Mok Ying Ren started swimming at the age of 11. He went on to pick up triathlon during his college days in Raffles Junior College. Today, he is one of Singapore’s fastest marathon runner (A National Record Holder, SEA Games Gold Medalist and 2x Singapore Marathon Local champion).
Despite his busy schedule in medical school, he decided to concentrate on running as he feels that it is an extremely time efficient sport. He said, “A typical run starts from your own doorstep and ends when you finish at your doorstep. No time is wasted traveling.”
His success today is not without failure.
“I failed to qualify for the 2005 SEA Games in triathlon when I finished 3rd in the trials. Only the first 2 got to qualify. Thus, for the next 2 years I worked harder and qualified for it in 2007, winning the gold medal eventually. If you do not work hard and prove yourself, no one will owe you a second chance. This incident shows that in all aspects of life, one needs to prove that he/she is deserving of the second chance given.“
On supporting the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run, he shared that this event is a great opportunity to highlight the importance of giving second chances.
“As runners, we like to be given second chances to break our own Personal-Bests when we do not break them at a particular run. That is why as runners, we can't wait to take part in the next race to strive and achieve a new Personal-Best. Similarly, deserving ex-offenders should be given second chances in life so that they can becoming contributing members of society after their release. Every one makes mistakes and if they are willing to start anew, we as a society, should show them our support. “
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RUNFREE club members raring to go
Organised by ISCOS, a co-operative for ex-offenders that provides aftercare services to help in their reintegration into society, the first run was a success with 10 ISCOS volunteers, Yellow Ribbon Project supporters and ex-offenders turning up on a balmy morning at Bedok Reservoir Park.
The runners were excited and in good spirits, and everyone was ready to start on this journey, not only towards a fit and healthy life, but also to encourage ex-offenders towards a better life.
Shariff, or more popularly known as the Singapore Blade Runner, also attended the run in support of the Yellow Ribbon cause. A local ultra-marathon runner and amputee, he serves as an inspirational role model for ex-offenders and members of the RUNFREE club.
The short 4.3km run around Bedok reservoir ended off with Shariff sharing tips on running postures and training for marathons. A friendly tip for all budding marathon runners who are wondering about the pre-run diet:
“Durians can be taken before a marathon. The sugar and calories will give you a stronger edge and more energy to last on long runs.”
An ISCOS member who took part in the run said,
“I used to run alone after my release from prison as a way to keep fit and de-stress. I’m ecstatic that ISCOS has organised a running club and hope to make new friends who share a common interest.”
The RUNFREE club will be organising weekly runs and would like to invite running enthusiasts and supporters to join them. Do share this with your friends and leave us a comment at http://www.facebook.com/yellowribbonproj if you’d like to be kept updated on RUNFREE club’s schedule.
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A total of 9000 runners registered this year and a total of $50,000 was raised for the Yellow Ribbon Fund to help ex-offenders and their families.
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