How do you change someone’s life for the better if not by giving? Our parents raised us by giving us love and care. Our teacher taught us by giving us knowledge. Our friends give us support. As a runner, we have the ability to change someone else’s life through running and giving.
Every year, Sundown Marathon changes the lives of the less fortunate by gathering the community to give back to the community. The Sundown with Love tradition was started in 2013 and remains an annual tradition until today.
We spoke to two of the ten ambassadors of Sundown with Love, July Rey and Kennedy Yap. Both July and Kennedy are passionate runners whose lives have been changed by running. Both of them are full of inspiration. Both are going to change someone’s life through Sundown with Love outreach campaign.
July Rey is raising funds for Singapore Cancer Society
July Rey is an avid runner in Singapore’s running community. She is a mother to an 11-year-old boy, a member of Pinoy-SG runners and athlete ambassador of Coached. She started running in 2014 to lose weight. Since then, she has learnt the proper training method and taken part in more running events.
For July, raising funds for the Singapore Cancer Society is a great opportunity to share her passion and love for running. Through running, she would like to inspire others to lead more active lives. The number of cancer cases in Singapore is on the rise, however, leading a healthy lifestyle complete with exercise and a balanced diet is one of the best methods of cancer prevention.
RS: How did you pick up running? When was it?
July: Back in 2010, I was overweight at 65kg. I started losing weight purely on diet for 4 years as I hated sweating. In the early 2014, I engaged myself in dancing and home workouts. Then, I started running leisurely at the park as my main inspiration back then was to lose more weight and be fit.
In June 2014, I joined Fun Run 16km, followed by another Fun Run 21km, which is my first ever half marathon. I became motivated and continued to join races. In that same year, I did my very first 42km – SCMS2014 – and completed it in 6 hours and 45 minutes.
From then, I joined more running events, started learning how to do proper training and got serious about running ever since.
RS: How did you become overweight at 65kg? How long did you take to return to your ideal weight?
July: Owww, I love food. I love to eat. I’m not a picky eater, so you can imagine. I can gain weight in a blink of an eye. I think it’s 5 years. 4 years of exclusive diet, followed by a year that I engaged myself in physical activities. That’s the time I return to my ideal weight of 44kg, since the year 2015 up to now.
RS: Tell us about your current marathon PB. Where and when did you achieve it? How did you train for it?
July: Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2017 – Australia, 02 July 2017. I do have a comprehensive and personalised training program with Coached. The platform helped me build a training programme based on my schedule and profile, and also carefully paced the training according to the races I wanted to participate in.
RS: How did you feel after getting it?
July: Grateful. Did not expect that, after all the injuries and accident. Mission accomplished. Survived, and finished the marathon in one piece.
RS: You often travel for overseas races. What is your favourite overseas race? Why?
July: Tokyo Marathon. It was all well-organized. The food was fantastic!!!! The weather was really good. Atmosphere and supporters were amazing. There were special events along the route, a variety of groups which boosted our excitement to run, water/isotonic drink stations at every 2km to 3km each side (left and right). Indeed, it was such a great experience.
RS: Besides marathon, are you into ultramarathon or trail running? Why or why not?
July: I would love to that someday, but for now, with limited time and energy, I would stick to road race and improve my timing.
RS: How does your training routine look like?
July: Run 4 to 5 times a week: strength, hill, endurance, speed, and long runs.
RS: Why do you choose to raise fund for Singapore Cancer Society?
July: This is a great occasion to share my passion and love for running, to run for a meaningful reason, to lend a hand to the community and to share my story to inspire everyone.
RS: You’ve participated in Sundown Marathon before. Tell us about your Sundown experience. What did you like most from Sundown Marathon?
July: Running at night is very challenging yet joyful and peaceful. That’s what I like from running Sundown. It's also cooling at night. The support from organizers and pacers is great.
RS: What is on your running bucket list?
July: Wooaahhh... quite a lot! All overseas run... There are too many to mention. You’ll see me running everywhere. Surprise, surprise!
Kennedy Yap is raising funds for Alzheimer’s Disease Association
Kennedy Yap is a student who’s graduating this year from Singapore Polytechnic with a Diploma in Nutrition, Health and Wellness. He enjoyed his time there as he learnt much from the course and the friends that he has made are nothing short of amazing. He aspires to be a physiotherapist and has a special place in his heart for the elderly.
