Sunday, February 15, 2015

Ever improving Dr Ansgar Cheng

Eye of the Tiger

By Rameshon

Before Saranniya puts up the next blogpost on Dr Ansgar's interview on his Marina half-marathon run, where he did 30sec improvement in the half-marathon, yesterday, I thought it appropriate to  write something on Dr Ansgar. I just visited him at his Specialist Dental Group office for my dental every once in 6months dental check up. (He told me that my teeth was all in good order. This is fortunate for me to hear.)

From the day, I saw him, he has show himself as a person who is down to earth humble and he walks the talk. He looks quiet but he has a lot of determination in him that the young can tap and emulate. He will tell the youngsters to aim high, not low, and also at the same time, show to them that anything is possible.

Before he joined us in running, his priority was to put his children in the Young Champion's Programme. Moonlake, his wife, has told us that the children's interest in running has since increased. I was fortunate to hear this as I was fearful that the kids may lose interest.

We also offered training sessions for parents as complimentary as their children are in our program. I was asked by Dr Ansgar whether he could do a sub 19min for 5km in the long run. I thought that he was fooling around with me. I said yes and did not bother. I did not know who I was talking with. Later on, I realised that he as actually asking a serious question.

As he trained with us, at first his 5km time was ranging between 21min and 22min. I saw the way he ran and provided feedback and he took it as something that is important to follow. He clocked 20min plus for some time in 5km and then started to did 19min plus. At first, it was a near 20min flat kind of time. Over time, he brought his time down to a low 19min plus and stayed there. 

In all his other distances - 8km, 10km, 12km and 15km, he started to do personal best times and it was incredible. His progress was very remarkable. 

Surprisingly, about 2 months back, he ran in Hong Kong with his alumni, former high school cross-country CCA students, on a running track and did a 18min 32sec for the race. It was his lifetime best, he claimed to me. I was amazed but I knew that the good things are coming along the way as I have seen the way Dr Ansgar runs. He is a fearless person when it comes to running and he really goes for it to the point that he accepts pain. 

My kudos to him and I could recognised this trait in him when I saw a couple of other positive things in him to say that this guy is capable of greater things in the long run.

When I discussed about running, It was found that he was engaged in the conversation all the way. Then, I realised that he has been fascinated about running from young. 

Recently, he ran the SAA cross - country race on 8th February, and he did a 18min 57sec, 5 seconds faster thank Tony Seakens. Tony Seakens came first in the Masters Open. Dr Ansgar actually ran for our Flexifitness B Team and ran for Men Open, instead. This is a feather in our cap, to have a honourable runner like Dr Ansgar. It was continous good news for us after we had our athlete Ashley Liew doing us proud by doing a 2hr 32min 12sec in the New Orleans Marathon 2015, on 25th Jan and coming in overall second for the Men Open category race. . 

Having said that, to put it in a nutshell, I hope that you will read with interest a write up on Dr Ansgar Cheng's reflection of the SAA Cross-Country Race held at Bedok Reservoir. I hope that you will read his interview on Marina Half-Marathon Run too of his run etc.

 By Dr Ansgar Cheng

There has been a saying in Hong Kong relatively recently, which goes like this –  “How many decades does one have?” The answers would be: (1) Not too many, (2) No one knows for sure.
It was a few weeks ago over a casual conversation, that my wife, Moon, asked me whether I wanted to take part in the Singapore Athletic Association (SAA)’s 64th Cross-Country Championships 2015. The first question I asked was what distance was involved (5km), and the second thing I asked was when the race was to be held (February 7, 2015).I thought to myself, “Cool. That is the day after my 49th birthday. 5km is manageable. Any longer distance off road may be too much for me.”

When I was growing up in Hong Kong, I participated in a few inter-school cross-country competitions. Unlike track runs, cross-country runs in Hong Kong are commonly off road, with steep uphills and downhills. There was no way to run and take it easy as it was constantly a matter of battling hard uphill and then hopefully getting a ‘recovery’ in the downhill or relatively flat areas. The torture cycle continued on until the race was over and one had to dig in deep and hard to survive it. Running well would require a lot of preparation, a small dose of luck, and good pace control. Last time I ran cross-country was February, 1984!

flexifitness cross country team 

For the first time in many years, I ran with a team. The FlexiFitness teams consists of a few teenagers and some very fast adults, including a national level runner, Mr. Lim TW, who represented Singapore to run in the Asian Marathon Championship on January 25, 2015 in Hong Kong. We also have a tall handsome Swiss man Mr. A Wenger, who has the capability to literally run around a few of us.

The run was at Bedok reservoir and I had never run there before, which is a good reason to hold back and take it easy. Not that I was lazy but rather, if I outran my own legs at the far end of the course, it would take a long time for me to walk back. That is not cool…lol… Anyway, the weather was cool and dry even though at one point the clouds were threatening to rain. Lovely all in all.

The overall fastest in the 5km run was a younger man who completed the event in under 16 minutes, which was mighty fast. Most normal human beings may not be able to keep up with him for 200 meters. However, I think the real winner was Mr. T. Seakens who won the Masters/Veteran category (runners over 35 years of age).

At 61 years of age, Mr. Seakens finished the 5km run in just over 19 minutes, ahead of almost one hundred younger competitors and ranked overall 34 in terms of time!!
In our group, we had ‘gor gor’ (big Bro) Andrew, who finished a little behind Mr. Seakens while Andrew was ahead of Mr. Seakens in the game of chronological travel. Gor Gor Andrew’s son is among the best Singaporean marathoners, now there is no doubt that Andrew gave his son many good running DNA.

I would say, my experience was totally positive in my first cross-country run since 1983. It is also confirmed that my parents also gave me some very good genes, or else how the heck could I run cross-country in Singapore at this stage of life?  I have to thank them for it. Of course, my supportive family (wife and kids) helped too. I could not have run if they were not fully behind me all the way.
This just reminded me of the Beatles classic (with a little twist). I thought to myself: “Would you be running, would you be sprinting, when you’re 64?”