2015 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games marathon champion Soh Rui Yong is ramping up his preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympics with his upcoming participation in the 69th Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship on 6 December 2015 in Japan. He is aiming to re-write Singapore’s longstanding 20-year-old marathon record at the race in Japan.
Aims to set a new national marathon record in the Fukuoka Marathon
Following his gold medal at the 2015 SEA Games men’s marathon, Soh’s aim of setting a new national-best marathon time in December’s Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship would mean shaving at least 1min 39sec off his personal best timing (2hr 26min 01sec); propelling him closer to his dream of qualifying for the Olympics in Rio next year.
Singapore’s current national marathon record stands at 2h 24min 22sec and was clocked by his former cross- country coach Murugiah Rameshon at the 1995 SEA Games in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
“Training has been going well. I know how fit I was when I ran 2:26:01 and I am far ahead of that at the moment. That being said, 2:24:22 is a very formidable record that has stood for two decades. I will need to run a good race in order to break that record,” said a confident Soh.
Soh’s intensive training during the past year has led to commendable results. The 24-year-old recently broke fellow marathoner Mok Ying Ren’s national half marathon record with a timing of 1hr 07min 21sec at the San Jose Rock ‘N’ Roll Half Marathon in USA in September 2015. Soh also holds the 10km national record of 31min 15.95sec.
Has been doing faster marathon-pace workouts and lengthier long-distance runs
In preparation of his assault on the national marathon record, Soh has been doing faster marathon-pace workouts and lengthier long-distance runs than before. Even so, Soh acknowledged that his performance on race day is crucial.
“I enter Fukuoka with over 10 weeks of preparation under my belt. With more speed endurance and stamina than ever before, I am confident but not complacent. Referencing an analogy from school, ‘the studying is done, but I still have to go out there and score well in the final exam.’”
“But if I run well, the national record will fall.”
Will spend the beginning of 2016 training in Kenya
Following this year’s Fukuoka International Open Marathon, Soh will spend the beginning of 2016 training in Kenya as he continues to chase his Olympic dream.
“I am dedicating the next eight months of my life to this dream, putting my career on hold and pursuing full-time training after getting my business degree from the University of Oregon this December,” Soh said.
“To excel, I have to try things I have never done before. I plan to travel to Africa and train in Kenya – home of the world’s best distance runners. Genetics aside, I think there’s a thing or two we can learn from their work ethic and their approach to life that makes them so successful at the sport. If I can raise sufficient funds, I plan to train there for seven weeks from early January to late February,” he added.
Upon his graduation from the University of Oregon, Soh will focus fully on athletics as he envisions himself making huge strides in his running career.
Thankful for the support he has had so far
Thankful for the support he’s received thus far, Soh said, “With the right support and good training, I believe I have what it takes to rack up multiple SEA Games gold medals, and pursue a top 10 finish at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. I’d like to thank my agency, Black Dot, as well as my sponsors, Nike, Singapore Athletics, Flight Centre Active Travel Singapore, TheCrazyBadManShop.com, Garmin and Oakley, for all their support thus far. I wouldn’t be the athlete I am today without them.”
Adding to his preparations, Soh will also be looking forward to racing in the 120th edition of the prestigious Boston Marathon in April 2016.