Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lastest News: Sundown Marathon 2010, Dr Benny Goh - I'm/possible his Personal Best (84km - 7hr 27min)


Breaks the Local Record for 84km Again

The time I saw him was after the 2008 Berlin Marathon. Dr Ben Tan (3hr 01min) and his wife, Daniel Ling( 2hr 49min), Anne Date (2hr 50min), Grace Chan (3hr 31min), Dr Benny Goh (3hr 15min) and I met at a pub (decent one) for dinner. It was Dr Ben Tan who told me that Dr Benny is his friend. Then the conversation went on to Dr Ben Tan who wanted to make the 3 years of impossible doing the marathon time of 3hrs 01min to possible do a sub 3hr. It was seen as the greatest challenge of his life and he was willing to slog to the fullest.

Daniel and I invited Dr Ben Tan to our training, only for the workout sessions, once a week. He consented to this. Then he asked whether Dr Benny Goh could join also. I wanted to say a no as I did not know much about him. I was told by Dr Ben Tan that Dr Benny is talented. In Berlin, Dr Benny did a 3hr 15min. Dr Ben Tan told me that with a mileage of 60km week only, Dr Benny did the time. I found his timing for the Berlin Marathon 2008 rather slow, even though mine was 3hrs 31min. As for my training, I had faith that everything was falling into place. Even though my time was slow, I realised that I was strong enough to do intensive workouts and improve very fast for the last two months, before the Standard Chartered Marathon 2008. It was because Dr Ben Tan's recommendation which made me to reluctantly say yes to the request. The reason was because I did not know much about Dr Benny Goh at that time.

Over time, we met for workouts each week, once. I found that Dr Benny improved significantly and I told him that he was capable of doing a sub 3hrs for the Standard Chartered Marathon 2008. Unfortunately, he made a mistake of volunteering the leading  runners who were aiming to do a 3hrs 20min. He was carrying a balloon to lead these runners in order to set the pace. When he knew that I came in as a champion, with Daniel Ling and Dr Ben Tan coming in second and third, he felt envious of us. He was open about this feeling and we consoled him.

In the year 2009, Dr Benny left for Nagona Marathon 2009. He did it in a time of 2hrs 52min. Subsequently in Standard Chartered Marathon 2009, he came in third, which was just behind Ashley Liew, another of our training partner. Dr Benny later left for Boston Marathon and did 2hrs 50min and did a personal best time. It such a short span, Dr Benny was able to improve tremendously and despite his work as a dentist, he has become a successful marathon and ultramarathon runner in Singapore.

At present, Dr Benny is the local current record holder of the Sundown Marathon (84km). I got hold of him yesterday. He was still dog tired from the run. I was feeling very happy for him for he is our running mate, just like Lim Thow Wee, Dr Ben Tan, Daniel Ling, Ashley Liew, Amrit Singh, Brendan, Xander, Ben Lau and Thomas Ganzhorn (from Germany, with a recent pb - 5km in 16m 47sec, 15km in 53min 30sec, half - marathon in 1hr 18min and Std Chartered Marathon 2009 in 2hr 55min, first time marathon run).

Recollection of the Sundown Race 2010 Training (84km)

Dr Benny Goh, came back from the Boston Marathon 2010 in the mid - April and had to train for the Sundown Ultramarathon. He had asked me for advise and my advice was to rest completely for a week and the following week do cardio or non-impact training. He had no time to go for the cardio (gym). He did some runs of 8km runs on the second week, something of an alternate day training type. Then he was left with 3 weeks, which he was involved in moving his dentist office to another place. The movement took alot of energy out of him. He did 70km training on the 3rd and 4th week, which I found that it was good for a 10km race. His VO2 max must have dropped significantly. On the last week, he had to drastically drop his training to 38km only. He did tell me that he did 38km, one shot all the way run twice of the 5 weeks.

Despite this shortcomings, Dr Benny Goh ran the race. Until the 45km, everything looked smooth and he was going at a 7hr flat type of run. Suddenly, he got a cramp on his leg. From a conservative way of running, he became more conservative. At the 67km mark, while going 5m 15sec pace per km, he hit the wall. He had to stop for a moment and assess the situation to continue or not. He told me, "Why am I running this race? This is very painful, I am not going to run anymore". This was the same feeling he had last year also, but this time the feeling was much worse and it has appeared way earlier. He also told me that after some months this feeling usually vanishes. That was why he is back for more challenges.

