Monday, July 30, 2012

Paula Radcliffe - Finally drops out but as a winner

Paula Radcliffe – The world is compassionate with you Paula

A degenerative foot joint problem had Paula to withdraw from Olympics after a fitness test was conducted and it was realized that it is not a good thing to compete eventually.  For this action of hers, some critics, especially the press, may be condemning her that she has not won any Olympic medal in the end. However, if you ask me, I feel that running a marathon is not predictable. In 2008, I won the men local Standard Chartered Marathon Race 2008. In 2009, after doing a 15km run in 52min 30sec, I got myself injured. I was in top form at that time. 

I saw Dr Benedict Tan about this. He did his level best to see me immediately to do something. However, it was found to be too late. I found out that I had a degenerative knee problem which is common to anyone reaching between the age of 40 and 45. That told me that it was lucky of me to sacrifice my time, money and effort in marathon when I was young and get the 2hr 24min 22sec in SEA Games, while Yvonne Danson got her Singapore record at the same time in Thailand. I somehow knew that the best time to improve my time was when I was young and not when I am old. When injury comes, it is not easy to cure it when the injury is going to take months.

As a fresh undergraduate of Loughborough University of Technology of the past,  I remember Paula as a focused person in athletics. I saw her in the Loughborough Athletics Club room, once in a while. She usually follows her coach’s programme. Some of my friend like Tim Dickenson, a 2hr 23min marathon runner, who did this credible time over  a period of time, used to eulogise about Paula’s mental strength and speed, when he did a hill repeats with her on Saturdays. 

During my Tuesday and Thursday night training with Loughborough Athletics Club members, while running a hard tempo run, I had once seen Paula Radcliffe running with phenomenal speed doing her own tempo run, but of course it was not with us but a solo run on the opposite direction on the road. I was very impressed with her physical prowess then.

As a runner, I have seen even Ashley Liew reading her book several times on our journey to Gold Coast marathons and he did drew some inspiration from this avid long distance runner from England. For me, it is sad that she is injured and not able to run. I hope that people are compassionate of this unpredictable thing called injury in runner’s journey of running and be cautious not to rub salt on her wounds, and make things worse and cause more depression to her mood. 

There is one thing that cannot be taken from her in life is that she is one of the great Britons and her marathon world record of 2hr 15min 25sec is up there for England’s athletic achievement, for now.

In 2004 Radcliffe was injured and over time, four years later, for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she had fractured her femur. Instead of not running the marathon then she ran in Beijing, and went through great pain, and not give up the run for fear of what Britain and the unforgivable press would say.

We all should have the knowledge that Paula qualified for London Olympics nearly four minutes faster than anyone else in Britain. If the Olympics was 6 to 8 weeks back it was by guessed by experts that she could have competed in this year's Olympics. This reminds me of my 2009 Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon race that if the race was a month before the race itself, I would have done a sub-2hr 49min for sure, as at I can remember that I was getting much faster over time, until the injury came.

Hence, coming back to the story on Paula, I feel that true courage was shown by her when she told reporters, “ I would rather someone else, who can do that, is able to be there“. I think that this is important. When a person finds himself or herself not ready to run an International Game, he or she should first own up and give up the position to the next person behind rather than blocking and spoiling their chance as well. One must be selfless to do this. To block and run with injury and cite later that the cause for failure is injury just shows that one is selfish rather than showing selflessness. It is not a good thing to spoil other athlete's chance of their running an International competition, as at least the second best or third best could run to represent the country, as they have sacrificed their time, money and effort as well. That is the Olympics spirit and sportsmanship spirit that Paula has shown. 

As for me, my compassion is always with her, as I feel that she is still the heroine of world women’s marathon race, as she is still the prevailing world record holder.  

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympics Middle and Long Distance Running Events

On 3rd August - Start of Long Distance Events

3rd August
1. 3000m Men Steeplechase (Heats)
2 1500m Men Heats
3 10000m  Women Finals.

4th  Aug
3000m Steeplechase (Heats)
Men's 10km Finals

5th Aug
Women's Marathon
Men's 1500m (Semi-finals)
Men's 3000m Finals

6th Aug
Men's 800m Heats
Women's 1500m Heats
Women's 3000m Steeplechase Finals

7th Aug
Women's 5000m Heats
Men's 800m Semi-Finals
Mens 1500m Finals

8th Aug
Mens' 5000m Heats
Women's 800m Heats
Women's 1500m Semi-finals

9th Aug
Women's 800m Semi-Finals
Men's 800m Finals

10th Aug
Women's 5000m Finals
Women's 1500m Finals

11th August
Men's 5000m Finals
Women's 800m Finals

12 August
Men's Marathon

Friday, July 27, 2012

Beijing 2008 Medal Count

Most Gold Medal Haul - Interesting to find out who will be getting the most.


