Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gong Xi i-Run Celebrations....HUAT AH!


Gong Xi i-Run with God Of Fortune....HUAT AH!

Almost 200 runners turned up at the River Promenade (below UOB Plaza) to celebrate the Tiger New Year in the Gong Xi i-Run. The Team FatBird volunteer crew was already by the FatBird statue at 6pm to receive the 100-plus drinks, mandarin oranges, tee-shirts and wrist-bands to be given out to the runners for good luck in the New Year....thanks to the support from Health Promotion Board, organizers of the i-Run Series in Singapore.

There was a sea of red as runners gathered to catch up after the long Lunar New Year holidays. The God Of Fortune and the Deity Of Charity were on site to receive the runners as well as handing out lucky gold nuggets and allowing all to 'rub-off' some good luck from the two special guests. The crowd, making up of 80% new runners who have never experienced a themed i-Run as yet, were getting excited with receiving mandarin oranges and lucky 'Red Packets', while more were arriving and getting changed to their red outfits.

To kickoff the proceedings, we had group photos taken at the entrance of UOB Plaza 1, just below the well-wishing couplets hanging from the top. It was relatively well-organized this time, what with the many opportunities for photo-taking during FatBird runs :) Next group photo was just below the FatBird (Botero) statue....very symbolic as that was the birth place of Team FatBird 1.5 years ago.

@ FatBird Statue, birthplace of Team FatBird

The Deputy God Of Fortune signaled the arrival of the auspicious hour, and away the Gong Xi i-Run group went, towards the River Promenade. We cheered, sang, and shouted out well wishes to all the people who were curiously watching our large group running by. The God Of Fortune was most popular with the kids and tourists who always welcomed his gold nuggets and giving him a good rub, while taking some nice pics for the family album. The i-Runners was all chatting merrily, with some singing verses of New Year songs, whilst others were wishing the public Happy New Year with their mandarin oranges, symbolising 'Gold' or wealth and prosperity (yes, they carried the oranges with them on the run).

It was a unique gathering of runners, with many races and nationalities, and we even had foreign talent in our Gods & Deities to help bring on world peace and good health. The second stop was just outside the Promenade Plaza, where we gathered for a photo stop with the Valentine Celebrations....Gong Xi Valentine too. Many of the singles stayed close to the God Of Fortune, who professed to bring them good luck this Tiger year in meeting the right hunk or babe...hehe. Curious onlookers and tourists was pleasantly bemused by all the din and shouts of 'Huat Ah....Huat Ah', and after some quick explanations by the i-Runners, they realized some of the meanings of the words as well as the oranges, red packets, red gear as well as singing...surely a good way to promote a little of the Chinese Customs and Singapore Culture....haha.

Giant Wind-Mill, Singapore Flyer in the background

We headed off towards the Esplanade U-Turn (for most of the i-Run 5km, 7km, 10km) routes, near to the Singapore Flyer. There we had the backdrop of the largest 'Wind Mill' who will help us 'Zhuan Yun' and to bring on good luck. With the arrival of the God Of Fortune, who was intercepted at many points along the way for photo shots with happy tourists and the public, we again took some great group photos with three shouts of 'Huat Ah'.

Gong Xi Valentine @ Promenade Plaza

The girls from China Shipping (who returned to i-Run after a long absence) mentioned that they had run pretty long, and was just happy to know we were only 800m from the final stop, the Merlion, spouting Water Of Wealth. All were excited as we ran up the bridge, past the Fullerton Hotel, shouting 'Cai Shen Dao'....'God Of Fortune Is Coming'. The happy faces could be seen, along with waves of the mandarin oranges, as we approached the Merlion.

Receiving the Water Of Wealth & Health

Many tourists were attracted to the sea of red that descended upon the platform, and cameras went snapping all around. Lots of 'Xi Nian Kuai Le' and 'Happy New Year' ensued. While the customary group photo was taken with the symbol of the 'Water Of Wealth' as the backdrop, all i-Runners took the opportunity to wish all around a Happy and Prosperous Tiger New Year. Individal runners also offered their best wishes for the i-Runners as well as gave continued support to the i-Run.

The wonderful river sights and lights

After soaking in the beautiful night with colourful lights across the river, Team FatBird along with the i-runners completed the final lap back to the Fat Bird point. By then, various lines have formed to collect their 100-plus as well as tee-shirts, courtesy of the Health promotion Board. There were also those lucky ones who had a lucky symbol in their 'Red Packets' for a special i-Run gift.

From the happy faces and the runners still staying on to take pictures as well as wishing everyone, it was evident that all have enjoyed this easy, fun and meaningful run to usher in the Lunar New Year. The God Of Fortune and his entourage were kept busy till the very end, and many special thanks to the Gong-Xi i-Run crew who helped to make many of the props and arrangements, that made this celebratory run so smooth and entertaining. Here's Team FatBird and i-Run wishing all a Happy New Year 2010 - HUAT AH!

FatBird Photos from FatBirds DO, Jancy
Facebook Photos from i-Runners
BT, Cindy

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