Benjamin Ooi

cleo-bachelors-2019-benjamin-ooi

Age: 27
Occupation: Consultant
Instagram: @ironmanbooi

Ben has the physical and mental determination to literally go the distance, but this IRONMAN triathlete has some surprises up his sleeve. He’s into cooking, yoga and enjoys a good salsa class. Fun fact: he’s born on a leap year.

cleo-bachehlors-2019-benjamin

Denim jacket, $519, Scotch & Soda. Graphic-print shirt, $49.90, River Island from ZALORA.

He took part in the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship

Not everyone can waltz in and take part in this race. You’ve got to earn a slot at a qualifying event, which involves a 3.86km mile swim, 180.25km bike trail and 42.2km run in that order, without a break. In those months of training, Ben would run a staggering 70km a week while working at his job as an IT consultant. Qualifying was a huge deal, considering that Ben only did his first IRONMAN the year before.

 

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Running became a habit in university

While Ben was a water polo boy in junior college, he only ran once a week then. Running only became a thing in university, where he took part in an aquathlon (a two-stage race involving swimming followed by running). The CBD is his favourite running spot for its buzz and skyline, though he is also partial to running around the Marina Bay area for a scenic route.

He loves running for the mental game

Why running, out of all sports? It’s partly down to convenience–you can literally train anywhere. Describing training as a “mental adjustment”, Ben describes the discipline as something you grow into. “The first race is a goal, but the motivation for subsequent daily training comes gradually.”

Yoga and salsa are part of his routine

At the moment, he’s training two or three times a week, clocking in 20 to 30km. He also does yoga to activate different muscles. “I go every Saturday with my sister—she was the one who first started taking me to classes,” he says. As for the salsa, he picked it up after taking tango classes during a visit to Buenos Aires in 2017.

 

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He’s lived around the world

As a child, Ben lived in the US for two years, in Australia for two years and Dubai as an adult for three months. He’s also travelled Europe and did his fair share of backpacking in university. “I like living in new places that are culturally different.” He remembers waking up at 7am in Paris, exploring the city via a 12km run before rewarding himself with breakfast.

He’s a dab hand in the kitchen

Ben’s been cooking since 2015, when he lived in Dubai and had to fend for himself. Dating a vegetarian is a deal-breaker: this man loves his meat with a repertoire of roast pork, lamb chops and even kway chap. The dish he doles out to impress is an authentic Carbonara. “My AirBnb host taught me how to make Bolognese and Carbonara from scratch!”

A person he looks up to is Barack Obama

“He really shows the value of leading with a higher cause,” Ben explains. He admires Obama for his charisma, but also for his ability to communicate ideas. “It takes guts and will to be idealistic and conceptual, but more so to act upon your ideas.”

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