Racing in a Spider-Man suit, this runner hopes to bring more fun to the local running scene and let the world know that no matter how hard things may get, superheroes are still coming to save the day
Neyton Tan at the Singapore Sports Hub for a running event. PHOTO: SINGAPORE SPORTS HUB
Only a handful of people can say that they have completed 32 full marathons, 6 half Ironman races and 2 Ironman races. Even fewer can say that they completed some of these races while wearing a Spider-Man suit. Neyton Tan is one of them.
Tan shared, “I picked Spider-Man as he was my childhood superhero. Most of the superheroes back then seemed to either be from a different planet or were very wealthy.
At the finish line of the 2XU Compression Run in 2017. PHOTO VIA NEYTON
Spider-Man felt like the most down to earth and relatable character that had daily struggles like the rest of us.”
“I was so into Spiderman that I even used the suit for my pre-wedding photoshoot!”, he said.
Pre Wedding photoshoot in Nusa Lembongan in 2015. PHOTO VIA NEYTON
Determined not to let the Spider-Man suit he first got for a Dinner and Dance event lay unused in his wardrobe, Tan decided to run in it, because why not?
He started out with shorter 5km runs before gradually increasing the distances to 21km for the 2XU Half Marathon in 2015 and eventually ran his first full 42km marathon in the suit at the 2019 Standard Chartered Marathon.
Wearing a Spider-Man suit to race is unconventional. So it is no surprise that most people who meet Tan for the first time are curious about how he withstands long races in the suit.
Neyton Tan running in his Spider-Man suit at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon in 2019. PHOTO VIA NEYTON
“There are moments where I’m a little cheeky and tell people that there is an air-conditioner installed under the suit or that I have a drinking tube underneath the mask, but I usually clarify myself after.”
In reality, there are three crucial considerations that help him manage races in the suit:
1. Making sure that he is well hydrated before and after the event
2. Ensuring that he has sufficient rest prior to a strenuous activity
3. Training across shorter distances before building up to a longer event or activity
From the pictures, you can also see that like every superhero, Tan’s suit has also gotten its own upgrades over the years.
Neyton Tan at the start line of the 2XU Compression Run in 2015. PHOTO VIA NEYTON
When Tan first embarked on his running journey, his goals were straightforward - to run faster, and to become a better athlete. Wearing the suit also initially served as something to motivate people during races, for photo opportunities and to inject a sense of fun into long races.
However, as he continued to wear the suit for races, he grew to find greater meaning and purpose in doing so. His reasons for running then began to transcend beyond his own personal aspirations, and he found ways to channel both running and using the Spider-Man suit for good.
Tan started receiving invitations to join races and recalled the most memorable one being his contribution to Relay Malujah 2019 where he participated with 200 other runners over 200 hours across 2000km in support of the 67 charities under the President’s Challenge.
“Individually I ran 20km in the suit without any water or toilet breaks. After that event, I decided to start using the suit for better purposes, like charity fundraising events that I believed needed help to raise more awareness.”
Neyton Tan and friends at Relay Majulah 2019. PHOTO VIA NEYTON
“More recently, I have been volunteering at Cycling Without Age Singapore (CWAS) as a trishaw pilot and have enjoyed interacting with the eldery and other beneficiaries during the rides.”
Tan hopes to continue supporting more beneficiaries and to help people become better runners as a mentor. On top of that, Tan is also passionate about sustainability and the environment and is an active ‘plogger’ that combines running with picking up litter.
Neyton Tan being part of the Cycling Without Age voluntary work with elderly in 2022 at Gardens by the Bay. PHOTO VIA NEYTON
His inspiring running journey has come a long way since his first ever full marathon, which without proper training turned out to be a painful first experience. Intent on rewriting that, Tan joined groups, listened to podcasts and attended talks by renowned runners to learn from others and better himself.
“I’m thankful for the community that I was surrounded by as they were significant in helping me grow as an athlete. I realised that even though I was getting faster, there was so much more to just racing.”
The endurance adrenaline junkie in him then ventured further into triathlons.
One of the 55 Faces of Singapore Cancer Society promoting Race Against Cancer. PHOTO: SINGAPORE CANCER SOCIETY
Neyton Tan was one of the 55 Faces of SCS - Singapore Cancer Society promoting Race against Cancer. You can read more in the article here.
“Marathon running was a 4 hour 30 minute activity for me and the Ironman was the next level of endurance that I wanted to put myself through. I trained for the half Ironman first to prepare myself for the full Ironman.”
“The thrill of endurance races where there are so many variables excites me. Not knowing if I can complete the race and just pitting me against myself. When one race was over, it was time to sign up for the next.”
“My aim is to finish 50 marathons and 10 Ironmans in my lifetime!” said Tan.
Tan is certainly inching closer to his goal with Marathons #33, #34 #35 and half Ironman #7 lined up over the second half of the year in Gold Coast, Vietnam, New York and Desaru. Adding on to the long list of places he has traveled to for races.
For us? We’ll definitely be keeping a look out for Spider-Man.