Heart of a champion: Soh Rui Yong  sets new national record for 5km road race without even training for it

SINGAPORE: Marathoner Soh Rui Yong strikes again, setting a new national record last week despite having virtually no preparation for it.

He had forgotten about the Sri Chinmoy Kangaroo Hop, a 5km road race set for last Tuesday (Aug 8), only remembering the event when he received his race kit the day before.

Not only did he set a new record, but Soh also came in third in the Men’s Under 50 category.

And, not content with his performance, he vowed to work even harder.

“Managed 15min 15sec for third, and a new Singapore road 5km record. It’s definitely a soft record, being 31 seconds slower than my 14:44 for 5,000m on the track, so I’ll work on improving this in the next opportunity to run a road 5km!” he wrote in an Aug 12 (Saturday) Facebook post.

He also thanked the organizers “for a simple yet effective and deeply competitive event,” noting that 19 runners ran “under 16min, and 74 under 17min!!”

The athlete added that the event’s most impressive performance to him was that of Clare Elms of Kent AC. She finished first in the women over 50 category at 18:04.

The backstory for the national record makes it even more interesting, however.

Soh told The Straits Times that he had gone with his girlfriend to Paris Disneyland for his birthday, as he had turned 32 on Aug 6.

When he got back to his flat in London, the race kit for Sri Chinmoy was waiting for him, reminding him of the Kangaroo Hop, which had slipped his mind.

Soh had registered for the run so he could pace a friend whose goal was to run the 5K in under 16 minutes, and while the friend ended up not running after all, Soh went anyway.

“Given that I didn’t really know what to expect running this race, I just ran as hard as I could and got third, which I thought was a decent performance for a race that I wasn’t really peaking for and was doing as part of a session,” ST quotes him as saying, adding that Singapore Athletics has recognized the runner’s achievement.

Read all about Soh’s dreams for the future here. /TISG

Catching up with Soh Rui Yong: My dream is to build corporate-sponsored sports schools and provide opportunities for children

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