Par-teh on the run

I have participated in several runs but never one like this.

Yesterday morning, I took part in the first Teh Tarik Run, where 800 people ran four rounds of 1km each at the East Coast Park.

We stopped to fill our "tik gongs" (Hokkien for milk cans) with teh tarik after every round.

We had our first drink, sang the national anthem and shouted an enthusiastic "yam seng" before starting off at 7.30am.

I saw senior citizens, competitive runners and even parents running with strollers.

Teh O kosong (tea with no milk or sugar) was served to those with special needs.

The path was slightly congested, but people happily gave way to the faster runners while chatting about the novelty of the event and their personal tea preferences.

Many walked with their family or friends and took selfies with their "tik gongs".

"Teh marshals" directed the crowds with clanging "tik gongs" in hand.

After completing the run, we were given a "tik-gong" to hang around our necks.

The top 20 runners were also each presented with a packet of chicken or mutton curry for their achievements.

The runners then indulged in prata, mee goreng, bee hoon and porridge at Enak Enak HongKong Tea House, the official food and beverage sponsor located next to the start line.

Its owner, Mr Toh Teng Seng, 66, told The New Paper that 600 plates of noodles, 300 bowls of porridge, about 100 pieces of prata and 800 cups of teh tarik were served during the event.

He said it amounted to about S$3,600 worth of food.

Speaking in Mandarin, he said: "We sponsored this run because we advocate exercise. We feel it was well organised, and we would consider supporting other such events in the future."

Event organiser Gerrard Lim, 33, said: "We wanted to get non-runners to kick-start a healthy lifestyle by enticing them with food and drinks - a Singaporean method. We also wanted to get people to celebrate this unassuming drink with their family and friends."

Ms Thricey Leow, an executive assistant in her 40s, said: "Most runs these days are for youngsters, and they are so competitive that the older generation dare not join.

"But this run is for all ages, and it takes some of us back to our childhood.

"I have not heard people say 'tik gong' in a long time."

This article was first published on Apr 10, 2017.
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