We share plenty of stories with readers about runners who overcome Herculean challenges, come back from injuries stronger than ever and we even dig up news about personal relationships between runners who meet courtesy of their shared love of the sport.
But this time around, we’ve decided to tell the story of Cassie Wong, a dedicated runner who wouldn’t take part in marathons because she was frightened off by registration fees.
Cassie has a great job. She makes good money. And just about every one of her friends — male and female — are runners, but despite their urging, encouragement and an offer by a friend to pay Cassie's entry fees to give her a sense of what competitive running felt like, everyone was unsuccessful.
Cassie remained stubborn, sticking to her cross-training and non-competitive running programme faithfully — until the day she ran out of excuses!
Cassie hears about Run Free 2017
The Singapore running community is nothing if not in constant news hub, so even though Cassie wasn’t a marathon devotee, she couldn’t help but hear about Run Free, because everyone, it seems, was talking about it.
Run Free is as much about athletes freeing their spirits as it is about an absence of registration fees, a concept that’s somewhat alien to “business as usual” in Southeast Asia.
Run Free's radical approach to organising a run, their mission transcended apparel manufacturing, sales and marketing. They wanted to get people like Cassie into the competitive arena by removing what could be called “the last bastion” of resistance: money.
Calling this one-of-a-kind run an example of no-frills event planning, Run Free has managed to do what nobody else has: the brand has gotten Cassie’s attention and we follow her journey as she prepares for her first running event.
First steps to the flag off
Cassie is in great shape, but she must still reach a decision about whether to challenge herself to run the 10km or stick with the 5km event where she feels safe and confident.
But while trying to decide which one to do, her friends encouraged her to take advantage of this cost-free event by going for the more extreme event because it would prepare her for future marathons if the Free Run convinced Cassie that her future included competitions.
Before she registered, Cassie did some research into the Run Free concept. She learned that the organiser also organises the annual YOLO (You Only Live Once) run, dedicated to helping fund Singapore breast cancer awareness initiatives that include giving sports bras to women undergoing reconstructive surgery.
She knew she had found a philanthropic voice that’s rare and worthy of her respect, so she went to the one-stop registration resource SpaceBib and signed up. Her friends could hardly believe it when she shared the news!
Cassie’s friends jump in
Knowing that, for the first time, Cassie wouldn’t be standing behind barriers along the race route to cheer and encourage her friends on, a small group of them took her under their wings to show her the ropes.
They explained that though there was no charge to run the 10km race she picked, she could still spend a little money by purchasing signature add-ons to help underwrite expenses. More than delighted to spend her dollars wisely on entitlements that she would wear and display in the future, Cassie finalised her arrangements.
Plans were made to meet up as a group at 6 a.m. on the morning of the Run Free at the Kallang Carpark because despite the early hour, lots of runners would be seeking parking spaces before the 8 a.m. flag off, and that two-hour lead time could be crucial if they hoped to find each other at that early hour.
Meanwhile, they also decided to up the ante in terms of their collective training sessions beginning in March. Was this necessary or just more chances to hold get-togethers as the big day approached? As Cassie said when someone asked the question, “Does it matter?”
More than a free race
Something amazing happened to Cassie as a result of her decision to take part in Run Free on 6th May.
She’s become closer to her friends and she’s somehow managed to contract a contagious disease with which she had no familiarity before signing up for Run Free: Feelings of joy, anticipation and excitement at the prospect of her first running event in the company of friends who are proud to be part of Cassie’s very first race experience.
These days, as anticipation mounts, Cassie has found renewed joy in her training routines because more often than not, friends keep tabs on her gym time and trail runs, so they pop up to accompany her whenever time allows.
While we can’t predict the future, something tells us that spring 2017 is going to usher in a new era for Cassie now that she’s found out how it feels to be a member of this strong, powerful community.
And if you happen to overhear her say that “price is no object” when she peruses running events in 2017 race calendar and chooses to register and pay for a few of them, don’t be too surprised!
We have a hunch that Cassie's introduction to the wonderful world of Singapore running events will change her life in ways she can't even imagine.
Can you relate to Cassie's refusal to pay entry fees? Have you avoided the Singapore running scene because money issues have stopped you from registering for events that interested you?