Singapore's official fastest 2.4km runner, Soh Rui Yong, has challenged commandos, naval divers, army regulars, or practically anyone with a pair of legs, to run the 2.4km under 7 minutes -- or faster.
Soh's open challenge was issued to the public on Sep. 9, 2021, after he said he heard multiple comments downplaying his feat of running 2.4km around a track for an official time of 6 minutes and 53 seconds.Soh's overall timing meant he ran 400m -- one lap around the track -- at an average time of 69 seconds.
And he kept that lung-bursting work rate up for six laps in total.
Sep. 4, 2021 record
Soh's announcement of being the first man in Singapore to clock 2.4km under 7 minutes was put up on Sep. 4.On the same day Soh ran the fastest 2.4km recorded here, a woman runner, Vanessa Lee, became the first Singapore woman to run 2.4km under 8 minutes, at a time of 7 minutes and 59 seconds.
Haters gonna hate
But over the course of the next few days, comments online either lauded Soh's achievement or downplayed it, because haters are going to hate.
Those who cast doubt on Soh's "fastest 2.4km runner" accolade claimed that running below 7 minutes for that distance is commonplace in the Singapore Armed Forces, especially among commandos, naval divers, and special forces.
Some claims went further.
Not only are these supposed fast runners doing it regularly, for fun or as part of training, those who manage to do so are smokers -- a snarky retort to Soh's celebratory posts holding himself up to be a clean-living, hard-training elite athlete.
Talk smack in return to naysayers
On Sep. 8, Soh issued a retort to the smack talkers.Listing all his six lap timings one by one, Soh hit back at naysayers, by writing: "Somehow, some people still think their "army/commando bmt mate who smokes" ran faster. 🤡"
His comment, evidently, did not go down well.
Open challenge issued
On Sep. 9, Soh took to Facebook to issue his open challenge, but not before clarifying that he was not hating on SAF personnel.
He wrote: "It has come to my attention that a number of former Singapore Army Commandos are taking offence to the last line of my previous post, and are doubling down on their claims, insisting that a sub 7 minute 2.4km is a common occurrence within the commandos."
Soh clarified that he was not downplaying the achievements of elite soldiers in Singapore, just that he was stating it as a fact that no commando had officially run 2.4km under 7 minutes before it was recorded as fact on Sep. 4, 2021.
Soh wrote that just as he was not trained to be a military combatant and cannot excel at it, commandos likewise "would not be capable of running performances that even Singapore’s best distance runners have been incapable of".
He continued: "It takes an average of 69s per 400m for six laps on the track to finish a 2.4km run in under 7 minutes. I seriously doubt that many commandos, former or current, would be capable of running even four laps (1.6km) at that pace."
To put money where the mouth and feet are, Soh also wrote that he is incentivising potential challengers to step up and be counted.
He is promising to give, out of his own pocket, S$700 cash and 700 bottles of Pocari Sweat to anyone who runs 2.4km under 7 minutes at the Pocari Sweat Singapore 2.4km Run on Oct. 9 and 10, 2021.
Soh wrote: "But as a gesture of goodwill, I shall offer everyone, commando or not, the following incentive: Any Singaporean who runs sub-7:00 for 2.4km at next month’s Pocari Sweat Singapore 2.4km Run (Ground Race, 9-10 Oct) will receive $700 and 700 bottles of Pocari Sweat, both paid for by me."
Pocari Sweat is one of Soh's sponsors.
The challenge is open to Singaporeans only.
All media via Soh Rui Yong