Union sealed by love of running

While most runners were on the Padang pitch stretching after taking part in the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) 2013, Ng Ling Fong had one knee on the ground for an altogether different reason.

A surprise that took a full month of planning came to fruition Sunday, when the 28-year-old shipping analyst proposed to Melissa Ho, 25, his girlfriend of two years moments after the couple completed the half-marathon.

Said Ng: "I chose to propose here because we completed our first full marathon in the 2011 SCMS together."

Ho, a public servant, said: "It's really romantic, because running has a special meaning for both of us. We both love it, and we've spent a lot of time running together for the past few years."

The proposal added to a festive mood at the Padang, where runners gathered for post-race activities - among them performers on stilts, in superhero costumes and live music.

The day was especially satisfying for 83-year-old Chan Meng Hui, who completed his 95th marathon in 6hr 34min 54sec.

Chan, who intends to make it 100 marathons at next year's SCMS, said: "I expected to complete the marathon in eight hours, but the weather was very cooling in the second half of the run."

Also hitting a personal milestone was Czeslaw Szarycz, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in July.

Said the 52-year-old, who took part in the full marathon with his neurosurgeon, Dr Ivan Ng: "Ivan finished about five minutes faster, but we ran about 20km together, during which he kept reminding me to hydrate myself. I felt good after the run."

Also among the 54,000 runners was Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong. He took part in the Ekiden - a team relay - with members and beneficiaries of Singapore Sports Council's philanthropic arm SportCares.

Mr Wong hinted that, with the opening of the Singapore Sports Hub next year, SCMS 2014 could see its route changed to include the National Stadium.

He said: "Next year, when the Sports Hub is ready, we hope to see how we can change the route of the marathon so that it goes through or ends up in the National Stadium itself."

Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan Jin, who flagged off the full marathon along Orchard road, said: "The sporting scene in Singapore is getting more and more exciting, and the Sports Hub is just a symbol of what may be possible."

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