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Thursday, December 12, 2013

What drives you?

Coming almost 4 weeks after probably the most infamous marathon finish in Singapore, this is now very old news but I think this blog is not going to be very complete without a comment on it. I am of course referring to one Tam Chua Puh who spectacularly finished ahead of Mok Yin Ren to come in as the first Singaporean in this year's edition of the full marathon of the SCMS 2013. By now everybody in the running circle would have known that he only ran 6 km and ran back from the esplanade to clock in at 2 hours 46 mins 57 secs and that he all he "wanted was the finisher tee and medal."

Which leads me to wonder. Why do people choose to run a marathon. For most runners, I would guess they are like me. I started off about 9 years ago not barely able to run 400 metres. Then I managed to do 2 km, then 5, then 10 and 21  and one day I wondered - why not give the full a try? It never occur to me that there was a finisher tee and a medal up for grab. What I just wanted to do was to see whether I could run 42 km. I did it in 2004, swear that I couldn't do it again and then promptly went for it the next year. The first year I did it was because I wanted to see whether I could do it. The second time I did it, I wanted to improve on the previous year's performance. And it was the same reason I signed up for a third attempt. That was in 2007 and I wanted to call it quit after that but by then the sidekick had got into the game and so my reason for doing my 4th full marathon was just to keep her company. That was also the same reason when we signed up for my 5th full marathon. To date all my finisher tees are still in their plastic packing and the medals have been dumped in the cupboard never to see the light again. 

Most runners I know are like me. Their main reasons are usually to see whether they can complete the distance and once that achieved, to see whether they can complete in a faster time. It is never about winning or snagging the finisher tee and medal. Those are a bonus of course especially as the cost of racing soars. 

But to run a marathon just for the finisher tee and medal? And not to train for it? Where is the honour? How can the person dares to wear the tee when he never even complete it or in some case, run it? What do they brag to their friends? Don't they know that all it takes is a mouse click on the event's result page and whatever lies they told will be found out? Seriously if all these people want is the finisher tee and medal, there are plenty available on ebay. And heck, maybe I can sell mine finisher tee. All 5 of them. $50.00 a piece. Any takers. And I throw in the medal for free!

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