Tenacious. No other word describes Jeri Chua’s character as perfectly. She’s the first Singaporean woman to take part in the Ultra Trail Gobi Race in 2015, which saw her brave blistering temperatures, unnavigable sand dunes and extreme physical duress across 400 km.
“I realised then that no one can help you across the finish line,” she says of her journey. “You have to find it within yourself. You can find support in other people but at the end of the day, it’s your choice to make whether you want to carry on or not.”
Furthermore, Jeri finished second female overall, becoming the first Singaporean woman to complete such an ultra-distance.
“I love things that test my limits and really challenge me. I found running to be the thing that helped me to focus and find myself,” she says. “When you’re out there on the trail, you really have to be alone with yourself the whole time so it lends a clarity to who you are, what you’re looking for, what you want to do.”
She has been in search of that runner’s high ever since and has racked up a whole lot of other “firsts” in the process, including being the first Singaporean to qualify for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, way back in 1997, and the first Singaporean woman to complete the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc in 2011.