Monday, July 31, 2006

health magazine: THE ARE MAD

By Esther Auyong

July 31, 2006

MAD. That's what some of Madam Evelyn Toh's friends labelled her.

The 35-year-old assistant manager gets up at 5am to squeeze in a swim before work - a 1.5km stretch to be exact. She does this twice a week.

After work, she runs up to 21km twice a week and over the weekend, she rides 78km on her bicycle. That's like riding from Changi to Jurong, and back!

Madam Toh also goes to the gym where she does strength training for up to 90 minutes.

And she goes through the pain because she's into triathlons, biathlons and such gruelling races.

Triathlons are races where participants have to swim, cycle and run certain distances. The Olympic distances are 1,500m of swimming, 40km of cycling and a 10km run.

Biathlons involve swimming and running, while adventure races can include other activities such as abseiling, kayaking and caving.

Madam Toh is among an increasing number of women here whose mantra seems to be 'MAD' - Must Attempt the Distance.

Women triathletes, adventure racers and competitive runners come from all walks of life - from young professionals in their 20s and 30s to grandmothers in their 60s.

Race organisers and sports companies are vying to capture the hearts and wallets of these women.

Mr Jack Chen, a project director with sports marketing company Enterprise Sports Group (ESG) noted that more women had been taking part in competitive running events.

For instance, last year, close to 6,000 women took part in races offered in the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, compared to 3,900 in 2004.

Going by this trend, he is not surprised if even more women are taking part this year.

'Marketeers are just beginning to realise the potential of tapping into the women's market,' Mr Chen said.

ESG, founded last year, is involved in organising various local and overseas races, like the Beijing Triathlon and the recent OSIM Singapore Triathlon.

Their clients also include Adidas Singapore and insurance company Aviva.

Mr Chen added: 'With the rise in the number of women getting fit, there will be a demand for equipment, clothes and even, events.'

For example, there's a viable participation rate for women-only events, like the run organised by women health magazine Shape.