Glenn Ong thought he would be paralysed because he was unable to stand due to back injury

7 February 2016 / 8 months 3 weeks ago

Noor Ashikin Abdul Rahman
The New Paper
Feb 05, 2016

One FM radio DJs Glenn Ong and Cheryl Miles and TV host Kelly Latimer are working hard for next month's Men's Health Singapore Urbanathlon.

They describe their turning-points that pushed them into getting fit.

Back injury nearly ends his run

A back injury two months ago left him in such great pain that he was unable to stand.

ONE FM's #1 Breakfast Show DJ Glenn Ong, who helms the programme with The Flying Dutchman on weekday mornings from 6 to 10, recalled washing his face and brushing his teeth in the morning on his knees due to the severe discomfort.

Even a prescription of muscle relaxants and painkillers did little to alleviate the "excruciating pain", which came about after he excessively "rolled out" his back after feeling a strain.

"I thought I would be paralysed. The pain was getting worse each day," the 46-year-old local radio personality told The New Paper at Sweat gym at Cantonment Road during our photo shoot.

It was so bad he thought he would be forced to pull out of next month's Men's Health Singapore Urbanathlon 2016.

Ong, together with fellow ONE FM 91.3 DJs and producers Cheryl Miles, Shaun Tupaz, Elliott Danker, Andre Hoeden and Harry Corro, will be taking part in the upcoming event, which will feature nine challenging obstacles on a 14km course.

This year will see the inclusion of new challenges, like a 5-in-1 Crossfit obstacle called Metcon Madness and Barrier Breakers, where participants have to climb over straight and sloping walls.

Luckily for Ong, his back injury is gradually healing after abstaining from vigorous exercise for the past two months and he will be in the Urbanathlon as planned.

Ong, who does sports like Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, said that he will amp up training in the coming weeks by going on long runs to build up stamina.

So is he the one to beat among his ONE FM 91.3 team in the race? Not likely, he admitted.

"Shaun is the one to look out for, he is not called the Commando for nothing. The obstacles are nothing to him. If there's anyone we should be keeping pace with, it's Shaun," said Ong of 28-year-old Tupaz, who earned the nickname after his colleagues learnt he was a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) commando.

To date, the furthest distance Ong has run in a competitive race is 10km, at the Standard Chartered Marathon over a decade ago.

"The Urbanathlon will probably be the hardest thing I've done. As for the obstacles, the Maze Runner (which involves crawling one's way through a maze) should be the easiest as I'm always on all fours playing with my dog.

"But the others will all be some form of challenge. I don't have a target completion time but I'm not going to push myself to the point of damage and injury," he said.

Ong gave up smoking over four years ago and stepped up his exercise routine when he hit 40.

Happy that she quit smoking

One of her proudest moments was successfully kicking her 20-year smoking habit last April. Quitting meant the end of her insomnia, breathlessness and chest pains, said local ONE FM 91.3 radio DJ Cheryl Miles.

The 40-year-old, who co-hosts The Escape Plan With Shan & Cheryl from 4pm to 8pm on weekdays, said that she never wants to touch a single stick in her life again.

She once puffed up to 30 cigarettes a day without realising it."I'm glad I can now go for a run and not think about the cigarette that is waiting for me when I complete it.

"I can hang out with my friends who smoke and not feel tempted. "My complexion has improved and so has my health. I feel a lot stronger," said Miles, who started to be more aware of her health and fitness in late 2014.

"Not being able to breathe properly was a wake-up call. At that point, my sleeping patterns were terrible when I hosted the morning show.

"I gained 10kg in a two-year period because I craved carbs as comfort food. I didn't have the energy for the gym. That was when I decided to think of all the things I like doing that would make me awesome as a person and I did it," she said.

Miles, who was a fitness instructor for eight years - from the time she was 18 - as well as a dancer, now does yoga and regular runs.

After completing 10km in the Great Eastern Women's Run last year, Miles is ready for the Men's Health Singapore Urbanathlon challenge and plans to stick closely to her fitness regime.

"Strength and stamina are essential, I hope I'm ready for it. I'm petrified, actually," she said with a laugh.

Fitness training a big 'HIIT' with her 


It is no secret that Fox Sports Asia presenter Kelly Latimer is a fitness buff. The UK-born Singapore permanent resident of English-Chinese parentage trains three to five times weekly, alternating between runs and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and strength training in the gym.

On other days, she does yoga or pilates, and other sports and activities.She even showed off her kicks and punches in the music video for local band The Sam Willows' song For Love last year.

For the fourth time running, karate-trained Latimer will be taking part in the Men's Health Singapore Urbanathlon.

She will be in this year's race, which will be next month, with her husband Justin Loi, who works in the finance industry.

The challenge, which began here in 2010, was first opened to women in 2013. Fox Sports Asia is a media partner of this year's race.

At 29, Latimer believes she is the strongest she has ever been. This came after unhealthy, desperate attempts to lose weight after piling on the kilos in 2007 and then struggling to be healthy and body-positive.

Latimer had put on more than 10kg when she was doing media and communication studies at RMIT University in Melbourne.

"The food was good, with huge portions, and I ended up having brunches all the time.

"When I first moved there, I ate a third of what was on the plate. By the time I left (nearly two years later), I ate a plate and a half worth of food.

"I didn't exercise, although in hindsight, I should have because Melbourne is beautiful," said the bubbly presenter, who now weighs 60kg.

Her reality check came when she entered a G2000 store to buy work clothes upon her return to Singapore.

"I had to buy size 42 pants. When I stretched it out, I was just miserable looking at it. In other shops, I couldn't fit into my usual size 8 clothes and had to wear a large size.

"I wasn't super obese, but I was unhappy and had no stamina. That affected my work as well," she said. She was even told to lose weight multiple times, "which is never a nice thing".

"People were like, 'You're a sports presenter?'... Initially, I bawled my eyes out, but I soon realised it was up to me to turn my life around," she said.

Latimer admitted she got off to a shaky start, saying: "The initial stages were desperate.

"I went to slimming centres and shelled out hundreds, if not thousands, on pills that ended up wreaking havoc on my hormones.

"I then experienced rapid weight loss from intensive HIIT sessions. My hormones went crazy again due to lack of body fat and I looked haggard. I didn't like how I looked," she said.

Latimer decided to change her fitness routine to a more balanced one.


WHAT: Men's Health Singapore Urbanathlon 2016

WHEN: March 13, 7am

WHERE: Kallang Practice Track (Start and End points)

RACE FEES: $128 (individual) and $118 per team member (team of four or more).

Sign up at Registration closes on Feb 14 

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