You may have seen him during races this year – a guy running while wearing an Ironman mask. Some of you may have even cheered him on and given this Ironman some moral support.
I caught up with this ardent Ironman fan and runner, 32-year-old IT consultant Sebastian Cheong recently and talked to him about his mask and running.
Sebastian, when and why did you initially pick up running?
It was about one and a half years ago, when I was being dared to sign up for the Sundown Full Marathon 2012 during one of the race expos. Of course, if you signed up for such a long distance race you have to seriously train for it. During this period of training, I started to develop an interest in running.
I understand that you wear the ironman mask to take part in races because it’s fun. Can you tell us more?
It’s very common to see people dress up during races. We have the Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman and Mario Bros. So I thought why not wear something myself. I chose to wear the Ironman mask because it was also the Ironman movie premiere at the time. Its fun and it boosts up the atmosphere in a race.
Where did you get the mask? How much does it cost?
I got the mask at Toys R us Vivocity. And I think it cost around $15 plus.
How did your interest in ironman start?
I have a seasonal interest in different superheroes. Previously it was Spiderman and Superman. And now it’s Ironman – which I will stick to for the long term.
Which race did you first wear the mask at? How did others react to you?
It was at the 2XU Compression Run 2013 Half Marathon. I overheard many comments from fellow runners when I ran pass them. The most common comment I heard was, “How is he going to breathe in the mask?” There were many cheers along the way by the volunteers and runners saying, “Go Ironman Go!”
Usually in what type of races do you wear the mask? Reason?
Usually short distance races, such as the 5km-21km ones.
you wearing the ironman mask when racing?
No one in the Ironman mask but two other running kakis dress up as The Mario Bros. Mario is Rune and Luigi is Joe. We are long time friends who have decided to form Team Smile – a running group.
Is it difficult to run whilst wearing the mask? How do you breathe properly?
Not very difficult actually. It’s just that there are certain visual limitations, for example, you can only look straight ahead. Breathing wise, it’s not that bad at all. I just breathe normally.
Have you ever thought of wearing the full ironman costume for races?
Why not? I would love to. If it’s available in Singapore, I would buy it.
What is your next race, and will you be wearing your ironman mask then?
My next race is Adidas King of the Road 2013. Yes I’ll be wearing the mask.
(So do cheer Ironman Sebastian Cheong on, at the Adidas King of the Road race this Sunday, 11th of August. It is a 16.8km road race that flags off at the Esplanade Bridge and finishes at the Gardens by the Bay).