The Urgent Run 2015 – organised by the World Toilet Organisation – was an annual 5km running event taking place globally – in a lead-up to mark the UN World Toilet Day on 19 November.
Calling for urgent action to end the sanitation crisis worldwide
The main aim of this global run is to rally the public together to call for urgent action to end the world’s sanitation crisis – as one in three people around the world still do not have access to a clean and safe toilet.
For example, one billion people today still practise open defecation and this fosters the spread of diseases – which in turn, may cause under-nutrition, stunting and death.
Singapore edition took place yesterday at East Coast Park
This year’s Urgent Run is staged in 16 countries round the world including Indonesia, Vietnam, Mongolia and Seattle and Charlestown in the United States.
The Singapore edition of the 2015 Urgent Run flagged off yesterday at 8.30am and attracted 1,000 people – an increase from the 350 who ran in the inaugural event last year.
Upon reaching the race site at East Coast Park’s Angsana Green, the first thing that I noticed was a giant inflatable toilet, which I thought was an interesting sight and really apt for the occasion.
There were also some runners dressed in toilet-themed costumes, such as a poop and toilet rolls. A few participants were carrying a large emoji poop symbol bearing a smiley face, too.
Though I had realised that this was for a fancy-dress costume, it was good to see that some people had gone to such efforts to tie in with the toilet-related theme. A runner was also dressed as Robin from the DC Comics Batman universe, as a way of spicing up the event.
Prior to flag-off, runners had also taken part in a ‘Big Squat’ – which showed their solidarity with the one billion people who defecate in the open as a result of a lack of proper toilets.
As well, as part of the pre-race activities, there was also a simple warm-up session conducted by Fitness First.
Following these activities, we then all made our way to the starting line. I hydrated myself with some water before I started my 5km run.
The route began at East Coast Park’s Angsana Green (Area E) in the direction of the Marine Parade hawker centre going towards Burger King and Area C. The 2.5km U-turn mark was located adjacent to the Marine Terrace area.
For the run itself, I began at an easy pace and sped up a little as the run progressed. But as I had a 21.1km race the next day, I didn’t want to push myself too hard. The distance for the event was short, but running for a meaningful cause such as to promote proper sanitation felt good, because you are spreading the word for something beneficial.
After The Run
Following the run, there were some interesting stage games and an exhibition. Catered food such as chicken nuggets, Bee Hoon and Swiss rolls were also provided, for a small donation. And lucky draw prizes from the event sponsors were given out too.
I spent some time having a peek at the activities and also used these as an opportunity to catch up with friends who had also been participating in the race.
As a whole, taking part in this simple running event has definitely made me more aware of toilet sanitation problems around the world. It also helped me to realise how fortunate we are in Singapore, to have clean toilets at most places.
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