Singapore athlete Lui Yuan Chow picked up running nine years ago when he saw a happy-looking runner on a magazine. It was an advertisement for Little Kew Athletics Centre, which he subsequently joined.
Yesterday, the Australia-based 17-year-old was certainly smiling when he set a new national best time in the 3,000m at Melbourne's Lakeside Stadium.
His time of 8min 35.92sec yesterday in the Vic Milers Club - Meet 1 bettered the previous national best mark of 8:40.64 set by Chamkaur Singh in 2010.
It also eclipsed his own national Under-18 record of 8:50.05.
The Melbourne High School student said: "It's a real honour. I was just hoping for a personal best time. I had no idea Singapore Athletics kept records of the national best time and it's a real privilege to have done the national best time.
"I had a race plan, saw that I was on pace for the splits, and the good thing is, I was grouped with guys around the same standard so they pushed me."
The 3,000m is not contested at senior level, and Yuan Chow said his plan is to compete in the 1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m going forward.
He said: "The 1,500m is something I've more experience in, but you've got to be adaptable. For middle-distance runners, it's important to try and be good all-round."
With the best time under his belt, Yuan Chow, who trains up to four times a week at Doncaster Athletics Club, said he has an eye on next year's SEA Games, and hopes to qualify for the 1,500m.
His current best time in the 1,500m, also a national U-18 record, is 3:58.62. The qualifying mark, typically the bronze-medal time at the previous Games, is 3:49.35.
He said: "I'm looking at it and will use the upcoming meets to see where I'm at. At this stage it'll be a bonus if I qualify, but for now I'll just run and see where it takes me."