It is a global running phenomenon – and now it has finally come to Singapore, since June this year.
parkrun, a free weekly 5Km time trial, was originally founded in the United Kingdom and run by a team of volunteers. This run takes place on Saturdays – in ten different countries around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
Singapore is parkrun’s first foray into Asia
Singapore marks the parkrun event’s first foray into Asia. The Singapore edition of parkrun is held at 7.30am on Saturday mornings at East Coast Park.
Said 36-year-old Carol Cunningham, the Event Director for the parkrun event in Singapore, “We selected East Coast Park, because it’s a beautiful location with great facilities and a safe course. Easily accessible from the city, it makes a great choice for both local Singaporeans and visitors from overseas.”
Singapore’s first parkrun event is a pancake-flat out-and-back route that goes in the direction of Big Splash and returns to Carpark B1, unlike some of the other parkruns, which may be hilly, off-road or loopy.
Bonding with other parkrun participants
Nevertheless, the East Coast Park parkrun event certainly attracts participants from all walks of life, who wish to do running together with a group of like-minded individuals.
Said 43-year-old lawyer, Rob Smith, who is from England, “Essentially, running is a lonely exercise that you normally do by yourself. So it is good to do it with like-minded people and get all hot and sweaty together.”
After getting hot and sweaty from the running, Rob also certainly looks forward to the post-run coffee and bonding sessions that take place every Saturday after the last runner has completed the course.
Agreed 25-year-old portfolio analyst Karine Kragh, from Denmark, “It is really great to hang out after the weekly runs and chit-chat over coffee and make new friends. As well, we also see each other during races, such as the Jurong Lake Run and Sundown Marathon. We would also catch up and say hi during these events too, so that’s quite good.”
Besides meeting new friends, Karine, who has been running regularly since she was 15 years old, also enjoys the fact that Parkrun attracts runners from all walks of life, ranging from the experienced speedsters to those who are picking up the sport for the first time.
Added 32-year-old chef Michael Hopkinson, “There are so many different types of runners here – some people run fast, others run slow and there are some who run in between.” In fact, the timings for the 5Km Parkrun can range from anything between a speedy 18 minutes to an hour.
parkrun helps to improve fitness and running speed
Michael, a New Zealander who had moved to Singapore about three and a half years ago, has since become a regular at the East Coast Park parkrun and feels that it has definitely helped him to get fitter and stronger. This is ironic, considering that he had never liked running before he moved to Singapore.
He said, “Coming to parkrun has definitely improved my timings. It is lovely coming here to run 5Km every Saturday morning, even though it is hard to get out of bed before 7am in the morning!”
Agreed his wife Rebecca Hopkinson, a 30-year-old lawyer, “We have definitely gotten fitter every week through parkrun. Because you can track your timings and progress on the Parkrun website, it makes us run faster every week.”
The humidity is a challenge at Singapore’s parkrun
However, Rebecca, who is originally from Australia, admits that the East Coast Park event is not without its challenges. She said, “It is so much hotter and more humid here to run compared to Australia – that now, if I go back to Australia to run, it should be so much easier for me.”
Added 30-year-old commercials manager Fabia Palmer, who is also from Australia, “Even though the Singapore version is a flat parkrun, the humidity is a challenge, because it adds a different dimension of difficulty to the run.”
East Coast Park parkrun is still great fun
But one thing that Fabia enjoys about Singapore’s parkrun is the fact that when you are running along Singapore’s eastern coastline, you can see the ships in the water and feel the cool sea breeze – and to her, that is great fun, and helps to balance out the challenges of the running.
Agreed Carol, “East Coast Park parkrun is definitely great fun, and if you are keen to improve your fitness and your running, it’s one of the best ways to kick-start your Saturday morning here in Singapore.”
Find out more information on, or about running or volunteering for the East Coast Park parkrun event here. http://www.parkrun.com.au/eastcoastpark/