Pounding the pavement for charity, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Pounding the pavement for charity

Marathons are won more by rational decision-making than through motivational bursts of energy.

So said Singapore lawyer Ramesh Selvaraj, who endured a heatwave to complete the Boston Marathon in the United States last month.

The 45-year-old took 4 hours and 30 minutes to complete the 42km route.

Significantly, the race in Boston was the sixth and final “star” Mr Ramesh needed to earn his Six Star medal from the Abbott World Marathon Majors.

The medal is bestowed on runners who complete – without time limit – the six major marathons around the world, namely the Tokyo, Boston, London, New York City, Berlin and Chicago marathons.

According to the Abbot World Marathon Majors website, Mr Ramesh is among 112 runners from Singapore to achieve the feat since the medal was first awarded in 2016. He completed five out of six marathons within the last two years.

But it wasn’t just for personal glory – Mr Ramesh, who is a partner at Allen and Gledhill law firm, ran to also raise funds for The Ashram, a halfway house run by the Hindu Endowments Board.

At the end of the six races, he raised $22,000 through the Giving.sg platform.

The journey was not without its twists, MrRamesh told Tabla.

In Boston, he had expected cold weather before his arrival on April 12. But he was surprised when the weather gradually turned before race day on April 15.

“When I arrived it was cold, but leading up to the day of the race, the chilly weather was replaced by dry heat of 22 to 23 deg C,” he said.

“I had to drink more than a litre of water daily before the marathon, to ensure a safe level of hydration,” he said, adding that during the previous five marathons, he ran in cooler temperatures.

Taking place during Patriots’ Day, a state holiday in Massachusetts that commemorates the start of the American Revolution, Mr Ramesh said the marathon comprised a host of fringe events such as food fairs, lending a unique festive vibe to the affair.

“The entire town stopped for the marathon, with road closures and celebrations throughout,” he said.

Weather aside, Mr Ramesh pointed out that the Boston marathon was the toughest of the six majors because of its numerous upward slopes.

“In order to train for the Boston marathon, I would suggest runners from Singapore to train at sloped areas such as Mount Faber, like what I did,” he said.

Mr Ramesh said he was close to giving up on more than one occasion due to the unexpected heat and undulating route.

“I was okay until the 27km mark. We entered a town called Newton, which is famous for its hills, 5km of rolling hills. The end of the stretch is known as ‘heartbreak hill’, which is the most difficult to ascend.

“At the 33km mark, I was so tired that I thought I could not complete the race. Several runners dropped out at this point.”

At one point, one of the runners splashed cold water on his face to spur him on.

Thinking of the coveted medal waiting for him at the end, Mr Ramesh endured his aching quadriceps and abdomen and pushed on till the end.

Back home, Mr Ramesh continues to be active with his running group, Thaaru Maaru Runners, which he co-founded in 2017 to encourage those in the Indian community to keep active.

Beginning with just 40 runners, the group has grown to more than 1,500 members, having surged in popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Other than just organising runs, the group also participates in fundraisers and mentorship programmes to help the Indian community.

The runners raised $90,000 through a charity run they organised in April 2022, when they were joined by Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam.