Thursday, August 28, 2014

Why I Interview Runner Friends

No one has really asked me why, but I am glad to know that there are plenty of friends out there who enjoy reading my 'runner profile interviews' as much as I enjoy throwing questions at my interviewees.

How did it all begin?
Years ago when I was still living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I was approached by a friend for a runner profile on me. I was so surprised and taken aback as I was fairly new to the running community. Me, a runner profile??

I wasn't sure what to do or how it was done so I read up on all the runner profiles he had on his blog before I felt confident enough to tackle his questions for me. After that, I bragged to my friends and colleagues about being 'interviewed'! :D

(You can read my runner profile here. It probably needs updating!)

Back then, I was still a newbie and excited about running (nothing more than half marathons) and Dutamas Runners, the running group I was with. As I got to meet more runners from various events, I began to realise how inspiring each individual runner can be.

I started with a few friends within the DR group like Andrew, Raymond, Michelle, Melvin, Paul, Wai Loon, Kenny, etc. During a Blog with Brooks competition, I used the same approach with a few friends like Khoo Yit Kiat and Jamie Pang

How does reading runner profiles inspire others?
Everyone worships the elites of of any sport. To name a few  from trail running and running alone, there's Kilian Jornet, Emelie Forsberg, Anna Frost, Mo Farah, Usain Bolt. We read about them, their stories and achievements and we are in awe. We get inspired.

Yet we are also in awe of the people surrounding us - some run faster and better than us, some have sheer determination and will power to get out there to do what the enjoy the most, and not bothered about finishing last, some are born natural runners and some still struggle to improve themselves after years of running.

Everyone has a story to share, and the guy or girl next door can inspire and motivate you without you (or them) realising it. I strongly believe that these friends are equally as inspiring as the elites out there, if not more interesting. :)

Can you really call your 'interviews' runner profiles?
If a runner profile must include statistics like how many races have they won so far, how many races they have done and things like that, then no, I suppose my 'interviews' aren't' real' runner profiles.

I have recently tried to approach different runners from different angles. With Chris Roberts, it was about his live Facebook updates and selfies on the run. With Matt Hosking, it was about his 100 Mile debut and how he kept himself going for 19 hours. 

With Kirsten, it was about completing her first (trail) marathon and her crazy pants collection. With Caroline Bertrand, it was about her shoe collection. 

With Dion and Liberty, it was about losing weight and keeping fit together as a couple. It was a tricky one because I knew it was a very personal story. Not everyone likes to bare their demons to the world at large so to have them agree to sharing it took a lot of courage and for that, I am grateful.

I try to mix things up a bit, as you can tell. Can you tell?? I hope so! A bit of seriousness and a lot of fun, and the interviews should always reflect how down to earth these runners are. This way, I really hope people who have been afraid to take that leap of faith into the world of running will no longer be afraid to join us!

Has anyone turned down an interview before?
Yes. *tiny voice*

Are you going to continue with your charade as a fake journalist?
Haha, why not???

Half of my Facebook friends are runners of all levels, and I'm sure many of them have a story to tell.

Most of my friends whom I have recently interviewed (in Melbourne) are from the Surf Coast Trail Runners group as we usually go running with them. Some days I worry that Dion is going to come after me and say, "Stop stalking the members, Vonsy!! Everyone's afraid to be your friend!"

As much as I want to interview everyone, I have to slow down and space it out. I suspect my non-running friends are wishing I blogged more about everything else except running. :)

If you could, you would interview ...
Madam Lum. When I first started running, my friend Jeff and I noticed her at the Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2009 where she ran a sub-1 hour 10km. At that time, it was still a goal for me to hit a sub-1 hour.

She never failed to finish her 10km events below the hour and I was just floored by how fast she was. One day, I approached her at an event, just to tell her how much of an inspiration she was to me. She was taken aback by this stranger approaching her and gushing on about her, but she eventually relaxed after realising that I was alright, if not a bit ditzy.

(Read my post on Who's Your Running Role Model?)

Whether she would oblige me with her story, well, who knows!

Runner Profiles From Dutamas Runners:
Melvin Lim, Raymond Ng, Yloon Wong, Paul Dimaandal, Teoh Seng Chor, Michelle Looi, Kenny Goh, Andrew Choa, Chin Ann.

Let's not forget The Porklings' Lynn and Bin! We attempted to dress up as green pigs from Angry Birds! :D

Runner Profiles For Blog With Brooks Competition:
Khoo Yit Kiat, Jamie Pang, Steph Chin, Ooi Wei Min.

Runner Profiles From Surf Coast Trail Runners:
The Wild Wombat Boys - Tim and Isaac, Gregor Hartnell, Jon Lim, Dion and Liberty Milne, Caroline Bertrand, Kirsten Maplestone, Erin and Tony Vaughan, Chris Roberts, Matt Hosking.


  1. I read your runner's profile when I was a newbie. *fangirl squeak*

    1. ah, really? but mine didn't bring me as much fame and fortune like yours did! :D

  2. Whoa, you mix around with the elites. I'm going to find new friends blogs to stalk.

    1. you're an elite, too, oh ultra runner! bwahahaha

  3. Wah, long time haven't visited. Looks like much has changed. You don't live in Malaysia anymore?

    1. hey doc! :)
      i've been here since last July, getting used to the unpredictable Melbourne weather!

      things have certainly changed!! i'm so happy to know that you're a proud daddy!!! Fatherhood must be amazing. :)