Interviews · Singapore

Robson Phan Completes Our OSIM Sundown Marathon 2017 All-Star Ultra Loyal Runners List!

by On Feb 8, 2017

You may not be eligible to join this exclusive club, but when you attend the upcoming 10th Anniversary Sundown Marathon, you can meet all of the runners who haven’t missed a single year of competition!

Robson Phan Completes Our Sundown Marathon 2017 All-Star Ultra Loyal Runners List!

What do Andy Li, Clement Woon, Jacqueline Tan, Loke Kai Hong, Yeo Kim Kiat, Danny Asmara, Dr. Derrick Ang and Elson Wong have in common? They’re all part of an exclusive club of runners who haven’t missed a Sundown Marathon since the race’s inception. But this list wouldn’t be complete without Robson Phan.

RSAF Engineer Phan is 48-years-old. He is married with two grown children and works so many hours, the only way he could sort a respectable running schedule was to commit to night running!

When time allows, he loves golf and cycling, too. This quiet, introspective RSAF member never met an ultra he couldn’t tackle, but when you read about his 2010 Sundown Marathon accomplishment you’ll know why he caps our list of amazing runners.

RS: How long have you been running and taking part in events?

Robson: If memory serves me, I started running in 2003. My intention was to get regular exercise to stay healthy, but as time passed my distances slowly increased. I completed my first half-marathon in mid-2004 and my first full marathon late that year. Since then I’ve run two or three marathons annually.

RS: Why do you like running?

Robson: Running allows my body to sweat and gives me a sense of freedom; a release from all of my troubles!

RS: Do you usually run Sundown Marathon with someone or alone?

Robson: I run Sundown Marathon on my own because my irregular working hours don’t permit me to train with others. I must run whenever I can make the time.

Robson Phan Completes Our Sundown Marathon 2017 All-Star Ultra Loyal Runners List!

RS: Which category do you usually join for Sundown Marathon and why?

Robson: I prefer the ultra-distance because I enjoy long runs. I ran both the marathon and ultra-marathon in 2011 and 2013 because these events were organised on different dates.

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RS: What does Sundown Marathon mean to you?

Robson: It means that I can participate in the first organised night marathon when I run Sundown Marathon each year. It’s quiet, peaceful and nighttime frees my mind. I always feel “reborn” and refreshed when I see the sun rise as the marathon ends. It is such an amazing feeling.

RS: How do you think this iconic marathon has evolved over time?

Robson: Sundown Marathon became more and more popular and attracted more runners with each edition. I tell friends that Singapore is a tropical island without four seasons and that anyone can run anytime as long as there are no thundershowers. I favour running at night when it rains!

RS: Can you tell us which Sundown Marathon was the most memorable and why?

Robson: The 2010 Sundown ultra-marathon (84km) is the most memorable. I finished with my best time of 8h19m18s and came in 5th. Another reason the 2010 was memorable was because I ran with Sundown Marathon boss, Mr. Adrian Mok. During the last 20km, Mr. Teo Ser Luck joined us. What an honour to cross the finish line with Mr. Mok! The year before, I couldn’t keep up with him and dropped off at the 52km mark. When I saw him in 2010 and asked if we could run together he agreed. I will never forget finishing beside him.

RS: What inspires you to join Sundown Marathon every year?

Robson: I like to collect Sundown Marathon medals and I want show my support for this local event and for everyone who competes. I hope March 2017 goes well for me. I want to add that 10th edition Sundown medal to my collection!

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RS: What items do you require to make your runs more pleasurable?

Robson: I wear earphones so I can listen to my favourite music — especially when I run ultras. But I always keep the volume low because it’s important to stay aware of my surroundings. I don't advise people who wear earphones to keep the volume too high for safety reasons.

Robson Phan Completes Our Sundown Marathon 2017 All-Star Ultra Loyal Runners List!

RS: What are your biggest running achievements and proudest moments?

Robson: My proudest achievement was the 2010 Sundown Marathon I mentioned earlier for so many reasons. For the coming Mar, I would love to complete the marathon again so as to share the proud moment with Sundown Marathon 10th Anniversary.

RS: What have you done with your past Sundown Marathon Finisher medals, bibs and tees?

Robson: I’ve kept all of the medals and running singlets representing all nine Sundown Marathons and hope to complete my collection in March.

RS: If you were named Sundown Marathon race director, what change(s) would you make?

Robson: First, I would address the narrow running paths and have runners register according to their past marathon timings. Then I would issue bibs in accordance with timing numbers. I would also recommend grouping runners at the start line so faster runners flag off first followed by slower starters. I believe that this plan would help ease congestion at this event.

RS: What advice would you give a new Sundown Marathon runner if he or she asked for your opinion?

Robson: I would tell a new runner that running at midnight can be deceiving; don't let the cooler weather mislead you into thinking you don’t have to hydrate often. Keep drinking water/isotonic drinks throughout the night.

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RS: What inspires you and what do you hope to achieve in the next year?

Robson: I’m inspired by people who never give up, no matter what life throws in their path. That’s advice I take myself. I intend to continue to run next year and every year thereafter; as long as I am fit to do so.

Why not try to meet all of these Sundown Marathon veterans at the 10th Annual event scheduled for 25th March? Time is running out but if you use our code: SDM2017RGRUNSOCIETY when you register, you will get a 10-percent discount!

Aidan is the Editor-in-chief of RunSociety. As a health improvement hacker and explorer, he oversees RunSociety’s Creativity Channel, spanning a wide range of inspirational and enriching topics daily to the running community. Get in touch with him if you have any fresh ideas!

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