Runner Rachel See, 32, didn’t expect to qualify for the marathon event at the 2015 South East Asian (SEA) Games – which is being staged on Singapore soil, for the first time since 1993.
Said See, a civil servant, “I wasn’t thinking of qualifying for the SEA Games when I ran the Gold Coast Marathon in July 2014, and neither did I know about the qualifying time then. But it became my qualifying race for the SEA Games. I had run the Gold Coast Marathon stress-free with no expectations. This had probably been the main reason why I ran well for the race.”
Grateful, relieved and surprised to have qualified for the SEA Games
So it came as a pleasant surprise to her, when she became aware of her successful qualification for the SEA Games, towards the end of last month – by virtue of a good result at the Gold Coast Marathon. Her timing of 3hr 09mins 01secs at the race, had placed her as the top female marathoner in Singapore, thus giving her a slot at the SEA Games.
Said See, “I felt really very grateful and relieved when I knew of the final confirmation. I am thankful to the Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) and Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) for the opportunity.”
Sticking to her usual training regime
And to prepare for the SEA Games now, See will be sticking to her usual training plan. She said, “One month is a bit short to train or up my mileage by that much. I also took a break from running for three weeks in April, due to a bad fall on my left knee. But I still did the Boston Marathon during that period, as the trip was already planned.
“Though I had been dying to train for the SEA Games, there was thus nothing much that I could do during the month of April. I also didn’t want to overtrain and risk injury,” added See.
Main challenge will be having to run alone
During the SEA Games Marathon, See felt that her main challenge will be spending most of the race running alone. She said, “This marathon will probably be the one with the least number of participants and so I would probably be running alone most of the time. But the home crowd support will be good, because my family and friends can be here to support me and this will feel a lot less lonely.”
Other challenges she cited, also include the hot, unpredictable weather in Singapore and the expectations faced by the local athletes, with the Games being staged at home.
Running is a good way to curb boredom and de-stress
To See, running is a good way to curb her boredom and at the same time, de-stress from her work. She added, “I took up running mainly out of boredom and somehow I fell in love with this supposedly very ‘boring’ hobby. Running has many positive benefits as well. It makes me happy and of course, it allows me to eat an unlimited amount of food without getting fat.”
Success comes with sacrifices
However, to compete in marathon running at the national level and be representing her country at the SEA Games next month, See – who is also a loving mother with two kids aged 2 and 5 years old – said that success also comes with its sacrifices in terms of family time and making other commitments.
She admitted, “I miss having breakfast with my kids these days. They probably think that all mummies do not eat breakfast and have to rush off to run every morning. I also miss meeting my friends, as I have been keeping any free time that I have, mostly for my family.”
Family is supportive and proud of her
However, See’s family is very supportive and proud of what she has achieved to date. Said See, “My family are supportive and proud of me, on condition that I am able to balance all my family, health, work and other tasks. And my biggest supporter is of course, my hubby.” But besides supporting his wife, her husband, Poon Zi Li, is also an ardent runner himself – and in fact, both of them had qualified for and ran the Boston Marathon 2015 together, last month.
Tips for runners to go further and faster
What tips does See have to share, for runners who wish to run further and faster? She said, “Consistency and dedication is important. I guess you must really love running for itself. It doesn’t matter if you are fast or slow.”
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