In coma, so they run for him

Ng See Chye holding a banner of his father Ng Yoo Ay running the 10km at last year's Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore. The elder Ng had been registered for the same event this year but had an accident in September and has been in a coma since.
Ng See Chye holding a banner of his father Ng Yoo Ay running the 10km at last year's Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore. The elder Ng had been registered for the same event this year but had an accident in September and has been in a coma since.ST PHOTO: NICOLE CHIA

Veteran runner's spirit and passion kept alive by family in StanChart marathon

Sports trainer Ng See Chye is a running enthusiast with over 30 years of experience and more than 30 marathons under his belt, but he expects this year's Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) to be one of his toughest races.

His 71-year-old father Ng Yoo Ay, also an avid runner, had signed up for the 10km but is now in a coma after a road accident in September.

Said Ng, 49: "This year's run will be a hard one and it's not a happy occasion, but my father's spirit and love for running will keep me strong in finishing the marathon regardless of the timing.

"It's been quite draining mentally and I hope I can finish the race."

He had initially wanted to do the full marathon wearing two number tags - his and his father's.

But he got his family of keen runners involved as well. So his two cousins, cousin-in-law, wife, daughter and younger brother will form a relay team to complete the 42.195km Ekiden, with the organiser waiving the team fee.

Ironman Asia managing director Geoff Meyer told The Straits Times: "Running can bring people together, through a sense of joy and hope. As part of the running community, we felt it was important to help the family fulfil their father's wish and finish what he started."

MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER

It's time to get the family together to move our lives forward, and this is motivation for us.

NG SEE CHYE, on getting his two cousins, cousin-in-law, wife, daughter and younger brother to honour their stricken loved one by running the Ekiden.

Ng, who thanked the organiser for its support, said: "This stressful period has been the worst three months, and I think we should focus on something more positive… it's time to get the family together to move our lives forward, and this is motivation for us.

"It is the spirit of sport that will help our family move on."

All of them will be in custom-made jerseys in honour of a man he considers to be a pioneer, having run in the SCSM's forerunners, the Singapore and Mobil Marathons, among his six races. But it was actually junior who encouraged his father, who was in his 30s at the time, to run his first.

He remembered how his father had introduced to him the marathon discipline and concept of long-distance running, and how he used to act as a pacer for him during race preparations.

The elder Ng's passion for running has lasted over a few decades. During a Taiwan trip in June, he took his running shoes with him and went for jogs before the start of his day tour.

"He's always liked travel, and recently he started bringing his shoes with him overseas and running there," added Ng, describing his father as a staunch Buddhist who is well-liked by those around him.

"During his hospital stay, we discovered he has a lot of friends we don't know about. Hopefully with the positive energy and thoughts generated, my father can miraculously regain consciousness."

Ng, recalling the lengthy conversations with his father about their favourite topics - running and football - said: "This time, he can only listen but he can't talk. I can only let him know how we did this year and how our experience was."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2017, with the headline 'In coma, so they run for him'. Print Edition | Subscribe