Hitting the wall, Dr Benny was feeling like a zombie with no ability to do anything but was hoping that the race will finally end and he can go home. He was suffering throughout the run. However, he never give up the early returns of running 7hr flat pace for the earlier part of the race. He just kept going and going, having tremendous perserverance. He wanted to i'm/possible the race. The last 20km was a torture. It became worse after crossing each km of the last 20km.

As he was finishing, he became very happy and excited, even though devastated from the run. He bettered the time by a big margin of 9mins of his local record and come in first for the local section of the Men Open 84km race. Even though, he came in third overall, with two overseas runners in front of him, I call this a significant improvement from 7hr 36min record. As for me, as a friend of Dr Benny Goh, I call this feat 'A Leap of Faith'. Keep the faith, Dr Benny Goh!

At the end of the conversation, Dr Benny told me that he will challenge himself to do a 7hr flat for the next ultramarathon in the Sundown Marathon 2011. All the best, Dr Benny!

Faith Transcends Wisdom - I'M/POSSIBLE

Saturday, May 29, 2010


4TH DEC 1994 - Remembering the Past.

Toh So Liang, the former National Record holder is considered the Singapore's greatest contributor to marathon by me for the women's race. She had been running for a very long time as an accomplished marathon runner. She is well known for doing well in overseas marathon races as well. As an introduction, I have with me an article that, fortunately, had been in my archived file. Hence, I realised that it would be a good idea to share with the marathon fraternity and those who like running, on the report in Sport Singapore on Friday, 9th May 1994.

The race I am publishing was Singapore International Marathon 1994. This timing is my personal best for a Singaporean running in Singapore in the Men's Open category.

Report from ISSUE OF SPORT SINGAPORE    09/05/1994

Singapore hopes of athletic glory may well be in the most physical, mental and emotional event in track and field - the marathon.

The gruelling 42 kilometre event which was the Singapore International Marathon 1994 last Sunday saw Murugiah Rameshon clocking a great time of 2hr 34mins 02 sec to win the men's local division of the biennial run.

Murugiah Rameshon can take great pride in his triumph which was his best ever finish following his runner-up finish inthe 1990 Marathon for he finished 10mins clear of second placed Khoo Chin Poo and a further two minutes ahead of defending local champion Tan Choon Ghee.

And Murugiah's time saw him finish 12th in the Open Division to champion Australian Robert Leslie Nolan who clocked 2hrs 22min 40sec, almost two minutes ahead of China's Dong Jianmin who pipped Belgium's Peter De Vocht for second place.

In the women's local division, Toh So Liang ran a comfortable race to bag her second Singapore International Marathon in 3hr 04min 56sec, some 18mins ahead of Irene Chau and 28 ahead of third-placed Lim Bee Chan

Winner of the event in 1990 in a much faster time of 2hr 57min 43sec, So Liang's effort was still good enough to put her in eighth place in the Open Division which was won by Holland's Mieke Hombergen who finished in 2hrs 50min 38sec, more than a minute clear of the tiring Liu Yuying of China who almost collapsed two metres before the finishing tape.

Some 4000 runners including wheelchair-bound athletes began the race which started at 5 . 30am in the morning from Stadium Boulevard, along the east coast for the route that brought them all around the perimeter of the island and back to the National Stadium.

Men's Open International Category
1. AUS 2hr 22min 40sec Robert Leslie Nolan
2. CHN 2hr 24min 22sec Dong Jianmin
3. BEL  2hr 24min 41sec Peter De Vocht

Men's Open (Local)
1. 2hr 34min 02sec Murugiah Rameshon (Int 12th)
2. 2hr 44min 46sec Khoo Chin Poo
3. 2hr 46min 10sec Tan Choon Ghee

Women's Open (Local)
1. 3hr 04min 56sec Toh So Liang
2. 3hr 22min 24sec Irene Chua
3. 3hr 32min 08sec Lim Bee Chan

