As we welcome 2022, perhaps we all need a new dose of inspiration to keep us active and running. Chenora Ismail capped off 2021 by winning the women’s veteran 16 km category at the Malaysia Mountain Trail Festival (MMTF). A mother to three teenagers, she shares her ups and downs in her running journey.

A remarkable achievement indeed, Chenora’s MMTF win also places her as the fourth fastest woman across all the age-group categories for the 16km distance. The 45-year old Personal Assistant, has been working at Westports for more than a decade. Hailing from Bandar Tasik Selatan in Kuala Lumpur, she had enjoyed running since secondary school but took a break and only restarted in 2016.

Until his passing in October 2017, her husband had been supportive of her running. Now, her kids take on that role to support her, with her running motto “No run, no eat”.

Since her husband’s passing, Chenora had utilised running as her form of release. She channeled all her energy to improve her running skills, gait and speed. Eventually, this grit earned her several winning performances in running events prior to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Some memorable moments included finishing a top 15 position among thousands of runners at the Penang Bridge International Marathon. Furthermore, she placed a respectable fourth in the 10km category of the 2019 Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon.

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Even a disqualification due to a technical error could not shackle Chenora’s spirit which happened during the 2019 Sungai Menyala Forest Trail Run. She had finished first in her category, managing to compete with foreign and local top runners but was disqualified due to not carrying the required mandatory gear. Nevertheless, she was satisfied as it was her first ever trail run.

Running also helps her to expand her circle of friends, which in turn become her best sources of motivation besides her family. They would always support and encourage her to progress to run faster.

Running makes Chenora forget the negative vibes and bad days. It also helps to reduce cortisol, keep her body in good shape while maintaining fitness.

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Although it had been two years since her last running event, Chenora did not use that as an excuse to stop running. On the contrary, she has been doing daily runs, and her training regime includes the whole variety of runs: intervals, tempos, easy and long runs. She wants to improve herself to be the best among the bests.

Her favourite training places are Panasonic Stadium Shah Alam, Hill Park Puncak Alam, Setia Alam Community Trail and Putrajaya. These places are easily accessible for her and she gets the positive vibes from meeting the good people and environment there.

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Chenora’s shares some parting words, “To be a good runner, I think the most crucial part is being consistent in training and how you carry out your daily routine.”

“For me, I always keep on running and training as if the event starts tomorrow. This helps me to motivate myself and stay positive not only in running but also in daily life”, she continues.