This year’s race is a straight fight between ECE and COI (Combined). Other than the first and last runners, we were always in sight of each other. The race was nail biting and very interesting to watch as the two teams have very contrasting styles. We knew all along that the COI team had very strong lady runners and they are fielding two teams while we just managed to produce one. Throughout the race, we lost the lead only once.
Our fastest runner, Alan, started the ball rolling. He is several cuts above the competition. He ran with such grace and power that even the competitors are singing praises to him. We all agreed that he will catch up with the student runners who started about 1 to 2 minutes ahead of the staff runners. The only question is how many students he can overtake. I would be happy if he could catch the last few. But no, he did much better; he came back with the bulk of the students. DP Mah, Director TLC and many others were asking, “WHO is Alan?” We have to assure them that Alan is a staff not a student. (I was told later that Alan collided with a passer-by who walked into his path).
Teck Soon ran the second leg which is reserved for the senior. He stood in for Sze KL who suffered an untimely leg injury. Among the senior staff, few come close to Teck Soon when come to physical prowess. He ran like a gazelle and sprint like someone 10 years his junior.
Yu Yang was next, he ran for ECE in the midst of a very intensive course. Yu Yang is proof that brains and brawn do co-exist.
Chen Ming took over the baton from Yu Yang. I salute Chen Ming for her great spirit. She was called up in the last minute and could not even complete the first training run and we have only one more week to prepare. On the actual day, she ran with a broken toe nail which was heavily bandaged to cushion the pain. Her task was to complete the race, never mind the timing and she did it. Without her, we could not even form a team.
Chee Yuen is the hero of the night. He injured his back two week ago and was walking with a limp until one week back. His competitor was at least 70 meters ahead of him when he took over the baton. Chee Yuen was undaunted, he chased after the COI runner (also a SAFRA runner), like a bull dog who had just lost his favorite toy. He bit his way to the front again.
Chee Yuen handed over to Yang Fang with a 50-meter lead. She is the fastest lady runner we have ever have had. She clocked 6 min 43 sec for 1.2 km on flat ground. None of our previous lady runners have ever gone under 7 minutes over the same distance. Nang-Bun was so inspired that he folded up his pants and joined in the fun. He paced Yang Fang for most of the distance. Yang Fang maintained a small lead for our last runner, Billy.
Billy, our captain, is in a class of his own. When we saw how he pulled away from the rest especially the last COI runner, we were all smiles. True enough, he cut a lonely figure coming back to the stadium and we erupted in joy with him at the finishing line. We are now the champion three times in a row.
At the end of the day, it is a pleasure to work with the ECE staff. They give of their best, never ask what they will receive and take on challenges readily. I am very happy for together we bring joy to ECE.
List of ECE runners
Alan Tan, Teck Soon, Yu Yang, Chen Ming, Chee Yuen, Yang Fang, Billy (captain)
Meng Tiong (reserve), Li Yan (stand-by lady runner)
Special thanks to our supporters:
ECE Director, Yong Poo, Nang-Bun, Sim Bee, Wei Lian, Dr Chua KC, Leh Ee, Calvin Hoo, Dr Jen Hong, Zhao Min, Wei Juan
NB: Nang-Bun and Wei Lian volunteered to run in Team 2 next year.