Liew in Kenya to train for faster times

Liew in Kenya to train for faster times
Singapore marathoner Ashley Liew, training with his running group on the dirt roads of Iten, Kenya.

SINGAPORE - Hardly any, however, have managed to see first-hand how deeply ingrained the culture of running is among the Kenyans.

Singapore marathoner Ashley Liew is one of the fortunate few, and his most vivid memory of just how much Kenyans love running was when he spotted a man wearing a full suit in the town of Iten, in Elgeyo-Marakwet county, clutching a briefcase - and wearing hot pink running shoes, ready for his daily jogging routine together with his day job.

"You read and hear so much about their greatness but it's only when you are here that you see why," said the 28-year-old.

"Everywhere you turn, you see people running, on the mud trails or dirt road. Sometimes in groups of 200, training at dawn and then again in the evening.

"And these are people who already clock around 2hr 15min for the marathon. So training here has been a real eye-opener."

Liew, however, is not in Kenya to merely experience the running culture. He is in the midst of a three-week training trip to Iten in a bid to boost his winning chances in June's Singapore SEA Games.

Said Liew, whose coach is Singapore's marathon record-holder Murugiah Rameshon: "The goal is to qualify for the SEA Games, and if I do, to better my performance from 2013. It's held in Singapore and it'll be special to compete in front of the home fans."

Liew's Kenyan base is the High Altitude Training Centre (HATC) in Iten, known in running circles as the "Home of Champions".

There, he is in good company.

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