Being tossed around by waves and getting sunburnt is par for the course for Singapore para-sailor Ng Xiu Zhen but a big part of her training is done on terra firma, which is why she will be running at next year's Osim Sundown Marathon.
The 34-year-old, who competed at the 2014 Incheon Asian Para Games and the 2015 Asean Para Games on home soil in the Hansa 303 class, will run in the 5km category at the 12th edition of the event on June 1 next year.
The run will flag off and end at the Pit Building in Marina Bay.
For next year, the marathon will partner RunningHour, a club which pairs volunteer runners with the visually or intellectually challenged, for the first time.
Ng, who has cerebral palsy, is happy to be involved, saying: "Running keeps me healthy and fit. Sailors need strength and stamina to stay out at sea for long hours. So this 5km run is a good way to train.
"Also, I love running alongside my fellow para-athletes because we will run together. The group will wait for the slower ones."
Event organiser Infinitus Productions will contribute funds to the marathon's charity initiative, Sundown with Love. Some of the beneficiaries include the Singapore Disability Sports Council, The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and RunningHour. They will get $1 of the registration fee for every race slot purchased. Runners can also donate to the causes via the official event website.
TRAINING FOR THE SEA ON LAND
Running keeps me healthy and fit. Sailors need strength and stamina to stay out at sea for long hours. So this 5km run is a good way to train.
NG XIU ZHEN, Singaporean para-sailor, on why she is taking part in next year's Osim Sundown Marathon.
The move to champion greater inclusivity in sport was acknowledged by Kelly Fan, executive director of the Singapore Disability Sports Council.
She said: "2019 and 2020 are critical years which will see Singapore's top athletes vying for qualification to the Paralympic and Olympic Games, the world's most prestigious multi-sport events.
"This will be another tough cycle for us as a charity as we support not only top athletes like (swimmer) Yip Pin Xiu towards Paralympic qualification, but also enable talented youth like (swimmer) Wong Zhi Wei to continue their path towards achieving that dream.
"We cannot express our appreciation enough to the Osim Sundown Marathon Singapore organisers for giving us a lift towards our cause."
The race has grown from over 6,000 participants in the inaugural edition to 25,800 last year, attracting runners from countries such as China, India, Japan, France, Britain and the United States.
Next year, there are four categories - 42.195km, 21.1km, 10km (individual and team of four) and 5km (both adults and children).
Darrell Low is a big Sundown fan, an ever-present at every edition. The 38-year-old lawyer has also run in the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon since 2005.
He said: "For the StanChart, you hope the weather will be cloudy. For the Sundown, you don't have to worry about getting baked by the sun but you hope that it will not be cloudy as the humidity can really hit you at around 2-3am."
Low, who averages five hours for the Sundown, believes pounding the pavement in the humid tropical weather is useful when racing in cooler climates.
He explained: "After getting used to Singapore's humidity, I would say I can shave off 30 to 45 minutes in the Tokyo Marathon."