SINGAPORE — Top national marathoner Soh Rui Yong has thrown down the gauntlet to Singapore: run 2.4 kilometres in less than seven minutes at next month's on-ground Pocari Sweat Singapore 2.4km Run, and he will award $700 and 700 bottles of Pocari Sweat to each person who accomplishes the feat.
The 30-year-old two-time SEA Games marathon gold medallist had set the official record for the 2.4km on Saturday (4 September), when he clocked 6 minutes 54 seconds at the Kallang Practice Track as part of the Pocari Sweat Singapore 2.4km challenge to become the first Singaporean man to complete the run in under seven minutes.
In the same run, Vanessa Lee also became the first Singaporean woman to complete the 2.4km in under eight minutes, with a 7min 59sec run.
When Soh posted his split times for the six-lap run on his Facebook page on Wednesday, he wrote, "Somehow, some people still think their 'army/commando/BMT mate who smokes' ran faster."
This garnered criticism from online users, who insisted that a sub-seven-minute 2.4km run is a regular occurrence among the Commandos.
Soh thus issued an open challenge in another Facebook post on Thursday, with his prize offer to anyone who could break the seven-minute barrier at the Pocari Sweat Singapore 2.4 Run, which will be held at the Kallang Practice Track on 9 and 10 October.
He also explained that the line in his previous post was not meant to demean the Commandos.
"The point is this: army 2.4km myths always go something like, 'Last time my friend from BMT (Basic Military Training)/army/Commandos/NDU (Naval Diving Unit)/Guards can run (insert magical number here) for 2.4km. Some more ah, he is a smoker.' I'm just making reference to those kind of statements," he wrote in his post.
"I have utmost respect for what the Commandos go through in military training. Few can claim to have gone through what they did or are capable of....Similarly, the Commandos would not be capable of running performances that even Singapore’s best distance runners have been incapable of.
"A sub-seven-minute 2.4km is one example, given that it had never been recorded until Saturday. It takes an average of 69 seconds per 400 metres for six laps on the track to finish a 2.4km run in under seven minutes. I seriously doubt that many Commandos, former or current, would be capable of running even four laps (1.6km) at that pace.
"At the end of the day, it’s easy to make extraordinary claims without proof. Let’s settle the debate once and for all."
Those who wish to take up Soh's challenge can sign up here.
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