Be A Gunner Be A Runner 2015: Arsenal Fans Running For Charity

This morning, close to 60 Arsenal fans got together to take part in a fun 6.4km charity run.

The annual fun run, which was being held in Singapore for the third consecutive time, was the Be A Gunner Be A Runner (BAGBAR) 2015 event. This fun run takes takes place at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in London, as well as more than 30 other countries around the world.

A group photo before the run commences. Credit: Arsenal Singapore.

A group photo before the run commences.
Credit: Arsenal Singapore.

Seven rounds of the Singapore Sports Hub’s 100 Plus Promenade

Young Gooners also turned up for this morning's run.

Young Gooners also turned up for this morning’s run.

In London, runners complete 10 rounds of the Emirates Stadium for their 6.4km run. This year, in Singapore, the local fan club wanted to do something similar. So, instead of staging the event at East Coast Park like they had done in the past, the Arsenal supporters club in Singapore decided to organise their run this morning at the 100 Plus Promenade at the Singapore Sports Hub. Each round is 888 metres, so seven rounds were required to make up the distance.

Explained Eric Ong, 36, the President of Arsenal Singapore, “The Sports Hub is an iconic location in the local sporting landscape. It’s also appropriate because Arsenal is coming to Singapore in July and they will be playing at the National Stadium as well. And by having the run at the very stadium that Arsenal will be playing in, it mirrors the 10 rounds of Arsenal’s iconic Emirates stadium in London.”

“Also, the route is sheltered, so it means that we are protected from the elements of the sun and rain. It’s really an ideal location for a run. I think that many runners enjoyed the event this year,” continued Ong.

Runners at the event had lots of fun

Many runners who turned up at the event definitely had fun. Said Jayapal Veerappan, 63, a retired RSF serviceman, “Today’s run was really good. I passed by so many fellow Arsenal fans along the way and they were all so friendly, waving and cheering me on, and encouraging each other while running. This is my first time taking part in the BAGBAR event, and I hope to join again next year.”

At the starting line, all ready to run.

Runners waiting eagerly at the starting line.

Added 33-year-old lawyer Sherwin Lin, “This is the first time that I have run at the new National Stadium track. It’s a really nice place and there is a good vibe to it. The numerous sights and sounds along the way really helps to to take my mind off the run as well.

“Also, it’s really nice running as a community, with a group of people who are equally passionate about Arsenal – and this is a good form of exercise too, compared to sitting down to watch football and drink beer,” continued Lin.

Is impressed with the Singapore National Stadium

For Edmund Cheow, 49, a waste plastic and paper trader, this morning marked his first visit to the National Stadium. While he has previously driven past, he has not had the chance to set foot inside the National Stadium. But after this morning’s run, he has completely fallen in love with the place. Said Cheow, “The whole facade of the stadium is very high tech and I will definitely bring my family here soon. It is a very scenic and interesting place and you can run here at all times of the day – with the shelter and all. The BAGBAR event was great fun too and I hope to participate in it every year from now on.”

And... They're off! Credit: Sanjiv Sharma

And… They’re off!
Credit: Sanjiv Sharma

A Successful Event

The turnout of enthusiastic and passionate Arsenal fans also impressed a regional executive of the Arsenal Football Club. Will Brown, 31, who is in charge of Arsenal FC’s Asia Head Quarters in Singapore and looks after the club’s offices and commercial businesses across Asia, was present at this year’s BAGBAR event – and he was in complete awe by the end of it.

Said Brown, “The run was really fantastic – even though I have realised that I am clearly not as fit as I should be, or as fit as most of the other fans here! Eric (Ong) and (Tiong) Jin Yan (Arsenal Singapore’s Vice President) have done a wonderful job with the Singapore supporters club and credit to them today for putting together this successful event. It was really nice to see so many Singaporean Arsenal fans here, all wearing the colours in support of the club and it really means a huge amount to us as well as the players.”

Ouch! Running hurts my head. Credit: Kie Chan

Ouch! Running hurts my head.
Credit: Kie Chan

Indeed, Ong himself was also very pleased with how the response for the BAGBAR run this year had turned out. He said, “Response has been way better than what we expected this year – in fact, it has more than doubled since the past two years.”

Added Brown, “And after seeing the number of enthusiastic Arsenal fans here today, we are really excited to be coming here on tour in July – and when the Arsenal players themselves see how much support there is in Singapore, there is no doubt that Arsenal FC will be coming back to Singaporean soil soon.”

100 per cent of the proceeds went to charity

Unlike most other runs, 100 per cent of the proceeds went to charity – more specially, to the Arsenal Foundation, a charity effort by the Arsenal Football Club in London that supports a range of community and charity projects in the United Kingdom and overseas – including the football club’s official charity partners, Save the Children and Willow Foundation.

Gathering together for the lucky draw - after the run. Credit: Pete.

Gathering together for the lucky draw – after the run.
Credit: Pete.

This charity aspect is definitely a great draw for Arsenal fans as well, who want to do their part to help the needy. Explained Ong, “A lot of our members, who are not based in Singapore, or knew they could not make the date, still signed up. They did so, because we are one of the few supporters clubs organising a run where 100 per cent of the proceeds go to charity. A lot of supporters clubs may organise running events for fun, but what we are doing is in true spirit of the BAGBAR event.”

Overall, about 2,500 English pounds (SGD 5,000) was raised by the Arsenal Singapore club, for the Arsenal Foundation and Ong is extremely pleased about this.

Plenty of lucky draw prizes were contributed by Puma

Runners standing around.

Relaxing after the run

Besides the fun run, lucky draw prizes were also contributed by Arsenal’s partners, Puma Singapore – and many of the runners walked away with a wide range of Arsenal and Puma themed items, including bags, scarves and jackets, amongst others.

Said Ong, “A big thank you to everyone and also, to our partner Puma, for being really supportive. They had wanted to make it today, but they were not free. So they contributed plenty of prizes for us to hold a lucky draw instead. We want to thank them for their generosity. This is also a fun occasion and that is really what makes Arsenal Singapore special because you don’t see other supporters clubs doing that too.”

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