Ultra Loyal Sundown Marathon Runner Special: Dr. Derrick Ang Considers 10 Remarkable Years!
As the 10th anniversary of Singapore’s Sundown Marathon approaches in 2017, we interview 9 runners who participated in every one, beginning with Dr. Derrick Ang!
As a meticulous instructor on electron microscopes, Dr. Derrick Ang’s brain never stops working, and to make sure that brain is properly cared for, he’s a big advocate of running to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
As a Facility for Analysis, Characterisation, Testing and Simulation (FACTS) staff at the Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, this agile scientist has run every Sundown Marathon.
Since he intends to undertake at least 200 full marathons before retiring his running shoes, he encourages everyone he meets to run. That includes successfully converting wife Steffy and daughter Kosen. Not content to rest on his laurels, he has recently taken up electric unicycling for any number of rational reasons!
RS: How long have you been running and taking part in events?
Dr. Derrick: I “re-started” running in 2007 and my first official attempt at distance running is in 2007 Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore, 10km event. Everyone asks, “Why didn’t you run earlier?” Truth is, I hated running since my secondary school days because I suffered migraine attacks afterward. Thankfully, that problem is gone, so I have been taking part in the Sundown and Standard Chartered Marathons, I run the Army Half Marathon occasionally and participate in some fun runs, too.
RS: Do you run the Sundown Marathon alone or with friends?
Dr. Derrick: I usually run alone as I don’t have many friends who like running — especially distance running.
RS: Which Sundown Marathon category do you prefer and why?
Dr. Derrick: I always do the full marathon. It’s an excellent test of my mental and physical strength. Most of my marathons are accomplished thanks to mental rather than physical strength because I have many commitments. Despite the fact that my timing isn’t always the fastest, I hope to encourage fence-sitters by proving that marathons are more mental challenges than physical ones.
RS: What does the Sundown Marathon mean to you? How has this iconic event evolved over the years?
Dr. Derrick: Because the Sundown Marathon is held at night, that alone makes it special. This race also offers runners the challenge of defeating the Z-monster! Over time, the Sundown has grown so popular, the number of participants is tremendous. I also love the fact that the running route was moved from PCN so runners can enjoy a scenic view of our beautiful city at night during the marathon.
RS: What inspires you to run the Sundown Marathon every year?
Dr. Derrick: I hope to be able to celebrate my 100th wedding anniversary with my wife Steffy in 2113 and that’s no typo! Because there are currently only two full marathon events locally, that's why I set a goal of completing at least 200 full or longer distance marathons by 2108. By keeping myself fit for the yearly marathons, I hope to be able to achieve this dream! Age should never be a factor for those who are passionate about running, right!
RS: Which edition of the Sundown Marathon is the most memorable and why?
Dr. Derrick: I don’t have to think long to answer this: it’s the 2010 Sundown because I achieved my target of sub 5.5 hours despite the fact that the day was so frustrating. Many runners did not start their runs on time due to disorganised transport issues at the Changi Exhibition Centre start point, but for me, this proved a blessing in disguise. Due to the late start, the route was quite clear of runners and I had a smooth run to the end. My frustration was reduced to zero when I crossed the finishing line with a personal best.
RS: What gear do you consider essential when you run?
Dr. Derrick: That’s an easy question: My 2006 NDP cap, iPod mini + generic earphones, New Balance GPS watch, waist pouch and I wear Vibram Five Fingers/Xero Shoes.
RS: What are some of your running achievements?
Dr. Derrick: [laughs] I don’t have any running achievements since I am a slow runner, but if pressed to come up with an answer, the closest I’ve come to achievements are the three PBs I got during one run at the 2010 Sundown: 1:03 hr. for the 10km, 2:30 hr. for the 21km and 5:24 hr. for the 42km. Oh, and do completing the marathon wearing Xero sandals and inspiring others to run count as achievements?
RS: What have you done with your 10-years’ worth of Sundown Marathon Finisher medals, bibs and tees?
Dr. Derrick: All of my finisher medals are displayed on a medal hanger. I intend to display my bibs and certificates by turning them into wallpaper when my new house is finished next year. As for the finisher tees, I wear them to work and everywhere else!
RS: If you were the race director, what changes would you make for the next edition of the Sundown Marathon?
Dr. Derrick: Since 2017 is the 10th anniversary of the Sundown Marathon, having a specially-designed running tee/singlet for participants would be memorable; especially if they were given to the marathon’s loyal runners. How about a glow-in-the-dark feature? I’d also suggest improving the quality of the finisher tee so it can withstand many washes. In my opinion, the 2009 Finisher tee was the best because it has survived hundreds of washes. And lastly, could we please have the Finisher tee in red like the one loyal runners wore in 2008?
How many Sundown Marathons have you run? Do you have a special story associated with this 10-year-old event that you would like to share with our readers?
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