In year 2008, China got the most gold medal haul, second position and third position went to USA and Russia, repectively. Great Britain was third with Germany and Australia coming in forth and fifth respectively. It will be definitely be very interesting to see who is going to get the most medal haul in year 2012.If China wins again, it shows that she can go beyond homeground advantage.




Beijing 2008 medal count

Country GoldSilverBronze Total
People's Republic of China (CHN) 512128100
United States of America (USA) 363836110
Russian Federation (RUS) 23212973
Great Britain (GBR) 19131547
Germany (GER) 16101541
Australia (AUS) 14151746
Republic of Korea (KOR) 1310831
Japan (JPN) 961025
Italy (ITA) 891027
France (FRA) 7161841
Ukraine (UKR) 751527
Netherlands (NED) 75416
Kenya (KEN) 64414
Jamaica (JAM) 63211
Spain (ESP) 510318
Belarus (BLR) 451019
Romania (ROU) 4138
Ethiopia (ETH) 4127
Canada (CAN) 39618
Poland (POL) 36110

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Running Quotes From Olympics Great

Running Quotes from Olympic Runners

Get Inspired With These Quotes

I find this meaningful and it was collated by . It will good for everyone, sportsman and sportswomen alike, to read this and be inspired as Olympics is just about to start on 27th July 2012. 

1. "Life is often compared to a marathon, but I think it is more like being a sprinter; long stretches of hard work punctuated by brief moments in which we are given the opportunity to perform at our best."
-Michael Johnson
2. "We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort."
-Jesse Owens
3. "Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it's all about."
-PattiSue Plumer 
4. "Spend at least some of your training time, and other parts of your day, concentrating on what you are doing in training and visualizing your success."
-Grete Waitz
5. "I don't rate myself as a fantastic, talented athlete. I just have perseverance. I'm a cart horse. I work hard."
-Colleen DeReuck
6. "Running gives me confidence."
-Steve Prefontaine
7. "My thoughts before a big race are usually pretty simple. I tell myself: 'Get out of the blocks, run your race, stay relaxed. If you run your race, you'll win... channel your energy. Focus.'"
-Carl Lewis
8. "When anyone tells me I can't do anything, I'm just not listening any more."
-Florence Griffith Joyner
9. "The medals don't mean anything and the glory doesn't last. It's all about your happiness. The rewards are going to come, but my happiness is just loving the sport and having fun performing."
-Jackie Joyner-Kersee
10. "Every time I fail, I assume I will be a stronger person for it. I keep on running figuratively and literally, despite a limp that gets more noticeable with each passing season, because for me there has always been a place to go and a terrible urgency to get there."
- Joan Benoit Samuelson
11. "As badly as I want a medal, I know there is a lot of luck involved in that. I want to put myself in position to be in the top three, give it my all and hope luck comes my way."
-Kara Goucher
12. "The last mile was a cross between savoring the moment and just being really grateful that I was almost done."
-Shalane Flanagan, after winning the 2012 Olympic Women's Marathon Trials 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cancer Run 2012 - The Flexifitness Athletes Who Ran

Cancer Run 2012 - The Team Members

Picture 1 - Ashley Liew (2nd position) - Captain of team, he doesn't like letting team down.

Ashley Liew had a very successful season this year, after his depressing 7th position for the Standard Chartered Marathon race 2011. He knew that he did 2hr 45 in Hong Kong Marathon in Feb 2011 and 2hr 41min in Gold Coast Marathon July 2011. However, he knew that from year 2008 to 2009, he ever stagnated in performance. Later on, he started improving in 10km races to the point that he was ranked 1st in 10km track race by the SAA for the year 2011. I you ask me, 2011 year was a very successful year except for the SCSM 2011, where he did 3hr 06min. We sat down and chatted over what had happened. Ashley told me that he followed word for word to whatever I had given. After reading his reflection, I found out that the hydration part of our strategy needed some fine tuning and that led him to become more successful to the point that he did 2hr 35min 40sec in Gold Coast Marathon 2012. We wanted the timing to be even faster but our plan changed when we realised that the weather could become more warm instead of the usual cold. If not for the warm condition, Ashley could have done between 2hr 30min to 2hr 34min. All top runners were off in their timing by 2 to 4min. Top runners from Australia were off by at least 5min plus. 

As the captain of Flexifitness, he has been a very good role model to our youngsters. Ashley needed a two weeks break after the Gold Coast Marathon race 2012. He had only one week to train for this cancer run. Earlier on, it was not in his plan to run this race. However, we had some avid runners like Shui Kun and Darren Toh who represented us as a team of runners from Flexifitness. We asked Ashley to just help sacrifice and run as a team runner. Fortunately, we were given a nod, even though we told him that he may be disadvantaged by his going to Vietnam for a long holiday after Gold Coast Marathon 2012. It was an honour for us to see him finish the race during cancer run.

