Runners Convention 2015


The Suntec City Convention Center became the hub for the inaugural Runners Convention 2015. This 2 day event organized by Train Live Compete (TLC) brought together some of the best athletes, experts and brands from around the world to the running community in Singapore.

I first got to know of the plans for the event after meeting the organizer, Wei Yong as well as Samantha in a 4 Deserts sharing session last year (do check out their interview here). After many months of planning and preparation by the organizing committee, the event went underway on the 7th of February, 2015.

The first order of the day was to register in and collect the event goody bag from the TLC booth, which opened early as compared to the surrounding retailers booth.

Queuing up to collect the goody bag early in the morning.

Queuing up to collect the goody bag early in the morning.

A quick overview of the goody bag. Do note that the Compressport R2 Quads are for participants who signed up for the early bird rate.

A quick overview of the goody bag. Do note that the Compressport R2 Quads are for participants who signed up for the early bird rate.

After the collection, I made my way into the meeting room just as Wei Yong, the founder of TLC was giving her introductory speech, shortly before passing the stage to Lizzy Hawker.

Wei Yong giving a short introductory speech to the participants of the first day of the convention.

Wei Yong giving a short introductory speech to the participants of the first day of the convention.

Lizzy Hawker has been a notable figure in the ultra-running community. She has won the Ultra-trail Du Mont Blanc 5 times and was a former 24-hour road running world record holder. 2014 had her facing some setbacks in terms of injury which forced her to take time off from running.

Her presentation began with a narrative of her stories as an endurance athlete, her journeys, thoughts and passion about the sport. She spoke of her beginnings as a runner and how the opportunities she took lead up to where she was now.

Lizzy Hawker glancing over her presentation notes.

Lizzy Hawker glancing over her presentation notes.

Lizzy also highlighted to participants a clip of the Mustang Trail Race that she had participated in 2013. (Click here to find out more about the race.)

The next speaker was Ricky Lightfoot, the Salomon athlete from the UK. This was his second outing to Singapore, the previous being in 2012 where he won The North Face 100 Singapore in a time of  8hr 37min 59sec.

His presentation was aptly titled ‘How to train efficiently (Balancing Work, Training and your Commitments)‘. Many of us would like to believe that most of the elite trail running athletes that we look up making running as a career. However, a majority of them own a regular job, as with the case of Ricky, who works as a fire fighter.

Ricky Lightfoot, Salomon UK Athlete

Ricky Lightfoot giving his presentation on how to train efficiently (Balancing Work, Training and your Commitments)

Ricky differs from his peers in that he emphasizes a lot on shorter, faster runs, as well as a lot of core workouts. Due to his work and family commitments, he prefers do squeeze in shorter runs (by time) or hill repeats at a nearby hill, instead of travelling 15-20 minutes to the closest proper trail for training. The fact that he can spend about 7 days a week running while managing work and family was very impressive.

Here are some of his tips from the presentation.

Runners Convention 2015 - 09Runners Convention 2015 - 08

A feature episode of Ricky Lightfoot entitled ‘Of Fells and Hills‘ can be viewed below.

After the break, two more speakers went on with their presentations. The first was by Dr Michael Soon Yee Hoong, Orthopaedic Specialist of Mount Elizabeth Hospital entitled ‘Understand more on your injury and what exactly causes it‘. The second was ‘All about your Gear and Nutrition‘ by Samantha Fanshawe, 4 Deserts – President of Events.

Samantha Fanshawe, President of Events for the 4 Deserts Race Series

Samantha advising the participants on selecting the right equipment; nutrition and hydration; race strategy; and some common mistakes made.

The last segment before lunch was a panel discussion consisting of the keynote speakers and invited guests. Many of the questions posed to the speakers included runners who were transitioning from road to trail, marathons to ultra-marathons, as well as injury prevention, gear choice and how to stay motivated.

Panel Discussion

Left to right: Jeri Chua, Ricky Lightfoot, Lizzy Hawker, Dr. Michael, Corrado Giambalvo and Samantha Fanshawe

Managed to catch up abit with Aman, the SAC/TMBT Race director who was in town for the convention.

Managed to catch up a bit with Aman, the SAC/TMBT Race director who was in town for the convention.

After a short lunch break, participants who chose the running session with either Lizzy or Ricky boarded a bus bound for the trails. For the group that would be running with Ricky, the bus dropped them at Rifle Range Road, just outside the Army Camp.

There, Ricky led us for a practical demonstration on hill repeat training, as well as techniques on how to run uphill and downhill safely and efficiently. The session ended with a round trip back to Rifle Range Road. (See Strava log)

Before the training session began - not sweating yet.

Before the training session began – not sweating yet.

After the training session began - sweating from the humidity!

After the training session began – sweating from the humidity!

A quick last photo with Ricky before he goes off to meet the 2nd group.

A quick last photo with Ricky before he goes off to meet the 2nd group.

Check out the video below of the training conducted by Ricky Lightfoot.

 

After coming back from the training run, I went over to the 4 Deserts training booth to catch up with Samantha. The booth was littered with items from the 4 Deserts Event as well as sample items from the Racing The Planet Flagship store in Hong Kong.

4 Deserts Booth

4 Deserts Booth

Flags at the 4 Deserts Booth for all the 4 events.

Flags at the 4 Deserts Booth for all the 4 events.

Medals from all the 4 events as well as the Grand Slam Medal should one complete all 4 races.

Medals from all the 4 events as well as the Grand Slam Medal should one complete all 4 races.

With Samantha and a new friend!

With Samantha and a new friend!

In short, the convention gave runners the opportunity to meet and interact with some of worlds elite trail runners and gain insight to how they approach and live the sport. It also brought together all kinds of runners, from the seasoned ones to the new trail runner taking on their first ultras and from the road runners wanting to know how it’s like to join the other side. It has been fun catching up with friends and making new ones along the way. I hope the convention returns again next year!

With Ricky Lightfoot and Lizzy Hawker

With Ricky Lightfoot and Lizzy Hawker

Relevant links and media coverage:

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