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Mon, Mar 29, 2010
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Singapore triathlons becoming a family affair
by Pamela Chow

FAMILIES in Singapore have taken to participating in triathlons as a way to bond.

Organisers of the Osim Singapore International Triathlon – which will be held on April 10 and 11 – have seen about 300 families signing up for the various categories of the endurance competition.

Some of them sign up as teams, with each member completing one of the three legs of the race (1.5km swim, 40km cycling, 10km running). Others compete as individuals, often in different categories.

"In the past, (the race) was very niche and competitive but, now, there's more family fun," said a spokesman for the triathlon.

One such family is the Gohs; dad Yew Leng, 42, has been a triathlete since 2006.

He and his wife usually participate in marathons such as the Standard Chartered Marathon, and run up to 17km every Saturday.

Their sons are not left out of the action. Gabriel, 11, has been participating in triathlons since last year. He will be taking part in the Kids (aged 10 to 15 years) category in the Osim Triathlon, doing a 200m swim, a 10km cycling and a 2km run.

With his dad, he also tackled the 20km category of the OCBC Cycle Singapore event earlier this month.

His younger brother, Daniel, seven, had removed the training wheels on his bicycle only last December, but is already a regular at the family's Sunday biking sessions at Bedok Reservoir.

One of the youngest participants in the Osim Triathlon, he will be taking part under the Kids (aged seven to nine years) category (100m swim, 5km cycling, 1km run).

Mr Goh, who is a financial controller with Hitachi, said: "By taking part in triathlons together, we can encourage one another and make the race more interesting."

Endurance sports also instil a "disciplined mindset" in his sons, which helps improve their attitude towards their studies, he said.

Osim Triathlon organisers have also been doing their bit to facilitate family participation by encouraging family teams.

In 2008, it launched the Family Tri Club, which helps families train for the race.
Other endurance races, such as last week's Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore, are also attracting local couples willing to take up the challenge.

The gruelling triathlon – consisting of a 1.9km swim, 90.1km cycling and 21.1km run – saw a record of more than 1,400 participants this year, up from 1,000 last year.

Among them are Mr Yong Wee Loon, 48, and wife Pauline, 49. While their teenage sons do not join them for sporting events, they work out at gyms together on weekends, doing cardiovascular and weight training.

Mrs Yong said: "It's nice to take part in a marathon together because we're working as a team, rather than against each other.

"We're there to encourage each other when we feel tired and like we can't go on."

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