Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why is it not worth it to run with different number tag?

Scott Downard - Run with your own number tag

Scott Downard, a 25-year-old runner won the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth, Texas, on Sunday, last weekend. However, he was disqualified for not registering for the race.

Downard ran with a bib which was meant for his friend who signed up for the race. His friend may not have been able to run in the race. When the issue was addressed, Downward admitted the flaw. Hence, Kolin Styles, 25, became the winner. Styles finished the race in 2 hrs, 40 min, 54 sec, more than three minutes behind Downard.

The good part of it all was that Downward was able to take the disqualification gracefully and resolved that he will be back for next year's race. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Kenya's Michael Kipyego - Upsets Gebreselassie in Tokyo Marathon 2012

Kenya's Michael Kipyego – 1st in Tokyo Marathon 2012 -First Sweet Victory

Michael Kipyego of Kenya was able to win Haile Gebrselassie toward the last 4km in Tokyo Marathon 2012 in 2 hr 7 min 37 sec. Second placing went to Japan's Arata Fujiwara who completed the race in 2:07:48. 

In the women’s race, Ethiopia's Atsede Habtamu won the competition by doing 2:25:28. Fellow country runner Yeshi Esayias won the race in 2hr 26min 00sec while Kenya's Helena Kirop came in third in 2:26:02.

Gebrselassie, who has been eyeing Olympics could only manage 2:08:17 in the race, although he was aiming for a 2hr 05min marathon finish. 

From Jonathan Kang who did 3hr 09min, we know that the race was very well organised. From press, we also realised that Tokyo Marathon is becoming comparable to London, Berlin and Chicago Marathon. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Jonathan Kang : 3hours 09min in Tokyo Marathon 2012 (Part 2)

Jonathan Kang - Aim was to complete in 3hr 15min. 

Jonathan Kang told me in hospital at SGH that he was on time for a personal best time for Standard Chartered Marathon, Singapore. Nearly the last few stages of the marathon race, he caved in and stopped the race due to dehydration. 

I was there in the hospital and his wife was looking after him in the hospital. Jonathan Kang was very depressed with the performance. However, I told him that, in a race, safety is utmost. We can perform again but if we become a casualty, it can be dangerous. Safety first and then comes performance. Everyone should know this. 

Two weeks back, in one morning, I saw Jonathan Kang doing workout with Dr Ben Tan and Dr Benny Goh. From the workout they were doing, I found that Jonathan Kang seemed fitter as compared to his past.

Having said that I would like to share with others out there on his bold run at Tokyo by giving him an interview. 

An Interview With Jonathan Kang

How many people took part in the marathon?
About 26 000 people participated in this marathon. 

How was the weather out there?
It was about 5 to 6 degrees centigrade. The race was very cold to run. 

How was your half-way mark time?
It was about 1hr 34min plus. 

What was your target?
It was just to complete and not compete. I wanted to finish it safely.

How was the race as a whole?
The race was super and excellent. The hydration was very good. At every 2km mark, there are about 10 tables with drinks. The distance markers were prominently laid. I was able to pace myself well. The supports were very encouraging. There were a lot of support during the race.

How did your wife feel about the race?
She felt happy about the race.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Jonathan Kang - 3hr 09min, New PB in Tokyo Marathon 2012 (Part 1)

 Flexifitness Congratulate's Jonathan Kang for his bold 3hr 09min in Tokyo Marathon 2012
Jonathan Kang - A Story of Keeping the Faith

I remember sitting with Jonathan Kang in Singapore General Hospital on the night after Standard Chartered Marathon 2011 on Dec 4, Sunday. He looked very dejected when he saw himself stopping himself during the race. He recounted that he had been training very hard for the past several months. I also realised from him that Malcolm Sng Wei Ren, 22, reportedly collapsed at the finishing line at the Padang at approximately 8.30am. Jonathan told me that after attending to Malcolm, the doctors were attending to him as he was the next casuality. The doctors, having experienced the death of Malcolm, were very worried about Jonathan's state of severe dehydration. Luckily nothing happened. 

Today, Jonathan did 3hr 09min and has given me an interview through phone of this new personal best achievement.

Picture 1 - (Left to Right) Jonathan Kang, Rameshon and Lim Thow Wee

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Why we should not run with another number.

 Number tag change can lead to disqualification, please take this seriously.

