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Running down a more gracious path

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There are themed running events; there are running events for charitable causes. How about a run that benefits the local running community itself?

Come 14 May, running enthusiasts will be taking part in the very first Singapore Kindness Run. Organised in partnership with the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM), it aims to instil running etiquette within the community, creating a safer and more positive environment for all.

Speaking to recreational runner Johnny Gan, who initiated this event, and running coach Lexxus Tan, we learnt more about the motivations behind the Singapore Kindness Run and the unique features that it will entail.

In fact, it was Gan’s observations of poor running habits that led him to come up with the idea for the run. He remarked: “I’ve come across runners who spit on the running path.”

“At running events, you’ll also see a lot of runners throwing their cups on the ground, even though there’s a bin ahead. On a normal day, they’d walk over to throw their rubbish. Why do they not do this when they’re running? They probably don’t realise it. We want to educate them that such actions should not be the norm,” he continued.

With that, Gan started a voluntary project, known as Runners’ Heart-Reach, alongside SKM. The Singapore Kindness Run was, in turn, organised as part of this initiative. He also roped in Tan, an experienced runner and coach who helms a network of competitive runners, to assist in conducting clinics, planning routes, and marketing.

Naming examples of potentially hazardous behaviour, Tan shared: “It’s dangerous when you’re asking runners to give way but they’re listening to music and can’t hear you – collisions might occur. In fact, according to rules of competitive running events, you’re not supposed to be using listening devices, as they could well be coaching aids.”

singapore kindness run 2017 Recreational runner Johnny Gan, who started the Singapore Kindness Run, said that poor running habits was what gave him the idea for the event. Photo credit: Singapore Kindness Run 2017

“Some runners also like to rush forward at the start of a race to do a ‘runfie’. It’s like braking when you reach an ERP gantry – everyone will be affected,” he said, emphasising that etiquette is a basic component of running that should be adhered to for the safety of all on the track.

Hoping for the Singapore Kindness Run to emphasize the importance of running etiquette to the public, Gan said: “We hope to change the mentality of runners slowly but surely.”

The event itself, comprising a 10km race and 800m Kids’ Dash, will involve the broadcast of running etiquette tips through a PA system and signage put up throughout the route. There will also be a special pledge for participants, and “runfie” (running selfie) opportunities with SKM mascot Singa at dedicated zones to highlight the fact that it’s acceptable to take “runfies” as long as one is not in the path of others.

Local elite runners such as Rachel See and Jasmine Goh will be present to help champion the cause as well. As Tan remarked: “It’s a good opportunity for the other runners to run side-by-side with them. They’re not coming down to win the race, but they believe in and want to promote running etiquette.”

Of course, besides the newfound awareness that the participants will take home with them, Gan has planned something more that he hopes will last beyond the event, which is set to be a yearly affair.

“We’ve seen pacers and cheerleaders at running events. But we’ve never seen Kindness Ambassadors. Those who complete our 10km run this May will be known as our Kindness Ambassadors. They’ll help us promote our cause at other events in Singapore. During their regular runs, they will also wear their finishers’ tees and lead by example,” he explained.

Ultimately, Gan hopes that the runners will also translate this courteousness to other aspects of their lives. Indeed, as the Singapore Kindess Run tagline goes: “Gracious running is gracious living.”

“An understanding of the importance of being more careful and mindful when running will translate to the same consideration in other aspects of their lives,” he elaborated.

singapore kindness run 2017 Photo Credit: Singapore Kindness Run 2017

Play a part in helping Singapore’s running community become a more gracious one! Register for the Singapore Kindness Run at, and don’t forget these important tips on running etiquette:

Do-s and don’t-s

o    Keep to the left if you’re running slowly
o    Move to the side if you’re taking a “runfie”
o    Don’t run side-by-side in a group of three or more
o    Don’t hog the drinks stop
o    Try not to listen to music
o    Don’t spit in areas where others run
o    Don’t litter

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