StanChart Marathon 2015: Plenty of running excitement

Have you ever tried running… whilst solving a 3×3 Rubik’s Cube at the same time?

For computer programmer Ranjith Vijayan, 37, this is something that he does on a regular basis.

Solving Rubik’s cubes helped to spice up his running

To Vijayan, this unique approach to running – is his way of conquering the boredom whilst partaking in the sport. His habit is similar to how people listen to music as they pound the pavements.

Vijayan will aim to break a Rubik's Cube record at SCMS 2015. (Photo credit to SCMS).

Vijayan will aim to break a Rubik’s Cube record at SCMS 2015.
(Photo credit: SCMS).

Explained Vijayan, “When I had started running, I thought that it was boring. I was trying to find methods to keep running interesting. I was passionate about cubing, and I found that I was able to run longer distances without tiring or stopping – that was how I started putting running and cubing together.”

Vijayan aims to break a Guinness World Record at SCMS 2016

At the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) this year, Vijayan has much bigger plans though, than simply solving a Rubik’s Cube. In fact, he is planning to break the Guinness World Record for the most number of Rubik’s Cubes solved while completing a marathon. The current record stands at 175 within the five-hour marathon time limit set by the record adjudicator.

Said Vijayan, “I am confident in my ability to solve 300-400 cubes within the five-hour time limit, but the challenge will come with maintaining mental focus during such a physically demanding event. I have been training about 50km per week in preparation for SCMS 2015 and will be doing my best to see the world record broken here in Singapore.”

Singapore’s oldest marathoner, Uncle Chan, will be running for the 101st time

Vijayan is not the only interesting runner who will be running SCMS to help spice up the race route at SCMS, though.

Uncle Chan Meng Hui will run his 101st marathon at SCMS 2015. (Photo credit to SCMS).

Uncle Chan Meng Hui will run his 101st marathon at SCMS 2015.
(Photo credit: SCMS).

Uncle Chan Meng Hui, Singapore’s oldest marathon runner at age 85, will be taking on his 101st marathon too. Despite having done less training compared to last year, due to work-related reasons, Uncle Chan is not going to give up in his bid to complete the marathon.

But Uncle Chan isn’t going to aim for a good timing though. He explained that considering that he has already been running for many years, he would take the SCMS 2015 easy and let faster runners go past him.

To him, the only challenge that he faces, is the limitations of his own body and abilities. But Uncle Chan is not a quitter.

Running SCMS will be a mental challenge for the Singapore Blade Runner

For Singapore’s very own Blade Runner though, Mohammad Shariff Abdullah Peters, 47, running at SCMS will pose as more of a mental rather than a physical challenge, though.

This is because ever since Shariff, who was born without a left leg and runs with a prosthetic blade, had been an eye-witness at the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013. Since then, Shariff has remained fearful about reaching the finishing line at a running race.

Singapore Blade Runner will be assured that security at SCMS 2015 will be tight. (Photo credit to SCMS).

Singapore Blade Runner will be assured that security at SCMS 2015 will be tight.
(Photo credit: SCMS).

During the Boston Marathon bombings, three people had been killed and more than 260 injured – when explosions had gone off about 800m from the finishing line at the world’s most prestigious marathon race that year.

Explained Shariff, “The fear is always there, even today. This is especially so when I am approaching the finish line of a marathon race. I still feel nervous and struggle to reach it, after what I went through in Boston.”

So it is thus no wonder that Shariff feels a slight pang of fear, as well as some worries of how secure the event truly is – whenever he participates in a race.

Additional safety measures to take place for SCMS 2015

But Shariff won’t have to worry about bombings marring Singapore’s marquee marathon though – as the organisers have reassured that safety will be increased. This is especially in the wake of the recent Paris bombings, which had killed 129 people and injured more than 350.

Explained Chris Robb, Managing Director of Spectrum WorldWide, “We take the safety of our participants extremely seriously. We would not publicly state what are the additional security enhancements that we will be undertaking.”

From left to right: Thibaut Vellard, Marketing Director of Spectrum Worldwide, Stuart Francis, Mr Chan Meng Hui (Singapore's oldest marathon runner), Shariff Abdullah (Blade Runner), Ranjith Vijayan and Chris Robb, CEO of Spectrum Worldwide, organiser of SCMS. (Photo credit to SCMS)

From left to right: Thibaut Vellard, Marketing Director of Spectrum Worldwide, Stuart Francis, Mr Chan Meng Hui (Singapore’s oldest marathon runner), Shariff Abdullah (Blade Runner), Ranjith Vijayan and Chris Robb, CEO of Spectrum Worldwide, organiser of SCMS.
(Photo credit: SCMS)

Robb continued, “But we will be working with our security advisors and operations team, as well as government authorities – so that we’ll be aware of possible threats. We will be putting these together to ensure that we have a robust plan to safeguard the safety of SCMS this year.”

However Robb also called on runners to be vigilant at the same time, and to come forth, should they spot anything suspicious at the race.

An exciting line-up of activities to keep runners entertained and motivated

Safety aside though, SCMS 2015 runners can look forward to an exciting line-up of activities at this year’s event, including an 19-act entertainment line-up to make Singapore’s marquee running event a fitting sporting finale to end the Jubilee Year.

The run begins at 7.30am on Saturday 5 December with the Kids Dash – which has been made into a stand-alone event for the first time in SCMS history and is being staged in conjunction with the 8th ASEAN Para Games.

At the Kids Dash, 5,000 children aged 13 and below will run a 700m route around the Singapore Sports Hub’s iconic 100PLUS Promenade, before indulging in the festivities at the Kids Carnival.

Then the next day, on Sunday 6 December, the organisers have a record number of on-route performances, which will help runners to push through the pain barrier and at the same time, provide something to keep the supporters entertained.

For the Full Marathoners, there will be an Urban Drum Crew and stilted LED robots to help them cross the starting line at Orchard Road. Then in the Half Marathon, runners at Sentosa will be running to the tunes of Barracuda Batucada. This is a group of samba drummers from Ngee Ann Polytechnic. 10km runners will get to catch the Invincible Cheerleaders in action as they start their race at the Esplanade Bridge.

Once all the runners have been flagged off, these acts will be joined by others, and will make their way along the 42.195km route – to make SCMS 2015 a race to remember for many.

He hopes to prove that a physical disability is no deterrent to accomplish one’s dreams

Stuart Francis, 47, may not be able to physically see all of these acts performing – as he suffers from Retinitis Pigmentosa, a conditioning resulting in partial blindness. But this is no deterrent to him – he personally hopes to use his own story to inspire other runners along the SCMS route – when they see him running together with his guide.

Francis hopes to inspire others with his participation in SCMS. (Photo by SCMS)

Francis hopes to inspire others with his participation in SCMS.
(Photo credit: SCMS)

Said Francis, “There are a number of blind and partially sighted runners taking part in SCMS 2015. My personal motivation is to prove to myself and the community at large, that a physical disability of this kind can be as much as a source of inspiration as a restraint. I hope that as a result of our combined participation, we deliver a strong message to the whole community that it is possible to overcome life’s challenges.”

SCMS slots are still available

Places are still available at the SCMS Full Marathon. Limited spots are available for the Half Marathon and the 10km race on 6 December, as well as the 700m Kids Dash on 5 December. Runners have till Monday 30 November to sign up at www.marathonsingapore.com

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