About 46,000 runners geared up this morning to pace down the Marina Bay skyline for the SAFRA Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon (SSBR & AHM) 2014.
Second Minister for Defence and President of SAFRA, Mr Chan Chun Sing graced the event as Guest-of-Honour and flagged off the SAFRA 5km Fun Run as well as the Families for Life 800m Father and Child Challenge.
This year's event also saw more Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) regulars and national servicemen (NSmen) challenging their endurance by running longer distances. Among the 21,800 runners who competed in the 21km AHM, 84 per cent of the participants were SAF regulars and national servicemen. This marks an increase of 8 per cent in their participation or about 1,600 runners more than 2013.
BG (NS) Tung Yui Fai, Director of National Service Affairs, Ministry of Defence, and Vice President of SAFRA, commented, "We are very happy to see more servicemen taking ownership of their fitness and challenging themselves to run longer distances. We hope for more servicemen to be motivated to make fitness part of their lifestyle."
Jointly organised by SAFRA and the Army to promote bonding and fitness as a lifestyle among SAF NSmen and their families, the event continued to garner strong support of more than 35,000 SAF regulars and NSmen, and more than 3,500 of their immediate family members.
Apart from advocating a healthy lifestyle, the event aimed at promoting family bonding through a specially-themed SAFRA 5km Fun Run and the Families for Life 800m Father and Child Challenge. The latter is part of SAFRA's ongoing partnership with the Families for Life and it received strong support from NSmen and their families with a record number of participants.
Mr Ching Wei Hong, Families for Life Council Chairman said, "I am delighted to see so many NSmen coming forward to take part in the Families for Life Father and Child challenge. The race is an excellent opportunity for father and child to bond, create shared memories and strengthen family ties. Through partnering SAFRA, we hope to inspire more NSmen who are fathers to make a conscious effort to place family bonding time as one of their priorities."
This year also marks fifth time retired Army Officer Ang Ah Kiang, who has ran every edition of the Army Half Marathon, is running with his son, Ang Kwan Yang.
Said the elder Ang who turns 64 this year, "It was great this year, with regular water points and a smooth run. I hope my son and I will be able to run together for years to come."
The younger Ang, 33, agreed, "I've learnt to appreciate time spent with my dad. He has always urged me to challenge my limits and never settle for comfort. This year's route is better, smoother and I finished with my best timing yet!"
Since it started in 1992, the SSBR & AHM has received strong and consistent support from NSmen taking part in the race both individually and/or with their units, and family members.