City News profiles one of CHC’s most accomplished road runners.
Lim Leong, 31, has a good heart—in every sense. The founder of market research and branding consultancy firm INGENS and partner of a sports event company, Epic ESR, has completed four marathons and two Ironman races in Australia and New Zealand. He also recently received the Community Leader award from the Southeast District Mayor for his volunteer work. He tells us about his experience competing in the Ironman Switzerland, which took place in July this year.
|PHOTO COURTESY OF LIM LEONG
Ironman Switzerland 2010 was to be my third Ironman Finisher before I hit my 31st birthday. It was also to be the toughest race I have ever encountered as it has a shorter cut-off time of 16 hours instead of the usual 17 hours. I DNF (“Did Not Finish”) 10km into the marathon leg. The 180km bike course around Zurich’s countryside totalled 1,260m of climbing and that took a lot out of me. The scenery was breathtaking but the steep uphill route was a big struggle for someone who only trained in “pancake flat” Singapore. I came off the bike totally exhausted and my right ankle was swollen. I struggled to run but I knew I would not make the cut-off time based on my snail pace, so I threw in the towel.
I was very disappointed but I knew why God allowed it to happen. It was an adversity which He wanted me to experience. This year happens to be the year I started my own consultancy firm. I believe He wanted me to learn that no matter how prepared you think you are, you also need to be prepared for disappointments and failures. I applied that to the running of my business today. This DNF taught me a lot about “failing forward”, which is very important for any entrepreneur. If I had finished this race, it would be just another medal to my collection, and that would have been a lot less meaningful.
What advice do you have for novice runners?
Do try to be realistic with your goals. As a beginner, you should aim to complete a run rather than beat your friend’s timing. Run your own race and have fun. Pray for good weather and plan your nutrition wisely. A good engine still needs fuel to run properly.
How do you bring your running to the next level?
I do tempo runs which consist of short bursts during a long run in place of only doing long mileages, where we keep to a certain heart rate and pace. Tempo runs are like interval training which gives you increased fitness within a shorter time but it is definitely more exhausting. I average about 50km of running each week on top of swimming and biking.
What are your other interests outside of endurance sports?
I like to scuba dive and hike. I’m planning a hiking-cum-volunteering trip next year to teach English to young kids in a Nepalese village.
What would be your ultimate race?
Crossing the finishing line of an Ironman race when I am in my 70s. I want to “walk the talk” about active ageing—it’s my vision and I plan to live up to it.