Singaporean duo in quest to 'beat' the sun
The lack of mountains in Singapore has not stopped two Singaporeans from attempting a trail running route that takes place at western Europe's highest peak.
Mr Winston Ng and Mr Andy Neo will be attempting to tackle a gruelling 148km relay race at Mont Blanc, in 15hr, 41min and 35sec, which is the time between sunrise and sunset on the longest day of the year in Europe.
Called the ASICS Beat The Sun, they are part of the team which will represent Asia-Pacific.
It will be held on June 21 (Sunday) around the scenic sights of the mountain, on the French-Italian border.
There are five teams competing in the race, representing Asia-Pacific, Northern Europe, Southern Europe, the Americas and Africa.
Each team has three professional runners and three amateur runners.
Mr Ng, 42 is an amateur runner in the team, while Mr Neo, 35 is one of Asia-Pacific's professional runners.
For Mr Ng, the journey to be fit and ready for the race was long and arduous.
Mr Winston Ng decided to start serious running again after the birth of his first child. TNP PHOTO: AZIM AZMAN
The 42-year-old former commando broke his right knee in a car accident in 2002.
For about a year, he was barely able to walk but the birth of his first daughter in 2006 spurred the full time house daddy to get into shape again.
He said: "I felt that if I'm not fully fit, I won't be able to take care of my family."
He has two daughters, aged nine and seven.
In the space of three weeks, he went from walking about one to two km to being able to run 21km without stopping.
Said Mr Ng: "When I was able to run 21km without stopping, I knew I was ready for something new."
When he saw that ASICS were looking for amateur runners, he did not hesitate to sign up.
Said Mr Ng: "To run at Mont Blanc is the dream of any trail runner."
Mr Neo, meanwhile, said he is happy that the team chose Mr Ng.
Said Mr Neo: "I really think he is a good fit in the team."
Mr Andy Neo demonstrating one of the exercises he does to train for the run. TNP PHOTO: AZIM AZMAN
The assistant manager of education and training for ASICS Asia is considered one of the professional runners in the team.
To overcome the lack of suitable training area, the pair have been racking up the kilometres by doing multiple runs up and down slopes around their respective neighbourhoods.
Mr Ng said that he clocks 60km a week by running around the slopes at a park near his house in Chong Pang.
Mr Neo runs 3km from his Aljunied home to Mount Vernon where he repeatedly runs up a 30m-high hill.
He said: "By doing that we will rack up the mileage to train for the event."
For Mr Ng, it is already a honour to be taking part in an event of such magnitude.
"It is the pinnacle of trail running," he said.
We asked Mr Neo for tips for those who wish to run in trails.
He said runners can accumulate the miles by repeatedly running up and down hills that around the neighbourhood.
1) Don't look down when you run, but look forward.
2) Make sure to swing your arms in a forward and backward movement. Do not swing your arms across your body.
3) Lift your knees when you run to ensure that you run faster.
4) When you are running downhill, make sure you run in a zig-zag motion to avoid putting pressure on your knees.