What's it like to interview an entire team at the same time? In a word, fun! If enthusiasm is contagious, Team Beer-Lin is happily infected with the kind of enthusiasm, camaraderie and spirit that separates mediocre running teams from the pack. All four of our delightful athletes are in their 40s and all four have impressive careers, which makes their shared passion for running even more fascinating. We gave up trying to record “who said what,” so forgive us for lumping together their answers to our probing questions. If Team Beer-Lin could rule the world, we get the feeling we'd have more fun, healthier people and fewer wars! See if you don't agree.
RS: Who wants to make the introductions?
Jasmine: I will! I'm an engineer in my early 40s. Fanny (Peggy) is an information security professional in her mid-40s. Eugene (Matthias) is an APAC director in his late 40s, and researcher Kenneth Kwok is the senior member of our team; he will only admit to being in his "above 40s"!
RS: How did the four of you meet?
Beer-Lin: We met in January 2013 through the Pierce Reservoir Running group. It had just been organised.
RS: Please describe each of your teammates.
@Matthias Eugene has been dubbed "the topless runner" since he usually pulls off his top during or after runs when he gets too sweaty. He likes to show off his almost-six-pack body!
@Jasmine Tay is our fashion queen. Her wardrobe of tops and shorts is extensive because she's a seasoned runner. If you name a color scheme, she likely has it.
@Kenneth Kwok is our over-accessorised runner – always well-prepared for runs, especially during LSD, when he brings his speakers along so he can blast music and entertain everyone around him.
@Peggy never met a "selfie" she didn't love! She ignores crowds during races to focus on her technique and finish safely, but when cameras roll, she slows down to flash a great smile.
RS: Individually, you are all quite distinct. What about your collective persona—your team personality?
Beer-Lin: Our team is made up of runners with different abilities and experiences. Matthias and Jasmine are the veterans; capable runners with numerous marathons and ultras under their belts. Both are sub-four-hour marathoners gunning for their BQs. No competition, though. They continuously spur each other on to improve. Likewise, Peggy and Kenneth are at similar running levels, having started endurance running more recently. Over time, Peggy and Kenneth have steadily pushed their marathon PBs towards the four hour mark.
RS: In addition to running, what other activities do you enjoy doing together to strengthen your friendship?
Beer-Lin: (In unison) EAT!!! Singaporeans' favourite Number One pastime. Holiday shopping, too!! We like to sign up for overseas runs so that we can go abroad for holidays and indulge in more food and shopping. Last year, we went to the Gold Coast Airport Marathon together and achieved our respective, current PBs. This year, we will do likewise, but first, we will conquer the ASICS City Relay together as Team Beer-Lin, followed by the 42nd BMW Berlin Marathon.
RS: Dare we ask about your name Team Beer-Lin?
Beer-Lin: We're all beer lovers, so the name evolved from our shared passion for brews. When we compete at the BMW, we'll be in Germany at Oktoberfest, so after Berlin, we'll go to Munich to sample lots of German beers–especially dark beers that go well with pork knuckles, bratwurst, sauerkraut and schweinebraten.
RS: Besides celebratory beers after the ASICS, what goals has Team Beer-Lin set for the relay itself?
Beer-Lin: Modest and attainable goals. We'll be happy with a sub-four-hour finish. We are all aware of the fact that this route passes through areas that may not be well lit, and we could encounter uneven ground and narrow paths, so we put safety, not finish times, first while trying our best.
RS: How is Team Beer-Lin going to achieve this goal?
Beer-Lin: The same way we achieve all of our team goals: We do our normal training beforehand and try not to overthink the race or become too ambitious about our team's aspirations.
RS: Have you learned anything you didn't know about teamwork while training for the ASICS?
Beer-Lin: As we are all working professionals, it can be difficult to find time to train together. Previously, we were each pacers in different races that included SCMS, 2XU, Sundown, Army Half and Newton, so we've had to learn to trust that each of us will be self-disciplined about our individual training when we don't train together.
RS: Have you had any difficulties as teammates? If so, how did you handle them?
Beer-Lin: So far, so good. We have great respect for and trust in each other and that helps. We also stay in close touch so nothing falls through the cracks. We use social media a lot to stay up-to-date on each other's activities. With this much ongoing communication, we can't recall the last time any difficulties arose between us.
RS: You say that everyone on Team Beer-Lin trains solo during the week; when do you train as a group?
Beer-Lin: On weekends we run at specific places like PR, MR, ECP, Rail Corridor and Mount Faber. At times, we make special arrangements and adjustments to our personal schedules, especially when getting ready for charity events, like Race Against Cancer, the Bone Marrow Donor Programme and the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run. Recently on 23rd May, as part of PRR, we ran with the "Go50 – A Nation in Motion" runners for their 38th run under the theme "Partnership".
RS: Describe a typical Team Beer-Lin training session.
Beer-Lin: (Laughs) It starts by getting caught up with each other! Once our re-bonding is achieved, we set off on our run and chit-chat along the way. We discuss details about the next marathon destination we've chosen. Would it surprise you to learn that we finish up by having food and drinks once we're done? Not forgetting, with all the social media, we are also on “alert” of each others' activities.
RS: What have you each learned about the others' endurance and personal limits?
Beer-Lin: We are veterans, with a combined team age of more than 180 years! Knowing this, we respect both our own and each other's limits. We run to be happy, stay healthy and stay together for as long as we are able. We're proud to say that physically, we’re more fit than some of our younger friends. We're aging actively and hope to achieve BQ in 10 years' time.
RS: Will you share one or two training tips that contribute to personal bests?
Beer-Lin: We believe in adequate preparation--having a training plan and executing it. Next, nutrition is key; we are selective about diet when preparing for a race so we have enough proteins for recovery and muscle building, plus electrolytes and carbohydrates closer to the race day. We also get sufficient rest before and after training.
RS: Can each of you tell our readers what you love most about running?
Jasmine: "I can make new friends when I run and it help me to stay fit."
Peggy: "I engage more with different communities, especially charitable causes. Terry Fox Run, Running Hours, Yellow Ribbon Run, Orange Ribbon Run, Run for Hope, Run 350, Race Against Cancer are important because they promote healthy lifestyles, benefit our community and help others. It's important to give back to society. Competitive events, like the ASICS City Relay, teach me about teamwork. I train hard, work hard and I never take anything for granted, especially my health."
Matthias: "I run because I can and want to—because there's always the chance to be extraordinary. I try to overcome obstacles, fight through pain and test my limits and boundaries. I also enjoy seeing how far I can push my body. When I run, I feel like a different person—someone who inspires others. Running keeps me clear-headed—particularly when I achieve serenity, stress relief and clarity about what defines me as a person and athlete. Achievements can't be held or touched; they're numbers thrown together by an automated clock, yet each number, down to the hundredth of a second, has meaning only a competitive runner can comprehend!"
Kenneth: "I love running in the outdoors! It is wonderful to explore beautiful parts of our island that others never see and experience. My favourite route is down the Singapore River, around the Promontory, across the Barrage and onto the East Coast Parkway. I love the sea/river views and the Singapore skyline, especially at night. Another lovely place to run is Sentosa where there is little traffic and a good, laidback feel to the place."
What more is there to say about Team Beer-Lin? They're connected in every sense of the word, respectful of each other and willing to do what it takes to keep their team together. Even when queried about difficulties, they couldn't think of a single instance of discord. How does your running team compare? Is there jealousy, back-biting and unhealthy competition or lots of respect and cooperation? We can't wait to read your answers.
Want to compete against Team Beer-Lin? You can do so by registering for the ASICS City Relay Singapore 2015 and show us what your team is made of!