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100k for 100k – the race day report
28 October 2014

Dr Tan, our President, ran 100 km on the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day this year. He recounts that fateful day.

A number of ultrarunners told me that you run the first half of an ultra with your legs and the second half with your heart. I learned this first-hand when I reached the 50 km mark of TNF 100K at MacRitchie Reservoir.

When my wife Joan asked me how I felt at 50 km, I could only say that I felt like a wreck. Lying on the floor at Macritchie, I wondered how I would be able to get through another 50K in such a wretched condition.

GETTING ICED DOWN DURING A REST STOP

Back in June, I’d decided to run the North Face 100 to raise awareness and funds for HCA Hospice Care in 100k for 100k. It was destiny – the race was on Oct 11, which was also this year’s World Hospice and Palliative Care Day.

What a journey it’s been ever since! From running through wilderness endlessly, to furious blogging and photo-taking, to seeing flyers and posters with my own face plastered on it… it was all so alien to me.

About a month before my race, one of my friends commented, “Wah, so many people have donated to your 100K for 100K. Looks like you cannot NOT finish your race!”

My whimpering reply? “I know right?”

Thankfully, I was fortunate to have so many supporters cheering me on: my dearest wife Joan, who ran more than a third of the race with me, my daughters, my 9 DISCOM brothers, HCA staff, church friends, and even complete strangers – every smiling face was like balm to my aching muscles and exhausted mind.

SUPPORTERS LIKE MY FAMILIES AND FRIENDS REALLY KEPT ME GOING!

By the last 16 km down the Green Corridor, I had to walk many stretches. I couldn’t even walk for more than 2-3 minutes because my legs kept threatening to go into severe spasms. So I kept up a furious pace, because my legs paradoxically hurt more when I walked than when I ran!

The darkness of the Green Corridor seemed to last forever. My mind was beginning to weaken to match my beat-up body. I had nothing left in me to summon for help.

Except my conviction that this run meant so much more than mileage. The struggle I had to endure was nothing compared to the pain of our patients, who are courageous enough to face the pain and fear of death, with hope. The strength I could summon, was nothing compared to that of families struggling valiantly with the end-of-life caregiving.

I represented the hope of HCA staff and volunteers who sacrifice to alleviate suffering. I represented the hope of HCA supporters and donors who truly believe in our mission.

CROSSING THE FINISH LINE! I LOOK SO RELIEVED

Before I knew it, my precious companions had ushered my flailing body across the TNF finish line… right into the warm and loving embrace of those who matter so much to me.

What began quietly and hesitantly 17 hours 12 minutes 43 seconds ago ended in raucous celebration of a victory that belonged not to me, but to our entire hospice community. What started as a personal journey had become a community movement.

MY BEST SUPPORTERS – MY FAMILY

And I am grateful to this community for upholding me when my personal strength had failed often. My greatest gain from this campaign was realising the sheer volume of kind-hearted, charitable individuals out there who were willing to spread the word, donate, and give – to join us on our journey.

FINALLY – A 100KM FINISHER!

Thanks to our amazing donors and supporters, we raised a total of $147,222 throughout this campaign! We appreciate all your support. To learn more about Dr Tan’s incredible journey, check out his blog at www.hca.org.sg/100k.