Firm friends and fast buddies race for ST Run finish line

"Fast friends" Carol Goh (far left) and Connie Liang, seen on the ST Run route outside the Flower Dome in Gardens by the Bay, are among 27 New Balance Running Club members running on Sunday. Both are running in the 18.45km category.
"Fast friends" Carol Goh (far left) and Connie Liang, seen on the ST Run route outside the Flower Dome in Gardens by the Bay, are among 27 New Balance Running Club members running on Sunday. Both are running in the 18.45km category.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

There are many ways to describe a friendship, but "fast friends" may be the most apt for running buddies Carol Goh and Connie Liang.

The regulars at local running events only got to know each other better because they ran at a similarly brisk pace in 2015 and kept meeting one another at the finish lines.

"We were both quite active in the running scene here and somehow from (those finish-line meetings) we started talking," said Goh, 41.

Her marathon personal best is 4hr 55min. Liang's is 4hr 30min but the 50-year-old has slowed down a little since a knee injury in 2013.

The pair get on so well now that they are, by their own admission, the "noisiest" members during weekly New Balance Running Club (NBRC) training sessions.

"We take photos together all the time before, during and after runs. We're also the ones who are always getting other friends to join our running sessions," said Liang.

Goh and Liang are among 27 NBRC members who have signed up for The Straits Times Run on Sunday. Nine are from Singapore with the other 18 from Malaysia.

  • DAYS TO GO 2 


  • YOU CAN STILL SIGN UP

    Go to the ST Run festival's information booth at the OCBC Arena, Hall 1 today and tomorrow (10.30am to 8.30pm).

    There are three categories:

    5KM: $50/loyal runner rate: $38 

    10KM: $60/$48

    18.45KM: $70/$58

Liang has clocked 61,296km - or more than 100km a week - since she started tracking her runs on her fitness tracker in 2007.

"I used to be very fat and, back in 2006, my mother-in-law asked me if I was pregnant. That was when I decided to start running," said the 1.55m housewife, who used to weigh 68kg but now tips the scales at 48kg. She runs 21km five times a week, despite a near-death experience from dehydration in her first race, the Great Eastern Women's Run in 2007.

"I pushed myself too hard in the 10km event and I collapsed about 200m before the finish line," said Liang, who was treated at a hospital and discharged on the same day.

"But I went back to running because I wanted to show my younger son, who is autistic, that I am not scared and, if I can do it, he can study hard, too."

Goh's discovered her love for running more recently in 2015. The administrative manager used to be "very lazy" and struggled to run just one 400m lap. But she was inspired to lace up after seeing how her colleague had slimmed down because of diet and running.

Goh said: "It was torturous at first, but I got hooked after my first 5km run. It was very satisfying."

Sunday marks the first time Liang is taking part in the ST Run, while Goh has taken part once previously in 2016. Both are running in the 18.45km category this year.

They will be joined by Malaysian club-mate Azrizal Hussin. The NBRC has about 1,600 Malaysian runners and 850 in Singapore.

Said the 28-year-old, who is taking part in his first race in Singapore: "It is a rare opportunity that we get to run through the city with full road closures, and a great way to play tourist on foot."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2018, with the headline 'Firm friends and fast buddies race for ST Run finish line'. Print Edition | Subscribe