Interviews

How has running changed your life?

by On Jan 11, 2021

Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change. - Jim Rohn

How has running changed your life?

Running is a sport that greatly impacts everyone's life. It changes from healthy lifestyle to setting ultimate goals or hitting personal achievement. Running brings you the highs and lows every step of the way. It gives you the excitement that you crave for each time you come back for your runs.

Not just that, but running can transform your brain into a better version of its past self; it boosts the overall function and prevents symptoms of depression or anxiety from entering your life. Most importantly, it makes you become stronger and push yourself even harder than you knew you could.

We are pleased to talk to some passionate runners who share with us how running gives a positive impact in their life, and running might impact you as well.

1. Siti Masitoh

Bio: Indonesia, 39 year-old, AML Officer

How has running changed your life?
Siti Masitoh

Masitoh started running back in May 2014. At that time, she struggled with overweight and often has insomnia. Her colleague invited her to go for a run after office activities, which is an office running club. 

After 5 months, she can sleep regularly, achieve her ideal weight and has more self-confidence. So, she changed her habits from sleepless nights to regularly running in the morning 4 times a week. Mostly, she ran alone on weekdays, and ran with friends on the weekend.

RS: How long have you been running, and what made you decide to start running?

Siti Masitoh: I have been running for 6 years now, I decided to start running to change my bad habit of sleeping late, overweight and boost my self-confidence.

RS: What changes does running do to you mentally and physically?

Siti Masitoh: Running changes me mentally, from a stressful and lack of confidence person to a positive minded and self-confident person. I also manage my plan and set my target to reach my goals. Running also changes me physically; it leads me to a healthy lifestyle.

How has running changed your life?
Siti Masitoh

RS: Which races are your most memorable race/running experience?

Siti Masitoh: Trail running race of Mount Guntur (2.249mdpl) in 2017. It was my first ever DNF (Did Not Finish). It was lack of preparation for that race; at that time, I always skipped my training. It was so memorable because, after that, I learnt that proper training and preparation is a must! 

Plan the race well, don't rush, don't push yourself beyond your capability, and never skip your training. So now, I always plan the race well and am consistent in training, and I am thankful that I got my personal best in the following 2 years for 10K, HM and FM).

RS: What are your short- or long-term running goals?

Siti Masitoh: My short-term running goal is to build my endurance within the lower heart rate zone because low heart zone training is safer for your heart and body.

My long-term running goal is to join a Charity ultra-running (non-competition) in January 2021 because I want to make my hobby useful to others by helping the needy. Also, I would like to challenge the trail running in Mount Rinjani in June 2021 to overcome my DNF in Mount Guntur.

RS: What does running mean to you in your life?

Siti Masitoh: Running has been part of my life in every season of mine. Through the ups and downs, through the happiness and the laughter, I learned that I could reach the finish line.

Also, I learned how to stop, focus and not forget to put a goal and achieve it. It’s been a privilege to help and cheer for others and achieving my goals at the same time. 

You can follow Siti Masitoh on Instagram: @adityafarras

2. Hansen

Bio: Indonesia, 27 year-old, Private Employee

How has running changed your life?
Hansen

Hansen started to run on July 2010. At that time, running events was not as hype as now. He saw a 5k race on the Internet and registered, simply just to try another sport. 

After running for about 3 years, he got stuck and gradually did not have any progress in his running. So, he tried to find other athletic clubs to join. Hansen knows what an interval, tempo, long run is, etc. After making changes to his training plan, his performance got better. 

Now, he runs mostly in the morning, before he goes to work. Normally, he goes for speed sessions twice a week together with his running mates, and some of the days are easy runs.

RS: How long have you been running, and what made you decide to start running?

Hansen: I've been running since 2010. At that time, I was so young, and I was wondering if I could be an athlete someday. But now, I run more to develop my "self-discipline" and, of course, to maintain good health and ideal shape as a bonus.

RS: What changes does running do to you mentally and physically?

