Running a social, cultural experience for duo

Chinese Zhang Meixia was eighth at the Asian Games marathon in Jakarta in August, clocking 2hr 41min 30sec.
Chinese Zhang Meixia was eighth at the Asian Games marathon in Jakarta in August, clocking 2hr 41min 30sec.PHOTO COURTESY OF ZHANG MEIXIA
Linda Janthachit was persuaded to take part in the GE Women’s Run by Natthaya Thanaronnawat, her veteran Thai compatriot who ran at Rio 2016.
Linda Janthachit was persuaded to take part in the GE Women’s Run by Natthaya Thanaronnawat, her veteran Thai compatriot who ran at Rio 2016. ST PHOTO: NICOLE CHIA

Zhang Meixia and Linda Janthachit come from different countries but both women enjoy running for the same reasons: keeping fit and healthy, and the chance to meet like-minded running mates from around the world.

Both will participate in the half marathon at tomorrow's Great Eastern Women's Run for the first time, and are looking forward to it.

It is Zhang's last race for the year, and the 27-year-old Chinese professional runner hopes a good result will set her up nicely for next year.

"I want to learn about Singapore's culture and, most importantly, I must show my full potential to achieve the best result," she said.

"My target is to perform my best at the qualifiers for a place in the World Championships next year."

Linda, who is from Thailand's Nong Khai province, aims to complete tomorrow's 21.1km in 1hr 25min. This is the fourth overseas race for the 25-year-old, who competed in her maiden Asian Games in Jakarta two months ago.

She said: "I want to learn more about running for high performance, and make more friends and learn about their cultures.

  • GE run tips

  • Mok Ying Rong, the top finisher in the 21.1km elite closed category race for Singaporeans at last year's Great Eastern Women's Run, shares her top three tips for last-minute race preparation:

    •See a physio to manage the small aches. You would be surprised to know how a simple muscle activation exercise can get you through the race without further injuring yourself. For example, I personally do several muscle activation exercises for the areas that I am weak in as part of my warm-up.

    •Hydrate adequately in the days leading up to the race. Being even slightly dehydrated can significantly affect performance.

    •Stay positive before, during and after the race. In all three situations, the only helpful thing you can do for yourself is to be positive.

"Qualifying for the Olympics (in 2020) is the goal, but my short-term goal is next year's SEA Games where I hope to get a new personal best in the marathon."

She was persuaded to participate this year by veteran compatriot Natthaya Thanaronnawat, who is back for the third time.

The latter retired from marathon running after the last SEA Games, and is pleased to see younger ones get the opportunity to compete with the continent's best.

"I grew up with running so I will still run half marathons, but younger athletes should be given the opportunity to compete and improve, and they will learn more as they run more races," said the 39-year-old Olympian and 2015 SEA Games champion, whose nine-year-old daughter is here with her.

"I had the best experience when I came for the GEWR last year, so I invited (Linda) this year... it's a very special event for women."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2018, with the headline 'Running a social, cultural experience for duo'. Print Edition | Subscribe