Chan Meng Hui (1930-2019)

Singapore's marathon centurion dies

Chan Meng Hui after completing the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore on Dec 6, 2015. It was his 101st and last marathon.
Chan Meng Hui after completing the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore on Dec 6, 2015. It was his 101st and last marathon.PHOTO: SCMS 2015

Singapore's oldest marathon centurion, Chan Meng Hui, died on Thursday at age 89 due to pneumonia, family members told The Straits Times last night.

Chan had been in and out of the hospital since last September, but family members added that he was conscious and strong throughout that period. He leaves behind his 84-year-old wife, two sons and three grandchildren.

The runner, affectionately known as Uncle Chan, had completed 101 marathons since he started running at age 55, after he quit his job as an insurance salesman.

Chan started off by running short distances of just 100-200m. As he aged, he started training harder and running longer distances to build his stamina.

Eventually, he ran every morning and evening, clocking 10km every weekday. On Sundays, his mileage would increase to 20-25 km.

He even took part in marathons around the world, in countries like Norway, Japan, China and Switzerland.

DETERMINED TO REACH NO. 100

To be able to survive cancer and continue running is really a remarkable feat. He has lived a full life and he completed what he wanted to - run 100 marathons.

MICHAEL CHAN, son of Chan Meng Hui, on his father running his 100th marathon just after recovering from advanced prostate cancer.

His first full marathon was in Shanghai when he was 60. His last was the 2015 Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore.

"He was a good friend and a good runner. He inspired a lot of people to run because he was still running at such an old age," said Low Ming Two, one of his running friends.

"He was a very tough, patient, gentle and friendly man. A lot of the MR25 runners will miss him."

MR25 is a running group that Chan was a part of.

Chan's younger son, Michael, recalled how Chan ran his 100th marathon just after recovering from advanced prostate cancer.

"To be able to survive cancer and continue running is really a remarkable feat," he said.

"He has lived a full life and he completed what he wanted to - run 100 marathons.

"I was with him during his 100th marathon and, though he was concerned because I didn't train for it, I made it from the start to the finish. I'm sure he was proud of me."

There is a Facebook page, titled "In Memory of Chan Meng Hui", set up in his memory.

The page aims to serve as a platform for people to honour Chan. His friends and fellow runners have been posting their condolences and memories of him.

The page has also shared articles written about Chan.

His family has placed one of his running medals in his coffin, and has asked some of his running mates to choose more.

Michael Chan said: "We've decided that we will put some of his medals in the coffin with him. I think that's what he would've wanted."

• The wake is at Block 12 North Bridge Road and the cortege leaves for Mandai Crematorium at 6.30pm tomorrow.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2019, with the headline 'Singapore's marathon centurion dies'. Print Edition | Subscribe