Rail Corrioder Run 2016

The Joy of Running thru the Mud, Water and Pebbles

– It was a rotation one period in army with lots of outfields and other combat training.  The only days I could train were during the weekends at Macritchi with few of my friends and Sundays alone at the track. Running was at my minimal with weekly mileage of up to 25 km or less. Hence, I didn’t have any plans to race during this period. I was a little hesitant to race when my coach told me if I would be interested to take part in the Compress-sport Rail Corridor run. I said I would.. for experience and fun but with no podium expectation.

It was 31st January, the race day. I didn’t know that there would be a free baggage deposit so I didn’t bring anything with me beside the running gears. When I reached the gathering area, I realized there were many familiar faces of the fellow Gurkha friends and number of avid local road-race runners. There were also three Kenyans, two Caucasians and a Japanese runners for whom I was told that they were pretty good at road-races. At this point I knew it would be a tough race to get to even the top 10 position. But my plan was to relax, run slightly back and if my position at the 7km mark would allow, I would go for at least the top 10 positions or better. But I had no real expectations. I was there to have fun.

The race started. While everybody were sprinting to get to the lead, I stayed back kept a distance of approx 50 m from the leading back. There were probably around 12 or more people in the lead. I was relaxed and was at my easy pace for the first two kilometers. But as I continued, I realized that I was not efficient with my run. My feet were numb and I couldn’t move my legs even at the easy pace. There was no running feel. I was slowing down and around five more people overtook me. I was probably at 17 or 18th position now with the lead pack ahead by 150 meters or more. I was in trouble. It was the first time I wore socks and shoes for a run. (Usually I don’t wear socks for my training). I had to do something about it before I would come to the point of walking to the finish line. But No, I wouldn’t be walking. I could not afford to. There was my coach waiting for me at the finish line, hoping I would do well and have a strong finish at the end. I could not let him down, and I could not let myself down. I could get another shoe, but I could not get the same race, same moment again.

At three and half kilometers, I paused, took off the shoe, threw the socks, hold the shoe and continued with my run. Reaching 5 km, I thought, should I throw the shoe? It was a shoe from my coach coz I didn’t have any. I left it at the water point near five km mark after-all it was pretty small size for me and it was already wearing off with no good grip. Though I had only one more pair, this one was already damaged and performance was more important than the shoe that I could no longer wear.

The terrain was pretty bad (bad in a good sense coz I love this kind of trails) with so many pebbles, mud and water all over. There were some points where there was no escape from the pebbles for up to 50m. My poor feet was hurting and I had to as run as lightly as possible. However, I had advantage at the mud and water because my legs were as light as it could get. I was flying. Reaching the 6km mark, I overtook almost 6 people. At this point I was probably 12 position and on par with a fellow Gurkha runner. We were running side by side and occasionally I would talk to him and encourage him to speed up so that we could pace each other till the finish. With 500m to go, he was already gasping for air and was breathing very heavily. Relaxed, running tall and with some energy to spare, I sprinted to the finish line, just missing out of the top 10 position.

Overall I was 11th position but managed to clinch the 6th under individual open category. Running together with familiar friends at a terrain I would love to run was definitely a very memorable experience for me.

Till the next race, signing off,




overtaking a fellow Gurkha friend


sprint finish towards the end


brothers in arms


Barefoot or Shoes?

Your choice; Barefoot or Shoes?

– Though it’s not very well known and recommended to run barefoot on the roads in this concrete jungle, running barefoot has been and undoubtedly came to highlight among (Poly-ITE -Uni) athletes after two runners, Nashirudden and myself represented barefoot at the 2013 IVP Championship. It was until I won 2nd at the Hong Bao Run in February 2014 that the public started showing interest in barefoot running. I received messages from number of runners asking me how to better run barefoot, it’s advantages. Some even questioned me, how are you able to clock good times while not having any cushioning and in fact running on hard surfaces without a shoe?

Well shoes or barefoot by itself may not make much difference in a race but barefoot training improved my feel of the ground and improved my running form.


Synchronized running form with Ajmil

Two and half years of my running journey, I’ve bought only one pair of shoe. Not because I have a sponsor, but my sole purpose of shoe was to avoid injury and prevent my feet from wearing off due to prolonged barefoot running. Honestly, I don’t know how a certain brand of shoe and it’s model helps in a persons running. But there are benefits.. of which I think the main purpose is to prevent injury. I have won number of other competitions while running barefoot. That includes both road and track races. But these barefoot wins were not solely from my barefoot training. I do include shoes for my long runs, especially the ones on trails and on roads. Surprisingly, it may seem that running barefoot can make you win races or even break records, training or even racing on road and trails with shoe do play an important role even to those who conquers track races without shoes.

So… Barefoot or with shoes?? Here in this blog, my coach Tho Yow Kin shares about running barefoot, its advantages, should everyone try barefoot and some tips to those who may say “why not give it a try!


My Journey to the Triple IVP Golds

 My Journey from a beginner to the Triple Gold at IVP Games 2014

–  My journey started just before POLITE 2012/2013. With a very little training, I represented NYP in the 1500m and 3km Steeplechase (SC) event finishing 7th and 4th respectively. It was my first ever race on track. As expected, the results were not good. But the competition became a turning point for me. It was the competitions that build up my interest in running and helped me find my focus event – 5km and Steeplechase. After POLITE last year, I began to come for trainings under Coach Tho Yow Kin. It was also this period when Ajmil (my training buddy) and I started training barefoot. Nash followed up and slowly most of my teammates.

