Great minds run in the same channel

Ezra Yap.
Ezra Yap.

Some runners agonise over the music they listen to on their runs, painstakingly taking time and effort to identify their ideal playlist and regulate their pace.

But Ezra Yap, who will be participating in the 38th Gold Coast Airport Marathon (GCAM) today, will not have that luxury. His hearing difficulties mean that his run will be one of silence.

Writing on a notepad to communicate during this interview with The Sunday Times, the 34-year-old Singaporean software developer said: "For the deaf, no sound is given. The only thing to keep me running is endurance and a strong mind."

Yap, who was born with a cochlear anomaly that also limits his speech, is running the Gold Coast course for the first time.

He said: "I want to experience different climates, cold and hot conditions.

ALL IN THE MIND

For the deaf, no sound is given. The only thing to keep me running is endurance and a strong mind.

EZRA YAP, software developer, on what motivates him to run.

"Most of all, I want to experience the cool feeling (of) running on the beach."

The Gold Coast marathon course stretches across Australia's eastern coastline, taking in scenic points like Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.

Yap, who is aiming to notch a time of 4hr 30min at the Gold Coast, first started long-distance running two years ago.

He said: "I first decided to join the 2014 Jurong Lake Run when my deaf friend invited me.

"I noticed other guys who were old or unfit, but strong-spirited and willing to run. That inspired me."

Camaraderie is also the reason Steven Wong has returned to the Gold Coast this year as the middle office manager enjoys having spectators cheering on the sidelines.

Wong, who will be running the 21km course again, said: "I like coming back to the Gold Coast because of the supporters who are always cheering and clapping.

"When I run here, I think my hands are more tired than my legs, from all the high-fives I give."

While he has participated in numerous runs back home, the GCAM is the only overseas run he has joined, along with around 102 other enthusiasts who signed up together with the group F1Runners - a Singapore-based running group made up of locals and expatriates.

A record 400 participants out of 26,500 are from Singapore this year.

Having started running at the age of 50, the 61-year-old Wong said: "I look for enjoyment when I run, and find the weather in the Gold Coast something to look forward to. It is like a beautiful paradise."

Temperatures usually hover around 10-12 deg C in the mornings when the races are run.

One couple making their first foray at the GCAM this year is senior finance executive Jeff Tan, who will be running the half marathon and his other half Fiona Yeow, who will participate in the full 42km course.

Yeow, who works in a bank, said: "We wanted an easy introduction (to running overseas), and the Gold Coast was not so far.

"We're running because finishing a run brings me back to ground zero, when at the end all you need to be contented is an isotonic drink."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 03, 2016, with the headline 'Great minds run in the same channel'. Print Edition | Subscribe