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  • Writer's pictureRui

2021 - From Uncertainty to a Dream Season

Dear supporters, I’m retiring!

For the rest of 2021. I believe it’s time to let the body rest and recovery after a long and unpredictable racing season that stretched from March to December. Summary of an epic year as follows:

2021 was always going to be a tough year after missing the entire 2020 race season due to Singapore’s Covid-19 restrictions. I entered 2021 out of shape and rusty. Through 2021, we dealt with many challenges including uncertainties with competition dates and restrictions on training. Every time a race was cancelled or training restrictions were imposed because of a rise in COVID-19 cases, it was tough to find motivation to continue working hard. But we found a way.

I also started law school at University College London in September. Balancing that with marathon training was never easy, but I managed to find a way to make it work. In many ways the two complement each other by providing a healthy distraction from the other.

On a personal front, I also had to deal with the frivolous defamation lawsuit from Ashley Liew. With the case in its final stage before the High Court now I have no doubts that a competent judge will get to the bottom of the case and the truth will be revealed before long. It’s been time consuming on occasion and many people wondered if this would take a toll on my running career, but on the contrary, speaking the truth on this case has liberated my mind and lifted a huge load off my body. It’s no coincidence that my best performances have been run since I spoke up on this case in 2018. For this I have the utmost thanks for Eugene Thuraisingam LLP in my corner. Their expertise has liberated me to focus on my work - training hard and running fast. To this what I will say is never hesitate to stand for the truth and what is right, even when it may not be the easy path to take. You will win eventually by doing the right thing.

Finally, a number of people have expressed their surprise to me that I could perform as well as I could this year by training in Singapore for the whole year (in the past, I would go for altitude training stints before big marathons). Truthfully I surprised myself too with my performance at Maratón Valencia. I thought I might scrape under the old record (2:23:44) with my short preparation block, but to run 2:22:59 was special. I’ll share more in detail if there’s interest, but in short I focused more on quality work and less on mileage which is very damaging in Singapore's heat, humidity and hard surfaces. It made the race a lot tougher after 25km but having better speed and efficiency eventually unlocked my best marathon performance ever.

It took a lot of fight, but we eventually managed to turn 2021 from a year of uncertainty into a dream season, setting 4 personal bests, breaking 2 national records, becoming the first from Singapore to official run 2.4km under 7 minutes, and qualify for the Asian Games 10,000m and Marathon, both of which are historic for our little country. Thank you to all my supporters - that’s you who’s reading this! Thank you to my main sponsors Under Armour, Pocari Sweat Singapore and Takagi Ramen for standing by me and making it possible to do what I do.

I’ll be back in 2022. What would you like to see?

-Rui Yong

Photo Highlights of 2021

2:22:59 (2:22:58.x rounded up)! Saw the clock at 2:22:00 with just 300m to go and sprinted against the will of my exhausted legsto make it under 2:23:00.

Soh Rui Yong vs Subas Gurung was a clash that the Singapore running scene had been looking forward to for months. Subas was on fire this year, running 6:58 for 2.4km and 31:49 for 10km road (ekiden relay split), both solo efforts. In our 10,000m showdown, we both achieved our goals. I ran 31:28.67 to qualify for the Asian Games and record the fastest time by a Singaproean on Singapore soil. Subas ran 31:46.14 for a personal best and as far as we know, a Gurkha contingent record. (c) Romaine Soh.

1200m x 3 @ 68s/lap, 68s recovery. Shohib and Chong Qi jumping into the second rep (they were doing a pre-1500m race workout of 1200m all out. (c) Romaine Soh.

1200m x 3 @ 68s/lap, 68s recovery. Thiruben did a great job of helping to pace. (c) Romaine Soh.

Training partners Jeevaneesh and Ethan Yan pacing me as we attempted to break Singapore's 10-year old 5000m national record of 14:51.09, set by Mok Ying Ren in Japan in 2011. (c) Romaine Soh.

Breaking Singapore's 10-year old 5000m National Record! 14:44.21 to erase Mok Ying Ren's old mark of 14:51.09. (c) Romaine Soh.

Couldn't have done it this year with Ethan, Jeeva, and the rest of my training partners. (c) Romaine Soh.

Darren is a huge unsung hero of our training group, always ready to be selfless and help us when we need him. (c) Romaine Soh.

Aaron helping me on a 4 x 5km workout with 2min recovery. 16;39, 16:38, 16:33, 15:39.

Big thank you to sponsors like Takagi Ramen that came onboard this year!

See you all for another lap in 2022!

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