Emelyne Teo Jia Wei- How to Balance Studies and Sports (Part 3B)

Emelyne Teo Jia Wei - The Practical Part of Studying ind Training

2010 Passion Run 25km: 2 hr 10min (champion)

2009 Safra army half marathon: 1hr 41min

2009 Nassim 5km timed trial: 19min 53s

2008 Great Eastern Women 10km: 45min 40s (team champion)
2008 National Schools' Cross Country Championships - 3.14km: 14min 12s (Ind 2nd)

Why did you take up running?
Running, especially long distance running, is something inspirational. It is really true that endurance sports have a great deal of mental strength and self-discipline. One would always get much satisfaction after completing a long run. And trust me, anyone can be a good runner, as long as he or she has the passion to run. Running is also a good way to relieve stress. And it is really something amazing. The more I run, the less tired I feel. I think this has caused my passion in running to grow and eventually led me to take up running.

What motivated you to take up running as a sport?
It is the sense of accomplishment after completing a long run that motivated me to take up running as a sport. It is really biologically proven that running makes you happier by releasing hormones that make you happier. And I would also say that my coach, Mr Rameshon, is another motivation for me to run. Not only has Mr Ram done well in running, but he has also inspired others to take up running by serving as a good role model. He has enlightened me of the true art of running, one that is not defined by extrinsic values.

What was your position in the 2010 Passion Run and how do you feel about it?
My partner and I have come in champion in the 50km Duo Women Category. I feel that it is really an effort of both my partner and I. Honestly, we did not train for the event. We treated the race like a normal long run and only wished to enjoy ourselves. And we had really enjoyed it. I guess it was our passion in running that has brought us the sweet return and again, I would say that anyone can be a good runner as long as he or she has the passion in running.

Did you still run during A Level Examinations? How did you manage to cope with it?
Yes, I still continued running with a few of my teammates during A Level Exams itself. Running is indeed a good way to relief stress and running with a partner makes it sweeter and more enjoyable. I feel that running really has a great deal with your mind. As long as you enjoy it, it would intrinsically become a part of your life and you do not have to worry about coping with it.

Do you have any advice for balancing sports and studies?
Self discipline is very important, not only in balancing sports and studies but also other aspects of life. And it is really possible to balance sports and studies as long as you have the discipline to do so. But ultimately, what I feel that is important in sports is to build up a true passion in it. So I would advice others to see running and sports as a form of relaxation and enjoyment, rather than a chore or task.  
The author would like to wish Emelyne Teo best wishes in all her endeavour.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How to Calculate Maximum Oxygen Uptake (VO2 Max) from Running Performance (1500m).

This article discusses the determinant of long distance performance.  It is dedicated to my research supervisor, the late lecturer Dave Williams, a competing triathlete at the age of 50 plus himself, who simplified me the intricacies of lactate threshold, thermoregulation and Maximum Oxygen Uptake (VO2 max).

True Facts from my Research
Although the co-relation of my research (unpublished, 1995) result's correlation is better as compared to the research done in the past, my advice is for a person to go for to a physiologist to get the a very accurate objective result. It is for those who are well of or have the desire to excel in their performance. For those who are running and are not able to pay for this service, this research will still give an accurate reading as you can see from my description of this article.

Performance and Maximum Oxygen Uptake - Application of Research

Astrand and Rodahl (1986), Costill et al. (1973), Burke (1976), Williams (1987) and Ramsbottom et al. (1987) have demonstrated that a high correlation exists between perforamnce in distance running and VO2 max values.

Brandon and Boileau (1992) found that the relationship between the aerobic variables and middle distance run times increased as the distance increased. The highest relationship was found between VO2 max and three perforamance runs were moderately correlasted ranging from -0.66 at 800m to -0.79 at 3000m. Berg and William, (1980) in their study with 33 male runner volunteers aged between 10 and 36, found that VO2 max was significantly associated with the mile time when expressed in absolute (litres per min) and relative(ml/kg/min) terms, r = -0.48 and -0.74 respectively.

The relationship between VO2 max and 1500m run in my Research.
When the results for the subjects were combined, there was a negative correlation between the two variables - maximum oxygen uptake and time of running performance (r = 0.93;  p <0.01). The regression equation of the 29 subjects was y = -8.6 + 106.9, where x and y represent 1.5km running performance time (min) and maximum oxygen uptake respectively.