I remember telling students not to run with another number. If supposing a person wins a race with another number tag, one may get disqualified and also make the school or association affected because of this. Edison Chen was so popular that people were observant about his number tag number. My suggestion to people is to not take things for granted.

Peter Chai 

From Yahoo News 22/02/2012

Since the public witnessed his unforgivable actions in the 2008 sex scandal, Edison Chen has been making negative impressions in the hearts of Hong Kong citizens and recently he was disqualified from a marathon sponsored by Nike. 

Chen put his effort into the marathon for four hours, in conjunction with a charity purpose. He achieved a great result after completing the 42.195km run and helped to raise HK$2 million. However, the actor was seen unhappy with his number 'A5716' as he switched it with other participant's number, 'A5654'. What he had done was confusing the organizer while tabulating the results and eventually he was being disqualified after receiving complaints from other runners. 

"Because there were complaints. It's not fair to the other participants, so we disqualified him. We do not recognize his result and will not issue any certificate to him," the organizer said. Besides, the event sponsor Nike had been asking for compensation from Chen due to his misconduct. It was also reported that the company had invested lots of money and time for the actor's training for the marathon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Christian Stauffer's sons, Charles and Louise, 1st and 2nd in Biathlon 12/02/2012

 Christian Stauffer -Believes that a sport should be chosen by the child, not parent.
Picture 1 - Dan Johnson (left) and Chirstian (right) and Mika Kume (behind) raising the Singapore flag towards the finish of 250 Sahara challenge (2009)

Flexifitness athlete, Louise, came in 2nd in the Youth Aquathlon race where his brother Charles also came tops by finishing first. The father, Christian, lost to only 3 young men in the Open section, running as a veteran, competing young men. It was an achievement as a family and I was proud to hear this as Louise is under our Flexifitness programme. From his conversation, I found out that Christian has the necessary wisdom on how to develop children in sports so that it becomes a life time sports. He believes that training is not about training, training and more training. It is about how to get faster using the right methods, especially when one is young. He believes that motor skills should be developed when one is young.
 I gave him an interview as I believe that more can be learnt from his wisdom as a father to 3 children. 

An Interview With Chirstian Stauffer (250km Sahara Challenge participant) 

What is the race about?
It was Super Sprint Series at Orchid Country Club. It was a Aquathlon race with 250m Swim / 2.5km run at Yishun. All category had to run the same distance (Youth/Women/Open) which makes it challenging for the youth. It is more challenging for the  Women and Open race.

Where was it held?
The premises of Orchard Country Club was used in Yishun

When was it held?
Last Sunday morning on 12th of February.

What are the events that your family members took part in?
Eva, Louis and Charles competed in the Youth 12-16 year old race. I ran in the Open race.

Were you concerned on their ability to take part in the competition?
No. I usually make sure before entering that the distances matches their abilities and will ensure on safety first before the race.

Are you happy with the performance?
We were happy with the performance and we everyone enjoyed it and had good time. It was also a good way to spend time for the family. For the younger ones, it is not about placing or competition but it is more about giving ones’s individual best. You don't race to train yourself,  but you train and do your best as you can.

 Can you tell us details on the performance by you and the rest in your family who took part in this event?
Charles came 1st youth overall and had a strong swim and good run.
Louis came in 2nd youth overall with a good swim and a strong run.
Eva came in 5th or 6th overall with a good swim and ok run.
I came 4th in my wave and still do not have the final results. I came 3rd out of the water then 1st out of T1 and could not maintained that through the run as most of the good runners were probably 20 years younger ::)

What is your opinion on children and competition?
For children, until 14-15 year old should sports should focus on motorskills, movements, stability and essentially on enjoyment of the activities. We, especially, nowadays, see in front of a computer or phone and they do not have the natural ways to learn of how we learnt in the past, like how we did. When I was a kid I use to go down my building and kick the soccer ball, or ride bike or run everyday with my neighbours. So, first is about enjoying, and acquiring the necessary skills and fitness. To me it is also about learning rules, sport is an integral part of education.  One should respect of teammates and opponents, coaches, referees, volunteers etc... and essentially be committed to goals in sport.  I do not push my kids to do sports but when they choose an activity, their chosen sport. I only expect from them the commitment they should learn to do. On my part I am just a facilitator in the process.

