In September 2022, Prof Ansgar Cheng flew to Berlin to participate in the BMW Berlin Marathon, one of the major world marathons. There were many highlights during the race, including a new marathon world record and attendance by Brazilian soccer legend, Kaká, who completed the marathon in 3:38:06.
Prof Ansgar Cheng achieved a timing of 2:53:17 for the marathon, coming in at the top ~3% of the 40,000 runners. We sat down with him to learn more about his experience with the race.
What do you think of your performance at your recent marathon? Are you happy with your results?
The Berlin Marathon is known for its fast, flat course and cool weather – the three main extrinsic factors for a good run. A new world record was created at the event this year. Although my results were 10 seconds slower than my personal best timing (Singapore Master Track & Field Record), I am thankful that I did not get a new injury out of the race. I also received a trophy for Teacher’s Day from my NUS Graduate students upon my return.
What did you enjoy the most and the least about the run?
The overall atmosphere of the run was lovely. Throughout the 42km route, spectators lined up at every corner to cheer us on. Having 40,000 great runners en route was a phenomenal feeling. Even though I did not bump into any familiar faces during the race, I knew many of my old and new friends (too many to name) were running together.
In memory of my parents and my team captain, Mr Lim Thow Wee, I ran the race in black gloves to chase their dreams and see the world on their behalf, knowing that they are in a much happier place.
As major international marathons are popular, runners must ballot (about 20% chance) for a spot. With much luck, I qualified to run the fastest marathon in the world after a few previous podium finishes in the masters category. To me, it was my “Olympic” moment (please don’t laugh😅) which felt phenomenal.
I went into the run prepared, with a very relaxed mind, injury-free and a well-rested body. As always, aiming to achieve my personal best was my goal, but the execution fell short this time. It is the pursuit that counts. If it is easy, it is not precious.
How did you prepare for this marathon?
Preparation included many early morning runs before sunrise along with a balanced diet and rest. In my humble opinion, these are the running trinity. A run like this would not be possible without a great coach, supportive teams at work (Specialist Dental Group, NUS, HKU, etc.) who accommodate my schedule, and a wonderful spouse and family members who gave unlimited support throughout the years.
What are some of your plans and hopes for your next run?
My next upcoming run is the Singapore Marathon in December 2022. It is the annual occasion to run with many great local runners. I am looking forward to this fun event!