The sarong is generally not associated with sports and running. But for about 60 runners last weekend, it became a piece of sportswear – when they donned it for a run.
Second edition Lunghi Run was held during the weekend
These runners had been taking part in the Lunghi Run, which is into its second edition this year. There were two race categories – a 3.5km fun run and a 7.5km fun run. This year’s event was held at the Bishan Park and the route was a loop course through the park.
Explained race organizer and manufacturing superintendent Ali Akbar, 55, “The lunghi, more commonly known as the sarong in Singapore, is a common costume for Indians, Malays and Peranakans. As we live in a multi-cultural society where racial harmony is paramount, I thought, why shouldn’t we run in lunghis?
“As we’ve just had Deepavali too, it would also send out a strong message of solidarity and racial harmony,” Ali added.
Fun at the event
Runners of all ages and races and from all walks of life had turned up for the event last Saturday morning – and they all had great fun donning the sarong and taking part in the run.
Said 48-year-old housewife Mary Loehr, who had been there with her husband and two children, “It was lots of fun and I really enjoyed it! We had a great time and everyone was so friendly. It was a great way to start a Saturday.”
Added her husband, risk manager Brian Loehr, 48, “I was concerned that it would rain earlier this morning but the weather kind of cleared. It was almost like the rain had stopped so that we could get the run in!”
Wearing the sarong was very hot
But Brian found that wearing the sarong was a rather hot experience – and one that he wasn’t quite used to. “It was very hot inside the sarong! This was the first time I have worn one and I had to keep pulling it up – to get the air in (to cool the body down). It didn’t really bother me in terms of the running, though,” he explained.
Agreed 54-year-old Ravendra Naidu, a customer service officer, “As an Indian, wearing the sarong is not an issue for me. But when you are talking about running, it is not comfortable. There is no way I would usually run in a sarong – especially if it is a competitive run and I am going for timing. But as today was a fun run, I could just take it easy – so it was ok.”
And Ravendra wasn’t really afraid that the sarong would come off midway during his run. According to the organizer, such an issue had already been taken care of. Said Ali, “We have ‘insurance’ in the form of strings which we provided to the runners. We also taught participants how to tie a lunghi and to check if they have done it properly too. And if all else fails, we’re all wearing shorts inside.”
Received weird stares from the general public
Some runners who took part in the Lunghi Run received stares from the general public though, when they ran past in their sarongs.
Said 38-year-old Yeo Kim Song, a quality control manager, “Some onlookers actually stared at me in a surprised manner because they felt that running in a sarong is an unusual thing to do. Mostly, people run in shorts or tights! But since there had been so many of us running in a sarong this morning, it wasn’t such an awkward feeling for me.”
The run had been held for a good cause
Kim Song added too, that he would definitely take part in the Lunghi Run if it is organized again next year – after all, the run had been staged for a good cause, to support a 15-year-old girl with cancer. 100 per cent of the funds collected from the Lunghi Run had been raised for this. At the end of the event, about $2,040 had been raised.
This girl is the 15-year-old daughter of 46-year-old inspirational speaker and athlete, Mohammad Shariff Abdullah Peters – who is more commonly known as the Singapore Blade Runner.
According to Mohammad Shariff, his daughter, Nur Athirah, has been suffering from Liver Steatosis (Fatty Liver) and Portable Hypertension Cancer for the past few years. As a result of her condition, her right spleen has been enlarged by about five cm.
Shocked that the Lunghi Runners had done this for him
The Singapore Blade Runner was very surprised that the run had been organized for his daughter. Said the inspirational speaker, “I was really shocked that the Lunghi Runners organized this race for my daughter. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Lunghi organization and the runners for supporting my cause. I am really appreciative of this.”
To show his support for the event too, Mohammad Shariff himself had also taken part in the Lunghi Run – and he had put on a cheerful face and had fun, too.
Said the Singapore Blade Runner, “Life is tough. We all face challenges in life. But if you keep on pushing through these challenges and make changes when things get difficult, then everything will turn out well in the end.”