How about parents who are favourable to children to get competitive?
This is a tricky question. For people in sport everyone would love to see his son/daughter running like Usain Bolt or Gebrselasie or play tennis like Federer or ride like Armstrong BUT this comes down to being realistic and putting things in perspective.

High performance athletes are gifted people and they have to put in a lot of work to achieve and only few can do it through determination and dedication. The gift without the work does not work and unfortunately work without the gift also does not work as shown in research. The new generation is sometimes reluctant to put in the work. Depending on the sport you choose it is important to work on coordination when one is young and also get a proper coach who is knowledgeable and has the ability to coach kids or teens, which is a tortally different from coaching adults. There is an age, especially when the child gets older, at least 15 years of age one should learn not to make the child competitive but train and go for competition using kids training methods of training with fun using maybe games. Once they child reach between 15 and 18, it is up to the child to compete, as this is the right age to compete.  It is also to the kid to choose a sport and then further commit once reaching adulthood. Parents should encourage, and facilitate and be responsible to their needs.

What is your next goal?
We will race the metasprint series as a family in the respective categories. This will be more challenging as it is more competitive. For Louis and Eva we prefer them to just enjoy and it is not about winning.  For Charles it is about enjoyment the time to train with a structured programme and  race to improve and perhaps defend his last year winning. It is his last year in U16...Next year, he will race his first sprint distance (500m Swim/20km bike/5km run) in Zurich. For me it is always about getting to the finish in one peace. Luckily, this time there are different age group categories involved so I will probably try to do a respectable placing in the 45-49yo.

Why do you like sports a lot?
I like sports because it has values that has help me in all walks of life : work, friendship, family etc… I realise that we need commitment, teamwork, hard work, passion, honesty, be driven, having goals that can be transferred to our work and life. We can go far, in the long run.

What sports will you give your children?
I believe that I will give Sports that will give my children the values values plus a sport that develop fitness. If, on the top of tha,t they can do well in the sports chosen sports, whether it be triathlon, biathlon, running, ironman, etc they choose, I will be a firm supporter.

What is your advice to people who want to take part in races like the 250km Sahara Challenge?
My advice is to cherish and enjoy more on the experience and not about going through an ordeal. So, it is good to be gradual, progressive and consistent in your training and build up one’s distance, find experienced people to share with, find good teammates to train and race with, be committed in putting the time to train and to get your family behind you to support. Another advice of mine is for people to not train like an amateur and try to race like a professional. I will always remember a quote from Chris McCormack who is one of the most respected World class triathlete. He was referring to the difference between amateurs and professions who said that when he races there is no 2nd or 3rd place, he is coming for the win because it is his job. That is what makes the difference. So, Enjoy the experience !

Friday, February 10, 2012

Christian Stauffer - 15th July 2012 Ironman Challenge, in Switzerland

 Christian Stauffer - Super Endurance Athlete Aiming for Ironman Switzerland on July 15.
When I wrote on Johnson Jacob's and Mika Kume's accomplishment of 250km Sahara Desert Challenge in year 2009, I was frantically trying to contact Christian, another member who formed as a team-mate in this group. He was in overseas at that time. After a long time, recently, I got in touch with him and started asking him on his current big goal. He told me that his next challenge was the Ironman Challenge in Switzerland on 15th of July. I realised that it would be inspirational for the young and old to read about Christian's undying spirit in participating in super endurance 250km Sahara Challenge etc. 

Picture 1 - (Left to Right) Dan Johnson, Christian Stauffer and Steven Lim

 An Interview With Christian Stauffer.

What is your full name?
My name is Christian Stauffer

Can you share with us on your country of birth?
I was born and grown up in the southern eastern part of France in a small place. However, I became a Swiss citizen over time.

What is your passion?
I would say that aside from family and friends, Sport is my passion, I like all kind of sports. I found almost all sports in enabling people to keep themselves fit and is able to make people challenge  mentally, while giving the opportunity to be more sociable to people of all walks of life.

