Sunday, June 03, 2007

The World Harmony Run 2007

The World Harmony Runners 2007 @ Merlion (End Point)

Jubilant World Harmony Runners 2007

SgRunners team making up a large group of this year's World Harmony Runners

This was my 3rd World Harmony Run, and this time a scenic route of about 25km starting from Gombak Stadium to National Stadium was planned [Catch a glimpse of 2006's WHR]. A record turnout of about 70 runners awaited us at the Gombak Stadium. Kayano kindly gave me a lift, and we took a MRT to Gombak Stadium...really interesting that the last time I took the Singapore MRT was more than 5 years ago...we fumbled a little because of that...haha.

As I had promised Thian Beng (whr) to be the pacer (cos I can run slow enough :)), he called out my name to start off from Gombak Stadium. We took a nice jog and I had a little trouble keeping to a 8min/km pace initially. I took it as a test of my endurance...hah! The sun was out in its full glory, and I slapped on lots of sun-block, and wore a cap for some protection. It was great to see so many new faces, many whom were SgRunners which I have not met face-face...ham, chuacat, akazee, runaholic.... Of course it was super to see familiar WHRunners like tooty, hyperactive, Seal, acleong, harmoni, FBB, Shut, Roonz, Bee, Ronnie. Many like Kayano, Nyquist, ST, Burnz, babumouse, Yap & colleagues were doing their first WHR.

The first stop was at a Muslim Mosque, and as usual, a rousing welcome were given to the WHRunners. Welcome messages, prayers, and World Harmony songs were belted out with gusto, as all celebrated World Harmony & Peace through this run. The second stop at the Buddhist Temple was interesting, with the kids joining in the singing and celebrations. With the large group of runners this year, there was no problem with torch and flag-bearers, as all enjoyed taking turns to do the honours. I was enjoying myself chatting with the new runners, as well as catching up with running kakis.

The weather was really hot this morning, and soon gaps began to form in the running group, as we ran the 6km to our next destination. I ran up and down cheering the runners on, and with the support and cheers given by the yellow bus, it was real fun getting the group together, and motivating them to run together. I noticed we have fast runners in this year's cohort, with the likes of chuacat, Burnz, hyperactive, and many of the younger, lots of hidden dragons and phoenixes lah! However, they were good sport as they did their utmost to run a relatively steady 7-8min/km :). Along the way to the Hindu Temple, we were pleasantly surprised by the appearances of Brokie and renohtaram. Both had taken the time to support the runners, with Brokie even driving as escort for a good distance...haha.

As we neared the Hindu Temple, I checked for Chan Meng Hui (Uncle Chan) and was told he might still be behind. Uncle Chan was joining the run for the first time, and he was really smelling the flowers and taking photos. I ran back for him, and when I didn't find him after a while, I decided to run back to join the rest...and then I realized that I might have lost the group too...wah! siong leh! I don't have my handphone with me to call them. After running for a bit at the other fork road, I turned back and ran the other direction. I was so..oo happy to spot the Hindu Temple, and then the yellow bus in the distance...heng Ah! I quickly joined renoh and the rest for a very nice spread of, real thirst-quencher. My tummy was happy!

I took that incident as a sign that I had to finish in front for this WHR Run...haha. I took the torch again, and went forward to control the pace. Many of the runners were very tempted to run ahead, as it was not easy to run at 8min/km...but we had a job to do; keep the group running together. With chuacat and hyperactive being assigned to maintain the pace, the torch and flag bearers fell into position with the rest, and we had a very nice sustained run. The spirits of the runners were high, and most were enjoying the run and the experience very much. We took turns to snap photos of one another, on top of those shots provide by the professionals...the shwe ST journalist? and of course SgRunners' pro camera-woman Ripley.

We went on to the Sikh Temple, and I was impressed by the effort they put in to make a nice banner, and putting out a nice spread of food and hot milk-tea...arhh, I loved that tea...had 2 cups. I found time to chat with more runners, and it was good to see Brokie was still around, snapping photos from all 'difficult' positions...hehe. chuacat was looking really fresh...I think we have another good gal runner for Sg. Yap from SAFRA, and his colleagues were enjoying the event, and FBB was looking strong still. Harmoni requested that we maintain the good pace from there. We ran another 3-4km along the Shenton Way area, and since we were nearing the end, the runners' mood and spirits were high. Thian Beng and acleong were looking a lot more relaxed then.

With the heat not abating, and time running short, Thian Beng decided to call the run to an earlier finish at the Merlion Statue, which we had finished for the past 2 WHR Runs as well. The total distance covered according to Kayano's footpod was 22km. Group photos were taken, and we even had a tourist from India who enthusiastically joined in. We suggested to Thian Beng that we should take WHR to India next...heh! I really enjoyed this World Harmony Run despite the hot weather. The stops were not too long, and the run was mostly smooth-flowing at an easy pace. The company was great, and the fruits and drinks provided were just good for such a hot run. In the end, I could feel that all ran as a harmonious group, having the give-and-take attitude, and participating as a united group...

3 Cheers for World Harmony Run...Hip Hip Hooray!

(Photos courtesy Ripley aka Kelly Lim, Brokie aka Jancy Yap)

Straits Times article of the World Harmony Run 2007
(Courtesy Of Ms. Ng, The Straits Times)

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