Hub

Dhanabal, I think, an official from Singapore Athletics, told us immediately that Dr Ansgar needs to go to Sports Hub for prize giving and he told us not to go to Sports Hub. There were many witnesses to this. I don't know whether ti was the instruction by C Kunalan or Loh Cham Piew or Dhanabal himself who wanted us not to go. It was like throwing cold water into our enthusiasm. I think that there must have been a problem of communication between them. We were thinking of going home. However, we thought of celebrating from outside Sports Hub. When we saw a signboard on free access to public to enter Sports Hub through gate 21, we entered as we felt invited, and took several photos of the victory ceremony.

The day was well spent and it was an amazing thing to really know that Dr Ansgar did 17min 39sec for the 5000m race for age 50 to 54 years of age. It was one of the best celebration that we have ever had.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Dr Ansgar Cheng, 50, did 5000m in 17min 39 sec for Asian Masters Track and Field 2016

By Rameshon

Flexifitness Team Captain Lim Thow Wee arrives at Kallang Practice Track

In the morning, Evan Chee and Colin Chua did us proud by coming in 5th and 9th, respectively, in 5000m for 35 to 39 year old men category, in Asian Masters Track and Field Championships 2016. Our Captain Lim Thow Wee was present at the start of the race. Later on, more supporters came to support Colin and Evan for the race.

The race started with Eduardo from Philippines leading everyone from start till the end. Evan Chee did 17m 55sec (personal best 2hr 49min, Tokyo marathon 2016), while Colin Chua did 19min 05sec (personal best time for marathon 2hr 58min, Tainan Marathon 2016). It was not a personal best time but it shows that both runners were conditioned very well for their future training, in the coming weeks.

Supporters came to support and both athletes did proud for us. Flexifitness supporters were really giving all their best to cheer. Moonlake, Erich, Saravanan, Darren, Kacy, Jolin, Saranniya, Yogaraj, Allie, Hana, Brian, Try Aprison, Lim Thow Wee supported wholeheartedly and both runners ran their hearts out.

Earlier, the 10000m race was held on Friday, last week, Evan came in 4th for the race, while Ang Chee Yong came in 3rd, for Singapore.

In the 5000m race, Colin did his best by coming in 9th, finally. Evan was sixth position, earlier before the race, and got stronger over time to do a sub-18min for the race. Fortunately, the weather was better than last Friday., where Evan had to run 10000m.

Towards the last part, Evan and Colin sprinted all the way to finish the race.

The early leader Eduardo from Philippines led all the way till the end. There were no fight for him and he was working to do a good time, instead.

The results are posted below for your reference. The supporters felt that they enjoyed in seeing our both runners doing very well in the race.

When it was 10am, finally, Dr Ansgar's race started. Dr Ansgar was 5th from the start. Over time, he gradually pushed the pace and was able to have himself second for the last few rounds before he sped at the last 1km to finally do a big personal best time of 17m 39sec.

The three athletes seen below were giving all their best to lead, but at the last 1km, Dr Ansgar had another gear. That enabled Dr Ansgar to open the gap and he finally won the race by coming in first, winning a gold medal finally.

All of us gathered and took a memorable photo. We were all very happy for Dr Ansgar.

The result of his race is given below by Singapore Athletics. Earlier on, Dr Ansgar wanted to just win a medal, but later he changed his strategy and mind to go for gold medal.

The supporters took a photo to see the medal ceremony where Dr Ansgar won the gold medal.

We waited for the prize winning ceremony and witnessed the ceremony. It was great to see Dr Ansgar winning the gold medal in the race with a phenomenal time of 17m 39sec, for 50 to 54 years of age.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Evan Chee - 4th in 10,000m Asian Track and Field Championships 2016

By Rameshon

Evan Chee has a personal best time of 2hr 49min for Tokyo Marathon 2016

Early in the morning, today, I had to rush to Kallang Practice Track to see our Flexifitness athlete Evan Chee run the 10000m  race. Last Sunday, Evan, came in 3rd in Coney Island 10km Race, in the Men Open category. First and second position runners were from Kenya. It means that Evan was the first Singaporean for the race, according to the Men Open category race.

In today's Asian Track and Field Championships 2016 race, those who competed with me in my competitive days in 1990s were there running with him, from overseas. The competition was tough. In the past, these runners could do a sub-31min for 10km.

A group of overseas competitive 10000m runners, alongside Singapore athletes

In today's race, the first runner did 34min plus and he was known as Eduardo, from Philippines. During my time, around 1990s, he had ever won the Asian Marathon Championships at Indonesia in 1992. I did 2hr 33min for the race, while Eduardo won the race in 2hr 20min, which had very good runners from Japan, Korea, etc fielded in the race. He beat all the favourites. It was an honour to see him run here.

