The third edition of the Lunghi Run took place last weekend.
An annual event, the Lunghi Run requires all its participants wear a lunghi (sarong) to run. This is a traditional piece of cloth mainly worn by the Indians, Peranakans and Malays. So this event sends a strong message of racial solidarity and harmony to Singaporean runners from all walks of life, thus fostering the acceptance and bond between different cultures living here.
Added race co-organiser Ali Akbar, 56, “The reason I started this Lunghi Run in the first place, was, besides the fact that I found the lunghi comfortable, was to promote racial and mutual respect in the wake of the Little India riots in 2013.”
Akbar had helped to co-organise the 2015 event together with the Telok Blangah Community Club.
The idea of running with a lunghi had initially come about when Akbar watched a viral music video of a song called Lunghi Dance – the Bollywood equivalent of the hit Gangnam Style.
2015 edition took place at Labrador Park
The 2015 edition of the Lunghi Run comprised of a 7.5km and a 3.5km category, to cater to different types of runners. Graced by Minister Lim Hng Kiang, the Minster for Trade and Industry, as the Guest of Honour, the run took place at the Belayer Creek at Labrador Park and was an extremely fun and engaging experience, according to many of the runners.
250 runners took part in this year’s event, a large increase from the 25 runners that had been flagged off in the inaugural 2013 Lunghi Run.
Runners had a great time
Said Huang Shao Fei, 42, Director in Public Service, “The Lunghi Run brought together runners from the various races and this event epitomises the invaluable racial harmony amongst Singaporeans. That’s what I had particularly liked about it.”
Added Eugene Aw, 33, a Senior R&D Engineer, “This is a one-of-its-kind event here in Singapore, with runners wearing a Lunghi to run. It was also great fun, with participants running and laughing together and new friendships being forged. We even had a birthday cake to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of Lunghi Run and the birthday of participants who were born in November.”
A good family bonding experience for him
For Muhammad Najib, 34, a Technician, this year’s Lunghi Run had been a very memorable family bonding experience with his wife and young son.
He said, “I was glad that my wife and son had joined me for this year’s Lunghi Run. Running in a sarong was surely something unique and surprisingly, my son, Akid, zoomed all the way in his Lunghi. It was certainly a delightful evening well-spent.”
Lunghi Run was so much more than a running event
And to David Ho, 48, the 2015 Lunghi Run had been so much more than a mere running event. He said, “I personally felt that it was more than a run event. It was more like a racial harmony gathering whereby different ethnic groups come together to learn and respect a particular culture and at the same time, have fun.”
Added Ho, the founder of JTDream photography, “I particularly liked the fact too, that there was a surge in participants – especially from the non-Indian group. There were Malays, Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese and Westerners all learning how to wear the Lunghi and running with it. Everyone had a great time during the race, and we enjoyed the post-run events.”
Such events help foster a closer friendship with the local running community
However it wasn’t just the runners who had enjoyed themselves tremendously though. The volunteers had a great experience too.
Said an event volunteer, Roslyn Rosejos, 38, “As a first-time volunteer, I really enjoyed helping out in this year’s Lunghi Run because small local runs like this foster a closer friendship with the running community. Plus, the atmosphere was very relaxing. It wasn’t a competitive run, so people got to enjoy the environment at Labrador Park as well.”
Rosejos, a Regional IT Project Manager, added, “The runners were all talking happily, taking photos and goofing around. I really enjoyed being at this unique event – where runners were not only donning sarongs, but running barefoot as well, which I don’t really see often in competitive events.”
Organisers are grateful at how the event had turned out
Akbar is extremely happy at how the event had turned out. He said, “There was real camaraderie and harmony amongst the runners – something which I personally find lacking in the running arena that is fast becoming over-commercialised.”
He continued, “Thank you all for the splendid turnout for the Lunghi Run this past weekend. I extend my warmest gratitude to all volunteers, sponsors and runners for making this event a responding success. I hope that this spirit would continue to carry us forth in all our endeavours.”
Akbar is also pleased that the Lunghi Run also chalked up $5,000 in donation for the Children’s Cancer Foundation.