Interviews

They are running for Malaysia this year. Are you too?

by On Aug 8, 2020

As Malaysians, how are you celebrating Hari Merdeka?

Run For Malaysia Ambassadors: You are more than you think you are

In life, there are always twists and turns to meet your final destination. But, if you do believe in yourself, your hard work and determination will pay off in the end. The same goes for running as well. During your journey, you will gradually build your mental toughness to prepare what is ahead of you.

Today, we are pleased to introduce the Run For Malaysia online challenge ambassadors, as their resilience and effort show that no matter where life takes them, they are ready to conquer it all with courage and positivity.

Without further ado, let's take a look at their inspiring stories.

1. Ahmad Sayuti Bin Abu Khuzafah

Bio: 27-years-old, Technical Engineer (Manufacturing)

Run For Malaysia Ambassadors: You are more than you think you are
Run For Malaysia Ambassador: Ahmad Sayuti Bin Abu Khuzafah

Ahmad started focusing on road running in March 2016. Previously, he mainly focused on track and field events, specifically on sprinting events (100m, 200m and 400m) and represented Malacca and UTeM in 2013-2016 in various local track and field events around Malaysia.

In 2016, he decided to switch to long-distance running events since he realised it's hard to train under a coach that will help to monitor and provide training programs if he started my full-time career. In long-distance running events, he can train anywhere and anytime, and there are so many open road running events in Malaysia that he can join.

Until now, besides enjoying running as his passion, he also considers himself a serious runner to improve and maintain his performance from time to time. 

RS: How will you celebrate Merdeka Day this year? What wish do you want to have in Malaysia?

Ahmad: I will celebrate Merdeka Day like previous celebrations, except obeying the new SOP by the government due to COVID-19.  I will hang flags at my house and put another flag on my car as usual.

I wish Malaysia would remain in harmony, and the relationship among races and religions in this country will keep stronger from time to time. I wish more Malaysians would start to exercise and have a healthy lifestyle since Malaysia is one of the top countries with an obesity issue.

RS: How has running changed for you?

Ahmad: Running has changed me to always keep believing in yourself. For example, during my time as a sprinter at my university, I had no chance to grab any medal in local university track and field competitions, even though  I tried very hard.

But after switching to long-distance events, I finally successfully grabbed not only one but two medals during my last year representing my university. I got both medals in the 5000m & 10000m events. This shows that giving up is not the best option and that you must keep believing in yourself.

Running always teaches me to spend time wisely. As a father and full-time worker, I have to separate my time with my family, full-time career & running. So I must have a productive training time to maintain my fitness and physical strength.

RS: How do you keep yourself positive?

Ahmad: I keep myself positive by spending time with my family, enjoying running and surrounding myself with positive people. I also love to listen to motivational videos and always do self-talk to boost my positive mindset, especially during my training and race day.

You can follow Ahmad on Instagram: @say_uti

2. Tan Pei Leng

Bio: 52-years-old, Stock Broker of an Investment Bank

Run For Malaysia Ambassadors: You are more than you think you are
Run For Malaysia Ambassador: Tan Pei Leng

Running has always been in her blood. As a state (representing Selangor for 6 years in Track and fields) runner while she was a kid, Pei Leng took a break to further her studies in America and came home a banker and later a Stockbroker with an Investment Bank.

Meanwhile, she was occupied in building up her family and a demanding career. Only 10 years ago in 2010, she picked up road racing, and her passion for running has remained as long as her pre-teens, always competitive. She has never looked back since then.

It is important for her to constantly work hard to inspire her son to pick up sports. Now her son is a triathlete, and they both train together very often. She doesn't consider herself a marathoner, as she has never completed any full marathon race. She is an avid runner, and 10km is her forte.

RS: How will you celebrate Merdeka Day this year? What wish do you want to have in Malaysia?

Pei Leng: The Merdeka day falls on Monday, another long weekend. I will choose to stay home safe instead, perhaps doing a long run in the morning followed by some baking in the kitchen after. I believe maintaining a good workout with a healthier diet goes hand in hand.