Evan Chee in action, doing his best to chase the foreign runners. 

Evan Chee, ran in the severely hot and humid time of the day and finally did a time of 39min plus for the race. After the race, Moonlake, Colin and I congratulated Evan for his valiant performance to come in 4th in the hot and humid day. It was very hot for me as well, while supporting, and I had to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. During the run, I saw a runner, limping and running and I became worried that dehydration may have taken a toll on him. If it was cooler, I don't think that this would have happened, I guess.

Two cameras to take this photo

With our Flexifitness athletes - Dr Ansgar coming in 4th in 800m and Evan Chee coming in 4th in 10000m, we are left with 5000m. This time, we will see Colin Chua in action, who has a personal best time of 2hr 58min for the marathon, recently.

(Right to left) Colin Chua, myself and Evan Chee

5000m is going to be run at 10am and it is going to be not easy with the weather, which is always threatening for the athletes. Personal best and seasonal best time will be hard to obtain in the run.

Coming up - Dr Ansgar is running at 5000m on Sunday, 10am. 

I spoke to Evan that if he wants to run, he should avoid races that are held in hot and humid climate countries. Then big progress will take place. That was how I did the National Record with a time of  2hr 24min 22sec for marathon. Hot climate runs will only give you a slow time and your 9 months preparation will end in getting slower times and you will only be good for hot weather running, that is all.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Dr Ansgar Cheng - 4th in Asian Track and Field Championships 2016 (Singapore)

By Rameshon

Today, I was at Sports Hub at 7 45am to see Dr Ansgar's race. Dr Ansgar, 50, a dentist by profession, from Specialist Dental Group, ran to Kallang Practice Track so that he can report for his 800m race. After some time, I was told that he was at Sports Hub call room, at about 8 15am.

Dr Ansgar and his wife Moonlake

I saw a number of spectators  who came to see looking for the entrance at Sports Hub and some were going around the Sports Hub, coming back to the same spot again. They asked me about the entrance and I told them that it is at Gate 21.

Dr Ansgar, maintained lead all the way from start till the end. 

I hope that the authorities can do something about this as I saw the same situation in SEA Games 2015. My suggestion is that it would be good for SAA to get some volunteers to say where to go and how to go. With my friends we heard a spectator shouting. I believe that they were panicking a lot on whether they will be able to watch the race, as they felt they will not make it in time to get through the entrance to see the race of their runner.

I told this to some of the staff there and they did not believe it. Well, I leave it to them to sort things out.

Also, I saw Haja, who was an official for Ashley's SEA Games marathon. He was in charge of the drinks. In Skylar's long jump and 100m sprint for 12 years old in National Schools Track and Field race, he was the official. In Dr Ansgar's race also he appeared as official.

Supporters of Dr Ansgar Cheng

After some time about 9am, the 800m race for men above 50 years old started. At the onset of the race, Dr Ansgar, surged to the front and ran fast all the way. He was leading all the way, such that he was not about to compare with the earlier race, heat 1 runners. The race he was running was heat 2. He had a very big lead and the time was 2min 17sec for the race. He was 4th overall for the race.

(Left to Right) Marathoners Colin Chua (2hr 58min) and Evan Chee (2hr 49min) running in 5km and 10km soon. 

We took some photos of the race and left after the race.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Remembering London Marathon Race 1993

By Rameshon

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tony Bignell, former vice - captain of Loughborough University Athletics Team  and Arul, unofficial team Manager for me, and was my one year my senior, for supporting me to achieve the 2hr 29min in London Marathon. Also, I would like to thank my  lecturer George Gandy, our then Loughborough University coach, for the guidance in progressing me in running.

In Year 1990, Feb, I ran in Hong Kong Marathon race 2hr 31min and I came in 5th overall in the race, with first position going to a Korean runner and second going to a China runner. Third position went to a Hong Kong runner and fourth position was taken by an Indian runner who had a personal best time of 14m 46sec for 5000m. I won $3000, at that time, and broke the National Record for the marathon. Later, in California Marathon, I did 2hr 30min in year 1991.

In fact, with this time, I was not even selected by the then Singapore Amateur Athletics Association to go for World Half Marathon races or even run in South East Asian Marathon races. I had to look for my races to improve and I did not want to disturb the association. At that time, I realised that it is not a wise idea to ask the association to put me for races. I told myself not to beg for any overseas races, and that was my stand all the way, in the past. 

Also, in year 1991 and 1992, I did not break the sub-2hr 30min barrier. I was eager to do this. At the encouragement of John Sproule, I left for England. In year 1993, I ran in the Flora London Marathon, with the help of Arul, currently a teacher in Saint Joseph's Institution, who had decided to come along with me to support me in the race. 

Arul was taking my videos while running. I stayed at Tony Bignell's house as he encouraged me to stay there. Tony, and his Dad brought me to the start point of London Marathon. 

