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Saturday August 24, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday August 24, 2013 MYT 10:22:05 AM
by christina low
Chee Khoon manages a smile during the Gold Coast Airport Marathon
LESS than a year ago, Loh Chee Khoon was overweight and had practically no interest in sports.
The 24-year-old said he had never taken part in any sporting event.
“In school, I used to sit under a tree when everyone else participated during PE (physical education) class,” said the one-armed computer programme designer.
Being fitted with a prosthetic arm did not help him handle his daily activities either.
“It was heavy and uncomfortable, but I wore it because I did not want my classmates to know I had no arm,” said Chee Khoon.
However, things changed last year when his colleague persuaded him to sign up at a gym near their office in Jalan Ampang.
“She usually goes for classes right
after work and I was just amazed at
how she juggled her time between work and her fitness routine,” he said, adding that he signed up at the same gym not long after.
After joining practically every class in the gym, Chee Khoon went on to register for his first 10km run before graduating to a half marathon later.
He also decided to leave his prosthetic arm at home and not worry about what others might think.
Early this year, Tourism Queensland held a contest for members of the gym Chee Khoon visits.
His creative entry won him a chance to run in the recent Gold Coast Airport Marathon.
The Ipoh-born said he only started training for the 42km event a few weeks prior to the race.
“All my training sessions were conducted indoors,” said Chee Koon, who usually spends three to four hours on a treadmill.
His aim was simple, to finish the marathon within the cut-off period of 6’30 on race day.
“Seeing the finish line was an unforgettable feeling, I cried thinking how this weight loss journey has changed my life for the better,” he said.
Chee Koon completed the race in 5’22.
Besides Chee Koon, close to 100 Malaysians made their way Down Under to take part in the popular run.
Two runners also ran barefoot throughout the course.
“Running barefoot is not as hard as you think, it is actually very comfortable,” said Lim Siaw Hua who completed his second marathon in 4hrs 10mins.
Lim who picked up running recently, had veteran runner Tan Wah Sing to thank for introducing barefoot running to Malaysian runners.
The 56-year-old has been running without shoes for close to a decade and does not intend to change.
Occasionally Lim also conducts running clinics for two groups; Bare with Me and Born to Run.
The veteran runner completed his first Goldcoast Marathon in 3’33.
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