This morning, about 18,000 people walked over the Benjamin Sheares Bridge on foot – without having to worry about cars travelling there too.
The first mass walk to pass over Sheares Bridge
That’s because everyone had been taking part in The New Paper Big Walk – which was publicly touted as the first mass walk to pass over the Sheares Bridge.
And the very scenic 5km walking route brought participants through landmarks such as the Marina Bay Sands and the Esplanade before finishing at the Marina Bay Floating Platform.
Participants really enjoyed the leisure morning walk
The participants at the event really enjoyed the scenic and leisurely morning exercise. Said Stewart Tai, a 41-year-old engineer, “It was amazing walking along the East Coast Parkway and the view is spectacular. I was pretty awestruck. Usually when I come down to this area, I am driving, so this was a very rare and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me.”
And for S. Suresh, a 47-year-old salesman, having the chance to walk in the middle of the expressway made him feel – quite literally – like he was the ‘king’ of the road. He said, “You don’t always get the chance to walk in the centre of the road or see the scenery like Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer from this vantage point.”
Added fellow participant, 29-year-old engineer Ambrose Goh, “I always like the scenery around the town area, so it was really nice to be able to come here in the morning and see the scenery while walking along public roads that we aren’t usually allowed to walk on. So for me, it was a very unique experience in that sense.”
Lack of toilet facilities was a concern
However, Goh felt that the lack of toilet facilities along the route was a concern – and this affected many of the walkers. He said, “Because there were no toilet facilities, you could see people suddenly rushing into the Marina Bay Sands or the Esplanade to go to the toilet. I thought it was quite hilarious and my friend and I were laughing about this.
Added his friend Melvin Foo, 35, an assistant manager, “Perhaps this is something that the organizers could look into, when staging this event next time round.”
Long queues at the mid-point hydration station
At the same time, Foo felt that the massive queue at the mid-point hydration station was a minor inconvenience as well. He added, “It could have been good if the ushers had held the cups of water out for the walkers and given it to them as they passed through, like what they do in some mass running events.”
A great time for bonding with families and friends
But apart from these minor annoyances, Foo enjoyed himself at the event. “It was a great time for family and friends to bond together over a healthy activity and I think it would be a nice experience to come back again next year,” he added.
Wanted to add some fun for fellow walkers along the route
While it had been a major push factor for many of the walkers who had attended the event, bonding together with loved ones was not the sole reason why others had taken part in The New Paper’s Big Walk this year.
In fact, for Ramli bin Manamad, 67, who has been a regular Big Walker since the inaugural edition in 1991, he also wanted to add a little bit of fun for the walkers along the route. So Ramli had come for the walk dressed up as “Mr Spoon”, in an elaborate costume featuring recycled green plastic spoons tied up together.
Stopped by many people wishing to take photos
And Ramli, a senior security officer, admitted that his costume was indeed very attention grabbing along the route – and he was stopped many times by people, with requests to take photos with him.
Said Ramli, “So many people asked for my photo, both at the starting line and during the walk. Even the official cameramen wanted to take my picture. I really felt like a celebrity.”
Slightly hot inside the costume
While Ramli admitted that it may have been slightly hot inside his costume, he was pretty used to the heat, so this was nothing new for him. And he added that he would definitely return to The New Paper Big Walk when this fun event gets organized again – with a different costume.
Said Ramli, “I found the walk very good this morning and I will definitely do the Big Walk again, as long as I am still alive and healthy.”