Sometimes, friends will ask Evie Ng why she likes running so much. The punishing training required to compete at a high level would put many off athletics but, for Evie, running is therapy. “It’s a physically exhausting yet mentally recharging sport,” she tells Young Post. “It’s my stress reliever, my sanity.”
It’s not all nirvana though: she admits the mental challenges can be overwhelming. “Your mind makes excuses to stop running and give up, and I’ve given into the mental fatigue numerous times ... but the regret afterwards is enough to motivate me to strive for better in my next competition.”
The 15-year-old West Island School athlete has been running for around six years, and competing for four, and trains with the Athletic Veterans of Hong Kong (Avohk) three times a week. To the friends who ask what’s in it for her, she’ll say it’s the exhilaration of crossing the finish line, before accepting her medals on the podium “knowing the brutal training paid off”.
She squeezes a lot into a jam-packed weekly schedule, which includes exercising at the gym every other day, dancing twice a week, and training with the Hong Kong U16 netball squad. On top of competing with her club, she also runs for her school’s athletics and cross country teams. But when schoolwork starts piling up, something has to give – and if deadlines are looming, Evie might have to miss a few training sessions to make sure she stays on top of her studies.
Having the determination to keep pushing through in training or races can be challenging, which is why it helps to have strong role models to look up to. For Evie, that figure is the US sprinter and three-time world champion Allyson Felix. She explains: “She found her passion in running and immediately decided to pursue it from a very young age – I can relate to this. She started competing in track when she was around my age and skyrocketed her way to the top while maintaining her social, mental and physical well-being. This is something that I believe to be very important in sport, as you need to have a balanced, healthy lifestyle to be able to enjoy sport and the train successfully for it.”
Last May, she took part in the 800-metre race at the IAAF World Athletics Day. She was well-rested and focused, which helped her pace herself at the beginning of the race when some might have dashed off, high on adrenaline. She ran in the first heat, which was tricky as runners in later heats would have her time as a target to beat. But none of them succeeded: Evie won, smashing her own personal best by three seconds – a result that astounded her. The win put her in the junior rankings for 800m, marked the most significant milestone in her running career so far, and left her feeling “ecstatic, blessed and exhilarated”.
It was a major step on the way to her goal: running for the National Athletics Team and travelling the world competing for Hong Kong. To get there, she’ll keep working hard with Avohk and adding to her medal collection while being supported by her number one cheerleader: her dad. “He encourages me to keep going despite any setbacks, and without his motivational words and heartfelt speeches, I wouldn’t be at the level I am today,” she says, adding, “One of my biggest achievements is making my father proud.”
What song/movie title best describes you when you’re running?
Run the World (Girls) by Beyoncé
Do you have a personal motto?
“Run like you stole something!”
What’s your favourite thing to eat before a big event?
Mixed berry yoghurt
Which fictional character would you choose as your teammate?
10 years in the future, you are a famous athlete. What company do you sign-on as spokesperson for, and what product do you promote?
Nike, Running tops and Shorts