A Simple Version to Follow to Calculate Maximum Oxygen Uptake(VO2 max).

For example if your time is 5min 00sec. Hence, x or the time = 5min.

Using the Mathematical formula of the regression equation y = -8.6x + 106.9, where x is = 5=>    y = (5 x 8.6)x + 106.9

y = -8.6x + 106.9 (where y = VO2 Max and x = Time run for 1500m)

y = - 43 + 106.9
y =  63.9ml/kg/min

After finishing the Berlin Marathon in 2hr 28min, I took a one week of total rest. I ran the 1500m on the track in a time of 4min 30sec on the Loughbrough University Athletics Track. 

=> y = -8.6x + 106.9 , where y = VO2 Max and x = Time run for 1500m.

=> y = 4.30min (-8.6x) + 106.9
y = (4.50 (converted to 100th) (-8.6) + 106.9
y= - 38.7 + 106.9
y = 68.2 ml/kg/min

Hence, my theoretical Maximum Uptake was 68. 2 ml/kg/min, although my real value using Douglas Bag Method, the objective method was 70.79ml/kg/min. I took the Douglas Bag Method test one week of full rest after the Berlin Marathon - 2hr 28min in Sept, 1993 Sept. It was a National Record breaking my own record of 2hr 29min set in Apr 1993, in the London Marathon. It is a real wonder to have tested the Douglas Bag Method, just before the marathon.

AStrand and Rodahl (

Monday, May 24, 2010

Supported Shoulder Stand for Running (Salamba Sarvangasana)

Importance of doing Supported Shoulder Stand - The Queen of Yoga

Revitalisation of the Whole Body

During my competitive years, when I was training very hard, one such exercise that facinated me as it gave me boundless energy was none other than the Supported Shoulder Stand. I have written in the April issue about the three important stands in Yoga, namely, Halasana (Plough Stand), Sirshashana Salamba (Head Stand - King of Yoga) and Shoulder Stand. These three exercises were told by Dr Sivananda, a doctor by profession to prevent all forms of sickness and diseases. One would feel energetic throughout the day. It is good to do minimum 1minutes to maximum 5minutes per day. Asana in Sanskrit means posture.

Most of the time, human being are standing and sitting throughout the day before they retire themselves going to bed. When we inverse ourselves for sometime, the blood goes to the extremities and this revitalises the body as a whole. It is important to know the benefits that accrue from the doing Shoulder Stand by doing the exercises on a regular basis. essential means standing on the shoulder Particularly, it is good to do this posture in the morning. When I was doing this in my competitive years, all I needed was having 3 hours of sleep. I did not feel tired throughout the day. Hence, it is an important for the young and old to do.

The site below gives an example of Shoulder Stand. It is, however, easier to do the Supported Shoulder Stand. It will be illustrated step by step in the article. However, it is always motivational to find out the benefits of Shoulder Stand before we do the pose. This will give us the added boost to do the pose as it did to me.

The site below is showing Shoulder Stand posture.

Benefits of Supported Shoulder Stand

1. Strengthens your back and help alleviates lower backaches.

2. Thyroid gland gets working at peak efficiency. Thyroid gland is usually responsible for youthful looks and right weight.

3. Shoulder stand regulates the pituitary gland.

4. Stimulates nerves

5. Purifies and enriches the blood

6. Promotes good circulation

7. Gives healthy stretch to all muscles of the neck

8. It is for people suffering from constipation and indigestion, asthma and low virility.

Continued Practice of Shoulder Stand

Continued practice of this asana helps relieve common colds and other nasal disturbances. Those suffering from irritation, shortness of temper, nervous breakdown and insomnia will find relieve in this exercise. The inverse pose of the body also affects the abdominal organs so that the bowels move freely. The asana is recommended for urinary disorders and uterine displacement and hernia. It also aids a person in improving vitality. When a person do not do much Yoga poses, the body benefits less. As such, more stress and time should be given to Shoulder Stand as the pose is considered to be the Queen of Yoga.

