Posing with her husband and two young boys, Rachel Cha stood exhausted, but incredibly proud after 15 hours and 25 minutes of running to complete her first ultramarathon. In late April, she ran the Route 68 100 km (62 mile) race in Malaysia, finishing in fifth place in her age group.
“Training to run an ultramarathon takes a huge amount of time, commitment and passion,” describes Rachel.“Determination and the support of friends, family and colleagues can help us achieve the most ambitious goals.”
Rachel, who serves as commercial manager for Greif’s Rigid Industrial Packaging and Services facility in Malaysia, ran her first race eight years ago when her colleagues suggested that she sign up to the JP Morgan five km (3.1 mile) event in Singapore. Since then, Rachel has gradually taken on bigger challenges. She went on to take part in several 10 km (6.2 mile) running events, then 21 km (13 miles) and three years ago she completed her first full marathon (43 km/26 miles) in under five hours.
Her next goal was to take on an ultramarathon, but an injury during a relay in 2016 forced Rachel off her route. She stopped running for fourth months, causing her to lose the level of fitness she had previously attained. Rachel gradually regained her stride and in November 2018, she decided it was time to complete her goal of finishing an ultramarathon. It took incredible discipline and determination to ready herself for the race. Some days, Rachel would wake up at 4 a.m. to train. It was a grueling process, but in the end, she says, it was all worth it.
“It was a huge challenge mentally and physically, but also logistically having to find the time to train in between managing a busy work life and family commitments. Goal setting has been a great skill to transfer across to the workplace. My physical health and mental well-being have also improved. Perhaps most importantly I’ve learned never to give up.”
Congratulations also to Antoine Coulombel, plant manager from the RIPS facility in Lille, France, and Thanh Le, maintenance crew leader from the RIPS plastic facility in Houston, Texas for recently completing races of their own. Antoine ran the Schneider Electric Marathon of Paris, France in April, finishing in 4 hours and 35 minutes. Thanh ran the Houston Marathon in January, achieving his personal best time at 4 hours and 36 minutes.
Bottom photos: Antoine Coulombel (left), Thanh Le (right)