Are Singapore runners among the world’s best competitors? Of course they are! Our nation’s commitment to healthy living pervades every facet of life, and people travelling here can’t ignore the “epidemic” of runners who consider staying in shape an everyday personal obligation. Singapore runners hit parks and running trails, race through city streets, and if you happen to take the stairs rather than an elevator when visiting a high-rise, watch out for Singaporeans as they race to the top.
Are all of these runners training for marathons? Hardly. But most of us are in better shape than a surprising number of people from other nations because running isn’t an afterthought—it’s as much a part of life as breathing to many—which is why we posit these 10 reasons our runners are always at the top of their game!
10 Advantages of Singaporean Runners
1. Singapore runners enjoy unprecedented support from the government.
Runners would be hard-pressed to find a nation with as active an agency as the Health Promotion Board (HPB) dedicated to building a nation of healthy people. Because this agency encourages the pursuit of physical activities like running, Singapore’s life expectancy has increased and mortality rates have decreased. Even aging Singapore runners enjoy governmental support as the nation sets about reaching its 2020 goal of bringing healthy living to “the doorstep of every home.” The Ministry of Health frequently co-sponsors running marathons that enable Singapore runners to compete with the best and brightest runners on Earth, and such challenges inspire and spur our competitors to perform with distinction.
2. Singapore Runners have opportunities to train in idyllic weather—almost year round!
Not every country can make that claim, but it stands to reason that if athletes can implement a comprehensive conditioning routine 12 months of the year, their readiness for competition is a given. Singapore’s three major regions offer an amazing array of trails, ridges, flatland and coast, but it’s our tropical/equatorial climate that’s the biggest bonus of all. Sure, it gets hot and humid—and thunderstorms can erupt during rainy season—but our hospitable weather allows runners to train at all hours, so dodging raindrops becomes a skill rather than a disadvantage. Savvy runners are clever about working around the heat of the day, which is why we have so many top competitors!
3. The Singapore running club movement contributes mightily to the nation’s reputation for having some of the best competitors on the planet.
It’s commonplace for comrades to provide encouragement a club member needs to show up when he really isn’t in the mood to get out of bed and put on those running shoes! Running club formation is encouraged by the government, businesses and society because these organisations encourage athletes to train, broadcast event information and exchange news about the latest running products, gear and techniques. From neighbourhood groups to huge gatherings of members focused on everything from achieving a competitive edge to having friends to chat up along challenging paths and terrains, the running club movement in Singapore is responsible for an entire generation of high-achieving competitors!
4. Fitness is a family affair.
Even ordinary citizens who might not have a desire to train, exercise and run races and marathons cannot escape the influence of their children. Many parents take up running because they want to set an example, thus some of them discover a passion for running they might never have realised had they not wanted to show their kids that mums and dads support their children’s physical pursuits outside the classroom and school gym! Organisations like Singapore’s National Trades Union Congress is proactive about promoting family fitness goals and objectives; that’s why their mission statement includes wording about an obligation to help build “strong and happy families.” Family members understand that a strong family builds a strong nation, so it’s no wonder even family members with busy schedules make outstanding competitors.
5. Businesses and industries are supportive and frequently reward individuals who participate in marathons.
Even large, international corporations host in-house workout programs, sponsor employees when they compete—some even give staffers time off to train for a high-profile running event—and it’s not unusual for an employee’s registration fee to be reimbursed. Workplace aerobics-focused activities are regularly held on company time. Some firms allocate space for in-house gyms and on-premises exercise programs are as diverse as Pilates, Jazzercize, Yoga and the latest dance fitness craze. Why? Because when workers are healthy and happy, health care costs drop—and who doesn’t want an employee’s name at the top of a leader board following a highly-publicised meet?
6. Singapore is committed to hosting internationally-recognised marathons, races and competitions as incentives for citizens to do all they can to participate.
A national movement to bring to our shores high-profile, big name sponsors and running stars from around the globe engenders more than an unprecedented number of healthy bodies committed to winning trophies in the name of our homeland. In 2014 alone, we counted 98 marathons and events held here in Singapore and that number was gleaned from a single website keeping tabs on events! From the No Frills Run, Safari Zoo Run and the Men’s Health Urbanathlon to the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge, Singapore’s impressive roster of running events increases dramatically when weather is at its best. So many competitions are usually slated for the month of July in Singapore that one could run two a week and still not hit them all. No wonder Singapore runners feel obliged to prove they’re superior competitors when the world comes calling!
7. Singapore runners learn to be resourceful and inventive.
It takes a clever mind to navigate protocols, registrations, qualifications and juggling one’s private life to accommodate training and competition, but with each experience, Singapore runners build a reservoir of confidence, knowledge and wisdom. One of the biggest character attributes a runner can acquire is learning to be inventive on the fly—thinking creatively to get to the finish line with top-notch competitors. Whether a Singapore runner is confronted by a downpour or discovers a shortage of portable toilets along a run route, clever solutions come from the minds of competitors who are focused on a win and prepared to be spontaneous with solutions for all types of dilemmas.
8. Singapore runners enjoy a fantastic network of trails and running circuits.
No matter how talented a competitor might be, inadequate terrain can hamper one’s ability to train, but that isn’t likely to happen here. The nation’s aggressive Singapore Green Plan, conceived in 1992, has revolutionised the way our formal environmental blueprint has been managed. Prioritising areas suited to runners throughout the country means that those aiming for running records can train at home and still find diverse terrains that emulate running conditions they may encounter here and abroad. Want to know how far-reaching Inter-Ministerial Committee on Sustainable Development plans are? They extend all the way to 2030, so Singaporeans will have even more reason to count themselves among the world’s best competitors!
9. Singapore runners function in a welcoming cultural environment.
When a person joins a running club, competes or trains, race, religion and gender barriers come down, and when such artificial barriers vanish, competing in a wider range of continents, countries and environments becomes a huge motivator for a seasoned Singapore runner who is not just willing but happy to greet new friends, learn new customs and represent his country nobly at the finish line. Cultural diversity is one of Singapore’s most appealing draws, which is why competitors from around the world so look forward to running on our shores—even when they are left in the dust by one of our own, home-grown super stars!
10. Singapore runners possess an uncommon amount of national pride that spurs them onward, even when things get tough.
It means a lot for a Singapore runner to see his or her name at the top of a leaderboard, wearing a medal or receiving publicity, because honours bestowed upon a winning runner extend to the entire nation. With the government, environmental entities, families, businesses and individuals this committed, how can a Singapore runner not feel on top of the world and ready to take honours in the name of our country—how can he or she not feel like one of the world’s best competitors, no matter where they place?
We know what you’re thinking: Just 10 reasons Singapore runners are the best on the planet? There’s a reason we only list 10. We invite you to answer this question: What reason would you add to this list to show the world that our runners are among the world’s best competitors? We can’t wait to read your responses!