Mrs Singh, 75, is truly an inspiration. Since 2010, she has taken part in various types of runs, be it a 10km marathon, half marathon or full marathon. The former primary school teacher said she loves running and she will continue to do so, to keep herself physically active. This marathon runner not only finds a feeling of personal satisfaction through physical activities, she also discovers the close interlink between physical wellness and the impact it has on the other dimensions of wellness. Her plan for 2015 is to do 42km marathon and a long run overseas.
C3A: Can you share with us your active lifestyle?
Mrs Singh: I am an outgoing person who enjoys running, brisk walking and mountain hiking. In my younger days when I was teaching, many teachers did not like to go under the sun and they were so afraid of sunburn. So I taught physical education as I enjoyed outdoor activities.
C3A: How would you describe your passion for running?
Mrs Singh: Running is my passion. I enjoy running and outdoor activities since I was young but I had no chance to pursue them as I grew up in a traditional family where girls are not allowed to go out frequently. Now, 3 of my children are grown up and the eldest child is already 50. They have their own families and I have more time for myself. Besides doing brisk walking daily at 4pm from Marina Barrage to Fort Road for 10 km and return with the same route, I organise walking and adventure activities club for the “Mariners” who are a group of seniors in the ages of 60s to 70s. We have the same passion and always want to challenge ourselves physically to scale new heights. We love sunshine and outdoor activities. We feel that Bukit Timah Summit is too easy and simple to conquer. We even went to India to conquer Sikkim Trek. Usually, I initiate all these. I have also organised mountain trekking to Kuantan and Gunung Ledang in Malaysia. I can always gather more than 20 seniors for hiking. I only like to go hiking with friends who do regular jogging as they can keep up with my pace. I was told that my type of “brisk walk” is a kind of running.
C3A: Are your children supportive?
Mrs Singh: My husband passed away a few years ago and my family always supports me mentally but they do not run with me.
C3A: Do you face any challenges?
Mrs Singh: In every type of sports there are certain risks and we must take steps to be careful. If we are mindful, we can find happiness in the process. Last year, when I was preparing for a full marathon, I had a fall and broke my arm bones just 5 days before the run. I had to skip the run. However, challenges do not stop me from running. I took part in half marathon and finished it in 4 hours. I was so delighted to receive the certificate of completion as I completed it in 4 hours. In our senior years, I strongly feel that we have to do something that make us feel happy in life and celebrate life with happy emotions.
C3A: What do running bring you?
Mrs Singh: While running, it maintains physical wellness. At the same time, we can enjoy the beautiful scenery alongside the running track. It enhances one’s emotional wellness to feel happy and keeps us energized for the whole day.
C3A: Other than physical activities, what other activities do you usually participate in?
Mrs Singh: Keeping active and staying healthy is my motto in life. In different stages of life, it requires planning so that, we know where is our next move and move towards that goal. I am currently doing volunteer work at a Residents’ Committee to help organise events for Indian residents and I start to learn acting in a senior group “Ageless Theatre” on weekly basis. I will do more to prepare for the day when I decide to “retire” from running marathons.
C3A: How do you usually encourage others to run with you?
Taking part in physical activities makes one happy, and along the way, one can make new friends. Over time, my friends bring along their friends and I enlarge my social circle. Many seniors may tend to think that they cannot walk and feel tired as they are getting older. In fact, you are as old as you feel. Beginners can start with 20-minute walk daily for a week and then step-by-step to increase steadily to half an hour. Walking helps to improve one’s breathing and keeps you energized for the whole day. You would automatically want to walk more as you feel that merely half an hour is not enough.
**Special thanks to Mrs Singh for accepting the interview. We wish her all the best.
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