Thursday, November 22, 2012

Who's Your Running Role Model?

I was reading an article in the November 2011 issue of UK's Runners World the other day and the above question made me smile.

Have you ever given thought to such a question before? If I asked you right now, who would it be?

Kara Goucher, Usain Bolt, Meb Keflezighi, Geoffrey Mutai, Paula Radcliffe, Marion Jones, Carl Lewis, Scott Jurek, Kilian Jornet, Marco de Gasperi, Anna Frost ...?

We probably spend a lot of time envisaging ourselves running alongside these people, perhaps forgetting what it took/takes for them to get there. Blood and sweat, people. And tears.

The term 'role model' is defined as a person or individual who is looked by others as an example to imitate. We can always hope to emulate their discipline and focus, their commitment, their desire to be the best that they can be and their willingness and dedication to put in the efforts to achieve their dreams.


If you think about it, you really need not look very far for role models in running. In fact, they don't even need to be podium finishers or somebody famous.

Look at that guy I see every morning. He walks his son to school and then runs around the neighbourhood before heading home to prepare for work.
Or that couple.
That lady.
That boy.

I see them on the road all the time when I'm driving to work and I get jealous that they're out there running while I'm rushing off to work. Lucky people!

In actual fact, it is the qualities in them that aspire you to be like them - the dedication, the commitment, the discipline, the anything.

Who is my running role model?

The mother, the career woman, the wife - all three in one. As much as they love their job and family, they love running as well and are often forced to squeeze in their runs before the morning begins, before the night ends or during tuition hours. Any available time they have.

They have to juggle each commitment as much as possible and I feel exhausted just thinking about the boundless energy they need to have. They wake up at 5am before the kids and husband wakes up, before preparing their breakfast and dropping the kids off at school. Time is precious, and they have to manage it well.

Their dedication is amazing. And I guess it's the same level of commitment and focus that one needs to have in achieving one's desires, whatever they may be - to lose weight, to run faster, etc.

Karen Loh, a mother to 2 adorable boys, who is an ultra marathoner with a million friends. :) I aspire to be like her when I grow up - a fit mom!
In the white cap is Madam SH Tan, Yin Yin's running mom. :)

It is the qualities in a runner which shape him/her to be someone's role model.

Do you remember this aunty I told you about in my Mizuno Wave Run report? She doesn't know me but I know of her, no thanks to Jeff for pointing her out ever since we started running in 2009!

Aunty (her name is Madam Lum PY, by the way) runs 10km in an hour. She has been consistently doing so for the past few years. She's just AMAZING in my eyes.

She is my idol and inspiration ever since I started running. All I wanted then was to be as fast as her. (You read the race report above and you'll know how I probably petrified her to bits.)

Whenever I am down and gutted with a shitty race, the husband would gently remind me of Madam Lum's advice.

"Oi! Remember what the aunty said to you?" YB would nudge me.
"She told you to keep running and you will GET THERE somehow, remember?"

I'd nod glumly, still annoyed with my performance.

Someone once said that one day she hoped to be as fast as I, which actually took me by surprise. Never had I imagined someone would aspire to be er, like the runner in me.

Another friend said he picked up running again because of me.

An ex-schoolmate once said that she used to envy us athletes in high school who were always running and representing our fractions/school. She is probably now one of the top marathoners back in Kota Kinabalu, mind you.

She's definitely a much faster runner now than I am.

Hence, it doesn't matter how fast a runner you are, but you are an inspiration and motivation, a role model to someone out there. 

You just don't know it yet.

Whatever your reasons are for running, just keep running

p.s. Madam Lum clocked 59:xx for 10km in Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2012 and 49:57 for 10km in Seremban Half Marathon 2012. [see The Star.]




  1. Madam Lum : oh wow! she is amazing...
    Me : awww shucks. I just like to run. thank you for writing this. it is hard for mothers to train. Nik Raiha another friend of mine is training for her first IronMan. I dont really know how she juggles her time to do long hours of training with her work and children.
    You : you are almost there. your 11 km run is a good timing now. so pretty soon you will get to do a good sub2 run for your 21km. keep trying.

  2. Had to stop running due to knee issues, and other circumstances. Have to switch to some other cardio/less bounce workout soon.

  3. 49:57? She has my utmost respect!

  4. Karen a.k.a. Unknown: Yes, I do know how crazy dedicated Nik Raiha is, and I had her in my thoughts as well (when I wrote this). When you really want it, you must do whatever possible to reach that goal, I think. If it were me, I'd probably die of exhausting after all the training put into it!

    Olivia: ah shucks! But you still managed to inspire someone to start running, so that's a good thing! :)

    Bin / Nick: Apparently that's just the GUN time. the net time is 49:11! Uhm, I don't think I'd be able to do sub-50 for a 10km!!!

    And I should really stop stalking her ... =P

  5. Abuden.. Madam Lum has raised the bar!! Sub-50... Piff, we eat dust. hehe :P