6 life lessons from a one-armed athlete

One-armed runner Loh Chee Khoon has conquered over 50 marathons in the last 3 years. Here’s his perspective on life, fitness and the value of hard work.

Sometimes, discouraging comments are extremely motivating
Sometimes, discouraging comments are extremely motivating
26 Oct 2015

Sometimes, discouraging comments are extremely motivating

“An ex colleague started sharing her running experiences with me and that inspired me to get fit and try my first run, the Nike Run 2012. I received a lot of negative comments from people asking if I was sure I could run 10km, and saying they didn’t think I could complete the race. That really pushed me to prove that I was capable of competing — not just to them but to myself as well. That first race was tough to complete, but after that, I found myself looking out for other runs to take part in every month. And I’ve been challenging myself ever since. Nowadays I’m doing full 42km marathons. I’ve done more than 50 marathons since mid 2012, six of which were full marathons.”

Adaptability is the key to success
Adaptability is the key to success
26 Oct 2015

Adaptability is the key to success

“Full-bodied athletes can easily build muscle and get toned, but I have to spend a lot more effort to achieve that. I need to do a lot of research to find out the best and most efficient way for me to train specifically. A few years ago I couldn’t even lift a dumbbell, but I managed to buy a special belt meant for training the ankle, and adapted it to fit into my workout plans. It takes longer for me to train because I need to find methods that would be best suited for me — that’s probably the hardest part in my training.”

Having a good support system is super helpful…
Having a good support system is super helpful…
26 Oct 2015

Having a good support system is super helpful…

“My team is called “fitspiration” because I wanted to create a group of members who love fitness and embrace it as a way of life, and who also want to inspire others. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, so if I’m not good at something, my teammate can support me, and I would do the same for him. I’m not confident and brave enough to do some of the races on my own, and I know I’ll be able to do them better in a group. It’s really important to have a community that supports each other. Don’t be discouraged if you are registering for a race alone, because all the other runners around will help you to get through the obstacles. You’ll definitely make friends there, there’s a real sense of community.”

… But when there’s nothing else to rely on, you must rely on yourself
… But when there’s nothing else to rely on, you must rely on yourself
26 Oct 2015

… But when there’s nothing else to rely on, you must rely on yourself

“During the recent Spartan Race Malaysia, I encountered the vertical wall climb, which was the toughest and most memorable obstacle for me. You have the climb up a steep wall and then back down on the other side, using only a rope. None of my team members could help me there because I had to grab the rope myself. I failed on my first try, but ended up grabbing the rope in my armpit and using my arm to pull myself up. I was quite emotional when I reached the top because though my team members couldn’t help physically, they were cheering me on saying, “CK you can do it, believe in yourself!””

It’s perfectly okay to not be so competitive
It’s perfectly okay to not be so competitive
26 Oct 2015

It’s perfectly okay to not be so competitive

“If you’re going for the Spartan Race, you have to keep yourself hydrated and be relaxed. A lot of my team members were very nervous for the race, but I told them to just go there and enjoy themselves — because that’s the best part of the experience! If you’re only interested in being the winner, then all I can say is good luck to you!”

Develop good habits and never underestimate yourself
Develop good habits and never underestimate yourself
26 Oct 2015

Develop good habits and never underestimate yourself

“I don’t wish to give up halfway — as long as you keep trying, I believe one day you’ll be successful. I remember a quote that I saw on the gym wall, “Motivation gets you started, habits keep you going”, and that’s what I keep telling myself every time I’m training or competing. When I was younger I always told myself I was incapable of doing anything. It’s so different now, I love trying new things and seeing how much I can accomplish in life. I want to learn swimming and cycling next so that I can start taking part in triathlons. At the same time, I also want to do more long distance marathons like the 100km Ultra marathon next year.”

For more tips on how to get ahead in life, visit Upgrade Man.

Related:
4 simple hacks to help you complete any obstacle-course race
How to dress like a boss for obstacle-course racing
5 tips to help you feel better in life
5 reasons why you don’t feel fit despite training nonstop
4 common gym mistakes everyone makes

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