Record 17,000 women took part in Great Eastern Women’s Run

It was an all-women affair and they broke the record in Asia.

About 17,000 women woke up early in the morning to take part in the Great Eastern Women's Run, smashing the record for the largest number of participants in a women's run in Asia. The race, which was in its 10th edition, saw increased participation in all three categories - 5km Fun Run, 10km and 21.1km.

Ms Grace Fu, the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, flagged off the 10km category and also joined in the race.

She said "I'm very happy to see that the scale of the Run has increased to 17,000 this year. I think Great Eastern Women's Run has been a very attractive event for women, and I'd like to encourage women to adopt a healthy lifestyle because that will really help build a much better life for them."

It was also a riot of colours at the event for the first time. Participants donned tutus in myriad hues of pink, blue, yellow and purple to express their support for three women and children-related charities - Breast Cancer Foundation, Community Chest (Children with Special Needs) and SingHealth Duke-NUS OBGYN Academic Clinical Program.

Dr Khoo Kah Siang, CEO (Singapore) of Great Eastern Life, was extremely pleased with the record turnout and the amount of $120,000 raised for the three charities.

Fifteen elite runners from Japan, North Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Taiwan competed for a prizes worth US$16,500 and S$6,700 in their respective categories.

In the 21.1km Half Marathon Elite Open category, 18-year-old Kim Ji Hyang from North Korea was the overall winner with a timing of 1:12:53. She took the grand prize of US$8,000.

Yuko Watanabe, 28, from Japan came in second at 1:16:01, followed by Myong Sun Sin from North Korea who clocked 1:17:06.

The local Elite Closed category saw tough competition with Vivian Tang first hitting he finish Line with a time of 1:28:37. with Rachel See in close pursuit with 1:28:45. Last year's local Elite Closed winner Mok Ying Rong was third at 1:31:11.

Another highlight of the event was the inaugural Princess Dash. The race village at The Float@Marina Bay saw 500 young girls aged from three to nine years, taking part in a 100-metre dash. Joining them were Minister Grace Fu and girls from the Community Chest team.

As a reward, all the girls were crowned with a tiara to complete the look of their 'princess' costumes.

The #RuntoLiveGreat programme returned - thanks to popular demand. About 80 pairs of women participated in the run and the programme, which was championed by social ambassadors Cheryl Miles, Kelly Latimer and May Wan.

The Jubilee Bridge was a new inclusion on the race route for the half-marathon participants. The race took the participants to locations of iconic landmarks such as Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands, Merlion Park, Esplanade, Singapore Flyer, F1 Pit Building and the Sports Hub.

The 'Look Good, Live Great' Powder Room, a perennial crowd favourite, attracted scores of participants who made a beeline for the room to freshen up after their race. Participants were also pampered with muffins, apples, hotdogs and massages.

chenj@sph.com.sg