Financier finds trading lessons in marathon hobby

For Citic Securities' Eddie Lam, races like the Standard Chartered event sharpen his thinking

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 December, 2012, 4:58am

Eddie Lam Yat-ming has clocked up 25,000 kilometers on his runs over the past 20 years, equal to travelling from Hong Kong to New York and back again.

Most of those kilometres came during competitions - the 43-year-old financier has taken part in more than 300 races - but Lam says he runs mainly to relax.

"In the finance industry, we need to focus intensely as we pay close attention to changes in the stock market," says the executive director of Citic Securities International.

"But when I am running … I will think about something delightful … and enjoy the scenery around me."

Lam, who runs 20 kilometres from his home to the office and back every day, is looking forward to the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon on February 24. He has run in the past 16 events.

Lam says running helps him in his career as the exercise sharpens his thinking.

"The investment principle, which can be up to seven digits, can all be lost in just 10 minutes. I will take a deep breath when facing such challenges, calm myself down and decide what to do next," he says.

In 2001, Lam took part in a 243-kilometre, week-long race in the Sahara, where the temperature hit 50 degrees Celsius. "On the second day, I had blood discharges and I thought [I was] dying," he says. "But I never thought of giving up."

Lam says the satisfaction after finishing a marathon is indescribable, especially when the process - and not the end result itself - is the goal.

"In a marathon, many Hongkongers care only about the time to finish, or, say, losing weight," he says. "They set goals for themselves … but not many enjoy the process."

A father of two boys, Lam encourages parents to set a good example for their children by putting winning in a larger context.

"In running, some parents are concerned with accumulating medals … In this kind of competitive environment … children will easily lose interest in the exercise," he says.

"I hope that in the [upcoming Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon], all the 70,000 runners taking part can enjoy the whole process."