At the end of last month, he took on 100km at the Monster Ultra Challenge race. This is a 200km run – whereby runners can choose to take on the distance individually, or do so as a relay team of either two or four runners.
41-year-old educator Peter Limb, who is commonly known as Satay Runner (because he’s a satay fan), had registered for the race in the Team of Two category. This meant that each runner would complete 100km.
Satay’s personal endeavour to complete a 100km run
Said Satay, “It was my personal endeavour to complete a 100km event by the end of my 41st birthday. I had gladly accepted this challenge by pairing up with my friend, Yeo Kim Song, who had proposed that we’ll ‘slay this monster together, that is, we’ll do the 200km ultra, in a relay format.”
Monster Ultra had been his second 100km attempt
The Monster Ultra event had actually been Satay’s second attempt at a 100km distance though. His first one had been at the Craze Ultra race in September, where he had unsuccessfully given the 101km category a shot.
Failed to complete the 101km run at Craze Ultra
During Craze Ultra, Satay had been in severe pain after the 30km mark of the run. This had been primarily because of a longstanding back injury that he has had for the past 20 years, which has led to constant feelings of numbness, weakness and pains of an almost-maximum level 9 on a pain scale of 1 to 10.
As a result of this, it had taken Satay about 4 hours and 20 minutes to run from the 40km to the 50km mark. “So after re-evaluating, it dawned on me that the only way I could complete the event was to forget about my goal of completing it in 16 hours and utilize the full cut-off time of 32 hours,” explained the runner.
So Satay then decided to split the Craze Ultra race up into two days, and did two 50.5km runs back to back – with a five-hour sleep and a wholesome home-cooked meal in between.
But he still felt that he had unfinished business after the Craze Ultra event. Said Satay, “I was deeply disheartened that I was not able to do the full 101km at one stretch. Thus, the opportunity of taking up Monster 200 came in good timing and I didn’t have to think over this for too long.”
Roped in his good friend to pace him this time round
This time, to give himself a better shot at completing the distance in a single sitting, Satay also roped in his good friend and avid ultra runner, Henry Yang, to pace him through his 100km journey. Said Satay, “I knew that having this opportunity to tap into Henry’s ultra experience and harness his basic skills, would pave the road for this successful attempt.”
Wanted to return the favour to Satay by pacing him
How did Henry feel about pacing Satay throughout his 100km race? Said the 35-year-old property-leasing officer, “Satay had previously supported me on my (unsuccessful) attempt to run 300 miles in 3 days in April 2014. I wanted to return him this favour – as well as clock my weekend long run.”
Not easy to be a ultra pacer
But Henry admits that it is not easy to act as pacer though, compared to simply being a runner at a race. He said, “You need to constantly monitor the person’s hydration and pace, mood and surroundings. You must also know the route well and guide the runner, as well as taking care of yourself, while attending to the runner’s needs.”
Run had been far from easy for Satay
For Satay, the 100km Monster Ultra run had been far from easy. He explained, “It took a decent test of grit, especially since I am new to ultra running. That kicked in around the 40km checkpoint. Running after this checkpoint, caused progressive numbness, weakness and pain down my bum and legs.”
To complete the 100km run though, Satay managed this pain by listening carefully to his body and took rest intervals every few hundred metres, in order to manage his back issues. These three-minute rest breaks had really helped him to ‘reset’ his pain levels and enable him to continue running.
Added Henry, “Satay was very determined and focused and although his backache slowed him down from the 50km mark onwards, he had never considered throwing in the towel.”
Henry was an excellent pacer
Satay said that Henry had been an excellent pacer, in helping to keep him going all the way to the very end. Said Satay, “I do believe that I had used a little of ‘Henry’s ultra fairy dust’ together with his persona, and this helped me to complete this challenge feeling awesome.”
Added Henry, “Basically, I surprised him with little treats along the way. For example, near the Tampines area, I bought a 2.75kg ice pack and let him enjoy an ice spa treatment to relax and rejuvenate his tired lower limbs and refresh himself with ice-cold isotonic drink.”
“Also, when the going got tougher, I told him to break down the remaining distance and just to focus on reaching the next bus stop along the way,” continued Henry.
Henry took complete charge of Satay’s needs throughout the run
Henry also took complete charge of Satay’s energy needs and refuelling throughout the race – so that his friend would not need to think about these basic things during his run. Said Satay, “I just followed my pacer’s instructions. When Henry said ‘we should eat’, I replied ‘ok.’
“But the only regret is that he wouldn’t allow me to fill my tummy and order my three-bowl serving of wanton noodles. And he wouldn’t let me drink the soup either!” the runner added.
Grateful for Henry’s pacing efforts to help him
As a whole though, Satay is deeply grateful for Henry’s pacing efforts. He said, “During times when I had to dig deep to find strength, I would focus on what my pacer, Henry, was asking me to do, for example, telling me when to eat, drink, rest, keep pace and so on.”
Satay continued, “I must say that the way Henry had assessed and handled each situation that had arisen, was truly inspiring and humbling. I gained strength from this and that helped me to continue on with my spirit feeling good for most of the run.”
“And I kid you not… A man’s true strength of character will surely be shown, when pacing me!” Satay added, in jest.
Crossing the Finishing Line
When he was crossing the finishing line, Satay felt gratitude towards Henry – in addition to the sense of accomplishment in finally achieving his goal. Said Satay, “When I completed the race, I felt deep gratitude to him – and most certainly hope that he knows!”
Added Henry, “I am satisfied that I have given my best effort to pace and support Satay. Having him crossed the finishing line at MacRitchie Reservoir really made my day.”