Retiree, 75, raring to run 21km half-marathon

Former school teacher Agia Kaur, who completed her first half-marathon in 2010 in under four hours, is the oldest female participant for the Sept 28 event.
Former school teacher Agia Kaur, who completed her first half-marathon in 2010 in under four hours, is the oldest female participant for the Sept 28 event.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Running a half-marathon at age 75 may sound impossible for many, but not for Madam Agia Kaur.

Long-distance races have become second nature to the retired school teacher, who will be the oldest female participant at the ST Run at the Hub on Sept 28, when she attempts her second 21km race.

The widow, who has three children, said that the race will help prepare her for a third attempt at her first full marathon, which she hopes to complete at the end of the year.

She attempted her first 42.195km in 2012 and again last year, but did not meet the cut-off times.

Other runners planning to take part in the ST run might want to try the 21km race too, as all the slots for the 5km fun run category have been snapped up. Runners can still sign up for the competitive 10km and 21km categories at www.straitstimes run.com, and be part of the first mass running event to finish inside the new National Stadium.

Madam Kaur's passion for sports was ignited only when she was in her 40s, when she joined an adventure club at the community club near her home. "I came from an old-fashioned family so I was always told from a young age that girls can't do many things. I got a little more freedom after I got married," she said.

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"Most of those in the adventure club are younger than me and some have just completed national service. Jogging and brisk walking helped me make sure I was fit enough to go on treks together with the group."

She completed her first half-marathon in 2010 in under four hours, and still keeps to a weekly routine of training at East Coast Park six times a week.

But the greatest prize after crossing the finish line each time, she said, is not merely a finisher's medal.

"It's a sense of satisfaction; it feels very fulfilling," she said. "I hope what I do can be a testimony to older women that it can be done, and they will be encouraged to come out from 'housewifely' duties."

The 2014 ST Run at the Hub is organised as part of the Straits Times Appreciates Readers programme, the newspaper's ongoing effort to reach out to readers and the community. For inquiries, please call 6248-5777.

maychen@sph.com.sg

Additional reporting by Chua Siang Yee