Over 5,000 children and their parents raced under the iconic Christmas lights along Orchard Road on Saturday evening to mark the start of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) 2017.
For the thousands of families who participated, the 600m Kids Dash was a fun family activity that provided them with the chance to spend quality time together.
Flag off at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2017 Kids Dash. Photo: SportSG
Held ahead of the main races on Sunday morning, the event also offered the young ones an early exposure to active lifestyles.
“I think it’s a great bonding opportunity for parents and their children. Other than that, [I can also] encourage my daughter to take part in running activities in the future,” said Azhar Daud, who participated in the dash with his three-year-old daughter, Adlina Koh.
SCSM Kids dash participants Angel Yong and Sean Lim with children Lim Jian Wei, 10, Lim Jian Sheng, 7. Photo: SportSG
Another parent, Joelle Fiore, echoed similar sentiments: “I believe in physical literacy, getting the children moving. I think that’s much more important than academics.”
“Sports really builds resilience in them, so I want them to develop [in such a manner]!”
SCSM Kids Dash parent Joelle Fiore with daughter Emma Fiore in her "Supergirl" costume. Photo: SportSG
In fact, Fiore’s daughter Emma might be just four years old, but she has already taken part in several sporting events with the family – including last year’s SCSM Kids Dash.
This year, she even donned a special costume for the run, calling herself “Supergirl”.
SCSM Kids Dash parent Mary Geemon and daughter Carol Geemon. Photo: SportSG
The race began at Ngee Ann City, flagged off by Standard Chartered Bank regional corporate affairs head Eva Ang, IRONMAN Asia managing director Geoff Meyer, Singapore Sports Institute chief Toh Boon Yi, Sport Singapore deputy chairman Kon Yin Tong, and Community Chest vice chairman Chew Kwee San.
At the sound of the air horns, the children, aged from one to 13, jetted off towards the finish line at ION Orchard.
The children, however, weren’t the only excited ones at the event.
Kids Carnival at Standard Chartered Marathon Kids Dash. Photo: SportSG
Parents hurried behind, trying to capture the entire experience through their phones and cameras. As Angel Yong professed: “If the kids are happy, I’m happy! It’s such a fun activity for the family.”
Yong had decided to sign her two children up for the Kids Dash so that the family could be a part of the race experience together with her husband, a regular SCSM runner.
She expressed: “We’re used to having this marathon every year, so we wanted the kids here too, to enjoy this as a family affair!”
Besides the race, families were also treated to a special Christmas carnival set up outside Ngee Ann City, featuring food stalls and activity stations that added to the festive atmosphere and holiday spirit.
Azhar Daud and daughter Adlina Koh. Photo: SportSG
“Being a part of this Kids Dash is a nice feeling! You get to interact with so many people. So many of my friends are here too,” said Mary Geemon, who was at the activity station with her daughter, 10-year-old Carol.
Although it was their first time taking part in the event, Geemon revealed that visiting Orchard Road during the Christmas season was a yearly tradition for her family.
She enthused: “I’m [getting] a lot of positive energy in this place. I feel very happy, and the children are very excited!”
“We always make it a point to come here every year during Christmas. Of course, this year, we’ve gained more with the race!”