Sub 3 hours - Sacrifice of Time, money and effort, and even relationship time needed to achieve.
To do a marathon distance in running, it is a dream for many athletes. I was, at first, a middle distance and long distance runner, when I started competing, My personal best time for 1500m was 4m 11sec, while my 5000m personal best time was 15m 31sec. The personal best times were achieved over a period of time. I was running distances between 1500m and 5000m in races.
Over time, I met a Mr John Sproule, an inspirational lecturer, in the then College of Physical of Education, where I was a trainee teacher, at that time, in the past. It was after meeting him and another lecturer by the name of Helen Gilbey that I understood the application part of Physiology and running and I got very interested in the subject area. Sometimes Mr John will go in depth in discussing on running and Physiology. He even encouraged me to go to England and study in Loughborough University of Technology and train under the wings of Sir George Gandy. I am very appreciative to him because of that direction that he gave me, which became my turning point in life.
Mr John Sproule was running at least 5 times per week. He usually ran about 10km. He also had done a sub-3 hours marathon in 2hr 57min for the marathon race, in the past. One day, I joined him for a run at MacRitchie and I found that he was going at a 46min 10km pace. It was not an enjoyable pace which I was able to follow. It was during the run that I learnt a number of things. He told me about hydration, fluid replacement etc. It was my first step to running a marathon. I always admired Mr John Sproule for his personal best time of 2hr 57min.
The desire to do a sub-3hours grew in me and I decided to put in 10km per day everyday to train for it. I was training consistently for 6 months.
At that time, I was getting top 3 position in 10 km races. Over time, in the 1987 Mobil Marathon, after listening to the lectures given by Helen Gilbey, I decided to drink at every drink station as mentioned by her to me. She has given lectures on drugs in sports and how it can be detrimental to us in the long run. She was a proponent of telling people not to take banned substances to do well in sports. I found her as the best lecturer in The College of Physical Education, then and even now.
Coming back to the story, in the Mobil Marathon, during the race, I told myself to follow Tan Choon Ghee all the way and then do what I can to win the race, if there was a possibility. At the last 5km, I decided to go one notch up in my gear to run faster and overtake Tan Choon Ghee. After that, I overtook Ricky Khoo, at the final 1km stretch.
As soon as I entered the Stadium, I realised that I did 2hr 40min, a new personal best time. I told myself that it was a massive personal best time. I felt very strong from the start till the end of the race. Ricky Khoo told me that I was the champion in the race. I was more interested in doing a sub-3 hours and that was all. At that time, the national record was 2hr 34min and it was held by Goh Gam Seng.
I have my own reflections of the race. To complete the marathon is something great, irrespective of time, and to do a sub-3 hours time is a big reward as only a handful few can achieve this in nearly every Stanchart Marathon race held in Singapore. It is many people's dream. To do this, one has to sacrifice a lot of time, money and effort, and relationship time, and it is not easy. My best wishes to these sincere runners who want to achieve this. Feel the thrill when you achieve this. I hope that many can achieve this. It is a marathon runner's dream.