I don’t need a reason to run and I don’t need a race to train. Running is like eating and drinking – I do it no matter how, because it is part of my life.

Over the last 20 years, Tan Ghee Beng from Ipoh, Perak only needs a reason NOT to go running.

The 46-year-old IT Project Manager based in Kuala Lumpur has been running and racing for almost 2 decades. Married for 12 years, Ghee Beng’s wife also supports his passion and joins him in running and cycling.

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ToughASIA: Why and when did you start running?

Ghee Beng: Running is simple, inexpensive and you can run almost anywhere. Just a pair of shoes, t-shirt and shorts, and you are good to go. I am able to challenge myself each time and it gives me the feel of satisfaction.

Of course, running can also improve my physical and mental health. However, I cannot really remember exactly when I started running.

All I know is that about 18 years ago, after I did my first 10km in PJ half marathon, I told myself that I will never run again, but I lied to myself!

ToughASIA: Where are your favourite running locations?

Ghee Beng: Most of the time, I do my solo runs around Kota Damansara where I can just grab my running shoes and start running from my house. On weekends, I run with my gang from Kota Damansara to different places like Taman Tun, Damansara Heights, Sri Damansara, Desa Park City.

When our MCO restrictions eased up, I did a scenic city run with my friends to see the colourful murals in Kuala Lumpur.

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ToughASIA: What is the most memorable running race you have competed in?

Ghee Beng: The recent virtual run where I completed close to 500Km in one month during the MCO period. Despite the MOC lockdown and heavy workload, I ran almost every day and I even ran 2-3 full marathon distances within my small little apartment, starting from midnight when my family was sleeping. It is definitely not the fastest event but definitely one of the craziest things I did.

Over 15 years, I have been racing marathons in Kuala Lumpur, Penang Bridge plus the Petaling Jaya half marathon. Not forgetting triathlons in Port Dickson, Bukit Merah, Desaru and Powerman duathlons in Seri Manjung and Putrajaya.

In cycling, notably I have participated in the self-support Audax Malaysia over the 200km, 300km, and 600km distances. Besides these, I have also participated in the Kapas-Marang swimathon, Spartan Malaysia races and trail runs around Genting and Merapoh.

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ToughASIA: What is the most difficult part about running and how do you overcome it?

Ghee Beng: I am always a night owl and work until very late everyday. Dragging myself out of bed at 5:30am to prepare my solo runs, it is always mentally challenging. I don’t know how I have been able to keep repeating this painful routine everyday, but it is already in my blood and I just get used to it. I get uneasy when I don’t run.

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ToughASIA: Are you looking forward to any race in particular?

Ghee Beng: Tokyo marathon and China the Great Wall marathon. Both events have its own uniqueness. Japan with its unique culture and people while The Great Wall is one of the seven wonders of the world with the longest wall, an awe-inspiring feat of ancient defensive architecture. Being able to run a marathon at the Great Wall would definitely be an unforgettable event.