Featured on Channel NewsAsia

Marathon at 81? Why not? says Singapore’s Oldest Marathon Runner Mr Chan Meng Hui

Chan Meng Hui

Chan Meng Hui

HE HAS been running in marathons for more than 24 years. But Mr Chan Meng Hui is hardly an elite runner like Paula Radcliffe or Haile Gebrselassie.

You see, he is already 81 years old, and usually finishes the gruelling 42.195km route in last place.

For example, he took nearly eight hours to complete 2008 ‘s Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, whereas top runners finished the race in under three hours.

‘I don’t really care about the time,’ he told my paper yesterday at the registration launch of this year’s Singapore Marathon at Raffles Place.

‘I just aim to finish the race, and I will be satisfied.’

Yet, he is just the kind of running enthusiast that the Singapore Marathon should focus on attracting, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development, Youth and Sports Teo Ser Luck.

Mr Teo said that the annual event should refrain from setting qualifying marks to restrict participants from the full marathon.

He said: ‘It is becoming a ‘community’ marathon. The way it has been positioned these few years, it is more as an inspiration for the local people to achieve, much more so than for elite runners.’

Indeed, for this year’s Dec 6 race, organisers are aiming to improve on the overall running experience for all participants.

Along with the 50,000-participant cap, the race categories will also remain the same. Competitors can choose to go for the full marathon, the half marathon (21km), the 10km (men’s, women’s and team), the Standard Chartered Kids Dash or the 10km wheelchair race.

Mr Chan, who identified himself as one of the 150 runners photographed by the organisers for the publicity campaign, was given a complimentary spot in this year’s race.

He said: ‘It’s the best feeling to complete what you set out to do. I will keep running until my legs couldn’t move anymore.’

Mr Chan came to seek Dr Kevin Yip of the Singapore Sports and Orthopaedic Clinic for an assessment so as to continue running till his goal of 100 marathons, after an initial consult and some follow up treatments, Mr Chan stil continues to run and inspire others to take up running.

If you would like to have an assessment on your knee or physical condition do call (+65) 6664 8135 (24 hrs).

Singapore's Oldest Marathon Runner Mr Chan Meng Hui

Singapore's Oldest Marathon Runner Mr Chan Meng Hui

Interview Questions Posed to Mr Chan Meng Hui

What is your age now?
81 years old.

When did you start running?
At the age of 55, after retirement. Before that I was a chain smoker. I was a regular nite club drinker and a bar visitor. I did not engage in much exercise earlier on and I was quite fat with my pot belly out. I was very unfit then, with a height of 1.56m and weight of 65kg.

Why was your reason for taking running as a passion?
Actually, I met some runners who motivated me, especially those from MacRitchie Reservoir, in the past. After meeting them, I took up running as a hobby and over time I was inspired to kick away all bad habits. Thanks to running for giving me the willpower to do this. I also want a new lease of life after my early part of my life. The second part of my life, I wanted my life to be a more meaningful and a healthy one.

Now that you are 80 years old, are you still running?
To date, I am still running. I have done 86 marathons already. The last that I ran was this year, 24th Jan 2010. I ran this in order to remember and celebrate my 80th birthday. The run I did was Khong Kheng (Bangkok) International Marathon. I did the run in a time of 7hr 19min.

How is your running routine per week like?
I usually run half an hour to an hour per day. In one week, I am running around 30km per week. I still find this as not enough and am finding ways to increase my mileage. Can you give me the way,…..ha ha ha …Just joking only.

Do you encounter any injuries at this age of 80?
Fortunately, nothing at all.

What is your fastest marathon time ever?
At the age of 56, I took part in the Kuala Lumpur International Marathon, running a distance of 42.195km in a time of 3hrs 26min. This was my best time ever, to date.

How many marathons do you run in the past and now?
In the past, I average my annual marathon runs running 4-5 full marathon per year. However, due to my work commitment I could only do, currently 2-3 marathon per year, both local and regional marathons.

Is your wife supportive in this?
Ha Ha..When I am busy running, I do not give any kind of problem to my wife. She is happy and contented with my calm behaviour. If I do not run, I give problems to my wife…ha ha ha. Over time, I feel that running does relieve my stress. Hence, I get my wife full support in this. Thank God for this, to have a wife who is supportive to my passion.

How about your children’s support in this?
My sons are very supportive of this. My grandson, about 12 years old,  is currently taking up running as a sport. This is good news for me.

What is your goal in life when it comes to running?
My wish is to possibly run at least one hundred marathon. I have 14 marathons left to finish this. Also, I do not forsee any problem in accomplishing this.

What is your short term goal in running?
I have already signed up for this year’s Standard Chartered Marathon 2010 (Singapore). I would like to run the race in a reasonable time.

What advice would you give to those who want to take up running?
Running is a very good sport to keep the body and mind sound. The strength I have at present, I feel, comes from running. Mentally, I am still alert, like look at me now, I am talking to you with zest..ha ha ha.

What advice would you give to runners after 40/50/60/70/80?
Age is no barrier. Running will keep you fit. Trust me, fellow men…ha ha ha.

If you would like to have an assessment on your knee or physical condition do call (+65) 6664 8135 (24 hrs).

Mind Your Body (July 16, 2008) featured Chan Meng Hui (aged 78) in the lead article “No Age Limit.”

Meng Hui started running when he was 55 when his drinking friends starting dying. A former smoker and heavy drinker, he turned his life around and completed his first marathon when he was 56, and has 76 marathons (3.5 marathons per year for 22 years!) under his belt. These include races in Norway, Japan, China and Switzerland. His target is 100 marathons.

Meng Hui runs regularly with the MR25 runners – 25 km every Sunday morning. I wouldn’t be surprised if Meng Hui were among the senior runners we met at MacRitchie a couple of weekends ago. Boy, are these guys good! You will have to run with them to see for yourself.

Our senior runners are wonderfully amazing and inspiring! Keep running! But do make sure you are pain free and fit to run beforehand, call us at (+65) 6664 8135 for an assessment first.

Comments are closed.