… turning point to becoming a competitive athlete

IVP 2013 in February showed the result of training. I was 8th in my second ever steeplechase race with a time of 11:29. It was also the first time I ran a 5km race, I managed to finish 4th in 17:31. This 5km race was also my first race running barefoot. IVP gave me a good running experience as I got chance to run with many experienced and well known runners in Singapore. Training continued with a new goal to lower the time for both 5km and SC in the next competition which was POL-ITE 2013/2014.

In June 2013, NYP went to the Philippines for competition. I took part in the steeplechase and clocked in a time of 10.15 but one of the steeple height was shorter than regulation height due to some technical issues thus it could not be considered a PB (personal best). Nevertheless, running with a group of different nationality at a faster pace was another good experience. I continued training focusing on my goal. I felt a bit of pain in the hip after coming back from Philippines. This somehow affected my training as I had stopped doing intense training for about a month. During this time I did most of the easy runs. Slowly I recovered and was able to do some intense training before the competition.

The most awaited POLITE 2013/2014 – 1 year of training, 1 year of hard work, and 1 year of knowledge. Team NYP made a history by winning the POLITE 2013/14 men’s team road race trophy and I got my very first individual and team gold medal at the road-race. Two weeks later was the Polite 2013/14 Track & Field championship. My first event was Steeplechase. I won by breaking both the school and POLITE records with a timing of 10:26. Perhaps the weather was at my advantage and because I trained running barefoot; it was easier for me to run on the wet track. I also managed to record a 36:18 time to win the 10km and 16:40 for the 5km. The time broke another two school and POLITE championship records.


Award Ceremony on the final day of the 2013 polite Games

It was indeed a historic moment for team NYP. First time, we defended both the Men and Women’s title as we fought for it at our home ground.

POLITE season was over. Now a month to go for IVP 2013/2014.  It’s gonna be a big deal, I said to myself, as I will be facing stronger runners from the universities. It’s a challenge I have to accept. Just one month… Much of the work has been done and I could not get much faster even if I train really hard. Well, then why not just relax, maintain your fitness and stay out of injuries, coach suggested. With just few more trainings, a month passed and there it came, biggest event of the year for me has arrived, IVP 2013/2014. I was a little nervous on the first day (11th Jan) which was the steeplechase event. The race began and there was no turning back. I managed a time of 10.18, broke my own school record and won gold for the team. I had another event lined up which was the 5km in a week (day3 of competition).

The 10km race was scheduled on day 2 of competition (Wednesday 15 Jan) which is between the steeplechase race on Saturday and the 5km the next Saturday. Had I known I would be running for 10km race right after 3 days of rest from the first race, I would have prepared myself accordingly. While watching the athletes doing their warm-ups, the crowd of the supporters, the cool wind blowing…I could not let it go. No matter what, I wanted to run.  I was all filled with so much of excitement. Damn, it’s a race at my home ground, how can I not run for it. I decided to go for it with just 45 mins before the race. When the race began, I was running behind at my own pace with the 3 university athletes leading the pack. Slowly, I got the rhythm and closed the gap and managed to catch the leading pack. I stuck behind the pack until there were only 3 laps to go. It was the moment I was hoping for. Heads up, breathing relaxed, I crossed the finish line with a time of 34:56. A new PB and got a second gold for the team. It was a race I was not supposed to run but it was a race that I would say, the best I have ever experienced.


Final lap at the IVP 10000m

After 2 days of rest, it was the turn of the 5km race. Since, it was a 3rd race of the week, I was not expecting myself to push hard and lower the time. I just wanted to gain the maximum points for the team. So I started right at the back. As the race is really quick, I had to pace myself and patiently catch up with the leader. With about 3 rounds to go, I caught up with the leader and overtook him. It was a race that turned out as planned. My time was 16:33. It broke my own school record and gave me my 3rd gold for the team.

We finished 3rd overall at IVP 2013/14 behind NUS and NTU. It was a tougher competition than POLITE. Nevertheless, we had a good experience competing with the stronger runners from the universities. However, it didn’t come alone. Firstly, the biggest contribution for the success of the team came from our coaches. It was actually the knowledge provided by them that brought us to a different level. Thank you Coach Tho for always believing in me. Thank you for taking so much of care and always guiding me along. I can never thank you enough for all your effort provided to the team and me. I am really very fortunate to have you as my mentor, guiding me along.

Secondly, thank your Mr. Guru and Sir Ronnie for your continuous support and providing us with all the opportunities. Thirdly, it was the motivation from my team-mates that kept me moving forward. Thank you for your company, thank you for being the best of my mates. You guys are the reason why I will always work hard. Thank you to my supporters from the other participating schools. I don’t really know you guys personally, but seriously, I am really very thankful for your cheer at every single lap I ran at both Polite and IVP. Thank you to all those who participated in the same race with me. Last but not least, Thank you to all those who came to support me, especially my family and friends. It will not have been complete and memorable without their presence.

It was a wonderful experience representing my school Nanyang Polytechinc, wearing a blue vest, black shorts and a pair of barefoot leg.



(3 February 2014)