What’s not to love about a night run in Singapore? The sun’s down. The moon’s out. The skyline beckons, inviting you to become one with the darkness.
But for people whose world is perpetually dark, there’s nothing romantic about nighttime. To call attention to varying conditions in which people’s visual acuity is diminished or absent throughout Singapore, runners have been showing up at the annual Run For Light annually, and it’s now time to plan for the 2018 event.
Why participate in this run?
No ordinary event, Run For Light is slated to take place at 5 p.m. on the evening of Saturday, 3rd March 2018. Participants will follow a route that runs along the Punggol Waterway, but before the sun dips into the sky, athletes will gather at Punggol Town Square ready to accomplish these goals:
- Adding a personal best to one’s achievements that builds confidence and pride,
- Sharing an evening with like-minded folks who love camaraderie on nights like this,
- Participating in an event that helps support an awesome cause: Guide Dogs Singapore.
Sightlessness in Singapore
According to the Singapore National Eye Centre, the five biggest causes of blindness in the nation are age-related: Cataracts, under-corrected refractive errors, glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Young people aren’t immune. Vitamin deficiencies, once a big reason for childhood blindness, has diminished, but people of all ages lose their sight due to accidents or disease every day.
Happily, some conditions can be reversed—especially cataracts and under-corrected refractive errors—say researchers working at NUHS, Singapore Eye Research Institute and Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC): “The top two causes of blindness here can be treated effectively and hardly anyone with them has to be blind permanently.”
For those blind since birth or suffering from conditions that can’t be reversed, having a guide dog can be a life-saver, which is where the Run for Life steps in to help.
And a Dog-gone great cause it is!
There’s no explaining the power light has over our lives and sensibilities. Light offers the promise of new days, fresh starts and new beginnings, which is why the Run For Light benefits a cause that impacts the lives of people with limited or no sight: Guide Dogs Singapore (GDS).
This is the third time a percentage of this race’s proceeds will be given to this non-profit and if you get a kick out of seeing just how much collective good everyone participating in the race can do, you won’t have to wait weeks to find out how much money was raised, because the figure will be announced on race day.
Your job? Race over to Spacebib to “mark your territory” by registering for an eclectic mix of categories that include a 1km blindfold walk, a 5km Fun Run or the 10km competitive run. All of these contribute to the fun of the evening not to mention the fact that some of your registration fees will wind up at GDS.
Oh, the kind people you’ll meet!
For Run For Light 2018 ambassador Janny Cheong, kindness is more than a word; for her, it was a lifesaver. A cancer diagnosis followed by a stroke that would have destroyed the spirit of anyone else, Janny fought like a warrior—even after she had to become a caregiver for her mum who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
“If I can do it, so can you,” she tells people she meets when they ask her how she keeps running in the face of dramatic life-changing events. She’ll be on the Run For Light. Don’t be shy. Introduce yourself and share your admiration for her on race day!
Janny’s not the only hero you’ll find wearing ambassador credentials. Seek out Irene Tan and she’s happy to tell you about her battle with weight and finding a healthy solution thanks to a friend who urged her to get active. She calls herself the queen of lame excuses at first, but her friend’s persistence worked. She began running and grew stronger, pushing boundaries beyond running.
As a cyclist, she accomplished a round-island Taiwan circuit that took nine days and covered 912 km. The transformation of her body and mind has freed Irene and made her believe that she can achieve anything—including the full ironman she is targeting for 2018!
While both women ambassadors make ideal role models, a third Run for Light 2018 ambassador is equally strong, courageous and resolute. David Lim lost vision in one of his eyes as a result of severe myopia, diagnosed at birth. He recalls being bullied as a kid and received more horrific news when doctors diagnosed glaucoma when he was just 10.
As a young man, he faced retinal detachment, cataracts, and eye surgeries, but miraculously, he never lost hope. He says that his positive, cheerful attitude is powered by his love of running. “With sheer determination and confidence, I know I can overcome any obstacle that comes my way,” he says, and we believe him!
No doggie bags needed to collect race perks
Special limited-design tees earmarked for the first 500 registrants have already been snapped up, but don’t sulk or put your tail between your legs! An additional 500 limited-design tees will be given out to participants who signed up before 31 December 2017 or while stocks last, sponsored by Run sponsor Centum GymFit.
More treasures await runners on race pack collection day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the basement fountain area of City Square Mall on either 24 or 25 February.
Snag a gold-coloured t-shirt, goodie bag, Compressport towel, free copy of RUN Singapore’s digital edition and a finisher’s medal you’ll be proud to display because it’s fashioned in the shape of a dog’s paw and embellished with symbols commemorating the event.
Prizes won’t disappoint either. Depending upon where winners place in either the men’s or women’s 10k Open, outstanding finishers will be given trophies, high-value vouchers, Sanyo cameras and Compressport accessories that make valuable additions to any runner’s wardrobe. You know you want to test your mettle at this popular event!
The best part of this run isn’t money, gifts or trophies
Behind Run For Life is a message that can’t be expressed too often: The gift of sight is a miracle. For those who can’t see who must spend their lives overcoming challenges, the availability of a guide dog can make the difference between independence and the need to perpetually rely upon others for aid.
To publicise the importance of supporting Singapore’s sightless community, a special 1km Blindfold Walk event, open to pairs of people ages four and older, will be staged at Run For Light. One member of each team wears a blindfold. A partner guides him to the finish line. This symbolic event is fun and meaningful, so even if you don’t want to run, you can still fully participate by taking this walk instead.