Organised Running – a popular past-time in Singapore

Author: Associate Professor Chung Lai Hong (Associate Dean of The NANYANG MBA)

Hardly a weekend passes by in Singapore without an organized Run of some sort or another, for one cause or another – there’s the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run, The Adidas Sundown Marathon, The Anlene Orchard Mile, Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, The Bull Charge, Urban run, Cold Storage Kids run…the list goes on.

And then there’s NTU’s Run Round Singapore (27 March 2010), to celebrate our 55th anniversary and raise funds for educational advancement. Some of us from the MBA community took the opportunity to get together for some fresh air and exercise on a Saturday morning (although way too early in my books). Well, before you get too impressed, we did not actually run round Singapore (though 9 runners did – all 218 km over 2 days!). Participants could decide which sector of the route around Singapore they wish to participate in. We chose the first segment starting at NTU. So I dragged myself out of bed on Saturday morning at 615 am, as the opening activities for the Run started at 730 am. When I got to NTU, there was already a large crowd gathered outside the Chinese Heritage Centre (which has historical significance– but that’s another story).

The President of NTU, Professor Su Guaning, was there to open the event. The 9 core runners who were going to run all the way round Singapore were introduced. Then there was a mass warm-up exercise led by NTU alumna Sophia Pang, who was the only woman in the The Kaspersky Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition 2009. We exhausted ourselves sufficiently with the kicking and punching. Promptly at 8.30am, the horn sounded and off we went running from Station 1 to Station 2, a manageable 3 km away. I must admit that though I ran all the way, I struggled when going up the slopes ( NTU has many slopes).

We ended up at Station 2, which incidentally is where our Graduate Hall is. Yes, as the name would suggest, this is for graduate students, and is where many of our international MBA participants live. This is separate from the dormitories housing thousands of our undergraduates.

Graduate Hall Apartments

Overall, it was a good experience and also heartening to see involvement of different segments of the MBA community – staff, faculty, alumni, students – getting together to celebrate for NTU.

But, the highlight for me was the breakfast we enjoyed afterwards at a “kopitiam” (local coffee shop literally translated). We ordered “kopi c”, “kopi o” (various concoctions of our local coffee – similar to having cappuccino, latte, etc) and dug into wanton noodles. I think we replaced more calories than we burned up in the run, but hey who’s counting? More than the food (really!), it was the chance to just catch up in a relaxed atmosphere with colleagues and alumni after participating in a meaningful event. All in all a great way to spend a Saturday morning!

Modernised Kopitiams like this one has numerous food and drink stalls and large seating areas

A Kopitiam drink stall seller making kopi (coffee)

p.s. I’m gearing up for the Adidas Sundown Run in May – no prize for guessing the differentiating feature of this run. Join me?

p.p.s. I constructed this entry in my head while running one night along one of the park connectors in Singapore, while listening to cantopop songs on my mp3 player, and gazing at the bright full moon in the horizon, which probably explains why I almost stepped on a frog/toad (too dark to see) 3 times that night…and which also set me thinking : “Why did the toad cross the path?”…