On the eve of the Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan, the always smiling Mok Ying Ren may be dealing with a bit of jet lag, but chats with new friends from Australia while carbo-loading on rice and soba noodles. The race the following morning may mark a major turning point for this 27 year old, and for his home country of Singapore. Mok hopes to be the first ever in his country to qualify for the Olympic marathon. First, he needs to reach the standard of 2:19:00 by July 11. Along this Road to Rio he would be inline to also break the current national marathon record, which stands at 2:24:22 set by Rameshon Murugiah in 1995. To his credentials, Mok is a 2 X SEA Games Gold Medallist in the Triathlon and the Marathon.
In a culture hyper-focused on academics then on building a career, not many have pursued becoming a professional runner post collegiately. “Most people are driven by academics, it’s very individual. They are too serious and don’t look to sport after college.” Mok recently mentioned over coffee.
Mok finished his schooling for orthopedic surgery and decided to postpone his residence for a year to chase his dream. Last summer he moved to Boulder to train under 3-time Olympian Lee Troop and the Boulder Track Club’s High Performance Team. He has been learning what it takes to become a serious athlete and take it to the next level. Coach Lee Troop explains:
“If you really want to be good, you have to be hungry, you have to chase it, you’ve got to work for it. There is no secret it’s just really hard work, but it’s every day of week of every month and it’s that accumulative effect that leads to success.”
“Once we sort of broke down those barriers of what he had done in the past, he basically got down to business. I have no doubt that when he races on the 6th and when he is out there and it gets really tough that he will draw on all these experiences.”
Currently his PR stands at 2:26:30 for the marathon, but he has been making progress as indicated by his latest performance of 1:07:08 at the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon Arizona, towards the end of a heavy training session while at BTC training camp in Tucson. This time now stands as the most recent national record for the distance as he has been trading on and off over the past few years with a fellow competitor Soh Rui Yong, also looking to make the Olympic team.
I’m really excited about his race (in Lake Biwa). I think he’s going to get close and I’m confident he can get the national record. He’s got a chance to be the best athlete Singapore has ever had. He honestly has a shot. – Lee Troop
Ran the @RunRockandRoll Arizona Half Marathon this morning with a new National Record of 1:07:08. It's been a long journey of ups and downs over the past year but am glad to find myself back in the game with the help of coach @leetroop73 And team mates of the @bouldertrackclub. Thanks to everyone who continue to support me on this journey. Thank you @pocarisweatsingapore @travelmadedifferent @airasiasg @newbalancesg @oakleysg @garminsg @sennheiser @fitnessfirstsg @BrandsEssenceofChicken @nuhig @sporeathletics and @speedbel for your unwavering support. #NewBalanceSG #OakleySG #pocarisweatsg
Morning long run at 8000ft (2.4km) elevation at Rollinsville checked. Third time up here on this beautiful course and got to start the run this morning with 60 people including world champion triathletes and top runners in the USA. Just amazing! #boulderrunning #BoulderTrackClub #runwithmok #SeeMyRun #GarminSG #oakleysg #runnerspace