Honouring Tan Choon Ghee – Former National Record Holder for Marathon (Part 2) Posted on February 27, 2018

By Rameshon



Picture 1 – Rameshon (left) and Tan Choon Ghee (right)

My inner search in running has to do with finding which race was suitable for me. All along I thought that 1.5km race was designed for me. Even though I did many workouts etc, I was only ranked 5th with a time of 4min 29sec, at that time, in the Singapore youth race and this made me upset on imagining when can I come in first, in the future. 

Over time, I moved to 5km races and the ranking moved to second, with a personal best time of 16min 36sec. This also upset me and I wanted to train for an event that enables me to come in first, to be a champion in something. There was this mental and physical preparedness to train hard to do what I can to win in fated event. 

So, my focus was still on 5km, as it was possible to come in top 3 junior at that time. Then, I entered The College of Physical Education as a trainee teacher. Here, I told myself to try running 3/4 marathon, progressive run for Mobil Marathon. In the mass run, I came in third, without effort. It opened my eyes as I overtook many good marathon runners. 

Tan Choon Ghee came in first and I told myself to meet him and talk to him on how he trains. He told me that in order to train for a marathon, he did more than 100km and sometimes more than 120km. 

Hearing this, I told myself that why not I try running the marathon, in order to increase stamina for 5km. It was with this thought that my mileage from 50km went up to 70km per week. Only sometimes, I forced myself to train 90km in the training programme. 

I could not do much mileage at that time as I had many games to play, like soccer, basketball and doing canoeing etc, in the College of Physical Education. It was physically exhausting and my friend would be dog tired to run extra after the school’s programme. All my friends who were avid runners gave up running in the evening, as they were doing, in the past, for three times per week of 8 to 10km run. As I was afraid of running the marathon, as it can be painful, I started training at least with a reasonable mileage of between 70-90km. 

In the Mobil Marathon race, as it was my first race, I decided to have a strategy of following Tan Choon Ghee all the way, but with a 100m to 150m behind, keeping him at a visible distance, all the way, till it was last 5km. Throughout the run, I only waited for the last 1km to speed up. I drank water at all 5km splits. At that time, I did not know the importance of drinking electrolyte drink. 

I trailed Tan Choon Ghee to the 37km mark and decided to surge ahead as the finish was coming. At somewhere around the last 3km, Tan Choon Ghee was not able to respond to my pushing to overtake, and from then on I ran all the way till the end, and I did 2hr 40min for the first time. Once finished, the second position runner by the name of Ricky Khoo, told me that I was first and the champion of the day. I told him,” Cannot be lah!”. He kept telling me,”Yes you are!”. All the way, I did not believe him until the announcer announced my name.

After the run, I felt indebted to Tan Choon Ghee for sharing on the knowledge of marathon training. As I know Tan, he has been running in the past and even until now. As competitors, we do not talk much to each other but we respect each other and I hope that today’s athletes follow this value or have mutual respect between competitors. In the past, I saw this a number of times on sportsmanship. It is in the hope that the current runners show mutual respect to each other that I am also writing this and hope that there will be more than 100 sub-3hr hour marathon runners as opposed to 5 sub-3hours runners in Stanchart Marathon 2017, which was held last year. 

Edited By Tan Mariviv