Marathon man Mok seals SEA Games berth
As the saying goes: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
After booking his ticket for the South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur in August on the back of a smaller training load, Mok Ying Ren plans to keep doing the same up till the fight for a marathon in five months' time.
The 28-year-old, an orthopaedic surgical resident at National University Hospital, clocked a personal best of 2hr 26.07min at the Seoul International Marathon yesterday, shaving 23 seconds off his previous mark which was set in 2013.
Mok comfortably cleared the SEA Games qualifying mark of 2:37.10.
Due to his medical work, the 2013 SEA Games champion is unable to devote as much time to training as he'd like.
But he told The New Paper over the phone yesterday: "I was pleasantly surprised with the personal best.
"All this while, I've just been training on a day to day basis and doing things step by step and making sure I get one run in each day.
"The weather was cold, about four deg Celsius, and the race course was quite flat... the conditions were among the best I've run in.
"So even though I halved my training volume, and I had to fight off cramps in the last quarter of the race, I'm glad to have a new PB."
With the SEA Games qualifying window closing on May 31, Mok and 2015 SEA Games champion Soh Rui Yong are the only two local marathoners who have cleared the mark.
Mok did not take part in the 2015 Games on home soil owing to injuries.
It is unlikely any other local male marathoners will make the cut for Kuala Lumpur.
While Soh, an executive at SportSingapore, intends to take no-pay leave from May and travel to the United States for a training camp in the lead up to the Games, Mok is adopting a completely different approach.
"I'm not taking time off to train," said Mok.
"Who knows? It could be a good thing for me too, because it reduces the chances of injury... As for the SEA Games, I think the field will be in the region of 2hr 20min, and everything can happen on race day."
There was also joy yesterday for race walker Edmund Sim, who clocked 1:36.53 at the Asian 20km Race Walking Championship in Nomi City, Japan to qualify for the KL Games.
The qualifying time for the event was set at 1:40.57.