“Many years ago I chanced upon a quote attributed to Mark Twain,” says 38-year-old Yvonne Chee. “It said, ‘20 years from now, you will regret the things that you didn’t do over the things that you did do.’ ”
Motivated by that one line, Yvonne decided that she should make it a point to do all the things that she dreams of doing, and doing it well. By the end of 2013, she had already completed seven marathons in the seven continents of the world to raise funds for the Tsao Foundation, an organisation that cares for the elderly in Singapore.
For someone who only started running seriously in 2007, the whirlwind pace that saw her jet round the world while balancing all the other aspects of her life is no easy feat.
Travelling on very small budgets, Yvonne would fly on the cheapest flights to faraway races, and faced plenty of challenges at flight transit points and budget stopover locations. Her final stop in her quest to run on all seven continents was at the Antarctic Ice Marathon, in which the complications of running with multiple layers of clothes and googles that fogged up added to the difficulty of the event.
Down to earth and unassuming, she speaks little of her round the world experience these days, because, as she says, “who would believe my crazy tale?”
In 2017, she raced at the New Taipei City Wan Jin Shi Marathon not realising that she was already six weeks pregnant with her second child. She remembers the fatigue and how hard it was to get through the event, but she successfully finished the race anyway.
“After having two children, I realise that it’s not so much about not having time, but you will find time for what is important to you,” Yvonne says. A normal day consists of her waking up at 5 A.M., getting a morning run, and then going to work. She avoids leaving the office for lunch and powers through her tasks for the day, so that she can leave the office earlier and be home to have time with her children.
“I think I’m also blessed with a good husband that helps out in many aspects of our domestic life,” she adds. “I try to find balance though, and aim not to neglect any aspect of my social, domestic and professional life.”
A big fan of New Balance running shoes, Yvonne especially likes how they have been engineered for every type of runner, in a variety of widths as well. Being in possession of slightly wider than normal feet, she gushes about how her New Balance running shoes have helped her get back on her feet soon after the birth of her second child less than four months ago.
“Even with the temporary expansion of my feet during pregnancy, I could find a comfortable pair of New Balance shoes to run in without compromises. The new Fresh Foam Lazr is also looking quite nice too! I want to go the long haul in running, so am pacing myself carefully. It has helped me get through a lot of stresses in life and I’m sure will help me more in the future.” she says.
She will be taking part in the Virgin Money London Marathon this year. New Balance also happens to be the Marathon’s official shoe and kit sponsor, further bumping up Yvonne’s enthusiasm to be at the event. By the time she lines up at the start of the race it would have been just over five months after giving birth.
“It really is about finding balance in everyday life, despite the constant changes in routine and circumstance. After I got my doctor’s approval, I started with a slow 3.2km run and it was quite a challenge to gradually regain my pace again. I did run during my pregnancy too, but it was not about time targets and just about getting my body moving. I loved the adrenaline rush of being in a race so I entered a few short ones just for the atmosphere. I did not chase a finishing time, but just enjoyed the process.
It’s two months to the London Marathon, and in between all the commitments in my life, I will be at the starting line.”
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