Growing up, running has been a constant thread winding its way through Jeanette Wang’s life. “My dad has always been keen about jogging and other recreational sports,” the fitness enthusiast and former national triathlete shares. “And as far back as I can remember, we were always doing some kind of sport as our bonding activity.”
Jeanette began running in races when she was in secondary school, as part of the X-Country and Athletics teams, but she “only became very serious about it in junior college (JC)”. She credits a specific person for sparking the interest: her coach, Leong Chee Mun, who was also a triathlete and member of the first Singapore Everest Team.
“His passion for running and triathlon really rubbed off on me,” recalls Jeanette. When she was 17 and at the end of her first year of JC, she ran her first full 42.4km marathon (the 1999 Singapore Mobil Marathon).
Since then, the 41-year-old has “done hundreds of races — the furthest being the Ultra-Trail Mont Blanc in 2018, 178km with 10,000m elevation gain.”
Running through pregnancy
Being a mother of two has not deterred Jeanette from running. In fact, the passionate runner, who works in digital content in the finance industry, ran every day until the last day of her pregnancy.
She shares: “I was living and working in Hong Kong from 2011-2020, and [thus I] seldom ran on pavement as the mountain trails were my backyard. During my pregnancy, I was more cautious on the trails to avoid a mishap, kept my heart rate at an aerobic level, and made sure I always kept hydrated. Of course, my obstetrician knew what I was doing and there were no issues throughout pregnancy.”
Her two children, Marla, who is 9, and Malte, who is 4 this year, “arrived into this world in almost similar fashion”, she reveals. “For both, I found out I was pregnant one or two days after running a ~40 km trail running race. With both, I ran through pregnancy — the longest being 42.2km at 2,000m+ elevation at the 2019 Thunder Dragon Marathon in Bhutan when pregnant with Malte at 16 weeks.
I ran till my water bag broke — with both I had run over 10km on the trails on a Saturday, baked a cake after, and the water bag broke in the wee hours of Sunday. Even more fascinating, both kids were born at exactly the same weight down to 3 decimal places!”
Becoming a mother might have forced her to switch up her running regime, but her passion for the sport still burns brightly.
Here, Jeanette shares more about her love for running, how running has positively impacted her life as a whole, and her advice for other mums who want to stay active despite being busy.