2005 National Schools Track and Field 1500m Final: one of the rare times I managed to beat Mok in a footrace

After a good start to training in the first week of summer holidays, having put in runs for six days of the week (with rest on Sunday), it can be easy to turn lazy and ease off the second week. Moreover, after a gym session on Saturday, I was aching a little in my upper body and the area around my quadriceps.

However, I know how important it is to build momentum. The more consistent one is in training, day after day, the easier it can get down the road. For distance runners more than in other disciplines, consistency of training is the key to faster times and a prime example of that is my friend and occasional running partner Mok Ying Ren. 

It is two days since his 14 minutes 51 seconds 5000m national record (to be ratified) run in Japan. And his journey to the 5000m national record has been a long one, which I have been privileged to be part of in parts since 2005.

That year was, for both of us, our first year in junior college and, as competitors from rival junior colleges (he from Raffles JC while I from Anglo-Chinese JC), we came to know each other as acquaintances. But it was not until we graduated from junior college, and I having completed National Service (NS), that we started running together (with another mutual friend Devathas Satianathan) regularly at MacRitchie Reservoir and, later, at other places, chalking up hundreds of kilometres together.

The three of us (with other running partners joining at different periods of time) had many good times running together. I remember it was after a sustained period of weekly Saturday long runs (two rounds through the 10.5km Northern Route of MacRitchie Reservoir) together with each other to spur on that I managed to put up a breakthrough personal best performance of 1 hour 18 minutes 45 seconds for fourth position (local) at the Army Half Marathon in 2009.

While I do not run with Mok much these days, his influence as a peer (definitely not in terms of personal best times) has not stopped. Just as Roger Bannister’s breaking of the four-minute mile inspired others into thinking they themselves can do it, thus sparking a revolution in the mile that saw many others join him in the sub-4:00 mile club, Mok’s national record achievement served as a stimulus as I headed out on my long run today, as a sort of vision to what one can achieve if one keeps the faith and keeps up the consistency in training.

Consistency is about doing and this Monday evening, as I winded down my run at the Keppel Bay Marina with an overcast sky, it was not about the blues but the do’s.

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