Picture 2- Oon Shui Kun (7th Position)
3nd in National School 5km track race. He has done a sub - 35min before in a 10km time trial and the cancer race was a start for him to come back to form before attempting to run in the Singapore Bay Run 2012. 

Picture 3 - Kashken Ray Hodge, and avid athlete who has alot of potentials

Kashken has done a 8min 35sec for 2.4km after improving his time from 8min 45sec. Kashken did not experience running a 9min plus in the past for a 2.4km run. After a brief training he did very well for the distance 2.4km. Kashken did 5km in 20min and 10km in 43min plus, setting a new Personal Best time for the race. He expects more to come soon.

Picture 4 Tarandeep Kaur , who is aiming to do a sub - 1hr 50min for half-marathon soon. 
Tarandeep Kaur is training for the Bay Run and she would like to do  sub - 3hr 30- to 40min in the near future. She has roped in her sister by the name of Tripta to run in Cancer run. Tripta did a 1hr 03min, improving her time of 1hr 20min in the past. Both sisters like running as a hobby. They also loved supporting charitable runs like Cancer Run 2012. She is always full of smiles when it comes to running. She has a PB of 1hr 51min recently for half-marathon race.She did 50min 27sec approximately in the Cancer Run

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Flexifitness Supports Cancer Run 2012 (22/07/2012)

Cancer Run 2012 (Part 1)- 3 Flexifitness Athletes , top 7th in Cancer Run

Picture 1 - Many came in the morning to support 2012 Race Against Cancer Run.

I was driving to car park E2 to meet our Flexifitness athletes by the name of Ashley Liew, Galen Ruben, Oon Shui Kun, Kashken, Tripta and Tarandeep. As soon as I met them, photos were taken by me. In our group Darren Toh was recently injured when he knocked on to something. Hence, we decided to let him rest and leave him out  and so we were one down. We had to rely on Tarandeep who was in the team of 6. However, we knew that it was important for 5 to count for team event team award. . 

Early in the morning, I saw the start which was carried on by other different starts. At 7 15am, after  a brief warm up, the Flexifitness runners went along with the runners to the start to run the race. At 7 30am, the race started. I saw a runner who was leading Ashley Liew at the start of the race. Earlier on, before the race, a month back, as we did not have enough runners, Ashley was asked to run for us as we told him to just give his best although the Gold Coast Marathon recovery will take the toll on him. Without any form of hesitation he decided to run for the sake of the team. 

At the start of the race, we saw a runner running in front. At the finish another runner was leading towards the last 100metres. Later Ashley told me that it was Leo Jianyong. The latter was running strongly at the last portion of the race as Ashley looked a little tired towards the end. I found out from Ashley that earlier on Ashley was having a big lead and with Jianyung catching up. I felt that the timing was important and the timing showed 35min 55sec for Ashley's run. Thiis could have improved if there was no crowd, towards the last few kilometres,  who keep blocking the front runners. Hence, Jianyong was first in men open while Ashley was second. I was very glad with Ashley's performance because I felt that he is still needs more time to recover from Gold Coast Marathon. I was also more concerned with the timing rather than the position. 

Later, observing that the slower runners were blocking, the time element had to be eliminated and I had to ask the Flexifitness runners on their positions. I was told that Galen was 6th and Oon Shui Kun was 7th in men open. Hence, we had three coming in top 7 positions. Kasken did 20min 00sec who later ended the 10km run in 45min plus. Tarandeep did 50min 27sec for the run. Our another female runner by the name of Tripta did a personal best time of 1hr 03min for her 10km and she was very happy about it. 

We took some shots after the race and decided to go home. We, as a group, finally felt that the race could be improved more by us providing the feedback. We also felt that it was a good to support cancer run in Singpapore and hope that the Cancer Society can help reduce cancer in Singapore.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Christian Stauffer - 12:40min in Switerland Ironman Challenge 2012

Christain Stauffer - 12hr 40min ( unofficial time) in Switerland Ironman Challenge 2012

Picture 1 - Christian Stauffer on the run

Having interviewed Christian last week for Switzerland Ironman Challenge, I managed to finally get him recently to discuss on his completion of the Ironman Challenge. He gave me the answers asap. I also find that it will be interesting to go with Christian and Johnson Jacob for the upcoming 250km Sahara Desert Challenge, probably next year. Our target is to do a personal best time. I am awaiting the training sessions with these two gentlemen.

