The eighth edition of the Singtel – Singapore Cancer Society Race against Cancer took place early this morning – at the Angsana Green, East Coast Park.
Organised by the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) and sponsored by Singtel, the Singtel – SCS Race against Cancer (RAC) is a meaningful run that aims to raise funds for cancer treatment subsidies, welfare assistance, cancer rehabilitation, hospice care, free cancer screenings, research and public education initiatives.
Through the race, Singtel and SCS hope to make a statement about cancer, to minimise cancer and maximise lives, because nobody should fight cancer alone.
A cause that resonates with me
This is definitely a cause that resonates with me – my mum is currently battling brain cancer, since she had been diagnosed with it in August 2014 and although her condition today is pretty stable, she is still not completely out of the woods yet in her fight against cancer.
As well, my maternal granddad – whom I have some fond memories of – had also passed away from end-stage lung cancer which had spread to his brain, in November 2014. I was devastated with this news, and am regretting not spending as much time with him as I could have, when he had been healthy.
Like me, other runners taking part in the event had also felt that the RAC was being organised for a fantastic cause.
Said Stephen Owen, 46, an Investment Banker from the United Kingdom, “Everyone has experienced some negative things about cancer in their lives, so it is very positive to have this race, to remember the people battling cancer and those who lost their fight to it.”
Took part in the 10km run
In line with the previous years, the 2016 edition of the RAC had comprised of a 5km fun run, as well as 10km and 15km competitive runs, to cater to runners of different abilities.
I took part in the 10km race. This had been scheduled to flag off at 7.40am but in the end, we started the actual running about five minutes later.
I met up with some friends at the race village as well as the starting line, including Singapore’s oldest marathon runner Uncle Chan Meng Hui, and took a few selfies with them before beginning the run.
Children in superhero costumes
Prior to flag off, what caught my eye though, had been the adorable little children on stage – who were dressed in superhero costumes such as Wonder Woman, Batman, BatGirl, The Hulk and SuperGirl.
I had thought that the superhero costumes had been quite apt and had tied in with the meaning of the run – to those battling cancer, their caregivers are their superheroes.
Race route was scenic and familiar to me
From Angsana Green, the race course took us towards the the direction of the Big Splash for the first 5km, before U-turning and heading back in the same direction that we had come.
And with the seaside East Coast Park location, the route had been quite a scenic one.
My Pacing strategy
I tried to pace myself properly, by starting the run at an Easy pace. But I think that the adrenaline of the race soon got to me, and I soon found myself running a little bit faster than I probably should have.
Fortunately I think that I realised this soon enough to dial back on the pace in time, to finish strongly, and managed to clock a negative splits strategy in the final 5km of the race. But in terms of my overall race timing, perhaps I could have been a wee bit faster though.
I tried not to stop at the hydration stations in order to save time, but I admitted that it wasn’t the easiest thing to do – to grab a cup of water/isotonic, drink on the go and then aim the empty cup into the waste bin. So in the end, I still found myself having to stop to drink the isotonic.
When I reached the last 3km of the race, I gave it everything I had left in my tank – reminding myself of the reason why I was running this race and the cause that I was running for, when things got tough and I was tempted to slow down to a casual jog. Overall I would say that it had not been my best run, but at least it wasn’t the worst in terms of my race execution.
At the end of the race, I had also thought that it was quite significant that the finishers were given a friendship band made by cancer patients and survivors – in addition to the finisher’s medal, to take home.
A great race that holds significant meaning
For Jessica McMorris, 50 and working at a Sports Management Company, it was a great race for her. She said, “I ran 10km today. It was a really relaxing and nice atmosphere and the route was great. It was hard, running past my home and then having to continue on with the run after that.”
For McMorris, taking part in this race also holds significant meaning for her. She said, “My mother-in-law had breast cancer but she’s fortunately managed to beat it and she’s feeling great now. My niece, who was aged just 21, also got a rare type of cancer but I am really thankful that she too, managed to pull through and successfully battle it.”
Added McMorris, “So events like this massively help to raise awareness for cancer support – it is so heartening to see so many other runners coming down to support it.”
Cancer has impacted many people and their loved ones
On reaching the finishing line, it had felt satisfying to be contributing some miles to, and running for this meaningful cause which has impacted not only me, but so many other people, based on the large numbers present at the race. In fact, I would estimate that about 7,000 runners had turned up to support the fight against cancer.
Susanne Shaw, 42, had been another one of the runners who felt strongly about cancer. Said the Compliance Manager, who ran in the 15km category, “My mother passed away two years ago from ovarian cancer. I strongly believe in cancer research and finding a cure for cancer so that nobody else has to suffer like my mum did.”
She added, “You can never be prepared for cancer. I feel like a cancer survivor as well because I survived a death in my family and I want to do everything I can, to make sure that cancer will one day be eradicated.”
Lots of information and activities at the race village
At the race village, there were plenty of information and activities to educate and inform the runners about cancer and cancer rehabilitation. There were signboards with more information about the SCS and the services and rehabilitation facilities that they provide to cancer patients and survivors.
The activities available had included a card game for runners to answer personal questions about themselves, their families and those around them about a range of topics that connect with them. For those with cancer and their loved ones, answering such questions – through the game cards may be important, as it gives them the opportunity to discuss about matters that may be important to them – this is especially important in hospice care and end-of-life scenarios.
There were also hand-made souvenirs on display. These were made by the cancer patients and survivors, and these included knitted cupcakes and teddy bears wearing hand-sewn scarves and jerseys. There were also balloons moulded in the shape of Hello Kitty and other adorable animals like rabbits that attracted the attention of many runners – and the “artists” behind these amazing balloons had been SCS cancer patients and survivors.
Being a cause that resonates with me, it felt significant to be taking part in the RAC this year – and so I am glad that despite a lack of sleep, I had still managed to wake up early and head down to East Coast Park to join thousands of other like-minded runners in supporting the fight against cancer.
As Owen, who ran 15km, says, “Due to the early start, I almost dragged myself out of bed to run for this race but it had been a great atmosphere to see everyone coming together to support such a good cause.”