Hansen: Mentally, running (especially full marathon distance) would teach you how to endure "hardship" (pain, boredom, etc.), train you to keep on track with your plan(s) and teach you to accept your failure. You will also learn from it and forgive yourself when you have a bad race day or training, etc. 

Physically wise, running gives you better immunity and better circadian rhythm. I had severe nasal congestion before, but after I run regularly, it's gone.

How has running changed your life?
Hansen

RS: Which races are your most memorable race/running experience?

Hansen: Seoul Marathon, 2019. That's my second marathon, and I could run without stopping and without "hitting the wall" at that time. Besides that, I also got my PB for about 29 minutes faster.

RS: What are your short or long term running goals?

Hansen: Short-term: I would try to reach sub 3 in 2021. I want to challenge myself, so I can keep motivated by doing my training. Long-term: I love mountains! Maybe I might join the UTMB?

RS: What does running mean to you in your life?

Hansen: Self-understanding, determination and togetherness. Even running is mostly an individual sport, but I feel more motivated and happy when we run together. It's like your body produces more endorphin when you run with your friends!

You can follow Hansen on Instagram: @hansenaveiro

3. Joanne Chew

Bio: Singaporean, 48 year-old, Homemaker

How has running changed your life?
Joanne Chew

Joanne has been a leisure runner since age 23 after she graduated from university. After experiencing the joy of running in cold weather at Nagoya Women's Marathon, she decided to dream big and pursue her supposedly impossible dream. 

She sought a friend's help and started training in June 2018 at the age of 46 to qualify for the Boston Marathon. By His grace, after 6 months of training, she managed to BQ at Osaka Marathon in Dec 2018.

RS: How long have you been running, and what made you decide to start running?

Joanne: I have been running for 25 years. I started running when I was teaching at a secondary school and was the teacher in-charge of the Rock-climbing Club. A few teachers and I planned several overseas expeditions for our students every year during the 5 years I was teaching. We had to be physically fit to bring our students for expeditions and to take care of them. 

So the teachers and I started to run together after school. I am not a PE teacher, and I learnt about running and training methods from the PE teachers at my school. After that, we started to run and train with our students to prepare them for overseas expeditions to Mount Ophir, Mount Kinabalu, Chiangmai and Nepal. 

I have also climbed Mount Kenya, Mount Kilimanjaro and Annapurna Base Camp with some teachers. I continue to run leisurely after I gave birth to my eldest boy and resigned from teaching.

RS: What changes does running do to you mentally and physically?

Joanne: Running has made me more resilient. I was very fat each time I was pregnant and gained between 16-20kg. So I ran to lose weight. I needed more time to slim down, run more often and a longer distance after each childbirth.

Doing it three times was tough, but I never gave up and persevered till I reached my goal. Running has also made me fitter and have the energy to look after my three active and sporty boys.

It is a very good de-stressing method for me as staying at home to take care of the boys for the whole day can be very stressful, and they sometimes drive me up the wall. After every run, I will feel refreshed, recharged and stronger. 

How has running changed your life?
Joanne Chew

RS: Which races are your most memorable race/running experience?

Joanne: Osaka Marathon 2018 was the second ‘runcation’ for my family. It was kind of hectic, as I had to plan the itinerary and activities for the whole family, and I had the mission to BQ. I was extremely nervous because of the marathon, and I couldn't really enjoy the trip until the race was over! 

The weather was good that day, not too cold for me, and the marathon was well-organised. The loud cheers and support from the enthusiastic Japanese spectators really pushed me on from start to the end. I was over the moon, knowing I had BQ, and I could finally eat and drink to my heart's content after that. It was a memorable and exciting marathon for me.

The Berlin Marathon 2019 was my first Abbott World Marathon Major. I trained hard again for this marathon because I wanted to BQ again in case my Osaka timing was not good enough to get accepted to run Boston. The night before the marathon, I received an email from BAA that I got accepted to run the Boston Marathon 2020! 

