Donning colourful sports gear, hyped and ready running enthusiasts, trainers and race organisers gathered for the launch of the largest Runners Convention in Southeast Asia.
Organised by Train Live Compete, the inaugural event brought together local and international experts to conduct informative talks and excellence training workshops to more than 300 participants on 7 and 8 February 2015.
Receiving bright red drawstring goody bags worth more than S$50, including a Newton Round Neck Tee, participants also stood the chance to win lucky draw prizes. To runners' delight, the Runners Convention also featured a number of booths with exclusive offers up for grabs. Held at Suntec Convention Centre Level 3, there were race organisers and major sports brands, including official sponsors Newton, TomTom GPS Sport Watches and Vibram amongst others.
Drumming Up Motivation
"Racing has the power to evoke a kaleidoscopic medley of emotions, and we experience all extremes within a race: passion, beauty, heartache, pain, fears and joy. And this is part of the appeal of racing—it reminds us of our fragility, our vulnerability, and yet we learn how to feel our strength and power as well."
Each morning began with 5-time North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) winner Lizzy Hawker's inspirational experiences in conquering challenging mountain races. Heads around the room shook in awe as the endurance athlete described the distances she has covered, including the new world record she set finishing the 319km Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu mail run in 63h 8min.
Inspiring videos of international races and ultra-marathons with breathtaking views were screened. Sharing the mantra that kept her going for her first mountain UTMB race, Hawker said,
"As Lewis Caroll wrote in Alice in Wonderland: 'Begin at the beginning,' the king said, 'And come to the end and then stop.' So that literally was my goal for the race—simply to go as far as I could until they told me to stop, and then stop. I just didn't know if it was some point along the way or if I'd make it to the finish line."
A down-to-earth and charismatic speaker, she gets real with the struggles before and during races, shares her aspirations for female runners and gives honest, straightforward advice. When asked how she deals with the physical stress of long-distance running, her modest reply was, "I just run a lot."
“The race is the smallest part of the story, and it's actually the journey to get to the start line that is important. It's the everyday—the day in, day out.”
Educating the Running Community
Expressing similar sentiments was winner of the IAU Trail World Championships and Team Great Britain representative, Ricky Lightfoot, who also shared his valuable experiences before and during races and ultra-run. Caring for his infant daughter must be taxing, but this go-getter manages to train and set a new course record for the 50km Xtreme Dodo Trail in 2014!
The step-by-step progress of his achievements and how he overcame injuries sustained were humbling as they were motivating. Attendees keenly listened as he revealed his timetable tips to juggle training, work, family and other commitments. Of the many tips he shared, Lightfoot suggests making time to see a physiotherapist now and then to prevent injuries—something which not many regular runners do!
Orthopaedic Specialists, Dr Michael Soon Yee Hoong of Mount Elizabeth Hospital and Dr Lim Mui Hoong of Tan Tock Seng Hospital, gave professional insight on joint preservation to reduce running-related injuries. Participants also benefitted from the informative talk by Samantha Fanshawe, President of the 4 Deserts Race Series, on selecting the right equipment, nutrition and hydration, race strategy and common mistakes made. To round off the morning session, a panel discussion of expert speakers was hosted, allowing avid runners to reap the latest running tips and pose their burning questions.
Rubbing Shoulders with the Pros
Together with Hawker and Lightfoot, Italian FIDAL Track and Field Federation instructor Corrado Giambalvo and 4-time World Champion Triathlete Chris McCormack led close-up Q&A sessions and practical trainings. In focus groups of 5 to 10 ardent runners, Hawker demonstrated how to run downhill effectively while Lightfoot led others on a hills repeat run training.
Meanwhile, back at the Convention Centre, Parisian Dr Matthieu Maugueret, Doctor of Chiropractic and Medical Postgraduate in Posturology, taught participants the correct way to use sports tapes and the right running posture to prevent injuries. While one of Singapore's top trainers Abrahim Nikhil coached on acceleration and deceleration, US Sports Science expert Derrick Price directed a session on strength and conditioning—vital for endurance runners to be more efficient and last longer in their sport.
Demonstrating other ways to develop a well-balanced training programme, Price also got participants pumped up as they explored various High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T) based exercises designed specifically for long-distance runners. Certified Pilates and Somatics Trainer and owner of Studio 39 Lah, Hsung Yew Har, too turned up to teach participants a technique from Hanna Somatics to release muscle contraction.
Running in the Right Direction
We hear that participants raved about the Runners Convention, especially about the sessions with international runners and coaches. What do you think of the runner's convention? Are you boggled by all the useful tips and workshops? Are you looking forward to the next one as we are yet?