LIV3LY: When did you start running, what made you decide to start, and what kept you going?
Lance: I started running 12 years ago by signing up a marathon on a whim. It was a traumatic 6 hours of my life as I sustained extremely sore muscles for weeks after the marathon, due to attempting it without much proper training. However, it felt like an unclosed chapter, so I decided to attempt the run again the next year and realized that I could have done better in different areas of the run; That’s when I got hooked to the sport.
Several ‘personal best’ timings were achieved along this journey, and with each new ‘personal best’, I went on to set higher and more challenging goals - which is what kept me going, as I feel there is still much more to achieve. Besides being on the journey to fulfil my personal goals, I have also taken part in several pacing programs, so as to give back to the community and also help others achieve their own goals.
LIV3LY: What do you define as the most rewarding thing about running?
Lance: I believe that health should be a high priority on everyone’s list, and making time to exercise is important. So, being able to run and to keep a healthy and balanced lifestyle is something I aim to achieve.
LIV3LY: How do you strike a balance between the need to run, and the realities of life such as going to work?
Lance: Plan your day properly. As compared to other sports, running does not take up much of your time. Everyone has different priorities in life and I believe that health should be highest on that list. Sometimes, it’s all about making time to try to exercise because it is important no matter how busy you are.
LIV3LY: You recently took part in the ASICS Beat the Sun challenge, which required runners to literally beat the clock. Can you share your experience of it?
Lance: The ASICS Beat The Sun is an annual unique relay race that sees intercontinental teams competing against each other and nature’s clock at Chamonix. This year, 8 teams (made up of professional and amateur runners) will compete and tackle Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest peak at Chamonix in just 15 hours, 41 minutes and 35 seconds to cover a 130km course, across varied altitudes and terrain - including trail, road and alpine - whilst crossing France, Italy and Switzerland in the space of just one day!
As for training, Singapore is mostly flats and the highest elevation we have here are incomparable to that in Mont Blanc. Highest altitude in Singapore will probably be lesser than 200m while the town we stayed in France, Chamonix was already 1000m above sea level. Repeating rolling hills in Singapore is the best that can be offered here. In Mont Blanc, we can run into long inclines or declines and these are more challenging when the oxygen level depletes as we climb. I was feeling slightly uncomfortable during my first run there but it got better after the second one onwards so I would say the training helps.
It was an unforgettable experience as I met many inspiring runners during this challenge. I was even motivated to train harder due to the tough terrain expected and the responsibility of not doing this just for myself but for the team and the supporters who had helped me reach there. The entire ASICS team was very supportive during the whole event, ensuring that we are in the best hands in terms of training, logistics, understanding the competition format and safety being the highest priority.
During the challenge, what amazed me was the scenery at Mont Blanc with the endless mountains surrounding me. The weather was cold and as we went higher up the mountains towards my first starting point, it got even colder.
When I started my leg, it was an upward climbing of uneven, rocky grounds and suddenly I met snow. The air was quite thin as I was breathing pretty hard. It was a constant crossing of snow after that until I reached the peak where it was raining at that period, and it got much colder. My vision was partially blurred due to the rain falling onto my shades while crossing a field of whites. There was the descending part where the soil eroded due to the rain and there was some fear of slipping off the cliff.
LIV3LY: What advice would you give to aspiring runners who struggle to juggle between running and the realities of life?
Lance: Like previously mentioned, planning in advance is something you will learn and master along the way, so that you can fit a couple of hours weekly to keep a healthy lifestyle. For example, you can wake up early for your morning run before work if you start work late, or include a 30 minutes workout during lunch if you have a long lunch break.
If mornings are not your thing, an hour of run before your dinner time would do the trick. Additionally, you might want to dedicate a couple of hours during weekends to working out, before enjoying your social and family day. If you're a frequent traveller, you might want to explore a new route (if the country is safe enough) or hit the treadmill if you stay in a hotel that has one. I'm sure you can find the best fit.
LIV3LY: Thanks Lance Sum, your experience at ASICS Beat The Sun Challenge is particularly inspiring for budding runners! Kudos to your courage and determination!