Yang raises the bar

Rachel Yang needs to sprint just about 30m down the vault runway each time in competition. However, she hopes to complete 5km under 45min in the GE Women's Run on Nov 1.
Rachel Yang needs to sprint just about 30m down the vault runway each time in competition. However, she hopes to complete 5km under 45min in the GE Women's Run on Nov 1.PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

National pole vaulter not a keen runner but signs up for GE Run to raise funds for research

National pole vaulter Rachel Yang is fit, strong, muscular and loves to exercise, but there is one thing she does not like: running.

"I don't like to run, I've never liked running. I'm more of a 'games' kind of person. I like to play badminton, or participate in high-adrenaline exercises," the 33-year-old SEA Games silver medallist admitted.

Next month, however, she will be casting aside her dislike for running, and take part in the Great Eastern (GE) Women's Run to raise funds for the SingHealth Duke-NUS Obstetrics and Gynaecology Academic Clinical Programme.

She will participate in the 5km Live Great Fun Run with her best friend Stacey Teo, and will aim to complete the event without walking and possibly under 45 minutes.

As her usual training regimen does not entail running, she plans to slot in an additional 45 minutes of cycling or jogging to her hour-long pole-vault training, which takes place four to five times a week.

HEALTHY MUMS, BOUNCING BABES

It would be good to strengthen research (for women and babies), to make sure that the foetus is healthy.

RACHEL YANG ,who knows friends who suffered miscarriages and stillbirths

However, due to the haze, she has not been able to train as regularly as she would like in recent weeks.

Nonetheless, she is not too worried as she also does not wish to suffer a relapse of two pre-existing injuries - a torn anterior cruciate ligament in 2002 and a meniscus tear in the left knee a year later.

Yang said that she "cannot push herself too hard", but notes that this year has been injury-free for her.

"I have been managing my injuries very well and I should be able to do it (the run) without causing many injuries," she said.

The SingHealth Duke-NUS academic clinical programme which she is supporting focuses on research for women and babies, and Yang - who has a two-year-old son Zacchaeus Yeo - feels that more can be done to help this group of people.

She recalls her own pregnancy in 2013, when she felt a sense of paranoia after she had learnt about congenital diseases and how they could befall her child.

"It would be good to strengthen research (for women and babies), to make sure that the foetus is healthy," said Yang, who also knew of friends who had suffered miscarriages and stillbirths. "This will help bring more lives into this world."

Yang hopes to raise about $2,000 to $5,000. Her fund-raising page is listed on giveasia.org, an organisation Great Eastern is partnering. She hopes to spread the word mainly through social media like Facebook and Instagram.

The programme is one of three beneficiaries of the GE Run, with the other two being the Breast Cancer Foundation and Community Chest (in support of children with special needs). Organisers are hoping to raise $100,000.

Khoo Kah Siang, chief executive officer (Singapore) of Great Eastern Life, said: "Great Eastern believes in making a meaningful difference to the community. This is why another area of focus for us this year is to facilitate and encourage participants to run, have fun and at the same time raise funds."

To make a donation to any of the charities listed above, go to greateasternwomensrun.com

The Great Eastern Women's Run will be on Nov 1, and have four categories - the Princess Dash (900m) for girls aged three to nine, the 5km Live Great Fun Run, the 10km and the 21.1km half-marathon.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 04, 2015, with the headline 'YANG RAISES THE BAR'. Print Edition | Subscribe