On a wet Easter Sunday morning (4 April 2021), Dr Ansgar Cheng (Dental Specialist in Prosthodontics), was one of the 250 runners who participated in the Leaderboard 5km Finale Run.
This is a significant event as this was the second mass participation race to be held in Singapore since sport competitions (and many other things) came to a halt during circuit breaker in April last year.
It is also the first running competition that Dr Cheng participated in since Covid-19 started. Dr Cheng shared that: “Back in 2019, I ran four marathons, which is considered a lot for amateurs or professional runners. Now, this is the first since December 2019. It feels great to race again, but it feels so unfamiliar now.”
Leaderboard, a “blended” sporting event initiative, engages its participants virtually and physically. 6,000 participants competed in the virtual event where they clock their best timing for 5km. The fastest 30 male and female participants from each month (December 2020 to March 2021) are then invited to participate in Sunday’s finale run.
Organisers incorporated the following Covid-19 safe distancing measures to ensure the safety of participants:
- Encouraging runners to arrive no earlier than 25 minutes before allocated race time to prevent mingling
- Flagging off in groups of eight, with a five minute interval between each wave
- Each wave only has four runners, who then set off in 10-second intervals
- Stickers on the floor to remind runners to keep a two-metre safe distance
- Masks can only be removed a few minutes before flag off
- No spectators allowed for the event
Running with Nicholas Rachmadi
This finale run was also very special as Dr Ansgar Cheng was in the same wave as Nicholas Rachmadi, a SEA Games triathlete. Nicholas won a silver medal for Singapore in 2019 and recently graduated from Singapore Sports School with excellent IB results. He is currently serving National Service.
Dr Cheng and Nicholas first met during Relay Majulah, an initiative which gathered 200 runners to conquer 2,000km in 8 days to raise funds for President’s Challenge. Coincidentally, Nicholas was also in the same cycling group as Dr Neo Tee Khin (Dental Specialist in Prosthodontics). He then came to our clinic to observe the work of our team of dental specialists.
Dr Cheng recounted his experience with Nicholas on race day, “Prior to this, we did a few running/training sessions and we did not know we entered the same race and was placed in the same subgroup (known as wave).” He jokingly added: “At almost three times of Nicholas’ age and in spite of having three times more training than him, I did not manage to outrun him.” Nicholas came in fourth overall and Dr Cheng was seventh.
It was a good result for Nicholas. “I went into this race aiming for a personal best and I managed to achieve it, so I’m happy! Also, it was a week before the SEA Games Triathlon selection race, so having achieved my target, I felt more confident walking into the selection race.” Apart from achieving his personal best, it is the opportunity to catch up with longtime rivals and friends that made this run significant to Nicholas. He went on to say, “Covid-19 has really made it challenging for everyone and I believe all the competitors at this event were grateful for the opportunity to participate”.
Dr Cheng shares the same sentiments. “In running, what I like is the friends I made along the way in training and races as we endure the lengthy process together. Strangers become close buddies under the same running passion. As one of the more senior competitive runners, it is always fun to race and train shoulder to shoulder with younger runners.”
We wish Nicholas the very best as he is working hard towards his goal of qualifying for the Triathlon event in the upcoming SEA Games 2021. The latest update we heard is that Nicholas has been offered both MBBS (medical) and BDS (dentistry) as options for his university education. The little birds in our ears tell us that he will choose…. 😉