Interview with Maggie Yeo

Interview #9 for Inspiring Women Who Run

Maggie Yeo is no stranger to race podiums in this part of the world.  Having developed her love for and strengths in running while living Indonesia and New Zealand, this Malaysian speedster queen has recouped from major knee surgeries, only to soar back to heights that most of us amateurs can only dream about. Curious about her personal best time for a full marathon? We know you are! Read on and find out – only here on Run Fairy Run!

Fairy M Proudly Presents: Inspiring Women Who Run!

Maggie at the recent Bromo Marathon in Indonesia 2013 (photo by Vivien Tey)
Maggie at the recent Bromo Marathon in Indonesia, Sep 2013 (photo by Vivien Tey)

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am originally from Batu Pahat, Johor and have two children in their teens. I have come to a full circle in running: I was once a non-sports person, then started running, only to have formed a running club in Indonesia (Jakarta Free Spirit) while living there as an expat wife with some running friends, then progressed to become a competitive runner in New Zealand, competing under the New Zealand Athletics.

I have had both my knees gone through surgeries and was not able to run for 2.5 years from July 2009 till December 2011. I really appreciate this second opportunity to run again. My mission in life is to inspire others to run to lead a healthy lifestyle.

What made you get into running and how long have you been doing it?
A long time ago in Jakarta, I was a wee bit plump and round after having my daughter who is now 15. So it has been a little over 15 years (since the beginning of 1998), minus the 2.5 year gap that I was injured.

What’s your typical training pattern like?
I just love running and can never get enough of it, so I do run almost everyday. I can run in the morning, afternoon or evening. I run under all conditions, be it rain or shine! This is because I felt the need to be able to run in all conditions because on race day, you never know what the weather is going to be!

Do you have any special diets?
Yes, I am rather particular with what I put into my body. That said, it doesn’t mean that I only take good food; like everyone else, I am partial to eating lots of junk food and all kinds of drinks too. But when I am in training, I am disciplined but when I am not (I don’t train 365 days a year!), then I get to have whatever I want!

At pole position, the win at Borneo International Marathon 2013 one of many podium placements Maggie has achieved in her running career
At pole position for the Women Veteran’s Half Marathon at Borneo International Marathon 2013 (finishing time 1:49:01), this win is one of many podium placements that Maggie has garnered in her running career.

My typical morning breakfast is a toast with jam and or peanut butter and my favourite cup of  coffee. My lunch is usually some cereal with lots of milk and again a cup of coffee plus lots of fruits and a little dessert. Come dinner with my family, I have my full on great 5 tier food: carbohydrates (rice or bread), protein (meat or fish or seafood) and vegetables with more fruits.

What is your favourite race distance and why?
My all time favourite distance used to be the full marathon (42.195km). I believe that one can only do a few marathons really well, about 3 a year. Nowadays, after my surgeries, I prefer to do below marathon distances because only then can I run as often as I want.

What was your favorite race(s) and why?
My all time favourites would be the Auckland Marathon and the Legend Marathon. Both take place in Auckland, New Zealand. Auckland Marathon starts at the North Shore of Auckland and run down through the bridge into the waterfront of Auckland City and finish at the Cricket field of Auckland City.

[A race] is always divided into 2 journeys, the first half and the final half. Do leave plenty of breaths for the final half of the race journey! – Maggie Yeo

The Legend Marathon has become my next favourite because legend has it that New Zealander Arthur Lydiard, a world class coach, started it. He has coached many Olympic medalists. This marathon starts in Titirangi and goes through the Westcoast Road, through the gravel and down Titirangi Road into the west city of Auckland. It is the hardest road marathon in New Zealand because it is the hilliest!

Tell us about your proudest achievement in running to date?
My proudest achievements have been many. To ask me to name one is mighty difficult. But I can say training and then completing 3 marathons in 3 weeks in 3 continents in the year 2008 was the highlight of my running career. This achievement was done before my surgeries. The 3 marathons were namely, London Flora Marathon 2008 with a time of 3:32 (my personal best time), Boston Marathon 2008 with a time of 3:40 and then I flew back to my home-then of New Zealand and did Rotorua Marathon 2008 with a time of 3:42.

Clocwise: 1) Maggie in her Boston Marathon finisher's jersey, 2) Maggie's collection of Auckland Marathon finisher medals, 3) an article from Runner's World magazine (2003) featuring Maggie and 4) Maggie's Boston Marathon finisher's certificate and timing.
Maggie’s favourite race memorabilia (clockwise from top left): 1) Maggie in her Boston Marathon finisher’s jersey, 2) Maggie’s collection of Auckland Marathon finisher medals, 3) Maggie’s Boston Marathon finisher’s certificate and timing and 4) an article from Australia/New Zealand Runner’s World magazine (2003) featuring Maggie.

That same year, I continued to run 2 more marathons: the Auckland Marathon and the Legend Marathon. Shortly after that, I suffered a long-term injury.

Today, I already have some other favourite achievements. I now live in Malaysia and I am relatively new in the local running scene, having run mostly overseas before. I have been able to run and do well again, which is really a dream come true.

Do you have any other goals which you have not yet achieved in running?
My current goal is to help and inspire others to which I believe I am achieving it. But the goal that I have yet to achieve is to come back strongly in running again. I believe I am not there quite yet.

Do you have additional advice or shout-out to say to all lady runners out there?
Yes, do your best, you can do it! And always remember in every race, it is always divided into 2 journeys, the first half and the final half. Do leave plenty of breaths for the final half of the race journey!


Still craving for more inspiration? Be Maggie’s friend on Facebook!

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Hi! I am Fairy from Petaling Jaya, Malaysia - currently residing in Sydney, Australia. This blog contains write-ups on my fitness adventures, whether it's running, swimming, hiking, Zumba, whatever! If I sweat, I write! As a young adult in my twenties, I led a relatively sedentary lifestyle before I had an awakening in 2011. I was overweight by age 30 and finally decided to turn my life around, so I started to reclaim my health back by losing 20 percent of my then body weight by playing dance and fitness video games! I've not looked back since and now happily lead an active lifestyle. If you want to get in touch with me, please email me at fairy[at] or DM me on Instagram @myindo. Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. I’ve met Maggie many times and follow her running achievements on FB. She has amazing drive and stamina and is an inspiration, especially to those of us over 40 who are struggling with injuries. I’m sure she’ll have a very successful SCKLM:)

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