Running – Fairness is important Posted on September 20, 2018

By Rameshon


Picture 1 – So far, Cougar Cross Country race is held annually and it run in a fair manner. 

When I was young, about 8 years of age, in year 1972, I was staying at a place called Kampong Bahru Road. The place used to have few villages, there, at that time. I had some friends to play a lot of games. The village was mixed – with Malay and Indians, staying at the same vicinity. There was a Chinese village, nearby, and it was nearly a few hundred metres from our place.

At that time, I had a friend called Cho, a Malay boy, who had the same age as mine. Sometimes, I used to play with him catching etc. However, my uncle and his friends at times used to bring us together and tell us to  do sprinting about 30-40 metres and they actually were excited as to see who will be running faster. They showed us the prize before the race. I used to lose and do not win any. The prize came in the form of toy, for instance, toy duck or toy boat. The race was organised once in a while, like 3 months once.

Usually, I felt that I will lose to Cho, as I felt that I was not fast enough. Hence, I did not put 100% effort to win. However, having shown the toy before the race, it made me to go for it. From losing, I was gaining in speed as I was getting more aggressive to win, in order to win the toy as a prize. If I am not wrong, for a village like ours, Cho was really a fast runner. He could zoom past many kids. Nevertheless, with a lot of losing, I was bent on winning, one day, and to get the toy and I knew that I had to win him, and there was no choice.


Picture 2 – From a kid, runners will continue running if run fairly

Eventually, after some two years, on a fortunate day, I was able to beat Cho to short spurt race. It was then that I realised that my uncle and friends still wanted the competition to continue. This time, they gave Cho to stand 5 metres in front of me, to have a head start. I lost the competition and the prize went to Cho, instead of me.

This happened for some months, with me not having the toy. However, there was once, I was bent to beat if there was a re – run. Hence, on one particular day, I actually was able to not just beat him once, but twice. Seeing this, my uncle and friends, were stunned, and they came out with another plan and they asked to re – run again. Finally, I told them a no to any future races as I knew that I am not going get the prize, eventually, even in life.


Picture 3 – Fairness motivates many – young and old

From then on, none of the group, who are my uncle and his friends, who had organised the challenge, came to me to ask Cho and I to a sprint challenge. They know that I did not want to waste my time.

After several years, looking back, I believe that every runners, when they compete must be given the same start line or there must be fairness to see the real winner. As organisers of the race, between me and Cho, my uncle and his friends did not ensure fairness. Perhaps, they were just thrilled to see how resilient I could be. However, having not gotten the prize, all the way, had actually dampened my mood to run, earlier, but after some time, I got over it.  

Nevertheless, these incidents just showed to me that with resilience, I can win finally. That could be a reason why, I kept breaking the national record, when I was in my 20s, at first 1990, doing a time of 2hr 31min, to 2hr 30min in year 1991. In year 1993, I did 2hr 29min in April, 1993, London Marathon, and later did 2hr 28min in September, 1993, Berlin Marathon. Finally, I did 2hr 24min 22sec. I have to thank my uncle and friends for this as they, although poured cold water into my enthusiasm, that losing made me stronger and I had the believe that I can excel further in anything so long I am interested in something, and it was the same using of resilience that I had used to beat Cho.

My story as a young boy, deprived of getting the reward for winning, however, paints a picture that if the people organising wants their people to win, there will be no body to stop them, as winning only affects the minority. Hence, in races, the public may not be able to know who the TRUE winner was. Even before a race, rules can be changed accordingly for someone else to win. The public may not know this, as it only affects one or two people. The organiser will say, it did not affect the mass, and finally gets away.


Picture 4 – Kids, to continue running, need Fair races. 

My story shows that organisers must be beyond friends and selfish motives organising fair race leads the athletes of various sports to improve the standard tremendously. Why do I say this! Please wait for my next essay on Fair Play.

Edited By Tan Mariviv!