Well, perhaps it is predestined that the Recovery Movement Control Orders end on August 31, and we will all once again be fighting for our freedom. For that matter, let's wish that we set the seal that August 31, 2020 goes down in history as the day we achieved "MERDEKA" from COVID-19. I'm convinced that we're going to win the war.

RS: How has running changed for you?

Pei Leng: Running gives me the breath and feeling of life. I run because it's the feeling of normalcy I crave more than ever. No matter how fast or how far I run, I will always love the time I spend sweating the stresses of life away and doing what I love most.

It is never easy to juggle between being a single mom, a career woman while taking care of my grown-up child with comprehensive training in sports at the same time. 

Running encourages self-awareness and self-confidence. I run competitively; therefore, I train for every single race that I sign up for and readjust my race execution, so I finish my race stronger and up at the podium. That is satisfaction that money can't buy. 

Through running, I have developed a mentality of toughness. So to say: Tough times never last, but tough people do. I'm able to fight when hardest hit, never quit when things seem worse. 

To sum up the above, I've lived the best version of myself. The more I run, the more I love my body. Not because it is perfect, far from it, but it proves to me that I'm capable of more than I ever thought possible.

RS: How do you keep yourself positive?

Pei Leng: "Don't let age change you, change the way you age." - You may use age as your excuse, or you can just leave, sit back and focus on being the best you. I'm not saying to deny my age, just assuming that if I can choose a different mindset and continue to be successful in this age, why not?

The biggest source of motivation is within your own thoughts, think BIG and "Dare to Dream" and impel yourself to be the best you. A dream does not become a reality through magic; it requires devotion, effort, determination, hard work, discipline, patience and consistency. 

You can follow Pei Leng on Instagram: @tanpeileng

3. Reza Rebuan

Bio: 37-years-old, Real Estate

Run For Malaysia Ambassadors: You are more than you think you are
Run For Malaysia Ambassador: Reza Rebuan

Sponsored by Coros Malaysia, High 5 Sports Nutrition Malaysia and a Pacer for Asics Running Club Malaysia. Experienced coach and athlete under The Running Plan from 2018-2019. 

Reza has been running for 7 years and experienced 5km till 50km running distance. He has been in competitive running since 2014 till now. Now he trains full-time and also coaches runners who are keen to race in the new future. 

RS: How will you celebrate Medeka Day this year? What wish do you want to have in Malaysia?

Reza: Usually, I will celebrate by doing my long runs on the morning of the holiday. Also, I wish this year that we would be free from COVID-19. 

RS: How has running changed for you?

Reza: It has changed me a lot by changing my eating habits, a more disciplined lifestyle, better quality sleep time, and knowing what is right for your body.

RS: How do you keep yourself positive?

Reza: By always having positive thoughts at the beginning of the day. Take a step back, pause and take a deep breath. Always make a plan and target your goals.

You can follow Reza on Instagram: @__runfast

4. Thein Kwee Huey

Bio: 32-years-old, Finance Manager

Run For Malaysia Ambassadors: You are more than you think you are
Run For Malaysia Ambassador: Thein Kwee Huey

Kwee Huey started running leisurely in 2011. Then she met a mentor along the way who taught her how to improve her runs and be a better runner. Since then, she has started taking running more seriously. 9 years later, and with all races cancelled due to the pandemic, running is still a big part of her life, and she doesn't see that changing anytime soon.

RS: How will you celebrate Merdeka Day this year? What wish do you want to have in Malaysia?

Kwee Huey: What wish do you want to have in Malaysia? Staying active is a big part of my lifestyle; therefore, I'll most likely be out running or cycling this Merdeka. With COVID-19 cases on the rise again, I wish that all Malaysian continue to practice good hygiene, maintain social distancing and stay safe.

RS: How has running changed you?

Kwee Huey: Running has changed me in more ways than I could imagine. Mentally, it has shaped me to be more resistant to stress. Physically, I definitely feel that I'm much fitter than when I first started. By trying to improve my runs, I've learned about nutrition as 'you are what you eat,' set realistic goals, find my limits and support system, which expanded my circle of friends.

