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Pumped Up by Joline Tang

5 months ago we could not even complete a 4k run without feeling light headed, out of breath with pain radiating from every muscle in our body. We knew running would not be easy for a newbie.
Before we got to know about the beginners' running group led by Wan Yew Leong, the three of us, Ng Yen Kar, Koo Chi Kien and I had tried running once individually on our own but with varying degrees of success. Let's just say it was a bumpy start.

Why we started running?

Yen Kar put on his shoes one day and ran in FRIM Kepong, only to find himself completely out of breath and winded after only 5 minutes. He had made up his mind earlier in 2009 to pick up running after considering the other options like swimming which he decided was too messy, basketball and futsal which would require looking for team mates and just too tedious.

While Koo wanted to look good in his tux on his wedding day and it seemed logical to take up some kind of sport for fitness and health reasons.

Whereas I picked up running because I was tired of always feeling exhausted at the end of a working day. I knew needed to exercise more regularly and running seemed like an obvious choice because it does not require any special skills or expensive equipment. All that was needed was a decent pair of running shoes.

We had no running experience at all and didn't quite know how to go about it.

We needed help!

We had all came to know about the beginners' running group from Google-ling, family or friends. In September 2009, we all made arrangements to join Wan on Saturday morning at the park. The session started with brief introductions and then warm up. Wan explained to us the importance of warming up before a run. Then we headed towards the park with the regulars of the running group for our first run together. Needless to say it was a painful experience because we were so unfit and struggled to complete 4k but we still had tons of fun. It was comforting as well, as Wan explained how we should feel and advice on how we should be breathing as we ran. We watched in awe as the regular runners ran with such ease. It really motivated us to come back again.

After the first run, we came back every Saturday to run with the beginners' running group. We got to know the regulars of the group and discovered that some were seasoned runners, some with 30 over years running experience. They were really cool about sharing their stories and experiences with us. We improved gradually and soon were able to complete 6k with relative ease.

Training for our first race
Soon, after we 'graduated' from the beginners' running group. We were advised to take part in races in order to improve so we decided to train together for the Mizuno Wave Run 2009. Armed with a little more information on running, every Saturday, we would meet in the park to run the 10km double hill route. In the spirit of the beginners' running group, we trained together and shared running information with each other. Having friends to train and run with really helps because we motivate and push each other to do better. Knowing that your running buddies are expecting you at the park ensures that you don't miss training.

We ran the double hill route consistently for weeks and when race day came, everyone had a good run and personal goals were met.

Feeling motivated from our first race, we trained harder for our second race, the Malakoff 12 km run. It was tough but super fun.

We just ran our longest run last weekend, the 20km Hartamas route. And we're training to do the 21km for the Putrajaya Night Marathon.

(From left) Koo Chi Kien, Ng Yen Kar, Joline Tang and Dad, Jerry

Perhaps we had many different personal reasons for running when we first started. Today, we run simply because it's fun.

Thanks to Wan and Runners Malaysia, we learned a lot about running and we are constantly motivated to keep on running.

10th January 2010


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