SINGAPORE - Singapore's first Hello Kitty Run saw 17,000 people turn up at Sentosa yesterday to celebrate the famous feline character's 40th birthday.
But the event descended into chaos when first heavy rain marred the start of the run, then the mess at the medal collection area which resulted in a shortage of the coveted Hello Kitty medals.
Heavy rain hit just as the final wave of runners were about to set off, resulting in some participants seeking limited shelter at the Sentosa Boardwalk, The New Paper reported.
However, a look at the event's Facebook page revealed that most of the frustrations stemmed from the mess that ensued when crew members started giving out medals at a second collection point on Siloso beach, confusing participants.
The situation became worse when there was an announcement saying that there may not be enough medals for everyone. Witnesses say there were people collecting more than one medal from the collection point.
According to a Facebook post published by the organisers, not everyone was able to receive their race medal.
"The moment I heard the girl make the announcement to ask the participants to queue up for 'a limited number of medals', I expected a stampede to happen. Minutes later the collection point was overwhelmed by the crowd and the girl had to plead for cooperation, but she chose her words poorly which generated much resentment from the crowd. Then, the MC had to step forward to try and diffuse the situation and give new information. Not to mention that they interrupted the performers' set on the stage without any warning at all," said Facebook user Alex Heng.
Facebook user Anna Low commented that there were not enough medals because some of them were stolen. "I was there and saw the crew member try to stop them from stealing," she wrote.
"With no visual signage, we made through the pavilion and couldn't find the collection point. Medals were distributed with flash of bib and I can see why the participants in front could get more than one," wrote Facebook user Fluffi San.
Pictures posted on Facebook showed people selling their medals and limited edition Hello Kitty Run plush toys on Carousell.
Race organiser Pink Apple apologised for the change in weather and the hold-up, and informed those who were unable to collect their finishing medals that they will be able to do so on a separate date and venue.
"Those who are unable to collect their finishing medals can collect this on a separate day at 1 of the key power international outlets (exact venue and time will be advised later). Keep your race bibs in exchange for your race medal. Date and time will be updated so please stay tuned to our page," they wrote in a Facebook post on Nov 1.
Those who have not received their medals are advised to drop the organisers an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.