A dash to the dome makes memories for runners

A dash to the dome makes memories for runners

HE HAS participated in over 100 running events around Singapore - which is why Mr Ng Siah Heng is on the lookout for a unique experience.

So when it came to registering for The Straits Times Run at the Hub, the self-employed 61-year-old did not think twice.

"Singapore is always changing," said Mr Ng, who ran with his son and two friends. "There are always new attractions coming up. We have the Marina Barrage, Gardens by the Bay and, now, the Sports Hub.

"We do not have the time to visit such attractions and they are not visible when you drive. Only by running can you slowly enjoy the sights."

Like many of the more than 21,000 runners, the main draw of the event was that it was the first to allow participants to finish in the National Stadium. But just as memorable was the scenic waterfront city route, which featured iconic landmarks such as the Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay and the Merlion.

Eager and energetic competitors had begun arriving as early as 4am - 90 minutes ahead of the opening flag-off - along the Nicoll Highway start line to book the best spots for the 5km, 10km and 21km routes.

Many took the opportunity to soak in the sights on a clear, cool morning.

IT executive Justin Leong, together with three friends, travelled from Malaysia to Singapore last Friday night just to participate in the run.

"We wanted to try something different for a change," said the 30-year-old. "It was a quick and fun way to see some of the attractions in Singapore."

While the National Stadium finish and the route were a hit, equally well received were the many colourful characters and celebrities at the event.

Even Wonder Woman was present.

"I'm not going to make it on the podium, so I thought, why don't I make it more colourful for others," said Ms Fia Permadi, 42, who came dressed as Wonder Woman.

Several celebrities, including local actors Randall Tan and Darryl Yong and national footballers Izwan Mahbud, Isa Halim, Khairul Amri and Gabriel Quak, gave the run a glamour factor.

"I am amazed at the turnout and it was really fun running with so many people," said Malaysian singer Issac Dang, who flew in from Taiwan for his very first outdoor run.

Mr Daniel Tan, director of Panasonic Singapore, noted: "It's great to see so many people engaging in this healthy lifestyle activity, which is in line with our branding objectives of 'A better life, a better world'. And I am sure many of them feel privileged to be among the first to run in this new iconic stadium."

The ST Run at the Hub is part of the Straits Times Appreciates Readers programme, an ongoing effort to reach out and better connect with readers and the community.

Bringing the community to the Sports Hub and its various facilities, which includes the National Stadium, OCBC Aquatic Centre and OCBC Arena, will be one of the key objectives of the multi- purpose venue.

Its chief operating officer Oon Jin Teik is looking at next year's SEA Games as an event to unite the country.

"(Come) create the excitement that even our competitors will fear," he said. "I'd say, come join us in the fun."

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