Marathon: Schoolgirl Michelle Tan relishes taking part in 5km run at SCSM with parents and sister

Tan Hui Keong, 42, running with his daughter Michelle, 10, one the youngest participants in this year's Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. The family goes jogging together two to three times a week.
Tan Hui Keong, 42, running with his daughter Michelle, 10, one the youngest participants in this year's Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. The family goes jogging together two to three times a week.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

Michelle Tan, 10, will join parents and sister for first 5km run at Dec 9 SCSM

Michelle Tan's first outing at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) seven years ago was a tearful one - she cried while participating in the 850m kids' dash because she found it "too tough".

But the 10-year-old is sure there will be no tears at this year's SCSM, where she will feature in the National Steps Challenge 5km Run.

Michelle is one of the youngest participants in the category, and she is relishing the challenge of tackling such a long distance for the first time.

She told The Sunday Times: "I'm excited, I hope I can finish the race. I'll go to the gym for practice and sleep early the night before."

The Concord Primary School pupil believes the most difficult aspect of completing the race will be maintaining her stamina.

Admitting she is a little nervous, she said: "When I'm very tired and trying to breathe, I feel like I'm short of breath.

"I'll slow down, walk for a while, and continue after I am done resting... I just tell myself to keep going and run faster than my sister."

Running is a family affair for the Tans. Michelle, her 14-year-old sister Jacqueline and their parents go jogging two to three times a week either at Choa Chu Kang Park, Bukit Gombak Stadium or MacRitchie Reservoir. All four will participate in the Dec 9 SCSM's 5km category.

Father Hui Keong said badminton and swimming used to be his preferred sports, while jogging is a family-bonding activity.

 

He added: "Instead of just my wife and I jogging, we decided to take the kids with us so that we could have a family activity.

"If we just stay at home and do nothing during weekends, it's a waste of time, so we might as well do something healthy that benefits everyone."

The 42-year-old service engineer hopes his daughters can learn valuable lessons from participating in the SCSM, such as seeing how professional runners warm up before races and how such events are organised. "I would be happy to see them complete the run... (I hope) they don't give up easily," he said.

"If they're tired, just continue walking until we reach the finish line."

It was through this encouragement that Michelle completed the kids' dash seven years ago, and Tan still uses the same encouragement to cheer his children on when they get tired during their weekly jogs.

Making a sweeping motion with his arms, Tan said: "Normally I will do this and tell them, 'You can do it. Let's continue and complete it', and we'll finish our five laps (around the track) either by walking or jogging."


PHOTO: STANDARD CHARTERED MARATHON


PHOTO: STANDARD CHARTERED MARATHON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 25, 2018, with the headline 'It runs in the family'. Print Edition | Subscribe