Before the London Marathon race, itself, quickly, I changed the way to train, after 5 weeks of exam period, studying and taking exams. I did not run much, but I was doing some minimum training. I exactly had 5 weeks to train, after exam. My conditioning for running, even for earlier training was more to run in 10km races, at that time. (I decided not to come for the SEA Games 1993 as the exam period clashed with SEA Games marathon 1993. The marathon race was held in Singapore). 

In the London Marathon race, I ran a race where the wind was too strong and did a half-way time of 1hr 12min 30sec. As I was really inexperienced, I told myself to go for a personal best and nothing less and not to take too much risk when running. I wanted at least a season best time. As soon as I reached the half-way mark, I felt that I could do a similar time for the other half. 

However, after half - way mark of the race, my pace was still constant until the 32km mark. My pace slowed down a lot towards the last 10km of the race. I was waiting for this to happen. As I had controlled my pace properly for the first part, I managed to run few seconds within the record. 

My joy came when I saw myself the time which showed that I was about to hit a sub-2hr 30min pace. When I crossed the finish in 2hr 29min, I felt elated after the race. I told myself that it was luckily that I did not push to do 1hr 10min at the half -way mark, as I would have been killed by the race itself and, in the end, not do well. 

I went back to see Tony to inform him of my new time and he was very happy. I am still indebted to Tony for helping me in this. 

A few months before the race, at the encouragement of my friends, I had written in to the then Singapore Amateur Athletics Association to assist me and there was no reply. However, I found that they actually received the letter. I used my own money to run in this race to do well. When I did well, I did not get any reimbursement or any kind of congratulations, except from my friends. However, I was telling myself not to bother and I did not request any assistance from them, as they did not help me in the first place. 

It was a run that I wanted to do a personal best time and I realised that I was able to achieve it without the association's help, except to ratify the record. It was George Gandy who helped me in ratifying the time to the then Singapore Amateur Athletics Association. Without friends, my parents, and many who helped me, this would not have been passible.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

WWE wrester Chyna, 45, dies and cause unknown - Say no to drugs.

By Rameshon

Chyna, the WWE wrestler dies at 45. 

Joan Laurer, the female wrestler known as Chyna, passed away on Wednesday.
It was found out that the Police in Redondo Beach, California, confirmed that she was found dead in her apartment, found to be unresponsive. The cause of death is still under investigation, but police say there are no signs of foul play.
The hope of this blog post is to bring up the topic on drugs usage in WWE. I was told by my friend, a prominent person, on substance abusive in sports, when I met him in SEA Games. Presently, some coaches, in the pursuit of quick glory, make drugs available to athletes internationally, through persuasion. I was asked by one International coach engaged by the then Singapore Amateur Athletics Association to take some form of tablet, which he was reluctant to inform me on the content of the tablet. An athlete whispered to me that it is steroid. The coach just kept quiet hoping that i agree to this. I ran away and cautioned the young athlete to keep away from the coach. However, the athlete did not do this. He stuck to the coach.

Athletes, who want to excel fast, do want to see quick result and decide to lean towards drugs and forgets about the hard work that is supposed to be put in. In life also, one will not work hard for results. 
Recently, I myself have seen an athlete, who from small-medium built, all of a sudden, within 3 months, looked like body builder. A size that was confirmed massive. I don't know what was the cause. It is a phenomenal increase in size and other athletes were amazed by this sudden increase in size. I have seen this in some athletes as well and my friends have discussed this at length on what is happening.  
In my life, the only person who told us the ill-effects of drugs and to keep away from it was Helen Gilbey, my former lecturer, who was teaching in the then College of Physical Education in the 1990s. 
Now, let us discuss on Chyna. The cause of Chyna's death is not known but a string of wrestlers from WWE have already passed away between the age of 40s and 45 years of age, due to heavy dosage of drugs. This goes to Ultimate Warrior, WWE's former favourite wrestler, as well. It went viral. Ultimate Warrior, was found taking steroid by the wife, as he had been taking  7 different types of injections per day. 
Hulk Hogan, also a WWE wrestler, also took drugs as he was finally caught for it. He told that in order to get an advantage he had to do it. This can bring shame to ones family if it is known. Later on, he changed his name to Hollywood Hogan, as it was the appropriate name, I think. 
The problem of taking steroids can lead to hair loss, severe depression, mood swing frequently, skin disorders, liver disorder and also hormonal changes, which leads to a man becoming women-like and the women becoming man-like, and it is true, according to studies done. 
There are two people who have become man, from woman physique, as they had to take steroid in the East Germany, before the Olympics, in the past, in the 1960s. 
Say no to drugs. We also hope that the authorities can educate the public on steroids constantly and other forms of drugs.