The two-time SEA Games marathon gold medallist Soh Rui Yong has thrown down the gauntlet to Singapore: run 2.4km in under 7 minutes in a 2.4km run, and he’ll award $700 and 700 bottles of Pocari Sweat to anyone who accomplishes the feat.
The 30-year-old had set the official record for the 2.4km on 4 September when he clocked 6m 54s at the Kallang Practice Track to become the first Singaporean man to complete the run in under 7 minutes. He then posted his split times for the on his social media pages on Wednesday, ending with, “Somehow, some people still think their ‘army/commando/BMT mate who smokes’ ran faster.”
The public reacts
Soh’s post garnered criticism from netizens, who insisted that a sub-seven-minute 2.4km run is normal for Commandos. Apparently a number of former Singapore Army Commandos insist that a sub-7 minute 2.4km is a common occurrence within the Commandos.
Soh then addressed the criticisms with a follow-up post on Thursday, explaining that the last line wasn’t meant to demean the Commandos.
He wrote: “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.”
“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.”
“I seriously doubt that many Commandos, former or current, would be capable of running even four laps (1.6km) at that pace.”
Some commentors have dismissed Soh’s claims as bragging, but Soh has this to say:
“But as a gesture of goodwill, I shall offer everyone, Commando or not, the following incentive: Any Singaporean who runs sub-7:00 for 2.4km at next month’s Pocari Sweat Singapore 2.4km Run will receive $700 and 700 bottles of Pocari Sweat, both paid for by me.”
Another challenge issued: Joseph Schooling
Soh’s Instagram post attracted the attention of another Singapore athlete: Olympic gold medal swimmer Joseph Schooling. He also posted a challenge of his own.
This entire thing now seems like a huge publicity stunt for the upcoming Pocari Run. Will you take up the challenge with either Soh or Schooling?