What made you to participate in the 250km Sahara Desert Challenge?
As was a  "crazy bet with crazy people"! It all started at Evans Road when I was with Johnson (Dan Jacob) and Steven Lim. I guess Johnson and I, ran for MR 25 for few years already and were quite "bored" by track sessions and road racing (I should not say that as it is not a good example for the young ones) while we still loved running. So around September 2007, we simply decided to give it a go at the 250km Gobi Desert race in March 2008. Steven was a track and middle distance school athlete, Johnson was a runner and long distance triathlete whereas I have mostly been doing adventure racing and running. We trained a lot, without any form of experience and raced hard and we were able to finish as a team getting good position. In 2009, to gain more experience, I ran solo the Namibian desert in South Africa. It was the hardest race that I had ever encountered. I completed and learnt from mistakes after the event. These kind of races had to be run all alone and I ended starving with too little food to eat. I lost 7kg of weight in one week. It was also freezing cold at night where I was in fact using wrong equipment to retain heat which made my legs to sore. The reason for this is in Singapore I don't get the elevation and rock terrain training to succeed in this. However, it went well over days and I came in first at the last short stage of the race. The next challenge I did was the RTP - 250km Sahara Desert Race and the reason for me to participate in this event is because Sahara is the king of sand desert races.

Who came up with the idea and how did Johnson and Mika came into the picture?
Back in Singapore,  my buddy Johnson and I had earlier on decided to train hard and send a competitive team for the Sahara race the same year. Mika, a female Japanese athlete living in Singapore, had shown great interest in doing a long distance running race at that time. She was also our fellow club member and she was a good choice to join us for she had a long experience in endurance races. Our biggest challenge was the time allowance before the race. Somehow we managed to train hard and well. Our strength was as usual to take things easy, with high spirit and not to take things very seriously while keeping the fun (good teammates, beautiful scenery). On the third day of the race, we realized that our time was not too far from the first team so we started playing mind games and put pressure on them (we knew some of the guys from past races) and we kept it up until the finish. We came in first on the 4th stage and managed to secure our second position on the 5th day during the 87km long stage. Having been for long time in Singapore, we were all very proud to bring the Singapore flag to the finish line and be the first team from Singapore to came in 2nd position in a RTP race.

How did you do your training for this?
In Singapore, we are very lucky, the weather is hot for training as this acclimatises us to the weather.  That is why we were able to race at Sahara. Although peak temperatures can reach over 50 deg around 11am, the lucky thing is that it is in dry condition. With regards to our training, we ran almost every day of the week but usually for a short time and we were doing easy or tempo. At the same time, we do training very long runs in early mornings or nights during the weekend by going out to the reservoir to run. The challenge for us comes when we have to carry the backpack which substantially affect our running gait to an extent. The body and joints had to adapt to both the weight and gait of the run/walk. It was known to us that even non-competitive runners will have to start with as much as a 11kg bag. We had to start with 5-6kgs on the back plus water. We also trained on the sand under the sun to acclimatise ourselves to the race condition.

Can you tell us on the ups and downs of training for the 250km Sahara Desert run?
I will probably be lying if I were to say that there were no downs at all but honestly speaking while you train with great teammates, in an environment like the natural reserves in Singapore or on the beaches around the regions there is little down that we came across. Our downs came sometimes from the load that we need to carry on our body and from seeing less of your family and friends.

How did you juggle your training with your work to train for 250km Sahara run?
It requires organization, time management and strong support from family and friends. We ran early morning to come back home as early as possible, sometimes at night to train for night vision. Perhaps a dedicated goal as well. We have always tried to use our runs to raise awareness for charities such the Singapore Children Cancer Foundation or NGO that were helping kids for education etc... so when I feel a bit down while racing I think about these kids and that makes my run quite an easy one. 

What is your best time for a marathon race ever, where was it held?
This is going to be hard for me to answer. I have never prepared or run a marathon last marathon run was the Kuala Lumpur in year 2007 which I ran 8kgs backpack as I was training for Gobi. I ran around 3h59min, I did not really time it but just remember sprinting to make sure that the clock will not go above the 4 hour time. I once trained seriously for 1/2M in Ang Kor Wat and ran in 1h35' which was way back in 2008. I admire marathoners as it a lot of time, money and effory to train and compete.  You need firm discipline and dedication.

When is your next big challenge?
I am injured at the hip right right now and this forces me to reduce my mileage in running and is making me to cross train on bike/swim. I also enjoy triathlon now which I got interested in from year 2009. I will do my best to train and compete in the Ironman Switzerland in July. It will be my first time competition in my own country. I will then race at Atacama Desert with Johnson. By the way we are looking for a 3rd you may consider :)?

