Photographer maintains focus

Running can get monotonous, especially over long distances.

But not for 83-year-old Teo Yeow Seng, who covers around 20km each week at Pasir Ris Park and MacRitchie Reservoir.

While some turn to music to combat the tedium of running, the retiree uses the activity as a chance to fuel his No. 1 hobby - photography.

Indeed, filed neatly in a clear folder is his "loot" from running: pristine shots of the pin-tailed whydah, spotted wood owls, and a stork-billed kingfisher.

The shutterbug said: "If you just focus on running, it can get very boring. I like to look around, appreciate nature, and find good opportunities to take photos.


The 83-year-old Teo Yeow Seng runs regularly at Pasir Ris Park and MacRitchie Reservoir. The nature lover will be the oldest participant in the 18.45km category of The Straits Times Run at the Hub. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

"There is beauty everywhere. It's just how you look at it."

And the father of two believes that being able to maintain his photography hobby is also the main reason he has been running regularly for the past 36 years.

A former teacher, Teo is the oldest participant in the 18.45km category of The Straits Times Run at the Hub. It is also his second time taking part in the annual event, having run in the 21km last year.

The unique distance was introduced this year to mark ST's 170th anniversary. The paper was founded on July 15, 1845.

SINGLE-MINDED ABOUT FITNESS

I like that running is something you can do on your own. I used to play badminton and squash, but you need companions for those.

TEO YEOW SENG, on why he likes running

Teo, whose father owned a photo studio, and who had the prestigious title of associate of the Royal Photographic Society conferred on him for his work, cited the Marina Bay and Tanjong Rhu areas along the ST Run's route as good spots to take scenic photos.

Of course, the tangible health benefits of running are another major attraction for the lithe man.

With six marathons under his belt, Teo said: "Running keeps me healthy and I feel more alert.

"More than that, it trains your willpower. I find that running helps me to stay focused for long hours whenever I'm reading at home. It enables me to work two to three hours at a stretch.

"Also, I like that running is something you can do on your own. I used to play badminton and squash, but you need companions for those.

"For running, you just need to buy a pair of shoes."

Teo, whose personal best time in the marathon is 4h 50min, said he is aiming to finish the 18.45km in under two hours.

He hopes his participation will inspire others to opt for an active lifestyle.

Said Teo: "Start with brisk walking, sweat it out, then slowly build up your speed. There's no such thing as 'I can't do it.'

"If I can do it, anyone can."

Sign up for the Sept 27 ST Run at www.straitstimesrun.com. It has three categories - 5km ($48 to register), 10km ($58) and the specially created 18.45km ($68).

Those who register by tomorrow stand to win attractive prizes, including an Aibi motorised cross trainer worth $3,680.

Chua Siang Yee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2015, with the headline 'Photographer maintains focus'. Print Edition | Subscribe