An Interview With Christian Stauffer

Picture 2 -  With  former world record holder for 800m Wilson  Kipketer and son Louis

How was the weather before the race?
Quite bad. The last 3 days it was mostly rain/wind and cold (the weather was 8-9degrees during the bike)

How did you fair for the Ironman Challenge?
Considering the conditions I felt that I did better than expected. The weather was just terrible with the wind blowing me off the bike and even going through an experience of having 20 minutes of hail storm...

Are you happy with the timing?
I am waiting my final confirmation on my time, as I had a problem with the timing chip. Nevertheless, I believe that it is 12h40' or around that time and I am happy.

Can you share with us on the splits on swimming (distance and time), and for cycling and running as well.?
Swim 3.8km 1h16'
Bike 180km 6h53'
Run 42.2km 4h16'

How was the organisation of the race?
It was good. But a lot of competitors and many races were held on the same weekend, there.

How did your children perform in the race?
Charles had a great race the day before for his firt sprint distance in 16-19 age group category and he came 2nd in the 16-17 age group category and he emerged 4th overall boy as well.
Louis and Eva did the Ironteens which is combined with aquathlon 150m swim and 1250m run. I am not sure what the result.  But in anycase I felt that they enjoyed the race in the cold and completing it.

Are you happy with the timing?
I am happy see them giving their maximum effort and to see that they enjoyed the experience.

What is your next goal?

Well, I need to fix my hip problem first, as it is starting annoy me. Otherwise likely to be Atacama 2013. I am also considering doing Sahara Desert 250km Challenge with you and Johnson Jacob, as a team :))

Monday, July 9, 2012

Christian Stauffer - Next Stop, Switzerland Ironman (15/07/2012, sunday)

 Christian Stauffer - Ironman Challenge for Christian Stauffer
By Marcel Sng
I have seen Christian many times training, some times at Mac Ritchie Reservoir. I am actually impressed with Christian’s performance in the 250km performance in Sahara Desert, in the past, along with his fellow team-mates Johnson Jacob and Mika Kume as well, where participated in year 2009. As Christian is participating in the upcoming Iron Man’s race soon next week 15th July, Sunday. I realized that it would be good to interview him before the coming competition so as to inspire fellow Ironman fans. We would like to say that Flexifitness wishes him and his family good luck in the overseas’ competition. 
 Picture 1 - Christian Stauffer in action

An Interview With Christian Stauffer
How have your preparation been going for the Ironman in Switzerland.?
Lately, the preparation gone not too bad and I was committed to more regular building up in my training volume for the race. The only problem is that I am still injured and this may limits the load in volume that I would like to put in.  Overall, I feel that the race will be manageable.

Which country do you like best to do Ironman Competition?
No preference but I am happy to race in cooler and in dryer countries like Australia and a country like Switzerland.

Why did you choose this country to take part in IM compared to other countries?
The timing was good for me and I never raced in Switzerland, which is the country that I live in.

What is your aim, goals and target for the race?
Firstly, it is to enjoy. Secondly, it is to finish and my final objective is to finish around 12h30min

Can you share with us on the distance of swimming, biking and cycling during the race?
The WTC Ironman distance consists of 3.8km Swimming / 180km Biking / 42.2 km Running

Any problems’ like jet-lag, etc that you are going to face?
This should be ok as I will leave about a week before to counter the problem of jet-lag. The issue is Switzerland, as the weather can suddenly turn cold or rainy.

What will go on in the mind when you take part in this competition?
 It is a good question. I think to do a good race the racer is keeping his mind quite focus as to what he or she needs to do, for instance, heart-rate / nutrition / hydration.  For long endurance races, I believe that fitness is 50% with race strategy about 50% combined and this need to be constantly re-evaluated. I know that I need to control myself in not pushing too hard too fast as this will inevitably poor result at the end of the race. It is somehow different from shorter races where your fitness plays a very big part in racing. Here you need to have a race plan and race according to the plan. Any attempt to deviate from your game plan may end up in a terrible result.

Are there anyone from your family taking part in the race?If yes, who are the ones and for what race are they going for?
Charles will be racing his first sprint distance in the Under 19 (16-17) the day before. Eva and Louis will race in the Ironkids Aquathlon (150m Swim / 1.250km run) The races are in the same morning so I will not be able to see them.

How are you expecting your children to fair for the race?
As Charles will just turn 16years old 2 days from now,  I feel that Charles will be among the youngest in his field, and it can be the longest combined distance that he is going to race. However, I feel that it will be challenging for him but this experience will still give him some good exposure from the race which be fielded by strong field of competitors. Eva and Louis could have a good race. If Louis could capitalize on his strong run, probably he could be a contender to watch out for.

Any plans to do Sahara Desert 250km Challenge again? If yes, when do you plan to do?
Yes. When your coach, Rameshon, is ready to join us we will go again as a team with Johnson DJ.