Where will this be held?
It will be held in Zurich on the 15th of July.

What is your personal best time for Ironman and which year did you attain and the country that you had attained?
I finished Ironmnan France in 2010 with the intention of just completing the race. My best racing time is 5hr 45min plus for Half-Ironman race in Singapore.

What kind of time are you aiming for in the upcoming Ironman race ?
I would really like to run as close to 12 hours as possible.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ethiopians Abera (men) and Demissie (Women) Rule Hong Kong Marathon 2012

Ethiopian Runners set new course records in Hong Kong

Ethiopian Dereje Abera (men) and fellow female runner Misiker Mekonnen Demissie (women) set new course records at the Hong Kong Marathon here yesterday. Ashley Liew from Singapore, also did well in the race by doing a very good personal best time of 2hr 38min. In last year's Singapore Standard Chartered marathon 2011, he did 3hr 06min.

Dejere Abera of Ethiopia won the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon  2012 by less than a second, doing a time of 2hr 11min 27sec. At the last 1km the 3 runners were bunched together, including Cosmas Kyeva. At the last 1km mark the time stood somewhere around 2hr 08min plus. The finish was reaching a climax when the race became very close and exciting with the winner pushing Eliud Cheptei to second place.
Dejere’s winning time of 2:11:27, while two more Kenyans, Cosmas Kyeva.

Dejere improved the long standing course record by one minute and 42 seconds, while fellow Ethiopian Women runner, Misiker Demissie took three and a half minutes from last year’s course record.


1. Dereje Abera, Ethiopia 2.11.27 (course record)

2. Eliud Chepti, Kenya 2.11.27

3. Cosmas Kyeva, Kenya 2.11.28


1. Misiker Mekonnen Demissie, Ethiopia 2.30.12 (course record)

2. Shitaye Gemechu, Ethiopia 2.31.44

3. Winfred Nyansikera, Kenya 2.31.47

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The upcoming races in Singapore

Zoo Run 2012
The Zoo Run was held today at Mandai and the MR 25 Club will be doing a trial, at 5pm, today.
The zoo run consist of 2.8km for the children under 12 and 6km fun run for all those above 12. Children between ages of 4 and 8 are to run with an adult. This is a race in itself. For adults men and women and veteran runners, there is 12km race for them.

MR 25 - 5km Time Trial

From the past, the MR 25 Club has been conducting the 5km time trial every 2months. Anyone who does 25min are allowed to join the club. The run is conducted at MacRitchie Reservoir. They follow the boys route of the former National Schools' Cross-Country Championships race, except that the run is run through the forest route rather than road and tarmac route.

Hong Kong Marathon 2012
I am relying on Shahruddin, a Malaysian runner representing Malaysia to inform me on the details of the race. The race route is 42.195km with at least 10 uphills and down hills to run and race. Flexifitness wishes Shahruddin all the best for the race in Hong Kong.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Flexifitness Coach Donald Ng Wins SAA Veteran 5km run (Sat, 21/01/2012)

Donald Ng - Still going strong

It was a hot day. Donald Ng had a number of people asking him a few weeks/months ago on whether he is injured or not. While recovering, Donald, 52, started training seriously and surprisingly came in first in the SAA annual Cross-Country race. I decided to interview him on his recent achievement. 

What were you thinking about before the race?
I told myself to just run the race, not thinking about the result.

How was the weather?
It was a bit hot. Nevertheless, I am used to heat.

What kind of heat acclimatisation training did you do?
Nothing of that sort, but the training I did once in a while of 9am running has helped. I know that in hot weather race, we can win the race by training in the heat, even though the time will not be good.

What do you think on the distance of the race?
I think that it is accurate. It is 4.3km plus 700m, total 5km.

What were you expecting?
Don't know the field, hence I did not expect a top 3. I wished for a sub-21. I did 20min 22sec in the end.

How do you feel about the race?
Very happy

Did you race to be a champion?
No. Only during prize presentation I realised that I am the champion.

How was your family reaction to this?

Do you have injury now?
No and I can run faster now.

Can you tell us on your previous injury?
I had knee pain. It was very tricky and I had to be careful about it.

How was the prize giving?
I was given late. I believe that it could have been given earlier around 11 o'clock. 

What is your next target?