Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Eye Asia: A Cancer Survivor’s Story On Marathon Running...

By Frank
Translated by Chee Kong
Article scanned by Jamie

In the month of October 2008, I was interviewed by a journalist from Eye Asia to be featured in their magazine. It was published in November 2008 and since it was a Chinese magazine, I had no clue on what was written until Chee Kong helped me translate it. Though certain parts were written wrongly, I guess it's no harm publishing it here. The following is the write up.

A Cancer Survivor's Story On Marathon Running
Chong Wei Siong - Pain Is Just A Minor Issue

Although Wei Siong's involvement in distance running is just over a year, running is a sport that he is fully dedicated to. In order to run well, he gave up lots of sports like badminton and squash which may hurt his legs. Besides running, he only does resistance trainings. When asked the reasons he likes running, he can't really explain it and replied "Difficult to explain. The feeling when I cross the finish line is something you have to experience it yourself to understand".

At the end of August 2008, he ran in a charity run, the
Nike+ Human Race 10K at Singapore. The event was held simultaneously around 25 countries. The fund raised from the event was donated to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, WWF and UNICEF.

This event is particular meanigful for Wei Siong because it was his first time being fully sponsored by the organiser. Furtheremore, he successfully ran a personal best.

Wei Siong, 29 years of age is a Personal Fitness Trainer. He is not tall, slim and without 6 packs isn't a huge guy and certainly doesn't have the build of a trainer. When he was 12 years of age, he was diagnosed with
Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer seen among children. He was fully cured though.

"My weight was nearly 80KG during my treament days. It was around 60KG before I first started running. Now I have slim down a lot and that made my parents not supportive towards my running career". Anyway, he felt that running was a great help towards his health as he gets better sleep and his metabolism is greatly improved. Though he has a big appetite, this doesn't make him fat and that's the good thing about it.

Cancer did not affect him a lot as he is still into sports. During his high school days, he took part in mountain biking competitions. He competed for 2 years before finally winning in one of the competitions in 1996 when he was a Form 5 student. He then retired from it as it was a dangerous sport and injuries from falls are common.

Difficulty in walking after a race
In 2005, his friend and him started talking about the marathon. "It looks interesting, thus we started training", Wei Siong said. However, he had some knee problems that time and therefore waited around a year before making his debut in his maiden full marathon in 2007. The distance for a marathon is 42.195KM. Besides marathon, he also participates in other shorter distance races. He still remembers that after his first marathon, he could hardly walk the next day. He needed an umbrealla to support his body. "Now it only takes me a day to recover". He smiled and said, "During my first marathon, I ran non stop for 22KM before I started walking. But now, I can run the whole distance. Although, I can still feel pain after completing a run but it will be gone within a day".

We think a 10KM race should be easy for him. "It's different. The pace for 10KM and 42KM is different. The pace for 10KM is fast and breathing is hard. Normally I can't talk after I finished the race but after a 42KM race, I am still able to". He runs almost everyday except Friday which is a rest day, as he does his long distance run on Saturday and Sunday.

Marathon running not only depends on physical endurance, but also mental strength. Due to the long distance, fatigue will slowly kick in. A good mentality will help to see one through. His suggestion is to try not to stop during a run because it will be difficult to resume as the leg will be in pain and heavy to move.

His running tag line is "No regrets" as he would if he gives up. "I have experienced some tough times in my life. Therefore I remind myself that pain from running is just a minor issue, at least for me".

Setting realistic goals
For those who would like to try out running, he would encourage them by telling them "If I can do it, so can you!".

Before any race, he will set a goal. "The goal must be realistic. I would be happy if I achieve it, else I will try harder the next time". He thinks running should be taken easily, especially for those who are new. Do not over do it.
"Take it easy. Don't try to be a hero. 5KM or 10KM, it doesn't look like a big difference from the number, but it can be felt when you run. For those who are new to this sport, there are lots of information on the Internet to help you get started. Training must be flexible but yet in a discipline manner. Do not over do it if the body can't take it. Be patience as I spent a year training before debuting in my first race".

Running is just as addictive like any other hobby. Wei Siong says he will never stop running, unless something happens. I (interviewer) said that he is still young and have a long road ahead, but he disagrees as anything can happen in the future especially when we are not careful.

The Greatest Race On Earth
In the coming December, he will be running the Singapore Marathon which is one of the races under the Greatest Race On Earth. After this, he would like to particiapate in a 84KM ultra marathon. That's double the distance of a full marathon. " I would like to give it a shot once as it is an achievement that I would like to live with".

People said running a marathon is a sport where money is spent to torture ourselves. Some races required expensives registration fees. However, he thinks that it is worth it especially when one crosses the finish line.

He was looking outside the shopping mall after the interview, so I asked him, "Are you planning to run back home?". He looked to the sky and replied half seriouly, "It's going to rain, better not". 4PM is his running time. 10KM each day follow by 20KM to 30KM on the weekend. Ordinary peoples understanding towards distance running is different from a marathoner. 10KM to them is too short. Running will make you addicted, do not ask him why. You would only know after you experience it.

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C-CUBE said...

Nothing beats another inspiring story to spur me on, although i hv been running for a long time. but wake up calls of such nature inspire me a lot. keep it up buddy.


You have won the biggest challenge in life...the battle against cancer..hope this can motivates others.

CapArnabBrand said...

You da Man!!

Runnerz said...

Thanks everyone. There's nothing to shout about as despite my history, I'm still just another ordinary person too.

Anonymous said...

No, Frank, I think you fall right in the same league as lance Armstrong lah. Nothing ordinary about fighting cancer tool and nail and coming out victorious! You inspire.

Runnerz said...

Thanks for the compliments, Haza. I do not deny that he is one of my idols but to be in the same league as him, that's one huge difference.

RunWitMe said...

Cinya! Tumpang glamour. My photo got published oso along yours. Heheh!

Very inspiring. Keep it up. bro!

Runnerz said...

RunWitMe: I have you to thank for that photo taken as it is from your digicam. In other words, I am in fact the one that tumpang glamour. Hehe...