Newly-wed Soh Rui Yong breaks two Singapore records at Valencia Half Marathon
Three days after getting married on Sept 12, national marathoner Soh Rui Yong embarked on a trip to Saint Moritz.
But, instead of a honeymoon at a posh ski resort with his wife June Zhang, Soh was in Switzerland for an intensive training camp to prepare for the Oct 22 Valencia Half Marathon.
For 16 straight days, the 32-year-old tackled the cross-country trails of the Swiss alps in high-altitude conditions.
There, he would clock an average of 18km a day.
Soh’s efforts paid off last Sunday in Spain, where he set two national records.
His official time of 66min 45sec, which placed him 60th out of 221 competitors, was a second faster than his previous mark set in 2019.
The holder of five Singapore records – 5,000m, 10,000m, half marathon, marathon and 5km road – Soh added a sixth to his collection.
With his 10km split timing of 31:39, he bettered the 10km road record of 32:10 co-held by Mok Ying Ren and Jeevaneesh Soundararajah.
The only other Singaporean in the field, Shaun Goh, 26, came in a respectable 117th in Valencia in 69:35
He is one of three locals, besides Soh and Mok (67:08), to post a sub-70 minute effort in a half marathon.
Soh, who reads law at University College London, said: “It was a very stressful last seven kilometres and if, I wasn’t so close to the record, I wouldn’t have been as stressed.
“But, because I was so close and it was going to be a matter of seconds, I put my head down and really told myself I really got to go for this.”
It proved to be a “clutch moment” for Soh, who signed up for the half marathon following his exclusion from the Hangzhou Asian Games contingent by the Singapore National Olympic Council.
He said: “That was a bit of an annoyance for me and I wanted to channel this frustration into training for something big. And I was like all right, you know what, Valencia Half Marathon.”
The coastal city has proved to be a happy hunting ground for the Soh, who set his national marathon record in Dec 5, 2021 at the same venue.
“National records are cool, but I’m also very aware that Singapore is a small country,” he said.
“I train hard so I can improve the state of Singapore running on the global level. I want to make it to a level where it’s you know, somewhat respectable.”
Besides participating in monthly cross-country races with his club Clapham Chasers in London’s Surrey League Division 1, Soh will compete in the full marathon at December’s National Championships at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.
He also plans to take part in the London Marathon in April 24.
He believes, given his half marathon timings, he could complete the 42.195km marathon in under two hours and 20 minutes.
His personal best is 2:22:59. He noted: “With my half marathon time now, I believe it is really possible.
“It’s just a matter of putting in the mileage to get ready for it.”