Founded by 2013 SEA Games Marathon Gold Medallist Mok Ying Ren, about three years ago, the Run To Walk event is a weekly frills-free, 4.8km fun run. It takes place at the Bedok Reservoir Park on Saturday evenings and its aim is to encourage more people to take care of their health – by adopting a more active lifestyle.
Hopes to get more people to invest in their health
Explained Mok, 26, a Captain (Doctor) in the Singapore Army, “Working in the healthcare industry has made me realize that many people are in hospitals because they did not invest in their health early on in their lives. With running being the cheapest and easier sport (compared to other activities), we hope to get more people, young or old, to start investing in their health.”
“So together with a group of runners whom I run together with, we decided to start this initiative at a park near our homes, at Bedok Reservoir,” explained Mok.
Exercising now will give people mobility in their later years
Added volunteer helper Heng Zhi Feng, 26, a software engineer, “When people start doing exercise, such as running, now, in the early stages of life, then when they move on to older age, they can still at least walk.”
Heng added that a reward card is given to runners so that they will receive added motivation to turn up regularly for the event. He explained, “They get a card and receive a stamp of participation, each time they complete the run. For every card completed, which is 10 stamps, they will get a lucky draw and stand to win freebies like water bottles.”
Added Mok, “These prizes provide extrinsic motivation to get people started and hopefully later on, develop their own intrinsic motivation – to exercise.”
Motivates him to stick to a regular exercise routine
And indeed, Mok is right – because for regular Run to Walk participants, such as Ho Chee Chong, the weekly group runs definitely motivate them to stick to a regular exercise regime. Said Ho, 46, a finance manager, “This is a fun evening run and with a big group running together, this is a good way to motivate me to stay fit. Even though I stay in Sengkang, I come down almost every week unless I have something else on.”
Added Ho, “And the run today was good. The weather wasn’t too hot and at least it didn’t rain during our run. It’s definitely beneficial for those who come and take part in it.”
Good way to get back into an exercise routine
Run To Walk newcomer, Christina Ng, 52, feels that the event is a great way to get her back into a regular exercise routine too. She said, “My husband and I came across Run to Walk by chance as we were here last week. We tend to be quite lazy, but realize that it is important to keep fit. So we decided to join, because a group like this will give us discipline to stay active.”
Ng, who was a cross-country runner during her school days more than 40 years ago, admitted that she struggled a little during her first Run to Walk, due to lack of practice. She explained, “I did not run for very long, but it was still ok and at least I managed to finish. I’m not used to running anymore, but I think I still have the momentum, as I do brisk walking regularly. I just need to build more stamina.”
A fun way to encourage his children to keep fit too
For regular attendee Sunil Unni, 41, a Marine Superintendent, the Run to Walk event is not only a fun way to keep fit – but also to encourage his two children to exercise. He said, “I see it as a fun thing together with my wife and kids. It definitely encourages my kids to take up running too. And we live in the condo opposite – so there’s no excuse for us not to come down here.”
Unni’s son Sreeram, aged five, had just completed the 4.8km Run to Walk for the first time, when I checked it out last weekend. And understandably, Unni was a very proud father. He gushed, “I was egging my son on throughout and trying to spur him on to complete! When he was tired and wanted to stop, I told him to just finish the run. And when he had completed the run, it was a great feeling – for both him and me. I will be taking Sreeram back next week, most definitely.”
And if Unni gets his way, then Sreeram, together with his 11-year-old daughter, will be using this Run To Walk event – to train up and take part in their first 5km race next year too.
Mok would like to thank the Run To Walk sponsors, Key Power International and Brooks for the sponsorship of the volunteer shirts, as well as prizes for the runners who complete 10 runs.