CIMB Group CEO re­lates lessons learnt from the ‘most hum­bling’ race

New Straits Times - - News -


WHEN he crossed that fin­ish line in Boyl­ston Street af­ter a gru­elling five hours and 42 min­utes, three days ago, Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Aziz Tengku Ab­dul Aziz took away with him lessons learnt from the “killer” Bos­ton Marathon.

He drew from that ex­pe­ri­ence the many par­al­lels be­tween train­ing for the kind of chal­lenge he was de­ter­mined to over­come and achiev­ing a pro­fes­sional goal.

The CIMB Group Hold­ings Bhd group chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer said he should have been bet­ter pre­pared for the race.

The bank was, on the other hand, much bet­ter pre­pared last year when it was not thrown off course by un­ex­pected sur­prises like Brexit, Trump’s pres­i­den­tial win and volatil­ity in var­i­ous mar­kets “­cause we did all the nec­es­sary re­cal­i­bra­tion that we needed to do in 2015, and our solid fi­nan­cial re­sults for 2016 spoke well of the group’s pre­pared­ness in fac­ing un­ex­pected head­winds”.

Speak­ing at length on the mat­ter, Tengku Zafrul said it was three days ago, in his at­tempt to nail the six Ab­bot World Marathon Ma­jors (listed in his “bucket list”), that he com­pleted the Bos­ton Marathon 2017, his fourth af­ter Tokyo, Lon­don and Ber­lin.

“I’ve al­ways man­aged to record a per­sonal best time at ev­ery marathon. I knew Bos­ton would be a tough one, but I thought I would, at the very least, do bet­ter than Tokyo, my first marathon.

“As I was wait­ing for my flight home, very much nurs­ing my sore limbs (and a slightly bruised ego), I re­flected on the lessons learnt from my own ex­pe­ri­ence of the ‘killer’ Bos­ton Marathon, and the many par­al­lels be­tween train­ing for one and achiev­ing a pro­fes­sional goal,” he said, adding that his tim­ing, which was worse than his Tokyo’s five hours and 11 min­utes, was not just be­cause of the hilly course, but also the heat, which threw him off course.

He made a men­tal note that there was no such thing as be­ing over-pre­pared for a chal­lenge.

He re­called how his first 22km were a breeze. He stuck to the plan, kept to his tar­get heart rate and paced him­self.

It was be­tween kilo­me­tres 23 and 31 that he be­gan to feel more tired than usual, which sur­prised the banker.

“The hills were killing my legs and the heat didn’t help.

“The first stab of pain hit my left calf as I passed the 32km mark. I knew if I pushed harder, the pain would be worse, so I started to jog .

“As I reached the 33rd kilo­me­tre, my left leg started cramp­ing up, so I stopped to stretch a bit be­fore con­tin­u­ing to walk while hy­drat­ing and gel-feed­ing my­self.

“I re­alised then how poorly pre­pared I was for the Bos­ton Marathon.

“Truth be told, I just could not find enough train­ing time to run two to three times on week­days to ac­cu­mu­late a to­tal of 30km, and run 20 to 25km on week­ends. It didn’t help that I was in­jured and took three weeks to re­cover sev­eral weeks prior. I could only train again about four weeks be­fore the Bos­ton Marathon,” he said in a per­son­ally penned note that was pub­lished on yes­ter­day.

Ac­cept­ing the fact that he should have been bet­ter pre­pared, the words world keirin cham­pion Az­izul­hasni Awang sent to him were a con­so­la­tion, al­though they, he said, were in­ter­spersed

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