While most runners have added this year’s Sundown Marathon Singapore to their list of accomplished races for various reasons, one woman not only completed the race for personal reasons but also to fulfill a promise to someone very special to her.
This year’s Sundown Marathon Singapore held a different meaning for Jess Tan Hui Xin. For Hui Xin, running this marathon was less about improving her run time and more about purging herself of repressed grief, as well as keeping a promise to her soul-mate, C.K. Her quest, her promise to herself, to beat back grief, apprehension, and doubt and to triumph over pain, exhaustion, and dehydration to complete this year’s run was shrouded in pain, loss, and regret.
The story of Hui Xin and C.K and their connection to the Sundown Marathon is one of loss, triumph, and redemption in that it shows that true love is enduring. We heard of Hui Xin’s love for C.K through the marathon from Hui Xin herself.
Here’s Hui Xin’s story:
As Hui Xin closed in on the last kilometer before the finish line, thoughts of C.K and what he would have said to her for finishing the race replaced the rapid, intense pounding of her heartbeat that had been reverberating throughout her body. She didn’t know if it was her sweat or tears that blurred her vision, but it didn’t matter because she had kept her promise.
The smile that illuminated her face as she looked down at the runner’s bib that displayed C.K’s name on its front was brief. Another wave of tears flooded her eyes, she felt C.K’s spirit meld with her own as she slowed down to pace herself. With each breath she steadily inhaled, she thought of C.K. Had it been 2 months already that he had been gone? The accident seemed like yesterday; the date was ingrained in her soul, 22 April 2014.
As Hui Xin ran on, she thought of all the promises she and C.K had made to each other. Ever since they became a couple, they promised each other that they would always run any marathon together. They promised to never let each other be alone again. This year’s Sundown Marathon is the first marathon they decided to complete together, however, never did she foresee that C.K would not make it. This year, she was on her own and she was determined to make C.K proud by marking the last race they would run together – in spirit.
C.K was a kind, generous man who had participated in many charitable organizations and who would willingly help out anyone in need. As the thought of never seeing his smile again clouded her mind, Hui Xin stumbled. She would never forget the day C.K met with a fateful accident and passed away. As her pace returned to normal, so did her renewed determination to not bow down to sorrow and grief. She knew C.K would expect her to slowly begin the healing process, to chip away at each grief stricken moment as she chipped away at each marathon kilometer. She knew that C.K would encouraged her to move on, to be the cheerful girl that he had fallen in love with.
Hui Xin looked up toward the sky and thought, since running a marathon had been a symbol of hope and strength for C.K – it would now become a symbol of hope and strength for her.
Crossing the finish line, Hui Xin triumphantly held two bibs in her hand, hers and the one C.K would have worn. She knew that this was the only way, the best way to complete her memorial tribute to C.K. Hui Xin knew that words could never truly convey her deepest emotions and thoughts. C.K was gone and no words could bring him back.
Hui Xin felt as if the gulf between them was an eternity, and her healing process seemed just as interminable. However, she had been determined to find a way to cope-to heal-and running this marathon had been good for her. It jump-started the reconnect to what mattered most, living a rewarding life. Running the marathon had tested her perseverance, but her resolve to finish had been fueled by her love for C.K. For the first time in months, Hui Xin felt revitalised.
As Hui Xin peered through the throng of marathon runners and spectators, she knew she wouldn’t see C.K. However, she also knew the sun will rise again for her and the other marathon runners, for they all had different experiences to share.
Life is like running a marathon event, a lifelong journey. You don’t know what is ahead of you, but all you need to know “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; Just never give up!” One quote I came across, Dean Karnazes. It wasn’t easy to apprehend the kind of pain that someone so dearly left without a goodbye. Just on the night before he left me, he told me: Wherever you go, I’ll follow you, for I will never let you be alone. On that very night, he was gone. I am very sure, everybody dearly will have something that is meaningful to the individual. Cling on to that spirit that the person has left, just like C.K has left me with his spirit to stay positive regardless of adversity. It wasn’t easy, but knowing that there are still so many people around worrying and caring for you, you have to persevere and never give up till you reach the crossing line.
Fortunately for me I have a very supportive family and friends around who are always there showing support. Without their encouragement, it would be a more arduous journey for me. I feel depressed whenever I allow myself to wallow in sadness, you really need to have a lot of self determination to push yourself forward just like in a marathon. For those who have just lost someone, there will be quiet moments that you will grieve and cry, but try to divert your attention or keep yourself occupied, by engaging in some meaningful activities like doing volunteer work or picking up a sport like running to sweat it all out. For those who see this post, I hope to bring a message across, we often take good care of our loved ones because we love them, but we must also never forget our greatest gift to our loved ones is to take good care of ourselves in order to be always be there for them. – Hui Xin
After listening to Hui Xin’s story, we felt a kindred spirit in her. Marathon runners are special people. They have the built in grit to contend with life situations that test their resolve and cause their emotional vigor to wane. Running a marathon has the ability to lift someone up from the depths of despondency to the heights of exhilaration. The runner has already won in taking the challenge; all he or she needs to do is cross the finish line in his or her time. Life is like a marathon – it is long and full of winding, unfamiliar roads. However, like a marathon must end so must each inauspicious moment, for at the finish line is a medal waiting for each of us simply for trying.
What’s your marathon story? If you have an inspiring or interesting story you wish to share with runners and non-runners alike, let us know. After all, it’s the camaraderie among runners that makes us unique.