Why run alone when you can run in a group? Running alone may give you flexibility and gives you space for solitude but running in groups can keep you motivated, not to mention companionship, especially if you are looking at running mid to long distances.
Meet Terence Teo, the founder of Running Department, which was formed back in July 2013.
Terence Teo, founder of Running Department. Photo: Terence Teo
When asked about the inspiration behind the start of Running Department, Terence shared: “It all happened after my second year of managing SCMS (Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore) in 2012 (back then that’s what Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon was known as), we had a lot of runners asking about training with the pacers after SCMS and how to follow their journey. However, we did not exactly have an identity and were just known as ‘SCMS Pacers’. So, an idea struck me and I asked myself, why not we give a name to our pacing group?
I gathered a few of my pacers, shared my idea on how I would like to build a community. Not a running team, not a group but a community. A community that’s by runners for runners, one made up of pacers and runners, one that cultivates the idea of supporting one-another through a common platform and one that is free for all, no frills, no fuss, just run and bridge that gap, sharing the fellowship and camaraderie of fellow runners.”
He added: “And so after multiple iterations, Running Department was conceived and we call ourselves the ‘feel good people’ because we wanted runners to run with us and to pass on this feel good movement! Imagine runners who were inspired by pacers who may have helped them along the way. I want to encourage them to one day become a pacer themselves so that they can pass on the feel good vibes to others.”
Photo: Terence Teo
The rest, as they say, was history. The Running Department has grown from strength to strength since then. From a small group of 10 to 20 runners in 2013, they now have about close to 100 runners joining them for the Wednesday evening running sessions, as well as more than 200 for their Saturday SCSM training sessions.
According to Terence, the Wednesday evening run is a mid-week stress reliever from work, where they usually start from UOB Plaza and run for a good 8km to 10km before conducting a mass cool down before calling it a day.
The Saturday morning runs’ locations vary, with the number of runners increasing when they are doing pacing programmes for major running events such as the Income Eco Run, Straits Times Run, Great Eastern Women’s Run and Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon.
The Running Department also does Exploration and Holiday Runs, where they map out different routes across the island to bring runners on a route that is new and unexplored. They do that during the off-season and when their volunteers (a small pool of Running Department crew help Terence with the day-to-day activities and planning) are available.
Photo: Terence Teo
Terence started running to lose weight back in 2008. He was depressed about how he looked, how unhealthy he was and how he couldn’t fit into the clothes he liked. Running slowly became an addiction, he started making friends in various running groups, and the group dynamics and running itself has helped to shape him into who he is today.
He still runs nowadays, but not as much as he used to as he has a busier work schedule. However, the people at Running Department are definitely one of the key motivation that gets him going day after day.
“It’s like, no matter how bad a work week can be, you know you can count on your friends to go for a run just to shake off that stress at work and it’s like my happy pill (besides my significant other),” he said with a smile.
Besides running, Terence has also tried swimming, cycling and hitting the gym but none of these lasted as long as running, due to its simplicity. All you need is a pair of good running shoes, the right attire and you are good to go!
Photo: Terence Teo
Moving forward, Terence wants Running Department to continue to be known for doing what they are good at; to inspire many runners, who had previously benefited from their pacers during training or races, to join this family and be a volunteer with them.
As the Running Department is a non-profit and 100% voluntary organisation, a lot of support and encouragement are needed from the community to keep them going.
He is also hoping to see more newbie runners joining them; be it doing their first 5km, 10km or even their first full marathon. Terence hopes that they can come by, join them and experience the feel good people for themselves!
Terence ended by saying: “Don’t procrastinate and don’t feel intimidated. Just pack your running gear, bring some hydration and get to know this amazing community that’s for runners by runners.”
Editor’s note: Terence will be taking part in this year’s Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon to soak up the atmosphere with the pacers so do sign up if you have not already done so and say hi to this amazing running man if you happen to bump into him! You can also follow him on Instagram @ahterry or Running Department on Facebook / Instagram @runningdepartment Official website: www.runningdept.com
Gary Yang is a myActiveSG Editor and Presenter. Gary started his career as a suit cum copywriter at an advertising agency, followed by a successful stint in Corporate Communications with Singapore Press Holdings and Asia Pacific Breweries, before eventually joining the editorial team at Sport Singapore. He now turns his attention to fitness and wellness headlines and sniffing out news angles in the sporting arena. Follow Gary on Instagram @thisisgaryyang