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A 77-year-old who conquered 73 storeys

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Participants eager to get a head start at the flag off for the Swissotel Vertical Marathon 2013. (Photo by Alan Gwee)

The widely anticipated annual Swissotel Vertical Marathon returned with a larger pool of participants. Swissôtel The Stamford was abuzz with folks coming from all walks of life as they gathered and participated in the annual vertical marathon on the 24th of November 2013. This is the 26th year of the event since it’s inauguration in 1987.

Looking sturdy and towering at a height of 226 meters, the hospitality icon boasts a whopping 73 storeys high which is equivalent to 1,336 steps. Since its inception, it has been deemed as ‘Asia’s most grueling Vertical Marathon’.

Upon completion of the marathon, participants were greeted by the skyline of Singapore’s Central Business District when they arrived at the helipad, the end point of the race.

Participants were mainly categorized by their age and gender; other categories include the ‘Buddies & Besties Challenge’ and the ‘Sunrise Team Challenge’.

We usually think of marathon runners as young and robust, but Mr Teo Chuan Hock has definitely corrected that perception.

Mr Teo Hock Chuan ending the marathon with a smile on his face as he holds his medal proudly. (Photo by Lawrence Ang)

Mr Teo, a bank operations officer, celebrated his 77th birthday a day before the marathon. He is the oldest participant. Decked in sports attire, he looked sharp and definitely not any less sporty than the younger partakers.

The veteran who has been actively exercising since he was 17 years old has taken part in a wide range of marathons and some of his track records include the Standard Chartered Marathon, Army Half Marathon by SAFRA and the Passion Run by People’s Association.

Mr Teo revealed to us that he exercises one to two hours daily in the form of jogging or taking brisk walks and started to condition himself three months prior the yearly challenge by conquering the flight of stairs that comprises of 60 steps at an overhead bridge that is situated at Simei Park thrice a week.

“People must realize that exercising will benefit only if they keep going, not otherwise. Like myself, I realized it will benefit as long as I keep on going. And I can enjoy my life, like at this age I can still move around, and eat whatever I wish to eat,” says Mr Teo who is a firm believer of the concept of consistency.

Mr Teo cited himself as a living example of his belief that exercising is beneficial. “To be very frank with you, I don’t fall sick easily. I don’t see doctors often. I can assure you that you won’t find my name in the patient records of clinics that are in Simei (where he is residing currently).”

The vertical challenge came to a close with a prize presentation ceremony and Mr Teo was conferred the award of being the oldest participant. After he received the award the crowd sang him a belated birthday song which was indeed heartwarming.
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