Before doing
It is best to learn this exercise from a person who is experienced and is a teacher of Yoga. It would be advisable to see a physician if there one has a problem and one who has reached 40 years and above.

People suffering from high blood pressure, detached retina, glaucoma, hernias, cardiovascular disease, cervical spondylitis, slipped discs should not practice shoulder stand. Those suffering from neck injuries should seek advice from an experienced yoga teacher before beginning to practice shoulder stand. It is advisable for women during menstruation to avoid inversions.

The Time To Do

When done in the morning, it eases fatigue caused by too much or little sleep. One hour before, it is good to consume a light breakfast first. One can do this pose with the stomach empty. When done in the evening, it helps promote deep and restful sleep. Food should at least be consumed at least two hours before.


Place a long towel on the floor or use a cushion, namely, a yoga mat.
Lie down in Savasana (Corpse Pose).
Bring the heel to the buttocks by bending the knees.
Bring the body up and support the body by using the shoulders, back of the neck and back of the head, Stay in half Shoulder Stand (adjust the elbows to be parallel to each other and bring the elbow inwards. At this juncture, raise the leg up. For the beginner, this pose will not be straight and the hips will be bent slightly. It is alright if this happens. For experienced people, the legs will the straight. Knees should be touching together. Left heel should ideally touch the right heel.The right big toe should touch the left big toe. 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

M. Ramachandran (Part 2)

M. Ramachandran - Secret of success for running and his story

I realised that in the earlier interview of M. Ramachandran, the answers given were short, sharp and simple. When I discussed this with Rama, he decided to give more details as to how he had groomed himself to be an elite runner who brought 8 golds and 2 silver medals to Malaysia in the SEA GAMES. Here, he gives some sound advice that will be helpful for the young developing athletes. I hope you enjoy reading. Over time, I am in fact thinking of writing a detailed story on his background and the stories that had made him the greatest long distance runner in South East Asia. Having seen him run in the past, I have never seen him losing races but only winning. Let us look at the training secrets that made him to be the number one in Malaysian in the past. 

Are you married and do you have children?
I am married to my wife S.Chitra. My children names are Vikneshwaran (9 years old) and Kirrthana (5 years old). I decided to quit competitive running in 1999 and a year later I was married to Chitra.

How is you wife's support in running?
Chitra gives me good support to run and compete. At present, she is supportive to me in coaching as I have a new passion of developing the young ones to excel in this sport.

Can you tell us about the past when you were young and on how you were developed to an elite runner?

Many are surprised of me as I am an asthmatic patient and suffered terribly between age 6 and 10. When I was 10 to 12 years old, I was more of a footballer in school and playing football, earlier on, gave me confidence to involve in athletics. I also realized that I had good speed. Later on, I started training for 400metres and eventually stopped playing football. Mr Shahrom Suhaimi, his school teacher identified me as a potential runner and advised me to ride cycle to school, which was 10km away, so as to improve his endurance. Later on, I started training for 800meters. At 15, I represented my school in inter-district championship in 800metres and 1500metres races. However, I only managed to win silver medals and not gold. At age of 16, I finally succeeded in getting gold medal in district and state level.

How was your parental support in running in the past ?

My father by the name of Murusamy was a great and constant support for me. He did not miss any of my running events in Singapore while he was working in Singapore since I was a 7 year old. My father was very supportive towards my running to the point that he ensured that he collects each and every article or news in paper and records every of my event. My mother, S.Muniammal, would always bless me before any event by giving me a 10cent coin. Upon receiving the blessed 10 cent coin from my mother, immediately and straightaway, I do not feel worried about the outcome of the race. The first race that my mother watched was the 1993 Singapore SEA GAMES with my whole family and relatives. In fact, my mother's sitting photo was splashed in all major newspapers when I won both the SEA games gold medal in 5000m and 10000m event. My continuous motivation to do well in sports is because of God . 

What do you do now as you are not racing competitively?
I still take part in road races and track events and it is only at interbank level. However, I still keep myself fit by running between 10 and 15 km daily. At the same time I coach Malacca long distance runners for the Malaysian Sukma Games. The events I coach are 800m, 1500m, 3000m, 5000m and 10000m athletes. I am right now developing a runner by the name of J.Karthik, aged 21, who is currently ranked among the top runners in the country for 3000M steeplechase event. Another national athlete who is at present one of the top three in the country for the events 5000M and 10000M is T.Narendran who is also 21 years old.

