Mok Ying Ren returns from injury to be fastest local finisher
His preparations for the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) yesterday had been hindered by a niggling shin injury.
It was the same problem that prevented Mok Ying Ren from becoming the Republic's first competitor in the men's marathon at August's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Despite resuming training only a couple of months ago, the 26-year-old Singaporean showed why he's the best male marathoner in Singapore when he finished first in the local Men's Open category of the SCMS.
To put the icing on the cake, Mok's time of 2 hours, 53 minutes and 42 seconds bettered his timing of 2:54:18 set last year.
"I am very happy, this is my longest run since (recovering from) my injury. I'm glad that my shin held up, and there was no pain when I checked it after the race," said Mok, who is serving his National Service as a medical officer in the army.
"The plan was to run this longest race as much as I could, so I think I met my objective of going up another level (in my running).
"This is a good comeback run and a good sign as I can move on to my next phase of training and increasing the intensity."
Having now won his fifth SCMS local Men's Open title in six years (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and this year), Mok's focus is still very much on qualification for the South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Singapore next year and the 2016 Rio Olympics.
This is not the first time that he had to battle an injury to emerge victorious in the SCMS.
In 2011, he did not train for three months prior to the event because of a heel injury, but went on to become that year's top local runner in the SCMS.
With his injury problems hopefully now a thing of the past, Mok can look forward to uninterrupted training ahead of the SEA Games, where he will defend his marathon gold medal.
He said: "Moving on, I want to qualify for the SEA Games and focus on the training once I complete my NS in April.
"Until then, I'm going to be training in Singapore. But, for the 2016 Olympics, I am exploring (opportunities) to work with coaches overseas.
"I'm looking at places like the United States, where I can train at high altitude as part of my preparations."