The two-time SEA Games gold medallist, Soh Rui Yong, will be taking part in the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) for the first time ever.
This year, the SCSM will double as the official National Championships race as it bids to join the Abbott World Marathon Majors. Soh Rui Yong aims to become the first Singapore’s National Champion in the Marathon category.
How His Decision Came About
Right after the SEA Games, Singapore Athletics (SA) president Ho Mun Cheong wrote to Soh asking him to support the National Championships. But Soh wanted to give himself some time to settle into the routine of work and training before making the decision.
Eventually, on Monday, 13 November 2017, Soh announced that he has decided to participate in the SCSM. According to Soh:
Ho said it would greatly help the association and fraternity market the sport if the SEA Games champion is in the national championship. He has been supportive of my push to win gold this year and I wish to support him in return.
Another reason behind the decision is his confidence about his current fitness.
After winning the YOLO Run Half Marathon, I felt happy about my fitness, and decided that even though I only have 19 days to get ready now, I will give SCSM a try. I think if anything, me having a short preparation window evens the playing field a little bit and makes the national championships more exciting.
Why Rui Yong Has Never Run in SCSM Before
Soh Rui Yong has joined myriads of local and overseas running races in his life, from Portland Track Festival, Hamburg Half Marathon, World Half Marathon Championships, California International Marathon, Chicago Marathon to SEA Games. But he has never participated in Singapore’s biggest race, the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (42.195km) category!
I only became a marathoner in 2014. In 2014 and 2015, I wasn’t in Singapore and I was always focusing on my December university exams and overseas marathons. In 2016, I was in Singapore but had just qualified for the SEA Games by running 2:24:55 in Chicago and wanted to focus on preparing for the 2017 SEA Games – that plan eventually paid off with a gold medal, so it proved to be the right decision.
On 7 December 2014, Soh ran his first marathon at California International Marathon and finished the race with a stunning time of 2:26:01. In December 2015, Soh went to Japan for Fukuoka Marathon, a race that he didn’t finish due to heel inflammation.
His Rivals in Singapore Marathon 2017
Soh is set to compete with local contenders like Ashley Liew and Evan Chee. Meanwhile, Mok Ying Ren, seven-time winner of SCSM, steps back from the race this year due to wedding preparations.
Mok’s best finish time in SCSM is 2:38:27 in 2010. For this year’s SCSM, Soh targets to finish the race under 2:34:00, a timing that local runners have never achieved on Singapore’s ground before. Soh’s marathon personal best time of 2:24:55 clocked at the Chicago Marathon 2016 made him the fastest marathoner in Singapore based on IAAF certified marathon courses.
Soh admits that it won’t be easy, especially since he has no experience in Singapore Marathon before.
But it’s fine – I’ll just focus on the process of getting fit, running a good race and the result should take care of itself,
When asked about his next focus after SCSM, Soh shared,
SCSM will probably be my last serious race of the year. After which, I will take a break, then prepare for the World Half Marathon Championships on March 24.
Soh also made a difficult decision to give Commonwealth Games 2018, which will be held on 14-15 April 2018, a miss. This decision is caused by his disappointment of the delay in SA’s announcement regarding selection criteria for the Games.
Will Soh Rui Yong be the first Singapore’s National Marathon Champion?