Physios get to walk the talk in Mizuno Ekiden relay build-up

(From left) Sam Brennan, 29; Seishen Gerard, 28; Declan Halpin; 29; and Katherine Macfarlane, 27, the four physiotherapists who are undertaking the Mizuno Ekiden, at The Promontory@ Marina Bay. They will each run 5.3km.
(From left) Sam Brennan, 29; Seishen Gerard, 28; Declan Halpin; 29; and Katherine Macfarlane, 27, the four physiotherapists who are undertaking the Mizuno Ekiden, at The Promontory@ Marina Bay. They will each run 5.3km.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

They help their patients recover from their sporting exertions and injury through exercise and therapy. But they have not had the chance to practise what they preach.

That will now change as these four physiotherapists aim to put themselves in their patients' shoes, by following their methods of conditioning in their preparations for Saturday's Mizuno Ekiden relay at The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay.

Participating in the Corporate category, whose total distance is 21.1km, or a half-marathon, the specialists from Radiance Physiofit will each take on a 5.3-km leg.

Englishwoman Katherine Macfarlane, 27, said they signed up because she wanted a fun team-cohesive event and to see whether she applied what she tells her patients.

"It's more of to do what I say and not what I do. We have all these runners coming in and we tell them that they should be doing stretches and foam-rolling in their rehab. I wanted to make sure that I did the same, and of course I have."

Feeling a fraction of what endurance athletes go through could possibly help them craft more unique and targeted solutions in the future, which is what team-mate Declan Halpin is trying to achieve.

The 29-year-old Irishman has worked with a lot of athletes, most notably Indonesian gold medallist Triyaningsih, who won the 5,000m and 10,000m golds at the recent SEA Games in Singapore.

She had a stress fracture in her foot last summer but with Haplin's aid, she recovered to win two golds.

"It's inspiring to see the amount of effort and dedication from her," Halpin said. "By doing this, I get to figure out what athletes have to go through to do a marathon."

While they understand the human body better than most people, Macfarlane and her team-mates, who also include Sam Brennan and Seishen Gerard, do not believe that it gives them an advantage.

"Sometimes it can be a handicap as we are more aware of our bodies. So aches and pains can be more dramatic," she explained.

The inaugural race is the first Ekiden-only event in Singapore.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2015, with the headline 'Physios get to walk the talk in Mizuno Ekiden relay build-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe