MediaCorp artistes turned up in force to participate in the inaugural MediaCorp Hong Bao Run. (Photo by VoxSports)
A competitive and vibrant atmosphere was felt at the Nicoll Highway last Sunday as 5,000 participants were up early to stake their claim as top dog at the inaugural MediaCorp Hong Bao Run.
The run is the first running event to be organised after the recent Chinese New Year festivities and a mega lucky draw, the event’s key attraction, was being conducted in line with the CNY theme.
SEA Games gold medallist Mok Ying Ren (below) claimed the men’s title with a timing of 26 minutes 42.59 seconds while Suzanne Walsham, 40, won the women’s category in 28 minutes 34.21 seconds. There was no denying the duo’s passion and talent for running as Mok had recently won Singapore’s first SEA Games marathon gold medal a year ago in Myanmar while Walsham had won the Empire State Building Run-up for the 5th time.
“I’m very happy to come in first,” said Mok. “It’s been a tough two months for me after the SEA Games. It’s been challenging as I just finished three days of outfield training last Friday so I have only been running once a week! I’m really glad I did well at this run. It’s a great way to celebrate the Chinese New Year.”
He added: "Overall, it was a positive experience and I enjoyed myself tremendously though I was hurting quite badly during the run due to the lack of training! What was particularly interesting was the concept of the run. It had a real festive mood with the lion dance and dressed-up runners adding to the spirit. Having celebrities participate in the event will also go a long way in motivating people to start running and to lead a healthy and active lifestyle."
Walsham (below), a Singapore PR who has been residing in Singapore since 2007 was not only ecstatic with her win but also had great praises for the run’s route.
“I’m really tired and still suffering from jet lag so I’m really happy to win! It was an amazing race and I enjoyed the course as it was nice and flat. It’s great to have been part of the Chinese New Year celebrations,” she said.
With their victories, they each walked away with the top prize purse of $2,888 in cash, which is one of the highest for running events of similar distances in Singapore.
But they were not the biggest winners for the day as a lucky participant, See Hak Loo, went home a whopping $88,888 richer as he won the giant hong bao in the Hong Bao Run mega lucky draw, which was held after the run.
“I am very surprised and honoured, I feel very blessed by the God of Fortune!” said an elated See after collecting his prize from guest-of-honour Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, who also flagged off the race and ran the full 8km.
“I don’t know what I’m going to spend the money on but I think I’ll probably give a portion to charity!” he shared.
There was also an added twist to the run as several participants brought spice and giggles to the event with their extravagant and cheeky costumes. Some were clad in horses' outfits, while another runner dressed up as Thor, a Marvel Comics character.
Some runners came in various costumes to spice up the run. Here, we have Thor striking a pose for the camera after completing the run. (Photo by VoxSports)
“It’s not very difficult [to run with the costume] but it just caused some blisters because my leg kept rubbing against the costume,” said Sebastian Foo, who was dressed up as a horse.
For friends Alvin Koh and Winnie Cheng, they caught the eyes of many participants and onlookers as they wore a bright coloured Hong Bao suit.
“This is the Hong Bao Run, so we ran in it. We believe that other than finishing the race, we also want to have fun in life and have some creative memories of it,” expressed the cheerful duo.
In addition to the memories of participating in the run, participants were also delighted by the appearances of household names such as Felicia Chin, Joshua Tan and radio jock Bobby Toneli to cap off their experience at the event.