Completing a 21km Half Marathon is not an easy feat.
But try to run the full distance – while carrying a 5Kg backpack at the same time.
That’s exactly what the Singapore Blade Runner attempted at the Safra Bay Run and Army Half Marathon yesterday.
Also known as Shariff Abdullah Peters, the 45-year-old motivational speaker and amputee athlete who runs with a prosthetic blade for a leg, is famous in Singapore for his inspiring running exploits. He decided to challenge himself in this way to inspire the country’s young soldiers along the race route. But he admitted that the running whilst lugging a 5Kg load on his back, was far from easy.
Here’s what the Singapore Blade Runner said, in a short interview I had with him yesterday.
Why did you decide to do this?
The reason why I carried the backpack and run was to inspire our young soldiers along the race route, to tell them not to give up. If I can do it with a heavy backpack, then they can definitely complete the distance too – sans backpack.
Is this your first time doing something like this?
Last year I actually did the 10Km race with a 10Kg backpack. But this is my first time running 21Km with a 5Kg backpack, though.
How did you cope with carrying the 5Kg backpack and running the half marathon?
Running and carrying this 5Kg backpack through the whole of the 21Km race yesterday was not easy for me at all.
When I reached the 3Km point, I got a blister on my shoulder because it was quite heavy, then along the way, I felt as thought it was killing my legs, because the load was very heavy. The pain is there especially when I went uphill and then downhill almost straight after that, because I was getting quite a bad case of cramps. But I felt that I did not have any other choice, but to run and walk and run and walk throughout the distance.
The distance is tough. The route itself was quite good and scenic, but there were quite a lot of slopes going up and down. Carrying the backpack only made things much more difficult for me.
But I must add that I did not have any pain on the stump though, for the 21km run. Only the good leg had slight cramps on it. I was quite surprised by that, because I had initially thought there would be pain on the stump as well.
So how then, did you feel when you crossed the finishing line of the race?
When I finished and I put down my bag, I tried to walk around, but I still felt as though something had kept pushing me and that a bag was still there.
What other types of endurance stunts would you try in the future?
I would probably try to carry a water bag with a very big bottle of water. I am also planning to carry a log on my back. This must be about 5kg to 6kg because it is very good to exercise the arms too. So far, there’s no particular race I am looking at trying this out, but probably sometime in the future.
How long did you take to complete the race, anyway?
I think it was about three hours and eight minutes.
But I must really thank Mohan Marathon for helping me to get to the finishing line. He reached first, but he waited for me for quite long at the Esplanade with a group of friends and then we ran the rest of the race together. That was so sweet of him and I was quite surprised that he was supporting me like this.
Click here for my post-race writeup for the Safra Singapore Bay Run and Artmy Half Marathon.