I never thought nor dreamed of becoming a long-distance runner in my life. When my American aunt named Lauri from Seattle visited my home in Davao City, Philippines, and first talked about running as her hobby to me, I was confused about how this activity could be fun or useful. More so especially, when I had a heavier body like this:

Years later, in my then-expatriate life in Singapore, I eventually became a marathon runner after a devastating first heartbreak, home, and job loss, which all occurred at the same time. I needed a way to prove to myself that I could turn things around and I found fitness, more specifically running, was the way to do it.

Since then, I completed 9 full marathons, including 2 50-kilometer ultra-marathons in Asia. I transformed my body, completed some life quests, gained a positive and motivated mindset, and improved my life’s outlook.

It is always possible to become a long-distance runner.

Running became important to me not just as a sport or hobby, but as a method to maintain self-discipline and continuous self-improvement.

Running changed my life and my body.
I lost half of my body because of running.

Now that I live in Roubaix, in Lille Metropolitan in northern France, I am again motivated to do another marathon and have been slowly re-training myself for it while I am still in my 30s.

The thought of running a full marathon has become scary again, especially since the last one I did take place way back in 2016 (see below). Running 42KMs is very, VERY far, but doable — so it requires some training.

This upcoming next marathon, which I have yet to find, would become my 10th one, making it an important milestone for my body and for my life.

Collecting medals from running events in my adult life.

List of Marathons I Completed… By Far!

Here are the marathons I have done in the past by far. Most of these marathons were done within a year. It amazes me now how I have done them!

1, Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2014 – Singapore

How I described it:

“This marathon was very hot but I felt satisfied to complete my first marathon in Singapore, even though I had to run and walk after KM 32”

This is what you do with your new-found friends after you complete your first marathon.

2, Yoma Yangon International Marathon 2015 – Yangon, Myanmar

How I described it:

“Awesome experience – nearly cried out of joy whilst running! The journey moves forward to Japaaaaan!!!

3, Senshu International City Marathon 2015 – Osaka, Japan

How I described it:

Smashed 42.2 kilometres… but I hit the wall. :/ And I fought it sooo hard with tears and blood until the finish line. It appeared that I wore too many layers (I was freezing before the run) but suddenly my core temperature skyrocketed as soon as we started running. I knew I will be in trouble when I saw a very high heart rate (160 bpm) at the first kilometre. Contrast that with Yangon, which was 145 bpm. The massive support of locals in the neighbourhood (they wore fancy costumes… which is expected.. and gave away Meiji chocolates and candies). The buffet of high fives from kids and adults all cheering “Ganbatte!” was a massive morale boost… until from 32 KM, the two large bridges appeared which we had to run twice putting everyone on their knees. It was a mix of pain and pleasure. Pain from leg cramps and cold, pleasure from the fantastic view of the Kansai Airport area. No medals were given but the miso soup made up for that. I did it!

I ended up running a full marathon in Osaka, Japan. It was also my first visit to the country, which was awesome!

4, Translantau 50KM Trail Ultramarathon 2015 – Hong Kong, China

How I described it:

“My first ultra-marathon! Until today, I did not believe it was physically possible to run for 10 hours. It’s amazing how you can experience a full range of emotions in a day in an ultramarathon. From being so pumped, to feel challenged, to get tired, exhausted, fatigued, pained, and despair, then reaffirmation because losing is not an option, until feeling accomplished and victorious upon crossing the finish line. It doesn’t matter how slow you go but complete what you’ve started. I love running, I love trail running”

My full battle gear for the Translantau ultramarathon trail race.
A video blog about my first ultramarathon in Hong Kong.

5, Phuket International Marathon 2015 – Phuket, Thailand

How I described it:

“Failed to establish a new Personal Best (PB). As feared, a repeat of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon experience… except you’ve got 2 massive hills. Super hot and humid, but it was the chafing that killed the legs until I crossed the finish line. Witnessed yet another ‘death march’ and unconscious human beings.”

Running a full-marathon with friends was more fun.

6, MSIG 50KM Action Asia Trail Ultramarathon 2015 – Phuket, Thailand

How I described it:

“Crazy hot ultramarathon in Singapore — only eased because I was running with my Canadian and British friends!”

7, Angkor Empire Full Marathon 2015 – Siem Reap, Cambodia

How I described it:

“My legs gave up in the last 5 kilometres, otherwise sub 4 for sure!”

My race performance at the 2nd Angkor Empire Full Marathon in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

8, Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2015 – Singapore

My race performance at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2015 is shown here.

9, Sundown Night Marathon 2016 – Singapore

First and the only full marathon I’ve ever done at night!

How I described it:

“Midnight run. Garmin ran out of battery. And I thought life would be better without the sun. Shockingly difficult. Cramps all over from 30 KM. My legs are sleeping! Finished 4:22 anyway!”

My 10th Marathon Shortlist: The Marathon X

For sure, I want my 10th marathon to occur in Europe. Here is a shortlist that I am considering but have yet to decide or figure out how to register since slots are hard to come by:

  • Berlin Marathon – Berlin Marathon is a popular marathon running event where many professional athletes delivered their Personal Best. It is very difficult to secure a slot in Berlin Marathon.
You might discover running as something that would change your life too!

If you have any recommendations for a marathon that I should do as my tenth, let me know by writing in the comments below!

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