“Age is really just a number – it never bothers me at all. I am always proud of my age,” asserts Lee Yau Hoon. At 72, she’s the oldest participant in the half marathon 21.1km category at this year’s Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM).
A step up from the 10km run and a stepping stone towards a full marathon, a half marathon race is a testing run in its own right. Running such a long distance is a feat in itself for someone half her age, much less for someone in her early seventies.
“It never crossed my mind that I would be conquering a distance as far as a half marathon one day,” Yau Hoon reflects. “I was a runner back in my secondary school days, but I stopped running after that.”
It was only years later when she picked up the exercise again, at the age of 52. She was spurred to do so after a health check-up. “In 2002, I was told by my doctor that I had osteoporosis. I was advised to do high impact exercise such as jogging, and hence from that year on, I decided to jog on a regular basis. I cover three to five km daily, at a slow pace of 10min/km.”
This year, she decided to sign up for the half marathon when her son, Tee Kuan Hong, encouraged her to join him in the race. “I was initially reluctant and was thinking of just taking part in the 10 km run, but Kuan Hong told me that he will be pacing me throughout the race. This helped to boost my confidence, and it also fulfils my dream of participating in an official half marathon run!!”
She doesn’t anticipate slowing down anytime soon, and she’s gunning for a personal best at this year’s race. “With SCSM as the biggest mass run after the pandemic, I am definitely excited for the running experience in the heart of Singapore alongside many other like-minded runners, as we aim to run a good race!”
Here, Yau Hoon shares more about how she went from jogging to running a half marathon, her motivation behind running, as well as advice for other runners who hope to follow in her footsteps.