The New Paper article, credit Dennis Quek for the scan

A Minimalist Story by Anthony Sum
Facebook Photos from AC LeongMohan Marathon
Minimus Zero Launch Photos by Mohan Marathon

It was 2 weeks ago when Team FatBird Running received an exciting piece of news from our friends from New Balance Singapore – Anton Krupicka , the Ultra Marathon extraordinare with many accolades and titles to this name in the world of ultra marathon adventure and endurance races, was coming to town.  Even more exciting was that a selected few of us were to personally meet up and run alongside this man, who rides the wind with nary any noise nor fuss.
Straits Times article by Chan U-Gene: Credit Mohan for the scan

There was a buzz in the local community when Anton arrived, and as the hours unfolded with stories about his simple and carefree lifestyle, the local running community got excited about how this ultraman, for all his age of just 28, could live so simply and yet accomplish so much.  The Straits Times and New Paper articles spoke of his living in a truck, waking up in the morning and just running into the Colorado mountains to begin enjoying his trail mileage of 200miles a week…for most of the time, Anton just need a pair of shorts (he runs barebody mostly) and a reliable pair of shoes to protect him from the elements.

Anton burst onto the minimalist running scene with his invaluable inputs to the New Balance Minimus shoes that eventually set THE LIGHTEST on for new Balance to enter the minimalist running scene in a huge way, getting all the competitive shoe companies out there paying lots more attention to this new area of running shoe development.  The Minimus Trail (MT10) and before that, MT101, were trail shoes that received many rave reviews and recognition from not only the ultra-runners, but also the mainstream running community who were on a prowl for shoes and equipment which can help them achieve better running form as mentioned in the by-now-famous bible of barefoot running “Born To Run”.  Lots more about Anton can be gathered HERE @ Wiki and at his blog – Riding The Wind!

When I arrived to MacRitchie Reservoir (MR) amenities centre, Anton was already there chatting with fellow runners and the media.  I quickly grabbed the opportunity to get an autograph on my newly-minted MT00 (kind courtesy of NB) as well as my TFB Running Tee.  Anton, being the humble guy, not only entertained our requests for autographs, but also took the time for photos as well as talking about his feel of the Singapore weather and running community.  As I continue to engage him at close range, I still cannot absorb the fact that he is only 28, with such a big manner and maturity about him.
Action Photos from Mohan Marathon

Edmund from NB gave a brief of the route and with some light stretches, we headed straight onto the Northern Route.  As Anton was still recovering an injury, and he has a Ultra Marathon race in 2 weeks, we were told not to push him too hard…of course we had fast and experienced local runners like Sham, Ford, Jeri to be around just in case.  As we ‘jogged’ into the trails, we realized that Anton’s recovery pace was faster than many of our race pace for 5-10km…hahaha.  It was sheer fun to see the group of lead pacers running together with Anton, with a few of us deciding to play the role of ‘roving’ cameramen to take some nice pictures and photos of the team in action.  

Up The Slopes of The Northern Route @ MR

Anton has an effortless-looking stride and very relaxed form, probably explaining why he could go on for 100-150miles at that kind of fast speed through rock mountain terrain.  Because of the earlier rains, the MR trails were rather wet and slippery, but all these were mostly welcomed by Anton, who found the trails a little rocky, but more natural and becoming of a run through nature.  As with riding the wind, the run was speedy, smooth and quick. 

An Exhilarating Run @ MR

It was in no time we were back to the start of the trails, covering 7km within 35min, inclusive of stoppages for photos of course…PANT, PANT, PANT!  The NB MT00 shoes were taken through a good test on the muddy MR terrain that day, and I must say they passed with good grades, esp. in the area of lightness, trail-holding and versatility in uneven terrain.  

Group Photo with NB Runners & Friends: Photo Credit, Jeri Collett

It was an enjoyable experience for me to have run with a Ultra Marathon legend, and I was glad that the distance was short enough for me to at least catch some shots of the man and have a few words in between while sucking in air.  I didn’t spend too much time with my fellow running friends who were there, but I guess we all will understand that it was an opportunity not to be missed to speak and interact with this humble Ultra Marathon legend while we have him at such close proximity.

We heard that Anton is very interested in the Mt. Kinabalu Climbathon – often dubbed the toughest mountain race in Asia/World…we certainly hope to see Anton again soon, if he does come for this race.  Till then, Team FatBird would like to thank New Balance for organizing this and more importantly, inviting us to meet with and Ride The Wind with Anton Krupicka!