Running full marathon with 14kg tyre for charity

SINGAPORE - Marathons are tough enough for most, especially those new to long-distance running.

Marathon newbie Gerrard Lin, 30, remains unfazed.

He's going to make it even tougher for himself by running the full 42km of the Standard Chartered Marathon 2012 on Dec 2 dragging a 14kg tyre.

All for charity.

Mr Lin, who is better known by his nickname Ah Siao, is running his first marathon to raise awareness not only about the plight of leukaemia patients but also of the Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP).

He said: "When leukaemia patients fight with their disease, it's very tough and they have to endure a lot.

"This tyre is a symbol of their fight."

The idea came up during a discussion with BMDP president Jane Prior.

Mr Lin, who is between jobs, has been training daily for the past five weeks, running about 100km weekly.

He wakes up at 4.30am each day to run and usually joins local running groups for another run in the evening.

"The running community has been very welcoming," he said with a smile.

"At first, they looked at me strangely, but after a while we got to know each other."

The downside? He says he no longer has a social life.

He said: "Every night, I have to go to sleep very early, because I have to wake up at 4.30am to run. A huge chunk of the day is gone when you run four to five hours per day."

And although he has been steadily increasing his running distance, it has not been easy.

"I started with 2km for my first run and I just died," he says, shaking his head at the memory.

Tough

He realises that the marathon will be tough, but he is confident that his body can take it.

When asked if he had got a medical check up in preparation for the race, he said that he had not.

Said Mr Lin, who is also a volunteer at BMDP: "You are responsible for your own body. Usually, people who collapse and die have pre-existing conditions that they did not detect. I know myself. In terms of overall health? Not much of a problem."

He added: "You can't think about these things. You've done your preparation, you've clocked in your mileage. What's there to be afraid of? You have to approach it with the athlete's mindset."

However, doctors strongly advise those who take part in extremely strenuous activities, such as marathons, to get a medical checkup to be safe.

Mr Lin said, for him, it's all about the message.

"It's difficult, no doubt, but it's nothing compared to a leukaemia patient," he said.

"Look at them doing chemotherapy. They would gladly trade places with me." He also has the support of the organisation he represents.

Said Mrs Prior: "I applaud him and this herculean effort to pull the tyre. It symbolises the fight our patients have put up, and if it can raise awareness, it would be a fantastic thing."

nathong@sph.com.sg


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