He enjoys sports a lot. In Puma Night Run 2017, Kennedy was the first Singaporean (fourth overall) to cross the finish with a time of 00:45:49 for the 12km category. Although he’s not good at any ball games, he likes to play basketball and badminton. He also enjoys hanging out with friends, playing sports together or watching a movie. In his own personal time, he likes to sleep as much as he can!
RS: When and how did you get into running?
Kennedy: I got into running when I was in Secondary 1. I actually wanted to join basketball as my CCA, but I was not chosen to join the CCA. So, I went to try for athletics and I started my running journey as a sprinter. After a few months, my coach asked me to try long distance competitions like 5km and I did better than he expected. From then on, I was converted into a long distance runner.
RS: How does your training routine look like?
Kennedy: There will be at least 3 training sessions a week. 2 interval trainings and 1 long run. And if time permits, I will squeeze in additional days of long runs to increase my mileage.
RS: How do you balance school, training and social life?
Kennedy: For me, if I am studying, I will focus my energy on studying. If it’s time to train, then my mind will be more focused on training. As for my social life, I have many friends outside of my own school track team who run so sometimes we spend time together running. It’s possible to manage our time to cater to the things we want to do.
RS: Tell us about your aspiration to be a physiotherapist. What inspired or motivated you?
Kennedy: The first time I heard of the term physiotherapy when I was little, I was unsure of what it is and how it will affect the decisions I make in the years to come. Now, physiotherapy is a course that I want to pursue after many experiences with physiotherapists.
I was not born in a family with stable income. For many months of my teenage years, I survived with little or no allowances. This has caused me to look for something I want to do at a young age. The obvious choices were to study medicine to become a doctor or study law to become a lawyer because of the high salary. However, I know that I am not interested in these jobs and then I set my eyes on physiotherapy.
My interest to become a physiotherapist are from the experiences I had when I went to the physiotherapy clinics with my family. My dad had a spine surgery and he needed to go to the physiotherapist for rehabilitation. That was the first time I entered the clinic.
Being an athlete, looking at all equipment in the clinic made me excited for 2 reasons. I prefer not to be deskbound. A physiotherapist has deskbound duties but being able to move around to help patients in the clinic motivates me to work there. Next, being able to talk to patients and improve their lives also motivated me to try for physiotherapy. This interest in physiotherapy was further amplified when my grandmother had to visit the physiotherapist due to hip fracture.
I had a second-degree hamstring strain while I was training. That was when I experienced first-hand what a physiotherapist does. The therapist was friendly and gave me advice on what I can do at home to recover quicker. He brought me to the clinic gym where he prescribed exercises. He explained in detail how each exercise can help me to get better. I learnt a lot from him and he confirmed my choice to pursue the education in physiotherapy.
RS: Have you joined Sundown Marathon in the past?
Kennedy: No, I have not taken part in any Sundown Marathon and this will be the first year I am taking part in it.
RS: What’s the distance you’ll run at this year’s Sundown? How’s your preparation? Is there any target timing?
Kennedy: I will be running the half-marathon at Sundown and preparation has been good so far, with longer distance intervals and more long runs. I do have a target timing to hit which is below 1 hour 30 minutes.
RS: Why do you choose to raise fund for Alzheimer’s Disease Association?
Kennedy: I chose to raise fund for ADA because there is a significant number of the people in Singapore, especially among the elderly that has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Even though Alzheimer’s disease has no cure currently, I believe we should work towards reducing the rate at which Alzheimer’s disease worsens in people.
It saddens me to see people who we are close with me slowly deteriorate into someone who we do not know anymore due to the changes in their behaviour or personality. My grandmother has Alzheimer’s disease and all we could do was to constantly remind her who we are until she totally recognises no one anymore. I hope in the years to come, there may be a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
RS: What message will you tell runners who want to improve their timing?
Kennedy: For long distance running, the long runs are essential to improve our endurance. Cover enough weekly mileage, make sure every workout done is a good workout. I don’t have many tips and tricks, but I will say hard work for the months prior to the race will definitely help improve the timings. We might be enticed to sleep in on certain days we have training but we have to fight those urge and get running! Finishing each training session is a step towards a faster run!
RS: What is on your running bucket list?
Kennedy: Personally, I would like to try a marathon in the future. I am not fully committed to do long runs that are very long so running a marathon will be a goal I want to achieve down the road when I get older. Other than that, my goal of running is to keep fit.
Has running changed your life? Would you change someone else's life through running?
Registration for the OSIM Sundown Marathon 2018 is still open till 14 April. Here's your last chance to sign up at Spacebib!