Sundown Marathon a stepping stone for Jie Shi and ActiveSG Athletics Club teammates
31 May 2018
By Wong Jeng Teng
Members of the public running in the 10km category at the Sundown Marathon last Saturday evening were joined by one of TeamSG’s very own – Olympian and marathoner Neo Jie Shi, who took part in the team challenge alongside three of her training mates from the ActiveSG Athletics Club.
Jie Shi (center in yellow) with race organisers and spexBusiness partner OSIM
The 33-year-old was invited to take part in the run by race organisers and spexBusiness partner OSIM, who were inspired by her athlete journey. Lynn Tan, Deputy Managing Director of OSIM, said: “[Jie Shi’s] rise from a recreational runner to Olympic marathoner in five years is one that truly inspires us, and hopefully, our runners as well, showing them that a healthy and active lifestyle is within everyone’s reach.”
Taking part in the race as a national athlete, Jie Shi shared similar sentiments. She said: “I hope that [TeamSG’s] presence at local races like these can be an inspiration and motivation to all the amateur and recreational runners, [and] in a way, motivate them to give their best.”
The 10km race was flagged off from the F1 Pit Building, and it saw close to 6,000 participants, many of whom are members of the local running community that Jie Shi is a part of, push themselves to achieve their best timings.
“It’s always a very fun thing to attend these races, to get to mingle with friends, and others [in the] running community,” Jie Shi expressed.
(L to R) Mary-Lisa Chua, Belle Tan, Neo Jie Shi and Faith Lee
After all, she was also taking part in the 10km team challenge with her friends, Mary-Lisa Chua, Belle Tan, and Faith Lee from the ActiveSG Athletics Club. The quartet have all been training under Coach Steven Quek, who heads the club’s long-distance running division.
Steven, who was also Jie Shi’s coach during her preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympics, was the reason that she signed up with the ActiveSG Athletics Club. She revealed: “After the Olympics, I decided to continue training with him, and at that point of time, he was heading the ActiveSG Athletics Club long-distance running [team], so naturally I signed up with the programme.”
Jie Shi at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
“The best thing about Mr [Steven] Quek’s programme, and especially in a club like ActiveSG that’s open to everyone, is that he really tailors the programme to your own objectives, in your own capacity,” said 23-year-old Faith.
Both Jie Shi and Faith also mentioned that they train in pace groups, which helps to keep them motivated and encourages them to press on even when they are tired.
“It’s just like a moving train, and we will keep moving, tied to each other’s energy,” Jie Shi elaborated.
Faith added: “You get to run together and enjoy the process of running as a team! That is really a good environment to grow as a team, but also to push yourself as individuals, and pursue your own goals.”
Jie Shi with her running mates from the ActiveSG Athletics Academy
While Jie Shi and her team did not manage a podium finish on Saturday, the race was a good form of training, and they have set their sights on other upcoming events such as the Army Half Marathon and the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.
“I was slightly faster and I felt more in control compared to the last race I did in April. It actually has me feeling more motivated to train harder for future races,” Jie Shi shared, discussing how her first race in months had left her feeling upbeat on her chances of notching strong performances soon.
“I’m confident that I will be getting back in shape, and hopefully aim for a better timing [later this year],” she stated.