Mum, 46, goes from training partner to finishing all 6 marathon Majors
Koh, 46, has completed all 6 World Marathon Majors, along with 30 other S'poreans
Seven years ago, Laura Koh took up running seriously because she wanted to accompany her 14-year-old daughter for her training sessions.
But Koh went on to take part in her first race herself, progressing to her first marathon, then her first Abbott World Marathon Major (WMM) - and five more.
Today, the 46-year-old confidential secretary is among 31 Singaporeans who have completed all six WMMs - the largest and most renowned marathons in the world.
They are the Tokyo Marathon (2015), Boston Marathon, BMW Berlin Marathon (both 2016), TCS New York City Marathon, Bank of America Chicago Marathon (both 2017) and Virgin Money London Marathon (2018).
It all started when her older daughter expressed interest in taking part in a triathlon in 2012.
But a triathlon seemed too far-fetched for Koh, a mother of two who had been sedentary.
Koh told The New Paper: "When my daughter told me she wanted to do a triathlon, I was like, 'Huh? Do you know what a triathlon is?'
"So I told her we'll start with running first. I got hold of my girlfriend, who runs her whole life, and she signed us up for the Great Eastern (Women's Run) in 2012.
"We ran together - our daughters did the 5km and we did 10km - and I was hooked."
After her first race, Koh was hungry for more.
Raring to kickstart her running journey proper, she decided to take a leap of faith - take part in her first full marathon.
Along with her friend, they signed up for the Sundown Marathon and Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) in 2013.
"Everyone thought I was crazy but what's the worst that could happen? I could just walk?" Koh said with a chuckle.
"When I was running the full (marathon), I kept cursing and swearing at myself, like why was I even doing this? But when I crossed the finish line, I asked myself: When's the next one?"
Recalling her first WMM at the 2015 Tokyo Marathon, Koh said: "When I went to Tokyo, I didn't know what the Majors were. I just went because everyone said there was good food, nice weather, good atmosphere, and I was keen to do a run-cation.
"So me and my girlfriend decided to sign up for Tokyo (Marathon); we balloted and got in. It was only during the race expo that they were displaying the World Majors medals and I got to know about the World Majors.
"That day, I told my girlfriend, 'Let's do this, let's chase the medals'. And she agreed."
Koh clocked her personal best of 3hr 38min 32sec in Tokyo, which qualified her for the Boston Marathon in 2016.
But just two months before the Boston race, Koh injured her hip while practising yoga. As a result, she could do only aqua running in the pool leading up to race day.
"Boston was a very hilly course and I wasn't prepared for it because I couldn't train hills due to my injury, so I actually struggled," Koh recalled.
She managed to clock 4hr 12min 15sec for the Boston Marathon. Looking back, Koh felt it was an accomplishment, considering the immense pain she felt during and after the race.
Although she has not fully recovered from her injury, Koh has adjusted her training to include strength and conditioning, which she said has been effective as she does not feel the pain any more.
With this year's SCSM in sight, Koh aims to clock a sub 4-hour for the 42.195km course.
This year's SCSM has been converted to a night race and will flag off at 6pm on Nov 30, one of the changes made to draw more participants and achieve its goal of becoming a WMM.
This move appeals to Koh, as she admits she has not been able to clock a sub 4-hour timing in Singapore yet.
"I don't perform well in humid weather because I perspire a lot, so since it's the first time that Standard Chartered is doing a night run, I want to be part of the first batch to do the night run here," she said.
Abbott WMM has also announced its plan to expand the series' race calendar from six to nine cities, and Koh is keen to continue pursuing the Majors once more of them are added.
Said Koh: "I'm looking forward (to the expansion) because it's quite fun to chase it.
"If there's going to be nine, then I want to do all nine and be amongst the first few to complete it."
In the meantime, running remains a way for Koh to bond with her family and motivate her daughters, who also play football and touch rugby with their school teams.
"I just wanted to show my daughters that if someone like me, who didn't even do sports before this, can run marathons and train hard, they can do it as well."