ST Run: 'Fast friends' Carol Goh and Connie Liang united by love for running

Carol Goh (left) and Connie Liang jog along the ST Run route outside the Flower Dome.
Carol Goh (left) and Connie Liang jog along the ST Run route outside the Flower Dome.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

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

After all, the regulars at local running events got to know each other better because they ran at a similar 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 and we're also the ones who are always getting other friends to join our training sessions," said Liang, 51.

Goh and Liang are among 27 NBRC members who have signed up for The Straits Times Run on Sunday (Sept 23). Nine are from Singapore and the other 18 are from Malaysia.

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 home maker, 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 and successfully completed the same 10km run in 2008 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. The administrative manager used to be "very lazy" and struggled to run just one 400m round. 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 just 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 the 18.45km this year.

They will be joined by club-mate Azrizal Hussin, who hails from Malaysia. 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."

ROAD CLOSURES/AFFECTED BUS SERVICES

SBS Transit has announced that 25 of its bus services - 7, 10, 13, 14, 16, 32, 33, 51, 56, 57, 63, 70M, 80, 100, 111, 130, 131, 133, 141, 145, 162M, 175, 195, 196 and 197 - will be affected by road closures for the Sept 23 event. They will skip stops along Collyer Quay, Crawford Street, Kallang Road, Nicoll Highway and Raffles Avenue from 5.30am to 10.30am that day. For more information , visit www.straitstimesrun.com

YOU CAN STILL SIGN UP

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

There are three categories:

5km: $50/loyal runner rate: $38

10km: $60/$48

18.45km: $70/$58