Not plain sailing, Soh what?
SEA Games marathon champ still hoping to set national best despite foot problem
In his first marathon, Soh Rui Yong clocked 2hr 26min 01sec at the California International Marathon last December; the second-best performance by any Singaporean.
In his second time running a 42.195km race, the 24-year-old tasted glory at June's home SEA Games, beating more illustrious opponents Eduardo Buenavista of the Philippines and Thailand's Srisung Boonthung by crossing the finish line in 2:34.56.
And as he approaches his third - the Fukuoka International Marathon tomorrow - Soh is hoping for another milestone: to better M Rameshon's 20-year-old national standard of 2:24.22 set at the 1995 SEA Games in Chiangmai, Thailand.
But it has not been plain sailing for Singapore's top marathoner.
About three weeks ago, he discovered he had plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of a thick band of tissue at the bottom of one's foot.
Soh admitted his preparations have been hampered.
"I've had to adjust my training," he said.
"My fitness is there already, but I guess the body is like a car. Even if the engine is good but the tyre is flat, you're going to have problems.
"Now, if I go for a long run, the next day I might not even be able to walk properly."
But he is not about to let injury get in the way of his goal of bettering the national best.
"If I run on two healthy feet, I'm sure I can run below 2hr 24min," he said.
"But now, it'll be interesting. It depends on what will happen on raceday.
"Will it hurt? Will I be able to run 5km then start feeling something? Or will I feel something at 25km? But it's all part of the journey."
The destination Soh is hoping to reach, is next year's Rio Olympics.
To become Singapore's first marathoner to make it to an Olympics, he will need to clock below 2hr 17min by July 11.
"If everything goes to plan, I'll clock a 2:21 or 2:22 in Fukuoka," said Soh.
"Then, after training in Kenya from January to March and competing at the World Half Marathon Championship (in Cardiff, Wales) on March 26, I'll try to go below 2hr 20min at the Boston Marathon in April.
"And in July, I'll try clearing the qualifying time at the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia.
"Regardless of whether he manages to better Rameshon's mark in Japan, Soh is planning to have some R&R time back home.
"I want to spend some time with the community, and I've actually lined up visits to seven or eight schools when I'm back," he said.
"I'm happy to be around school teams and running clubs and I think we can inspire one another. I'll probably visit the (Singapore Sports Institute) and let them have a look at my foot."