Why Sam Ancheta is Flying 9,500 Miles to Take on 26.2
Each week, we highlight a unique NYRR Team for Kids runner and talk training runs, race-day rituals, and recovery. This week, Isamar "Sam" Ancheta tells us what it's like to train for a marathon on the other side of the globe.
What event are you running with Team for Kids?
I'm running the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon!
What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
We don't have many spectators in Singapore, so basically what excites me the most about the TCS New York City Marathon is the crowd that cheers and motivates you to keep moving forward. Secondly, I have walked NYC once or twice, a few years back, and I have dreamed of running this city. It is on my bucket list.
Where is your favorite place to run and why?
I have never done overseas running except in Australia (Sydney/Gold Coast), where the running culture is so much different than in Singapore. There is a joyful atmosphere from the cheering crowds all throughout the race route, while most races in tropical Singapore are held very early in the morning, like around 4 a.m., so we don't really expect spectators to be out that early, too.
Still, downtown Singapore, with its magnificent architecture balanced with gardens and nature, gives it a relaxing and extraordinary view. I would say it is my favorite place to run.
If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I listen to random upbeat songs. “Like a G6” by Far East Movement was my first-ever power song. Fall Out Boy is one of my all-time favorite artists. Their album Save Rock and Roll boosts me during my leisure runs. During training and races, though, I prefer listening to my body, my steps, and my breathing—the beats and rhythm create a different kind of music to me.
What is your favorite post-run meal?
I am a typical Asian who loves to eat rice. I eat rice three times a day, in fact, and I crave anything with rice after my runs.
When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I used to be overweight at over 80 kg (176 lbs) with bad cholesterol at undesirable levels. That was three to four years ago. I wanted to lose weight, so I started hitting the gym and ran on the treadmill. The max I could use the treadmill was 30 minutes, and slowly after a couple of months, 30 mins wasn't enough. I enjoyed beating the distance I was able to cover in those 30 minutes.
Eventually I started running outdoors, which I loved even more. It has made me discover places and it has brought me closer to nature. A friend once asked me to sign up for races to stay motivated and to train consistently. Now I have established a discipline to train even without a race. My week is not complete without a mid-week run, a weekend long run, and a recovery run. This year marks my third year in the running community.
Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions? If so, please explain.
I pray a lot. I believe there is a supernatural power that helps us even if we put out our 100% effort. Ultimately, I want to finish the race without any injuries. I always pray that I won't get any cramps and blisters as I run, and that I finish with a decent time—by that I mean a finishing time better than my previous.
Why did you choose to run with Team for Kids?
It was my dream to run the TCS New York City Marathon. I wasn't lucky in the lottery, so I decided to raise funds instead, and this is how I got to know TFK.
Being from the other side of the globe, it is quite difficult to raise funds. I am from Asia and people's first comment is that TFK is not in Singapore, Philippines or even Asia. But we should always be open to helping, regardless of location. That is humanity.
I love kids. They are the future and we play a very crucial role in their development. Supporting youth programs is just one small way of ensuring that kids develop healthy habits.
Tell us a little more about yourself.
I am a clinical lab scientist from the Philippines, today based in Singapore. I have a wife, Aiza, and a 7-year-old daughter, Cassy, who will be the next marathon sensation. I am a believer, a foodie, and a traveler.
To learn more about NYRR Team for Kids, visit runwithtfk.org.