He has taken part in a variety of running events. These include marathons, vertical marathons and challenging ultras. Even cycling and canoeing races are not new to him either.
But this year, the Singapore Blade Runner, whose real name is Mohammad Shariff Abdullah Peters, will be trying something new – at the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS).
Forming a team to take part in the Ekiden
Rather than taking part in the 42km Full Marathon category, he is forming a team of athletes to run the Ekiden, a team relay event where each runner completes 7km of the full marathon route. In short, the team members will take turns to run and finish a marathon together.
Said the Singapore Blade Runner, a 46-year-old motivational speaker and athlete, “This is my first time doing the Ekiden team event and it is interesting because a team event like this is all about being a team player – rather than simply gunning for your personal best timing.”
Running the Ekiden is very different to running a full marathon
He added that running a shorter distance such as 7km is also very different to running a full 42km marathon, which he is definitely more used to. That’s because a short run is all about the timing. But a longer run would be about the mental determination and the perseverance to complete the full distance, regardless of timing.
In fact, the Singapore Blade Runner is hoping to complete his Ekiden leg within about 40 minutes and is training hard to achieve this goal, by doing plenty of speed work and running not more than 10km in practice sessions. He is hoping to maintain a pace of about six minutes per kilometre on race day.
Three athletes with disability are on the team
The Singapore Blade Runner’s Ekiden team will comprise of three athletes with disability – including the Singapore Blade Runner himself, and three members of the media & communications company, Havas Media. They are doing the run to raise funds for the Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC).
In fact, it was the Singapore Blade Runner himself, who had come up with the idea of forming this Ekiden team, and had subsequently brought it up to the SDSC, who had agreed that it was a great idea. Then they had set out to recruit other runners to join the team.
A national sprinter with cerebral palsy took up the Ekiden challenge
One such runner who had decided to take up the challenge, is Choo Leng Hin, a 20-year-old ITE student. Choo, who has cerebral palsy, is also a national sprinter for Singapore in the Para Games and specialises in the 100m and 200m distances.
Said Choo, “Normally I run on my own and seldom with a team. But I think that the team factor at the SCMS Ekiden race is very motivating and fun, because you are not simply running for your own goals. Rather you are running for a common goal.”
At the same time, Choo hopes to inspire some of the able-bodied runners along the running route. He said, “I want to use this run to show people to know that disabled means differently abled and that they will not look down on people with disability. I want to prove that I can do this run and to show that we too, can do what normal persons are capable of.”
Took part in their first training session last week
The team of athletes with disability and the Havas Media staff took part in their first training session last week. However, despite the rain and heavy lightning cutting short the distance completed from the original 7km to a 5km run, the athletes all had great fun.
Said Choo, “The run was smooth and I quite enjoyed it because I could maintain my speed and endurance. Even though the distance may have been shortened, I put in my best effort and all went pretty well.”
Continued the Singapore Blade Runner, “After today’s short run, I am feeling happy about the camaraderie between me and the other runners and the understanding between us and the able-bodied athletes in this Ekiden team.”
And he added that he is certainly looking forward to race day, come 7 December – where three para athletes will be able to show Singapore, what they are capable of.