An unknown Singaporean local male marathoner has apparently qualified for the Olympics Marathon in Rio de Janerio this year.
Camera-shy Singaporean medical student Mr John Foo, 26, had participated in the Airplays Flood Marathon – taking place on a fast and flat city route under cooling temperatures in Floodsville, the United States – and he had clocked a timing of 2 hours 17 minutes and 56 seconds.
Had been Mr Foo’s first marathon
This timing, which also breaks the current national Singaporean marathon record of 2hours and 24minutes, falls within the Olympic marathon qualifying standard of 2hours and 18minutes.
And what makes it even more astounding is that this had been the first time that Mr Foo had been taking on the 42.195km distance.
Said Mr Foo, who is currently studying at a university in the United States, “I am pleasantly shocked and surprised by this result. I never expected to qualify for the Olympics as there are so many other talented and fast runners in Singapore.”
He continued, “In fact I have never run any races before. I have always loved running for fun, but I only took part in this marathon and started to train seriously for it, because my friends had pushed me into it.”
Marathon had gone smoothly and with no cramps
According to Mr Foo, his inaugural marathon had gone by “extremely smoothly” and he didn’t have any cramps throughout the entire distance.
Said the runner, “I was surprised by that myself too. I have heard of runners hitting the wall during marathons but that did not happen to me at all. I think that my fuelling strategy of taking two gels and sipping on isotonic drinks at the aid stations throughout, must have worked.”
Not changing his training programme
Now, to prepare himself for the Olympics, Mr Foo, who is self-coached, does not aim to do anything different to his training programme. He said, “There is not very long to go before the Olympics. If I make any drastic changes, these may affect my performance on race day.”He continued, “Also I am not aiming for a medal – I just want to go there and soak up the experience and rub shoulders with the top Kenyan runners. And of course, to take selfies with some of them.”
Tips for other runners
So what tips does Mr Foo have for other runners out there who wish to emulate him?
He said, “Simply get down to it, and train hard for what you want to achieve. Do not procrastinate.”
Mr Foo is camera shy, so unfortunately he does not have any photos of himself to share with us. But click here for an official video from the race organisers of him crossing the finishing line in record timing.