I was very relieved and had no pressure to BQ. However, it started to rain when it was my turn to run, and I had already thrown away my raincoat! It actually rained from the start to the end of my run. It was so freezing cold till I couldn't feel my limbs. I had no idea how I moved my legs, but I somehow managed it and even achieved a better time than the Osaka Marathon. 

Thank God, I didn't feel sick after that and had an enjoyable time in Berlin. It was an unforgettable experience running in cold, rainy weather, but I wouldn't want to do this again!

RS: What are your running goals?

Joanne: COVID 19 has disrupted all my running goals for this year and next year. I was supposed to run the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon this year. Due to this pandemic, all marathons are cancelled. I have to reapply for Boston again, and now, I am not sure when I can run there. 

As for the New York Marathon, I will be running between 2021- 2023, depending on the allocation given by the organizers. My current short-term goal is to run the Boston Virtual Marathon between 7-14 September. And for the rest of the year, I will just enjoy running with my friends, stay safe and maintain fitness for future marathons.

My long-term goal is to complete all 6 Abbott World Marathon Majors. I have only run the Berlin Marathon and still have 5 more to go. I do not know how long I will take to do this because of COVID 19, but I am sure I will get there one day. 

So far, I have only run 6 full marathons, 2 in Singapore and 4 overseas. I would want to run other interesting marathons around the world.

RS: What does running mean to you in your life?

Joanne: Running is a long learning journey for me. I am learning more about running from the internet, social media, books and other runners. From them, I get to know different ways to warm up, stretching techniques, types of shoes, running gear, training plans, nutrition, running form, recovery, etc. 

There is so much to learn, and I have only just started. Running is also my happy pill and antidote, as I always feel energised and happy after every run. And there is a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction after every hard run. 

You can follow Joanne on Instagram: @joannelovesrunning

4. Lim Ka Way

Bio: Malaysian, 26 year-old, Company Secretarial Executive 

How has running changed your life?
Lim Ka Way

Ka Way likes outdoor sports, such as running, hiking, camping, trail running and cycling. However, running is his main sport. He is one of the Brooks Malaysia ambassadors. Not only that, but he is also one of the founders and pacers for the Brooks Running Squad.

RS: How long have you been running and what made you decide to start running?

Ka Way: I joined a few short distance running races when I was in college. However, I’ve been serious about running since July 2017. I started running due to my work stress and anxiety. One day, I accidentally saw a running club had posted their night run training event on social media. 

Therefore, I joined them after work. I realised running is a good way to reduce my stress. Subsequently, I want to challenge myself, so I registered a lot of races from half marathon distance to ultra-marathon distance. I have a strong sense of achievement after I completed the races. Meanwhile, my social circle also expanded through running.

RS: What changes does running do to you mentally and physically?

Ka Way: Running helps to reduce my stress and anxiety. It also helps me to be a happier and healthier person. 

How has running changed your life?
Lim Ka Way

RS: Which races are your most memorable race/running experience?

Ka Way: The Titi Ultra 2018 50km is my most memorable race. It is because I registered for this race within 3 months when I started my run journey. I don’t think there are many people “crazy” like me. I got top 13 in the gender ranking in this race. 

However, I had a bad injury to my foot after joining this race – plantar fasciitis, a common injury for runners. Thereafter, I stopped running for about half a year to heal my injury.

RS: What are your short or long term running goals?

Ka Way: My short-term running goals are to enhance my running performance and join the 100km ultra-marathon race. My long-term running goals are to continue running without getting injured and also motivate more people to join running.

RS: What does running mean to you in your life?

Ka Way: Running is similar to our life. As we know, running is full of challenges, mentally and physically. We need to have strong determination and perseverance to overcome those challenges. The same goes for our life. Just keep going with your plan, and one day, you will achieve your target.

You can follow Ka Way on Instagram: @tiramisukelvin_runner

It is never too late to start running. Feel free to share with us your stories on how running has changed your life.

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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.

Location
Singapore
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