The Borneo island might have been the birth place of Kuching-nite Yvonne Lady Diana John Brian Anthony who was raised in Bintulu. However, running shoes got the better of her hence she got ‘corrupted’ and addicted to the running scene in Kuala Lumpur.

Turning 39 in October, Yvonne works for the culture, talent, learning and development team for a local airline and counts the Allstars Running Community, Team Kobis Busuk Golek, Team Letchu and Team Charot as her running communities.

ToughASIA sent Yvonne on a District Race running adventure, just so we can enjoy some running banter from this ‘banner girl’.

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ToughASIA: How, when and why did you get involved in running?

Yvonne: I was never a sports person nor did I join any sports activities while back in school; my only involvement then was that I was the ‘sepanduk girl’ (banner girl) and dated mostly school athletes. I got involved in sports only when my company hired me under the Corporate Culture department and part of my task involves staff engagement.

To engage the staff, I started the Allstars Running Community and the team size still continues to grow with the company. So, being team captain ‘by default’, I had no choice but to take on running.

That was when I discovered that I have two fully functioning feet that can go faster than walking. Also,  they are much stronger than only dancing on the club dance floor on 5-inch heels, fully loaded!

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ToughASIA: Where are your favourite running routes?

Yvonne:  For training, minimally I run almost everyday 6km and on weekends, 15km. I enjoy running at the following places:

1) Putrajaya ( POJ – PMO- PICC – POJ / Putrajaya Island)
2) Gunung Angsi via Hulu Bendol reverse
3) RedQ to SAE Hangar (Airport service road).

ToughASIA: What is your proudest moment in your running journey?

Yvonne: I managed to steer the company running community and take them far to run in other countries such as Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and Australia.

One of my runners is the fastest Malaysian runner in Tokyo and Kobe marathons. I helped other runners achieve their dreams under our “Dare to Dream” campaign where they can choose their run destinations run and the company sponsors them.

A few of my runners are now – from our humble beginnings running around the office area – are sports brand ambassadors and they are running ultra distances. Also, I managed to convince my company on sponsoring various running events too and in return, to get my runners be part of those events. These are my proudest achievements in my running journey, when my fellow runners achieved what they thought they never could.

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ToughASIA: Where have you been running in the District Race?

Yvonne: I enjoyed running in a few places within the restrictions imposed at the time. I managed to cover the Shah Alam Backyard trails, Bukit Tunku area in Kuala Lumpur and the Putrajaya and lake area.

ToughASIA: What challenges did you face in the virtual race?

Yvonne: My main challenges in all areas – new or old – is myself. I am not a morning person. So, to wake up early and run really make me one grumpy runner; may main challenges are when tempers run higher than the sun and the water runs low.

On top of that, I hardly bring my phone with me while running unless during races where the phone is a mandatory item. Having to run with my phone is quite a task (not that I can run any faster without extra weight), I just prefer to run light with no distraction (running ala Pikachu hunting is not really my style).

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ToughASIA: Did you enjoy this type of virtual race? 

Yvonne: Yes and No.
Yes, I like virtual races but however, I am not a morning person. With a virtual race, I can wake up later to run, but I would be upset with myself for running under the hot sun.

No, I don’t like it because I miss my race buddies. I miss the excitement of going to collect your race kit and do mandatory checklist. Running the race is a chance to reunite with familiar faces at the checkpoint and shamelessly pose for the camera. Occasionally, we could be walking the “walk of shame” with others – or get collected by the lorry for all those who did not finish within the cut of time (DNF).

ToughASIA: What keeps you going into 2021 and beyond as a runner? 

Yvonne: I want to run 100km when I reach 40 … and that will be next year.

So, this year I am preparing for the big 100 next year. I have set my eyes on 2 races next year – Tarawera Ultra Marathon New Zealand and Fuji 4 Lakes, Japan – but with the situation we have right now, I guess I have to play by ear.

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ToughASIA: Would you like to share any other perspective regarding your journey as a runner?

Yvonne: The only way you can be a better runner is by developing other runners to be better than yourself.

District Race Malaysia is currently running until 30th June 2021 with monthly prizes to be won. It is presented by AIA Vitality, AIA’s unique health programme that motivates Malaysians to make healthier choices in their everyday lives.

Download the District App here. You may find out more about the ongoing contests and get to know the latest updates on District Race MY Facebook page.