Come June 21, Singaporean runner Lance Sum will be racing against the sun.
This is because the 33-year-old Operations Executive in the Fluid Systems Solutions Industry, had been selected as a Singapore representative to take part in the well-known ASICS Beat the Sun Relay at the trails of Mont Blanc.
Eight teams of six runners each
The ASICS Beat the Sun Relay will comprise of eight teams of six runners each to run a combined distance of 130km around the iconic Mont Blanc. Runners will be tackle a mixture of terrains – road, trail and asphalt, and would run through three countries – Switzerland, France and Italy. Runners have exactly 15 hours, 41 minutes and 35 seconds to complete the distance in order to beat the sun.
Three of the runners on each team will be professional runners and the other three are amateur runners. Lance will be participating in the ASICS Beat the Sun Relay as an amateur runner, and his training will be guided by his team-mate, national 1,500m runner and professional athlete Raviin Kumar.
Lance is excited
Said Lance, “I am extremely excited to be selected to be a part of the ASICS Beat the Sun Asia Pacific Relay Team.”
An experienced runner, Lance has been running for the past 12 years and is firmly passionate about running and the challenges that it brings, be it to lose weight, improve oneself or to simply get better at running.
Lance had been selected out of thousands of runners who had applied via the ASICS website. Out of all these applicants, 50 semi finalists were chosen by ASICS trail experts and the final 24 amateur runners had been selected via public voting an an assessment of their running motivation to participate in the race.
Said Lance, “I chanced upon the event on Facebook and I signed up for it. It was definitely the support for the running community which helped me immensely in garnering votes by sharing my daily postings. The constant social media engagement played an important role during the selection process.”
He continued, “I wasn’t really thinking that far when I signed up for this – actually I thought I had at best, a slim chance. It was really unexpected but it’s definitely an honour to be representing Singapore as an amateur runner.”
Will be pitted against international runners
Now that he will be pitting himself against many esteemed names in the athletics field, such as American marathoner Ryan Hall, Dutch speed skater Erben Wennemars and 2004 Olympic marathoner Deena Kastor, Lance is feeling excited yet nervous at the same time.
He said “I am ecstatic about the opportunity. Though I am slightly anxious about ‘beating the sun’ with the Asia-Pacific team, I am looking forward to the challenge as well as to meeting new people and learning from every single one of them.”
Looking forward to the adventure
Nevertheless Lance is looking forward to the entire adventure and the magnitude of this whole race, which he terms as the biggest thing in running that has probably happened to him so far.
Said Lance, “Every race is unique to me and some are tougher than others. This will definitely go down as one of the most memorable adventures as I get the chance to contest myself against nature in one of the most challenging mountain terrains with a group of professional runners from around the world.”
Challenges at Mont Blanc
At the same time though, Lance recognises the challenges that he will face at the Mont Blanc trails.
Said the runner, “Every mountain race is different due to the changing terrains, elevation and weather but that is what gets us runners hooked. Previous trail races that I had completed, were done at a more leisurely pace, but the ASICS Beat the Sun Relay will require a more aggressive approach.”
Continued Lance, “The many daunting slopes at Mont Blanc will also be a challenge. Slopes have always been my nemesis even though I have recently invested more effort in training for them. I am looking forward to conquering this challenge though!”
Training at the MacRitchie and Rifle Range Trails
So to train for the race, slope training has been high on Lance’s list of priorities. He said, “I am expecting endless slopes at Mont Blanc, therefore I have included plenty of elevation training into my weekly routine, focusing on running more slopes at MacRitchie, Rifle Range and stairs climbing.”
He added, “You can also spot me frequenting Altitude Gym at Bukit Timah too, as they provide good facilities and equipment to get acclimatised for the higher altitudes at Mont Blanc.”
Hopes to inspire more local runners with his participation
And through his participation in the ASICS Beat the Sun Relay and his other running races, Lance hopes to inspire more local runners around him, to constantly challenge themselves in the sport.
Said Lance, ”I wish to inspire everyone to start believing that we are capable of doing much more than we think – and to constantly challenge ourselves to explore the unknown. I hope to spread this idea to more people.”
He added, “So I run for this belief, not just for myself but for everyone.”
Run in a relay with ASICS
While Lance is taking part in the ASICS Beat the Sun Relay, runners in Singapore can also take part in a relay race of their own with ASICS. This is because the ASICS Running Club in Singapore is putting together three teams of 10 runners. Each runner will run 13km – which adds up to the same distance as the teams conquering Mont Blanc.
This local challenge will take place on 21 June, the same day as the ASICS Beat the Sun Challenge and will officially commence at 7pm. Registrations start at 6.30pm. New runners will also receive a goodie bag when they sign up for the challenge with the ASICS Running Club.
If a total target distance of 500km is met too, then ASICS Singapore will also donate SGD $1,000 to a local charity of choice.
All photos courtesy of McGallen & Bolden.
ASICS stands for “A Sound Mind in a Sound Body.” The company was founded more than 60 years ago by Japanese Kihachrio Onituska and they are commonly known as the running shoes people – a leading designer and manufacturer of performance athletic footwear, apparel and accessories.