This Monday morning, the only Chinese New Year parkrun in the world, took place.
East Coast Park parkrun, which is usually held on Saturday mornings at 7.30am, had staged the special festive-edition rarkrun today, to celebrate Chinese New Year.
A 5km weekly time trial that begins at CarPark B1, East Coast Park, the only parkrun event currently in Asia is a simple, flat out-and-back route – and today as usual, participants ran past the Big Splash and ParkLand Green areas, before U-turning near CarPark C1 at the park.
After every parkrun, the runners would also usually gather at StarBucks Coffee, Big Splash, for a drink and catch up over a chitchat session at the same time. Today proved to be no exception, but with festive add-ons.
More appropriate for Singapore to have a Chinese New Year parkrun
Said Bradley Cronje, 45, the parkrun Event Director for today’s run, “Every parkrun is allowed two special events a year. A lot of countries do Christmas and the English New Year. But we thought it would be more appropriate for Singapore to do Chinese New Year instead – as we are the only parkrun in Asia at the moment, where Chinese New Year is usually a bigger festival than Christmas.”
As such, there were some little festive touches added to this morning’s event. For example, a few lanterns were put up on display in the parkrun tent. A couple of Chinese New Year snacks – Kueh Bahulu and peanut cookies – had also been brought to the event. Everyone was also asked to wear red – a colour that symbolises good fortune and joy and is commonly associated with the festival, to further add to the festive mood.
Despite many Singapore runners going overseas or spending long hours visiting their family and friends during this festive season, 53 runners took part this morning.
Runners had a great time
And all of the runners had a great time. Said Anna Helowicz, 42, “I was really pleased with the run today. I didn’t know how many people would show up, considering that we already had a run on Saturday and people were staying up late last night. But it was really good. Everyone was in great spirits and I am glad that there was an extra parkrun today.”
Added the Part-Time Finance Director & Stay at home Mum, “With the Chinese New Year touch and festivities, it was wonderful today. I guess it helps us get into the holiday mood. It’s also the thought that counts – that helps to make it a tiny bit different.”
The weather and mood was good
Agreed Kazuyo Yamato, 46, a Part-Time Office Assistant at a stationery company, “Today it was really nice. We could see the lanterns and the decorations and that was a really nice touch. It also put me in a good mood for the run – which was really nice, with the good breeze and the weather not being so hot.”
For Hyeran Lee, 31, running two parkruns in two days was certainly not too soon. Said the Technical Engineer in the IT industry, “I came down on Saturday and also today again. It was definitely not too soon – as it’s always great to start the morning with a run. The weather was also good, and not too hot.”
She added, “The mood today was also good – everyone was really happy to run and be here this morning. The extra decorations and food was also really good – it helped to add to the Chinese New Year atmosphere here.”Indeed, the weather this morning was cool and breezy when I was running. It was definitely a pleasant run with plenty of fierce competition and fast runners.
However I must add that despite the weather, I had failed to set a personal best, no thanks to me staying up a little late last night to watch my favourite Premier League team, Arsenal, beating Bournemouth 2-0. At least I could be in a good mood myself though – because Arsenal had won.
Completing his 50th East Coast Park parkrun at today’s festive run
Chris Banas, 43, had extra incentive to come down to the Chinese New Year parkrun this morning – he was doing his 50th parkrun – at East Coast Park – today. The Research Scientist at NUS explained, “Today the parkrun was different to the regular parkrun event because of the festive mood. I am a regular here and I have been coming down from the very beginning.”
In all, Banas has completed 54 parkruns to date.
He added, “And today was my 50th parkrun at East Coast Park – this was a memorable achievement for me and I was happy to mark it today. I think that I am also one of the first few to run 50 parkruns here, as the event only started one and a half years ago. So that was an extra motivation for me to wake up on a public holiday to run today.”
Banas is the first person to complete 50 parkruns at East Coast Park parkrun.
Hopes to hold more Chinese New Year parkruns worldwide
Though the Singapore event is a good start, parkrun hopes to eventually hold more Chinese New Year parkrun events in other parts of the world.
Said Cronje, “Hopefully other countries can follow suit and hold a festive parkrun on Chinese New Year – in a couple of years time, parkrun wants to expand across Asia and they are starting to look at Japan and Hong Kong, which are also big in celebrating Chinese New Year.”