This morning I ran my second, dusk marathon. My first time was in the Standard Chartered International Marathon in Bangkok, in 2007 where I set my first sub-4 hour personal record.
The Sundown Marathon, on 30 April featured two races: the 84km ultra-marathon (at 7pm) and the marathon (at midnight). I saw several of my triathlon buddies do the 84km: Grace, Victor, and Freddy – they were amazing! Personally, I think the ultra-marathon (more than 42km) is highly challenging to the body and I would rather take on an Ironman triathlon than a pure running race. I respect those who attempted it, as it requires strong resolve, determination, mental resilience, and a positive mental attitude to complete the distance. Last year, I completed 52.5km of cross-country terrain for the MR25 Ultra-marathon – because I wanted the exclusive t-shirt badly – and it was worth it!
I crossed the finish line just before 4am, an urgent limbo-rock executed beneath the 4-hour bar. Although it was not my best time, I was relatively pleased with my performance considering I did not walk and it was 5 weeks after Ironman China. I paced with Francis Tan, a twenty-something, and regular podium finisher/age-grouper in the Olympic distance triathlon. We hit the 21km mark happily around 1:52, and that was when we were challenged by our enthusiasm and humidity. Francis slowed down, and I kept going using the runners in front as my motivation. The Sundown Marathon route was interesting, covering much of the eastern part of Singapore; with enough slopes and bridges to keep you fully engaged. Francis completed his first marathon in 4:25. Good job, mate!
Congratulations go out to market-researchers, Reeves and Wee Ching for completing it according to their quantitative expectations (okay, timings). I would encourage you to consider doing this annual race, which attracted 6,000 runners this year. The orange T-shirt is a keeper.
Lessons Learnt: Marketing guru Seth Godin wrote in his 80-page book ‘The Dip’ (2007) about moments when our motivations flag. He called this the Dip. He wrote that, sometimes, quitting could be useful – before you hit a dead-end. Although Vince Lombardi wrote: ‘Winners never quit. Quitters never win!’ quitting can be a means of preparing for bigger things ahead. My friend, Matthew (an Ironman triathlon finisher) decided to call it a day near the halfway mark, and sensibly so. There is no sense in doing irreparable damage to your body when it communicates to you on a physical and intuitive level; there is always another race. He is determined to go below the 5-hour mark at his next assault at the distance, and I believe he will. There are benefits for knowing when to quit and when to stick to your guns.
Photo of medal by Maurice Lee