He runs every day, even when he is overseas

PHOTO: He runs every day, even when he is overseas

SINGAPORE - Mr Terence Ho, 45, took part in his first marathon and biathlon when he was doing National Service at the age of 19.

Then, he prepared himself well, training twice a day, five days a week. He found the races a breeze.

It took him more than two decades to take part in his next endurance race at the age of 38, in the 10km category of the Standard Chartered Marathon.

He had stopped running regularly and had taken up racket sports when he was pursuing a degree in business management in the United States, and later placed work as his priority.

For the second race, he trained no more than once a month. Yet he surprised himself by finishing the race in under an hour. He saw that other novice runners took more than an hour to finish that same distance.

The general manager at the Singapore Chinese Orchestra said that experience reignited his passion for running and made him realise that he could perform better if he trained seriously.

He now runs daily, even when he is abroad. He estimated that he has done about 70 races.

Mr Ho is helping to organise the mega-concert Our People, Our Music 2014, which will feature up to 5,200 performers at the new National Stadium this Saturday.

It will attempt to break five records, including the Singapore Book of Records for the largest Chinese orchestra, the largest erhu (a two-stringed Chinese instrument) ensemble and the youngest percussionist, and the Guinness World Records and Singapore Book of Records for the largest Chinese drum ensemble.

His wife, 44, works for a bank. They have a daughter, 15, and two sons aged 11 and eight.

How do you keep fit?

I run almost every day, logging in at least 8km each time on weekdays and between 15km and 30km per session on weekends.

I run outdoors rather than on the treadmill, which can be monotonous. It does not get a person from point A to B.

When I go on business trips, I would ask the hotel concierge to recommend good places for running. This gives me the opportunity to experience different terrains.

When I'm preparing for a race, I may bike three to four times a week, covering 40km to 80km a session, along East Coast and Changi Coast roads.

I swim at least twice a month at the Chinese Swimming Club, where two of my children have their weekend swimming lessons.

How has your exercise regimen changed over the years?

In my late 20s, I used to run 5km to 6km only once a week or not exercise at all. But a 10km endurance race in 2007 reignited my passion to run.

Since then, I have not stopped participating in races that span 10km to full marathons and triathlons. I participate in 10 to 15 races a year.

Has there ever been a time when you were not fit and fab?

Yes, when I started my career with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra in my late 20s.

My work environment allowed me to enjoy good music and stay indoors in the best acoustic environment, but had nothing to do with sports.

I started to eat more, as it was part of my job to host musicians and guests.

I gained 8kg in half a year and had to buy clothes in larger sizes.

What is your secret to looking fabulous?

Be passionate about life, be confident about myself, be compassionate to others and enjoy playing and listening to music.

What is your diet like?

I have a heavy breakfast, which can be either wanton noodles or bee hoon and eggs, with tea and fruit juice.

I prefer to have a simple lunch alone, though I have to attend business lunches occasionally.

My simple lunch comprises a cheeseburger or a small pizza.

I have home-cooked dishes such as fish and vegetables for dinner.

Do you count your calories?

I used to, but stopped about two years ago as I now focus on tracking running parameters such as speed, distance and pace.

What are your indulgences?

I must eat D24 durians when they are in season. If I am hungry, I can wolf down two whole durians in one sitting.

After an endurance race, I would reward myself by indulging in a full rack of honey-glazed ribs.

How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

I count myself lucky to be in a job which gives me opportunities to attend many performing arts events. Music relaxes my mind and inspires me to be a better person and sportsman.

Partnering my sons in triathlon races, be it in individual or relay events, has always been a good bonding exercise for us. I also take my children to outdoor concerts at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

What are the three most important things in your life?

Family, music and running.

The family is one's foundation, regardless of how successful he is. Training with my elder son, for example, motivates me to improve and be a role model for him.

I cannot imagine life without music and I feel guilty if I skip my running routine for three consecutive days.

Would you go for plastic surgery?

I don't think so, because I am happy with myself now.

If I had undergone plastic surgery, I may not be able to accept my new appearance.

Do you think you are sexy?

As long as my wife and daughter think so.

joanchew@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 26, 2014.
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