As for coaching, I didn’t undergo formal training.My experiences were my formal training since I had myself experimented with each and every tactics. I learned this by training through the years in Panchor Oil Palm estate. Throughout my personal training, I had been vigilantly keeping records of my timings, exercises, trainings and so on to ensure success using my first hand experience. I design training programs according to each individual's taste, strengths and weaknesses.  The one advantage I have with the athlete is my successes of the past and the athletes know that my words have something in it to believe.

Have you trained in altitude?
Unlike some long distance runners, I have never trained in high altitude since I do not believe that training under high altitudes would bring dramatic changes.

Who was your coach and did you do any form of self-training to improve in running?
Earlier on, I used to coach myself most of the time since I trained alone. But once I joined centralized training in Kuala Lumpur I was coached by my personal coach by the name of Jeganathan. He was coaching me since 1987 until I had to quit competitive running. I felt at home with Mr R Jeganathan who took special interest in my progress and my coach was even willing to use his own expenses to watch my performance in the overseas.

I used to record my progress daily and in detail. As for my coach, he plans training schedule for me. Anyway, I will give feedback to my coach about the next trg program in order to ensure that the schedule suits me  and the coach will alter the program to suit my needs.

Were you doing strengthening training when you were doing well in running?
I was doing strengthening training usually twice a week. I do circuit training and hill running for strength training. I did not do any form of gym work out even while running in national and international games.

Who was your biggest opponent in the past?
My biggest opponent in a race is non other than my own self. Before any event, I see my present time as the greatest challenge to beat. I do not care who I have to fight with or from which country the opponent was from. For me, my own opponent and target to beat was my own timing in order to become the greatest long distance runner in Malaysia. I believe in beating myself as the challenge. Even though the person who is about to get second is so far behind, my intention is still to race as faster to beat my ownself.

What advice would you give to young athletes in order to become champions?
For young athletes, my advice is simple. Don’t search for excuses when you fail. Find the reason how you could have succeeded. I was an asthma patient, but I excelled in long distance. I got my inspiration from Swami Vivekananda”s words, “Arise…Awake…Stop Not Till Your Mission is Achieved”. If young athletes persevere till their mission is achieved, success will take place. Furthermore, never under any circumstances miss any of your training. In all these years, I have hardly missed any training myself. Even when I travel overseas, I program my training in such a way that I could train somewhere on the way during stops.

I feel that athletes must be more focused in training and be disciplined and independent, whether being watched by coach or not. Even in overseas, one should be empowered to train alone and not to miss their own target. One should be ready for any type of meet or challenges if the time comes..any time should be the watchword of young athletes.

What work are you doing as a career? How was your company supportive in this endeavour?
I worked as an officer in MAYBANK . My employer gave me full support since the day I joined MayBank in 1987 until now. Without their support, it would have been impossible for me to concentrate in the training because they give me time off during off session and gave me full pay leave during competition time. I do not have to go to work until 1993 and I just concentrated on SEA GAMES. I have my deep gratitude and appreciation for the generosity of Maybank in granting me leave from training. Even now, after quitting sports, Maybank still supports me by giving me leave to coach athletes. This, I feel, is one way Maybank could show their dedicating and contribution my passion which is running. However, I still feel that it is difficult to juggle coaching with job. As such, I prefer to work in the bank and do coaching on a part time basis only.

Which race was your toughest race to date?
My toughest race was the 1993 World Athletic Championships because I had to run with many world class runner.

Who was your toughest competitors in the past?
1. The toughest competitor was runners from Indonesia and Myanmar while I was competing in the SEA GAMES.

2. In the ASIAN Level athletes from Qatar and Saudi Arabia were the toughest competitiors

3. In the Commonwealth and World Meet, athletes from Ethopia and Kenya were the greatest competitors

Why did you finally stop running?
I finally decided to stop running completely because I wanted to give way to young athlete to take part in long distance event. However, the sad thing now is our country is we are not able to bring out runners who excel in 5000m and 10000m yet.