Races · Singapore · 42,000 Participants

SAFRA Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon 2016: Together We Run

by On Aug 31, 2016

A strong crowd of more than 42,000 participants took to the roads on Sunday morning to take part in the 24th edition of the SAFRA Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon.

SAFRA Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon 2016: Together We Run

After a year of hiatus, the SAFRA Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon (SSBR & AHM) returned last Sunday morning (28 August 2016), putting up great festivities and initiatives to encourage families to keep fit and bond together with our national servicemen.

The signature event attracted a record number of 7,000 family members, which is a whopping 51% spike from its previous edition in 2014. The largest surges came from the SAFRA 5km Fun Run and SAFRA 10km Race.

The Race

The SSBR & AHM 2016 featured 2 competitive categories - SAFRA 10km Race and 21km Army Half Marathon, as well as 2 non-competitive categories - SAFRA 5km Fun Run and Families for Life 800m Challenge.

Flagging off from the Esplanade Bridge, SSBR & AHM took participants along the scenic Marina Bay Skyline and the Central Business District with the last leg ending at the Padang.

Together We Run

Themed “Together We Run”, SSBR & AHM 2016 is jointly organised by SAFRA and the Army, with the objective of encouraging family participation alongside the Army’s focus.

SAFRA Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon 2016: Together We Run

Families for Life 800m Challenge welcomed mothers to participate in the run for the first time this year (Image courtesy of MINDEF).

Colonel (NS) Simon Lim, Chairman of the SSBR & AHM 2016 organising committee shared:

“Families are a pivotal pillar of support for our soldiers and play a crucial role in allowing them to give their whole-hearted commitment to defence. We introduced new initiatives to encourage more family participation this year, especially in the 5km Fun Run and the Families for Life 800m Challenge, and we are very glad to see the strong response, in fact, across all four categories from families of SAF national servicemen.”

He also added:

“For our national servicemen, this event continues to be a key platform to build Strong soldiers. They leverage on the lead-up training to build their fitness and endurance, with a Strong Body necessary to enhance their combat fitness to be competent, adaptive and resilient. The event also imbues camaraderie, fighting spirit and mental resilience to cultivate a Strong Mind among our soldiers, and as they run along the scenic Marina Bay Skyline and Central Business District, they are also reminded of the reason why they serve – to protect their loved ones and our way of life. This also adds to the Strong Heart of our soldiers.”

SSBR & AHM 2016 provided a strong platform for reinforcement of the Army’s 3 elements of Soldier Strong - Strong Body, Strong Mind and Strong Heart.

New Initiatives Well Received

Several new initiatives were introduced in SSBR & AHM 2016 by the event organisers to spice things up and enhance race experience for all participants.

Street-side festivities including crowd favourites such as cheerleaders and belly dancers were performing along the race routes to entertain and motivate runners. Special illuminated performances were also held along the 21km Army Half Marathon route to spur runners on with the exhilarating lights and sounds as they raced along the cityscape before the break of dawn. Firehead dry drummers, LED stilt walkers and LED water drummers were part of these unique illuminated performances.

With the inclusion of the Stadium Park Connector in the race route, runners from the 21km Army Half Marathon category managed to take in the sights of the iconic Singapore Sports Hub for the first time in SSBR & AHM.

Inspired by the SAF’s Standard Obstacle Course, two giant inflatables were introduced as part of the SAFRA 5km Fun Run at the Promontory @ Marina Bay. While participants had the option to continue running along the race route, many chose to navigate the inflatables.

SAFRA Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon 2016: Together We Run

Participants of the SAFRA 5km Fun Run trying out a giant inflatable obstacle at the Promontory (Image courtesy of MINDEF)

In doing so, families were provided with many fun bonding opportunities while scaling a 5m tall Apex Ladder obstacle and manoeuvring their way through the Rubble obstacle. Participation in this category also rose by 11% to over 6,200 runners this year.

The Families for Life 800m Challenge, which previously limited participation to father-and-child teams in past editions, saw the inclusion of mothers for the first time with the aim of encouraging greater family participation. More than 370 mothers joined their spouses and children on Sunday morning, running together as a family and strengthening their family bond.

Running with her family in the Families for Life 800m Challenge, Mrs Claire Nazar, Families for Life Council Member, said:

“We are delighted to be able to run together as a family this year. The Families for Life Challenge’s involvement of mothers emphasises the importance of the family as a whole, spending quality time together. When family members make time to run together, they foster a strong sense of camaraderie as a family unit. Running is also an avenue that encourages active family time, enabling family members to participate in a simple, shared activity which builds physically, mentally and emotionally strong families.”

Reason to Run

Among the massive crowd of more than 42,000 participants were Mr Tay Boon Teck and Mr Koh Wee Keat who kindly shared the story behind their participation in the SSBR & AHM 2016.

Mr Tay Boon Teck

44-year-old Mr Tay Boon Teck suffered two spontaneous Pneumothorax in 2012 which required two lung surgeries. While his passion for sports did not diminish despite the adversities, Mr Tay only took up courage to start running again last year and has since taken 3 runs this year. Although fully recovered, but based on the past few runs results, Tay think he was as not fit as before the surgeries, but he still managed to complete the runs.

SAFRA Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon 2016: Together We Run

Mr Tay Boon Teck like sports all the while and always being active in it.

Speaking on why he joined the race, he said,

It is an army marathon, a place which I’ve learnt some much from it, endurance, determination, focus, never give up, and definitely I hope that maybe I could meet up with some of my old commanders & camp mates during my NS days.

It was heartwarming to witness Mr Tay’s participation in the 21km Army Half Marathon category and his resilience and courage served as an inspiration to all.

Mr Koh Wee Keat

35-year-old Mr Koh Wee Keat is an enthusiastic personality who not only took part in the 21km Army Half Marathon category but also joined in the Families for Life 800m Challenge with his 2 daughters and wife. While the Koh family was unable to find time to train together, their active lifestyle provided them with sufficient training to conquer the 800m Challenge.

This is the third time Koh has taken part in a race together with his family. He find it an excellent opportunity to spend time with them as he spends a lot of time overseas due to work requirements.

SAFRA Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon 2016: Together We Run

Mr Koh Wee Keat with his family, Wife: Cheng Li Ping, 33, likes to bake and sew clothes for the girls. Elder daughter: Karis Koh, 7, likes outdoor activities such as skating, cycling, swimming and playing at outdoor and indoor playgrounds. Younger daughter: Khloe Koh, 4, shares the same interests as her sis.

Mr Koh had revealed that the low cost of participation was one key attraction for the family who are constantly looking out for opportunities to participate and run together as a family.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of RunSociety.

Yun Jie is a competitive athlete and coach who is actively involved in various sports at community and international levels. Through editorial writing, she hopes to positively influence and educate readers with her expertise and experience in high sports performance.

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