Redsports: Mok Ying Ren returns from injury to finish as fastest S’porean marathoner for 3rd straight year

Padang, Sunday, December 4, 2011 — Mok Ying Ren finished as the fastest local marathon runner again this morning at the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore.

Mok, 23, clocked 2:46:00.28 to win the local category for the third year in a row. Ang Chee Yong (2:49:01.28) was second while Paul Soon Suan Boon (2:49:31.16) was third.

Mok clocked a then personal best (PB) of 2:43:42 at last year’s 2010 marathon. This year, he set a new PB of 2:26:34 at the 2011 Christchurch Marathon.

Mok was set to compete at the 2011 SEA Games in both the marathon and 5,000m — where he set a national record time of 14:51.09 in May 2011 — before a sole injury in August forced him to pull out of the games.

Said Mok, a National University of Singapore medical student: “I feel very fortunate with the support I got from SSC and SSA. I got injured in August and aggravated it badly when defending my title at the Army Half Marathon. I had to take 3 months off while focusing on evidence based rehabilitation and cross training.”

“Under consultation with Dr Cormac O’Muircheartaigh from SSC, my training advisor Jason Lawrence and Mr Kunalan from SAA, we decided to withdraw from the SEA Games. I started jogging four weeks ago with my first run being 5km, then 10km and so on, as I built up slowly. And here I am. I had clearance to run the Singapore Marathon and it seems that the injury management was well optimized and the decision to forgo the SEA Games was a good one as I ended the year on a high note without aggravating my injury,” added Mok.

When asked about missing out on the SEA Games, Mok said: “It was a tough decision to make but I had to do it to ensure that I did not further aggravate the injury. I have been trying to qualify for the SEA Games for the past four years ever since Triathlon was not in the events list. [Mok won the 2007 SEA Games triathlon gold.] And this year I manage to qualify for the 5,000m (while) in Japan. So I was disappointed but as an athlete we sometimes need to make tough decisions in order to bring the best out of ourselves.”

For Mok, winning his third in a row despite the injury made the win memorable.

“I think this year is even sweeter due to the very fact that I had to lay off for such a long time but utilizing evidence based cross training, I was able to maintain a reasonable level of general fitness,” said Mok.

“And with one month of build up, I was fortunately able to get myself as prepared as I could be. In fact just two weeks ago, the top of my feet got swollen due to possible extensor tendonitis and that got me worried. But I monitored and adjusted accordingly and managed to get myself on the starting line.

“I am also very fortunate to have Jason Lawrence, my training partner, to pace me throughout the race and have fun along the way. My girlfriend Dinah Chan helped by cycling along ECP and giving my splits at certain markers. It was awesome. I also want to thank my friends who stood along the way to support me and my fans who cheered for me all along ECP. Really appreciate it.”

On his running plans for 2012, Mok felt it is going to be a tough juggle.

“Well, it’s going to get tough. My final exams are in March and I start work in May. It’s going to be tough with night calls and everything as a house officer in the hospitals and I just need to figure out somehow to keep running. But I believe it’s possible and I hope more Singaporeans will start running to keep a healthy lifestyle,” said Mok.

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