Interviews · Singapore

Why Jacqueline Runs Sundown Marathons as a Journey of Self-Discovery

by On Nov 25, 2016

To celebrate the Sundown Marathon's 10th Anniversary, Ms. Jacqueline Tan shares with us her experiences and advice as a veteran racer from the first Sundown Marathon.

Why Jacqueline Runs Sundown Marathons as a Journey of Self-Discovery

Jacqueline Tan, a small petite woman, has proven that successful runners come in all different sizes. Ten years ago you wouldn't find her in the easiest of 5K road races, let alone the challenging world of ultramarathons.

Jacqueline has found something deep down inside her that only runners would understand. She has found herself. Running for her is not just about exercise, it's not just about conquering the pain of fatigue. It is much more than that. When she is out on the course and tackling the longest of distances, it is not just a race. It's a journey of self-discovery.

She gets to learn about herself, what she is able to achieve, how far she can push herself. Ms. Tan understands that the sport of running is not just about the miles, it about finding out what she is made of.

In a unique way Sundown Marathon has been part of her journey from the start. We are fortunate that this ultra-loyal Sundown Marathon runner and pacer has chosen to share her experience with us.

RS: How long have you been running and racing?

Ms. Tan: I began running when, against my better judgment, accepted my friends' request to go running with them around the Toa Payoh Stadium track. Having never run before, I was only able to run 3 laps. However from that moment on I was hooked. I stuck with it and began racing a variety of distances and terrains in 2006.

RS: Which Sundown Marathon category to you run and why?

Ms. Tan: I like running the longer distances. I have run both the full marathon and the ultramarathon. Some years I've even run both since the ultramarathon is on a different day. I enjoy the challenge of overcoming the pain and fatigue I feel. Pushing myself to these limits really helps me learn about myself and my mental strength to persevere.

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

Ms. Tan: As a long-time participant of Sundown Marathon, I've seen the race grow from a small event held near Changi Beach Park 1 into one of the area's premier races. There have been many changes and it has been great to see what the event has grown into in recent years. The number of runners has grown, there are more events, the courses have changed to keep bringing a unique experience to veteran runners like me.

RS: Do you run Sundown Marathon with anyone? Why?

Ms. Tan: When I began running Sundown Marathon, I would run by myself. I didn't have many friends who enjoyed running as much as much as I did. However, one of the benefits of running races like Sundown Marathon is getting to meet like-minded runners who enjoy the same thrill of endurance running as I do. I now have a group of friends that I run with.

Why Jacqueline Run Sundown Marathons as a Journey of Self-Discovery

RS: Do you have any must-have wearables when you run?

Ms. Tan: I always make sure that I have my running cap or visor and my race belt. I also where my Garmin 920XT GPS watch.

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

Ms. Tan: Five years ago I decided to share my experience with others and became a Sundown Marathon Official Pacer. It's extremely rewarding to help others achieve their goals. When someone thanks me for helping them, it makes me feel good that I have helped them conquer their goals.

RS: Which edition of the Sundown Marathon was your most memorable?

Ms. Tan: Sundown Marathon holds a special place in my heart. The first year the race was established was also my first full marathon. And 2009 was my first ultramarathon. I'll never forget those two accomplishments, and Sundown Marathon are part of those memories.

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RS: What are your proudest running achievements?

Ms. Tan: I have finished in the top ten 5 times in ultramarathon events including twice for Sundown Marathon. My proudest moment, however, is when I met the qualifying standards and was accepted to run the 121st Edition of the Boston Marathon.

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

Ms. Tan: I have a special bedside drawer where I keep all my bibs and medals. As far as the T-shirts go, I have them altered as most of them are usually too large for my small frame.

RS: If you were the race director, what changes would you make for the next edition of Sundown Marathon.

Ms. Tan: Given my fondness for ultramarathons it's probably no surprise that I would like to bring back the ultramarathon category to give runners an even greater challenge. Also, it would be great to add a memento for the finishers, aside from a medal, such as a towel.

Why Jacqueline Run Sundown Marathons as a Journey of Self-Discovery

RS: Give us one piece of advice you would give to a new Sundown Marathon runner.

Ms. Tan: Have dreams. It is important to believe in your dreams. Have a plan because a dream doesn't become a reality through magic. It takes sweat, determination and a whole lot of hard work. Once you've decided to do something, stay focused and never, ever give up. You must persevere. Some day you will discover there's really nothing you can't do if you put your heart and mind into it. In short, Dream. Believe. Act. Achieve.

RS: What or who inspires you the most in your life?

Ms. Tan: I don't have a particular person or instance in mind, mainly because those who have inspired me are not a who's who but the ordinary, everyday people who have overcome obstacles, hardship, adversity and so forth because of their refusal to give in or to give up. Their life stories are a reminder for me to learn to live each day with a heart of gratitude. To be constantly happy is what I strive to achieve in the next year and in the years to come.

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We'd like to thank Jacqueline for her dedication to the sport and to the Sundown Marathon. Her commitment to herself and to others is truly admirable.

We urge all of you to fulfill your journey of self-discovery and conquer your dreams just like Jacqueline has, by taking advantage of our 10% discount and joining us for the OSIM Sundown Marathon 2017!

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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