Foot injury forces marathoner Soh to quit Fukuoka Marathon
Foot injury forces SEA Games champ to pull out of Fukuoka Marathon at 12km mark
He holds the national 10,000m and half-marathon records, achieving both feats in the last 18 months.
Soh Rui Yong (above) had hoped to add the full marathon to that list yesterday morning, as he laced up for the Fukuoka International Marathon, with M Rameshon's 20-year-old national record of 2:24.22 in his sights.
But the 24-year-old saw his plans scuppered by a foot injury he picked up about three weeks ago.
Soh, who won the SEA Games title on home soil in June, had hoped to manage the plantar fasciitis injury - which is an inflammation of a thick band of tissue at the bottom of one's foot - and better Rameshon's mark.
But the University of Oregon undergraduate started feeling discomfort in his left foot around six kilometres into the 42.195km race and, although he tried to withstand the pain, he was forced to pull out at around the 12km mark.
He told The New Paper over the phone yesterday: "The first five km or so was good. I had a very good pack to go with, and I was running at a pace for a 2:20 (timing). But then, the injury cropped up."
He had previously admitted to TNP that his training for the Fukuoka race had been hampered - he had to adjust his training sessions accordingly.
Soh said yesterday the injury also affected his pre-race preparations.
"The foot problem affected me in more ways than one," he said.
"For example, I usually run the day after arriving (in a country to race).
"But, after the flight, my foot was swollen, and I couldn't do that.
"Just the little things like that... make a difference."
Soh is hoping to become the first Singapore marathoner to compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next year. To do that, he will need to clock below 2:17.00 by July 11.
If his foot heals in time, he will travel to Kenya to train from late January till March, before competing at the World Half Marathon Championship in Cardiff, Wales, on March 26.
Then, he will return to Oregon to train for the Boston Marathon in April, before having a final go at qualifying at the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia in July.
While he was disappointed at having to pull out of a marathon for the first time, Soh said he is satisfied with the progress he has made recently.
"2015 has still been a good year for me. It just has a disappointing end," he said. "Setbacks are always tough... But I've had two very, very good years.
"At the end of the day, this is part of being an athlete. I'll get my foot right, and I'll be back."