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Parachuting from a different level

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Fancy running but with more resistance than usual? Then parachute dashing is the perfect sport for you. (Photo by VoxSports)

How many ways can one use a parachute? While many of us are familiar with those that Singapore’s veteran parachutists use to descend effortlessly onto the scene at our annual National Day Parade, a group of parachute dashers have proven that these inventions can also be used competitively on land.

Together with a group of senior students at Republic Polytechnic, the Running Guild organised a parachute dash on campus, which required runners to pit themselves against one another in various distances ranging from 380m, 760m, 1.14km and 1.52km.

The foundation of this sport lies in the drag effect created by the parachute. Commonly used as part of strength and speed training among athletes, speed resistance parachutes are attached to the runners’ waists with harnesses.

As the athlete takes off and runs his or her desired distance, the nylon parachute, which trails behind the runner, generates a considerable amount of resistance, which requires a greater deal of strength and force to overcome as compared to regular sprinting.

Parachute dashing latches on to this concept, while adding a competitive element to it. Instead of mere short bursts, runners compete to cover distances of up to 1.52km, which is the equivalent of four rounds on a national track.

Ben Swee, 38, the creator of the sport, described parachute dashing as a “more challenging event, rather than just pure sprinting for just a short few seconds.”

When asked about the benefits of taking on parachuting, he smiled and commented, “it helps to build your power, as well as your mental strength to overcome all the resistance generated by the wind and the parachute.”

The event proved to be a trying yet enjoyable one, as most of our runners completed their respective races with satisfaction.

“Whenever I run, I want to try different things… I thought [the parachute run] was very interesting,” remarked Belinda Lim, 26, a trail runner who participated in the 1.52km event.

Mohit Dobaria, 26, echoed those sentiments, describing the event as a “new challenge” in his running experience.

“I heard about parachute dashing for the first time and decided to accept this challenge… Flat running is normal, but parachute running is quite different, so I just joined it.”

While such experienced runners have taken up these challenges, parachuting is not only possible among the extremely fit. Ben mentioned that speed resistance parachutes are available in “various sizes” to accommodate the varying strength that a parachutist possesses.

This new sport is one that many may easily take on, and definitely one that you should keep an eye on.

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