RS: How do you keep yourself positive?

Kwee Huey: I follow a simple '5 by 5' rule. If it won't matter in 5 years, don't spend more than 5 minutes worrying about it.

You can follow Kwee Huey on Instagram: @kweehuey

5. Elle Chang

Bio: 29-years-old, Video Commercial Producer

Run For Malaysia Ambassadors: You are more than you think you are
Run For Malaysia Ambassador: Elle Chang

Once, Elle admired an introvert guy in her uni days and found out that he loves running. In order to create conversation with him, she tried running and joined an event. They started to get closer because of running, and that’s when Elle fell in love with running.

RS: How will you celebrate Merdeka Day this year? What wish do you want to have in Malaysia?

Elle: 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us due to the COVID-19 crisis, especially on the socio-economy side. 2020 has created a new normal for us. We are now getting used to connecting with each other virtually, even doing a workout, such as virtual cycling and running platform like Zwift. It has been there since 2014 but has bloomed during the lockdown.

I have not been running and cycling on the road since the lockdown until recently, so I'm actually planning for a cycling trip, either to Penang or Pahang with a few buddies to enjoy the beauty of Malaysia's scenery, and, at the same time, to support local tourism (with SOP of course).

I'm glad that people are now conscious of their health issues, and most of the Rakyat is great at playing their part in controlling the spread of COVID-19. It will be a long journey until a vaccine is found, so we all should come together and continue to work hard to defeat this pandemic disease.

I wish that not only Malaysia but the whole world will be restored to their own tracks as soon as possible. 

RS: How has running changed for you? 

Elle: I'm a triathlete myself, and running is the first sport I ever committed to seriously. I have this love-hate relationship with running. I hate it because I love it so much till I've overtrained myself (too much too soon we call it), and I’ve been injured here and there, which stops me from running.

I love it because it trains my mind a lot. It trains me to be a more focused, disciplined and resilient person. I believe in "Nothing but a strong foundation and consistent training before you can hit a milestone."milestone."

Shortcut? Often resulted in injury. This is how running taught me to love myself and take care of my body even more because you can't achieve anything without a healthy, injury free body. And, of course, running got me a bunch of awesome friends who I value the most in my life. 

RS: How do you keep yourself positive? 

Elle: Running releases endorphins that make you feel good! If you feel upset, then go for a run. When the world has a crisis, go for a run. Although our lives could have been upturned, especially this year, I believe that in every crisis, there's an opportunity. Sometimes, you'll need a breakdown in order to break through.

Stay calm and think out of the box. What possibility could you create? Life should also be accompanied by a sense of ritual. If you have completed something, celebrate! I often reward myself when I have achieved something; it could be as simple as completing a 5k run or a group ride and reward myself with my favourite drinks, pats on my own shoulder, and say, "Good job, Elle,".

Nowadays, I often read books p/s "Power of Now" is a good book and listen to some inspirational speaker podcasts to open up my perspective to look at things. I want to tell you that it's completely fine to feel upset! We are not perfect. We do not need to stay positive all the time. But you'll need to set an "expiry date" for those bad emotions.

After that, reset your mind and focus on how you make a comeback. You need to believe in yourself, you're much stronger than you think.

You can follow Elle on Instagram: @ellechangpy

So, what are you waiting for? Let's celebrate this year Malaysia's 63rd National day by joining the official Run For Malaysia Online Challenge 2020 at Spacebib now.

In these stressful and uncertain times, getting updated with accurate and useful information has never been so critical. No matter how unsettled the future feels, RunSociety will remain with you, delivering high quality news for free so we can all make critical decisions about our lives and health. Together we can overcome.

What we can do to help the situation is to keep our body and immune system in peak condition. If you are allowed or able to run outdoors, please do so cautiously but not panicky. Join our free online race to motivate you and pay tribute to our frontline heroes.

Samantha is an editor at RunSociety. A digital expert with a focus on the research and development of thought provoking and resourceful content, Samantha love Yoga and incorporate running in her weekly workout whenever she can.

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