gerrard lin ah siao bone marrow donor programme

Gerrard Lin, 30, who goes by the nickname ‘Ah Siao’, about to hit the finishing line at the 2012 Stan Chart Marathon Singapore. (Photo by Manish Vaishnav. Courtesy of Francis Hung/Priority Consultants)


Padang, Sunday, December 2, 2012 — If you were running at the 2012 Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore, you might have noticed one particular runner among the tens of thousands pulling a 14-kilogramme tyre with chains.

That man was Gerrard Lin, 30, who was helping to raise awareness and funds for the Bone Marrow Donor Programme (BMDP). Gerrard, also known as ‘Ah Siao’ (Hokkien for ‘mad’), finished the full 42.195km marathon in 7 hours 20 minutes.

“I’ve been involved (with BMDP) for four years already,” said Gerrard who has represented his varsity and Singapore in various local and international martial arts events. Gerrard only started taking part in running events this year to help the Programme.

“It is a 1 in 20,000 chance to find a match outside the family. So if I have leukemia, I have a better chance of winning 4D rather than find a match.

“In order to increase the odds, BMDP hopes to recruit people into the registry and pledge their bone marrow. And to be in the registry is just a simple cheek swap ala CSI style with a cotton bud. We send the cheek cell samples for testing. The information is then stored in our database if there might be a match.

“If for that few hours during the race and during the times when I train with the running clubs, that people can just reflect a bit more, take a look at BMDP, then mission accomplished,” added Gerrard.

Gerrard started his intense training phase in October, training twice a day for five days a week. He covered 10km for each session and put in about 100km a week. In every training run, he pulled the tyre.

On his two rest days, he did martial arts and aqua jogging to help his recovery.

In the months leading up to the marathon, he took part in the Newton 30km Challenge (4:34), the Brooks Run Happy 9K (1:19), and the Passion Run 21K (3:04).

“I also draw inspiration from my competitive martial art days, the lessons learnt that helped me become a 3-time national champion and all other podium finishes. The times when you have a injury but still go for jugular. You know the human spirit can accomplish so much and this gives me faith and solace,” said Gerrard.

Gerrard made the mistake of running too fast at the early stage of the race because he was caught up with the excitement of the other runners, and soon found the run extremely difficult after the 30km mark.

“Most of the people, who ran past me were tapping on my shoulders, giving me the thumbs up, muttering or shouting encouragement. 10am, the clouds parted. 30km mark. 12km more. Hell began.

“I had brought four gels. I was out at the 25km mark. I asked strangers for gels. As luck would have it, I picked up Mok Yingren’s bottle and also his gel. Thank you, Mok! Renewed, energised. I soldiered on.

“Then it was hell again as the sun became my adversary. The body was screaming. And soon, running for a few steps became a gargantuan effort. It was ‘run 10 steps and walk 20’.

“Then this board and distance marker had something that stopped me in my tracks — Remember why you took the first steps.

“I cried. That sense of fulfillment, that memory of all the trainings I had,” recalled Gerrard.