Andy Li Yin Jie is a man of few words, so when we notified the 34-year-old risk manager that he’s an official member of our Sundown Marathon hall of fame, he took it in his stride. As one of 9 Singaporean runners who hasn’t missed a Sundown Marathon since its inception, he’s a modest, outgoing guy who’s comfortable in his own skin.
When it comes to exercise, it’s hard to name an athletic pursuit he doesn’t enjoy, which is why table tennis, basketball, hiking and cycling are on his favourites list. In fact, anything that gets him outdoors to enjoy the bounty of nature makes him happy.
Did we mention that his passion for running tops his list? As number eight on our Sundown Marathon list, we welcome Andy to this elite group.
RS: How long have you been running and taking part in running events?
Andy: I’ve been running for the past 15 years and it’s been an awesome journey, especially running in all of the previous Sundown Marathons!
RS: Why do you like to run?
Andy: Because it helps me to de-stress, maintain a positive outlook on life, instils discipline, and most importantly, running keeps me fit.
RS: With whom do you usually run Sundown Marathon?
Andy: I usually ask my running friends to accompany me, but because so many of them have work and family commitments, my recruitment efforts don’t always pay off, so I don’t have any fixed Sundown running buddies.
RS: Which category do you usually join when registering for the Sundown Marathon and why?
Andy: When I first started running, 10km races were my preferred distance, including my first Sundown Marathon. I slowly progressed to the full 42km and haven’t looked back since. You might say that I became hooked on endurance races once I grew confident that I could complete that distance.
RS: As a Sundown Marathon veteran, what does this event mean to you?
Andy: Ever since my first, Sundown Marathon has been part of my annual activity calendar. This marathon continues to challenge, motivate and encourage me to stay competitive. It’s become a yearly running affair for me—a tradition.
RS: How do you think this iconic marathon has evolved over the years?
Andy: In my opinion, what’s changed most are the running routes. From the first Sundown Marathon held at Changi Beach to the current location at Singapore Flyer, organisers have made sure that running routes to water points are always carefully planned to give runners a better experience, year after year.
RS: What inspires you to join Sundown Marathon every year?
Andy: It’s the opportunity to challenge myself annually — to remind myself that I can complete a full marathon. I believe also that running a marathon is like a journey; it’s not really not about how you start the race, but how you finish it. Because I have this outlook, I’ve developed and maintained a resilient outlook on life in general.
RS: What gear is included on your “must have” list when you run?
Andy: Music! I must have my running earphones. You might say that they keep me company during my runs.
RS: What are some of your running achievements/proudest moments?
Andy: I would have to start with the first time I ever competed in a marathon because one’s first event is always memorable. Next, I’m proud to continually complete in 42km runs. Each is a running milestone for me. If asked to pick the single proudest moment, I would have to say that every time I cross a finish line I’m proud of myself!
RS: After you finish each Sundown Marathon, what do you do with your medals, bibs and tees?
Andy: I keep all of my running bibs in a nice plastic folder and my finisher medals are neatly arranged around a glass bottle so they’re always on display.
RS: If you were appointed Sundown Marathon race director, what changes would you make for upcoming editions?
Andy: I would alter the route between Tanjong Rhu and the indoor stadium to get rid of the bottlenecks along this part of the route; all of them due to too narrow paths. This causes things to slow down as crowds of runners try to get through this “funnel.” Unfortunately, many runners can lose their momentum as a result.
RS: If a new Sundown Marathon runner asked you for advice, what would you tell him or her?
Andy: It’s really important to pace yourself and never give up. A huge part of competitive running is one’s mental attitude. I would tell a new runner, “if you believe you can do it, you can — so don’t give up.”
RS: What or who inspires you the most in your life?
Andy: My dad. He is a constant source of inspiration because he’s so encouraging. He likes to remind me that the secret to moving forward is to understand that even if I take a step backward, I’ll soon take two steps forward.
RS: What do you want to achieve in the next year?
Andy: I want to complete the Sundown Marathon with a better finish time than I did the year before!
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