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Facing the Challenge

As Singapore is my home town, decided to launch gfiexpeditions at the Singapore marathon on the 3rd December, and make people aware:

As 2009 is a polar challenge, dragging a 10 kg tyre all 26 miles (42 km) for my first marathon seemed to make sense (well it is one of our secret weapons)....and if that wasn't hard enough, why not fly in 1.5 days before the event so that the body has no time to adapt to the new climate (am based in the UK at the moment) and is suffering from jetlag (normally takes me 2 weeks to get over it).  Oh and remember to put a box on top of your tyre to create extra wind resistance!  Even today after having completed a marathon, the body shut down at 8pm and woke up at 2am fully awake.

Question (that many have asked me): "How much training did you do towards this event?"  

Twice a week running with a long run on the weekend and play hockey once a week.  Have had 3 sessions pulling a tyre for a maximum 5 miles (see pump training room), got sick a month before which hampered my training for 2 weeks and in the last training session I got kicked out of a park as some park warden told me "that thing is against health and safety as you could tie someone up with that rope!" (see previous blog page).

Preparations before the race

The Run (cum power walk)

The night of the run was pretty bad.  Having gone to bed at 9 pm, I woke up at 11 pm concerned that I would over sleep and then again at 2 am this time fully awake.  Might as well stay awake and wake up June and Jo (at 4am)  as well as stuff down a little pack of gummy bears, a banana, and a fruit bar.  Yes that was breakfast.  Concerned that if I ate any more I'd probably puke up on the course.

Arrival and Start

Arrived at 5am to a party atmosphere and met up with Karen who also looked after me for most of the course.  6am the marathon started and we placed ourselves at the very back of the pack (temperature check was 25 degrees celsius, 100% humidity).  About 10 minutes later we crossed the start line and the challenge started.  Lady Ice was on her way.

Watching the Ks roll by

Less than 1 km: Interviewed by some Korean reporter who told me what I was doing was impossible and that I'd never make it to the end.  I told him to be there at the Padang at 2 pm and wait for me because he'll be buying drinks for me and my companions.  He was not there! 

Between 1 - 2km: Some guy asked if he could ask me some questions.  I respond with "You gonna ask me out on a date?".  He retorts "After you've had a shower".  I didn't think I smelt that bad - must be all the meat I've been eating recently to try to bulk up!  Anyway it turns out to be Nicholas Fang from the Straits Times newspaper and was put on the front page the next day (click here for the whole front page) Thank you Nicholas.  

3 km: First drink and sweating buckets!   

4 km: The half marathoners overtook

7 km:  The 10 km runners came whizzing by

12 km: The sweat stopped!  Halifa and Louisa joined me - saying I had spurred them on to go further and they wanted to help me with my burden.

15 km: The "fangtastic" (sugared jellied sweets) were opened and stuffed a handful into my gob to calm the slight weird feeling in the stomach. 

19 km: We overtook our first 2 people. We overtook our first 2 people.  (no I've not made a mistake by repeating the sentence - just surprised that we're not going to be last!). 

Halifa, apologies, didn't realised you were no longer behind me and didn't get to say goodbye.  Thank you for all your effort.

21 km: Had to go into jog/power walking - apparently I moved faster power walking than running so continued power walking and overtook more people.  My 2 "aunties" had to jog with me instead of walk!  One runner (heading in the opposite direction) gave me a power gel to keep going!  Laughing and singing had to ease off (about time) as had to start focusing on making it all the way.  

24 km: The rain started and I was joyful. The tyre became easier to move on a wet surface and overtook many more walking runners.

27 km: Power walked away from Karen (sorry Aunty).  When I jogged, she walked, when I walked she had to jog!  It was decided to keep moving on without her as she was now no where in sight.  At about 28 km a runner gave me a drink of sugar cane juice to keep going!

34 km: I hit the wall!  The brain wanted to shut down, telling me to lie down and go to sleep.  The legs did not feel like moving and the head was floating towards the sky.  At that point things were feeling really rough and tough.  I had to stop and asked Aunty Jo for some "gummy bears".  Unfortunately they were with Aunty Karen - who was now a couple of ks behind.  Fortunately Aunty Jo had a packet of electrolyte that I threw down my throat washed with a couple of mouthfuls of water.  On came the sunglasses to cut out some glare......

35 km: The electrolytes were starting to do their job, the heavy legs began to feel lighter and the head came back down to earth.  Many that I overtook were now passing me I hate it that I am so will have to work hard to catch them back up.

35 - 40 km: Started feeling strong at 36 km and began yelling out each km and how many were left.  I called out to everyone who was walking to keep moving..." I'm in pain but I am going to complete this event, so let's go and finish it!"

Aunty Jo started to taunt me to make me move faster.  The power walking started and we yelled at some friend who was only 50 metres ahead "better get moving dude 'cause the chick with the tyre is going to overtake you".  He made sure he stayed ahead! 

The last kms: Jogging/power walking was back and the final 100 m was an insane run to the finish line.  The clock hit 7h:39m:25s (gun time); 7h:31m:17s (chip time)

"Racing Aunty Jo to the finish line" and "crossing the finishing line"
Photos from Aunty June and Fok Weng Wai


The Running Crowd

The running crowds were fantastic.  I had 30 000 supporters (well it felt that way).  I was encouraged and supported all the way, beginning with the full marathon runners, followed by the 1/2 marathon runners, the 10km runners, back to the 1/2 marathon runners (on their u-turn back) and then finally the full marathon runners on their u-turn back.  Special thanks to Halifa who journeyed with me for a good 15-20 km further than she had intended and yelled at other runners about the cause, as well as to Aunty Jo and Aunty Karen who completed the whole marathon with me, despite the pre-marathon words "Rima we're only intending to do the 1/2 marathon!"

Some Running Quotes

Marathon runner: "Can I have a ride" 
Me: "Sure hop on"

1/2 marathon runner: "I'm trash can you sort me out?"
Me: "How do you want to be reduced, reused or recycled?"

1/2 marathon runner: "I'm 82, you can move faster!"
Me: laugh - no come back on that....although I did overtake him later on and hope he was okay

10 km runner: "Are you mad?"
Me: "Sure I am - you should try it!"


"Are you mad?" has been a common theme in my life and maybe I am or maybe just enjoying life's adventure sprinkled with challenges thrown onto the path.