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Hear it from URAA Runners
Posted date: 04-Nov-2015

On 18 October 2015, some 500 over U Run All Access (URAA) runners took part in the Newton Challenge race and enjoyed the exclusive hospitality booth that we specially set up for them. After the grueling run, many came to rest and relax at the booth while enjoying complimentary refreshments and more importantly, they were pampered to a good ole’ massage to relieve those sore muscles!


We caught up with a couple of runners to share with us their running aspirations and experience with U Run All Access.  Florence, 30, is a lecturer in ITE College East. Steven, 45, works as a SEA Regional Manager responsible for the development of the services business and he frequently runs together with his wife, Jowendy. URAA holders may all come from different walks of life but they share a common passion in running!



Free massage for all URAA runners!





How did your passion for running started out?


Florence: I never thought I can complete a marathon in my life 5 years ago! We always know that it is important to exercise in order to have a healthy lifestyle. The significance only dawned upon me on March 2007 when my mum fell ill from stroke. She seldom exercise and often gave the excuse that housework is part of exercise. The stroke has cost her unable to eat, move and talk properly. I was a full time student juggling between school work and taking care of my family, especially my mum. I took up the occasional running, hoping that I won’t follow my mom’s footstep.


My motivation to take up running seriously started in 2011. I saw a lot of my friends in Facebook taking photo of the medals they got after they completed a run and I started to ask myself, “WOW, 10km run.. I don’t think I can do it. I will be panting badly if i run after to catch bus and it is only a few hundred metres! Hence, my friend started to ask if I am interested to try so I thought to for 10km at Standard Chartered Marathon 2012. In the end, I didn’t train or prepare for it. I regretted missing out on it and told myself: “I MUST START SOMEWHERE!”.


After which, I joined my every first run with some training in 2012 July – Race against Cancer. I realised it wasn’t that scary and in fact, 10km is manageable even if you seldom run. I began run more frequently with my friends. Now, I love running long distance as it tests my endurance level. Compared to others who don’t really exercise, I realise I seldom fall sick! I will continue to run long distances and explore the beautiful sights in Singapore and other countries.


URAA has helped Florence become more disciplined and lead a healthier lifestyle.



Steven: I started running in 2013 after returning from my overseas assignment. Before that, I literally could not run more than a few minutes without collapsing!  I started off slowly and painfully, running for just a few minutes at a time with a stopwatch. I remember doing my first 5KM run without resting which nearly killed me! But the sense of achievement when I ran 30 minutes without stopping, and when I completed my first 10KM made it all worthwhile! Over the past year, I have re-discovered my love for running.


My wife Jowendy fell in love with running as we felt our weekends brightened up with different types of running activities. We are motivated to run in order to stay in shape, stay healthy, relieve stress and have fun.


Jowendy prefer running shorter distances (5KM – 15kM) and she personally feel running is a challenge to see how she can complete the journey instead of focusing on how fast she go. I have done probably more than 15 long distance races in the 2 years as shorts runs tend to be over too soon! A long, slow run is more about the experience and endurance for me. It’s meditative and relaxing. It’s like the difference between making a sandwich to eat on the go, and sitting down to a five-course meal. Both will accomplish what I need physically, but the sandwich isn’t as much fun.



Steven and his wife, Jowendy, at the Newton Challenge.



How did you find out about U Run All Access?

Florence: A friend/ex-colleague who is passionate and consistently asked me to run told me about the savings I could get in the U Run Premium Package back then. Through the referral, he got an extra running credit to take part in an additional race for free!


What do you like about U Run All Access (URAA)?

Florence: I joined URAA as I can run at a lower cost, of course. But that is secondary. The most important is that I know I have to run for that year, at least 4 or 5 times! I am not a discipline person, the URAA credits set a target runs for me and usually, I will go for the furthest distance to make it worth! URAA has made me keep running, keep me healthy and run regularly!


Steven: Members are given credits to utilize at different running events and at the same time, there’s the opportunity to meet new running buddies and get valuable advice from the U Run running trainer during the free weekly runs.



What would you recommend to your friends about URAA?

Florence: The availability of the tent after the race is definitely important for runners! It is a place where we can gather and talk, and we can eat nasi lemak in the tent after newton run!


Steven: Join the U Sports Running Group!


What are some of the improvements that U Run All Access (previously known as U Run Premium Package) has made?

Florence: In the past, we can only buy 4 credits and that’s it. Now, I have a choice to buy 3, 4 or 5 credits. Being given the running singlet in 2014 and 2015 is something different from when I joined in 2013 too.


Steven: URAA has become more active in the running society by introducing the U Sports Running Group which is well organized. There’s more opportunity to join the weekly U Run activities is a great way to meet new like-minded friends too.


Each U Run weekly session focuses on different aspects of training, such as speed, circuit, strength and conditioning exercises, and 5KM to 10KM group runs for various levels. The run usually start with a dynamic warm up, followed by actual run with various pace leaders and a group cool down (eg. stretching and core workout).



What improvements can we make to URAA?

Florence: In 2013, there is U RUN! I joined 15km with vertical climb fully given to URAA runners – I do see a lot of URAA runners are craving for it!


How has URAA helped with your lifestyle?

Florence: URAA has opened up a lot of choices to me. I ran for tri-factor run this year with URAA credits and my dad joined me! I went for the 24km and he, being a first timer, joined the 5km route. Both URAA and I moved a 62 years old man to run – it’s amazing!



Steven:  I recommended my wife and a few running kakis to join U Sports after my experience with all the benefits. Running is a weight-bearing activity so it helped to improve energy, mood, sleep, and health which in turn, reduces anxiety, stress and depression.


Photo courtesy of Newton Challenge



Share with us an interesting running experience.

Steven: I received a surprise advance birthday present “2nd March Half-Marathon 2XU 2014” from my son after his involvement at SCMS 2013 race pack collection event. As I was a new runner, I slowly built up my mileage according to the online running guide. Most weekdays I stayed around 5 – 10KM and 10 – 20KM during weekend, but I discovered that I really enjoyed running. It was great stress reliever from work and it kept me sane during a tough time in my life.


On 2nd March 2014, I ran my first ever Half Marathon! I was so nervous at the start; I relapsed into my old mindset and was sure I wouldn’t be able to run the whole 21KM. But I finished the race in just below 2 hours! I don’t know how I did it, but needless to say I was ecstatic to finish with a strong timing! It was one of the best moment of my life! This was a huge personal achievement for me, as it was something I never would have dreamed of doing just a few months before – And that was it all began!


The first and easiest way to stay true to your healthy lifestyle is to set a great example and inspire my family members. Running is also easy to do. It’s cheap, and you can do it when you want without having to book a court or rustle up a team. All these factors certainly contribute to the fact that running is one of the most popular sports in Singapore.




What’s next for you?

Florence: I will definitely continue to run. I am going for my 3rd overseas run and my 2nd Penang bridge international marathon this coming November! My new goal is to leave my sneakers’ print in every country!


Apart from running, I may consider picking up badminton, netball or bowling in the future.


Florence is active in other sports too!



Now that you have heard so much, be sure to watch this space for the 2016 U Run All Access! To find out more about the U Sports Running Group, click here.