From strength to strength
Article from the Sun daily by Bernard Cheah (posted on 3 January 2017)
WHILE girls her age are thinking about education, looking beautiful or pining for a boyfriend, Colleen R. Augustin stands out by wanting to be strong.
And she managed to prove this by emerging as first runner-up in the Elite Category at the Reebok Spartan Beast Race last October in Putrajaya. The Penangite beat competitors who are much older than her at the 21km obstacle course race in three hours and nine minutes.
For two years now, Augustin has been racing in obstacle courses including Viper Challenge and Tough Mudder, and she is determined to keep pushing the boundaries of her strength.
“My mother and brother have been active in such challenges, since they go for bootcamp training and other events. They look fun. My mother encouraged me to join Viper Challenge when I was 16,” said Augustin.
She went on to finish Spartan Sprint and Spartan Super Races, and with the recent completion of Spartan Beast, she accomplished her trifecta medal.
“Obstacle course racing depends on me and only me. If I make it, it is my own doing. If I fail, I only have myself to blame.
“I love these challenges; they make me better,” added the 18-year old.
How do you feel participating in such events, and going against older participants?
I guess I’m glad? (chuckles) Well, I try my best every time I go for a race. I know for a fact that a lot of people are better than me as they are much older, have more experience and train harder than I do. I feel glad that I put in all my effort into this, and I get what I put in.
How do you train for an obstacle race?
I go for my usual bootcamp, Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu – they involve a lot of things, including weights and cardio. I would also hike with my mum or friends, or run about five to 10km.
Have you been told that you should not pursue such physically demanding activities because you’re a girl?
Since I was a kid, I was considered rough. Older people would scold me and tell me not to do things. Sometimes, I get condescending comments like “Are you sure you can do this? You’re a girl.”
Now, I get comments about “ending up muscular” if I continue with these activities. But I love sports and I want to be the best at it. As an athlete, you want performance – it does not matter how I look.
These comments don’t put me down, but fuel me even more. If you doubt me, I’ll show you that I can do it!
What do you aspire to be?
I want to be a personal trainer. I love fitness, sports and obstacle courses, and I’d love to help people achieve their goals. I want to see people achieve what they think they cannot do physically and mentally. I want them to overcome both physical and mental blocks, and to love fitness.
What are the steps you have taken to achieve your goal?
I’m taking a short course, Personal Trainer Development Programme with Fitness Innovations Malaysia to help me become a qualified personal trainer.
Current read: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King.
Favourite bands: Panic! At the Disco and The Script.
Guilty pleasures: Cake and dark chocolate.
Phobia: Fear of heights.
Little-known fact: “I can play the piano.”
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