Running around Pandan Island in Philippines. Literally.

Pandan Island, Philippines map.
Pandan Island, Philippines map.

Pandan Island, Puerto Princessa, Philippines.

I recently visited Philippines for vacations, and more specifically Palawan island. Now, I always like to go for a run in a new place, even if it is just a short one around the hotel, however, this time a new opportunity was presented to me: I would be able to literally run around an island.

Pandan (or Makesi) Island is about 40 minutes away from Puerto Princesa City by boat. It is situated in Honda Bay and it is very famous for snorkelling and island hoping.

When approaching the island I saw that it looked to be completely surrounded by beach, so the idea was planted in my head. After we had a quick dive, I had to try it out!

Pandan Island, Puerto Princessa, Philippines
Setting off for a run around Pandan Island

Early on I was approached by a dog playfully barking at me. He (she?) was limping, but started following me.

Pandan Island, Philippines
Further away from the touristic area.

 

The sandy beach keeps going on around the island, apart from a 100m or so stretch where you have to go through some bushes, grass and trees. It is still very accessible and suitable for barefoot running or walking.

Pandan Island, Honda Bay, Philippines
The least accessible part of the island, still easy to walk through.

 

Bravely enough, the small, limping dog ran by my side for the whole time. When we arrived back to the main beach, it looked exhausted and went straight for a dive in the crystal clear waters – and so did I. It wasn’t a long run (the island circumference is about 1.8km according to my GPS), but it was very enjoyable. And I did make a new friend!

Later on, I went for a leg massage by the beach, and I found out that the dog was born on the island, and has been limping since he was born.

If you want to find out more about Pandan Island, I refer you to this blog entry.

 

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Marathon, anyone?

The reasons we run

The reasons we run

We all have our own reasons why we run, why we take part in marathons, after marathons, after marathons…

What is mine? Well, honestly, I don’t know now… I only remember that I wanted to challenge myself when I sign up for my first marathon in 2010. I wasn’t really prepared for it, and end up I did not complete the marathon, I gave up at 35km due to a calf strain after walking from 25km. I felt quite lousy, and vowed to complete the next one. The opportunity came, and it was the Sundown marathon, and keeping to my own words, I completed it, albeit walking half the distance. It was painful and I told myself I did it, and that’s it. But when I saw the StanChart Marathon accepting sign-ups, something inside me tells me I must do this to ‘avenge’ the failure in the previous year – and so I did.

So come 2nd March, I’ll be doing my 8th marathon. I don’t know why, every time I complete one, I would say ‘no more’, but when the sign-up starts, I find myself reaching my wallet for my credit card. It’s beyond me, I just want to do it… not for bragging rights, not for the finisher t-shirt, not for the medal, I just want to do it…

 

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Heroes Run – 10% Discount Code

Heroes Run Singapore 2014

Heroes Run, 28 June 2014 Singapore

Think you can be a better Batman than Ben Affleck, or a better Wonder Woman than Gal Gadot?

Singapore’s first superhero themed run will take place on 28 June 2014 at the Marina Barrage! Heroes Run 2014 is designed to encourage family bonding, role/cos-playing and drive a social message of awakening to the needs of others in our daily lives.

Based on the setting of a city under siege, participants will journey through pages of a comic book and discover its twist and turns as they make decisions along the run. Upon completion of the multi-route race, they will be awarded with a heroes pin and a character card that reveals the kind of hero they are.

The Singapore Police Force will be present at the event to showcase their Crime Prevention Program and interact with participants who wants to know more about our everyday heroes. To drive home the message of empowerment, Heroes Run will support the Make-A-Wish Foundation by granting a child’s wish to demonstrate how everyone can be a hero to someone.

Heroes Run 2014 is a super fun run suitable for all ages and the public will have the option of registering as an individual superhero, or as a superfamily.

This event is organised by Celebrity Trainer, the organisers behind Race the Dead 2013 – Singapore’s first zombie run, which was sold out in less than 14 hours. Registration for the Heroes Run opens 7 February 2014 at 2000 HR.

10% Discount code

Just Run Lah! is happy to present its readers with a 10% discount code (valid until 31 March 2014).

[textmarker color=”0C9529″]Use code beawesome during registration to enjoy 10% off.[/textmarker]

Links: Official website / registration | Facebook

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The Runner’s High. An exercise-induced euphoric feeling.

The Runner’s High

The “runner’s high” is a state of euphoria that can be experienced by someone engaged in a vigorous workout. It is known that when the body is pushed to its limits, it produces endorphins, in order to compensate for the pain. Endorphins, the natural opiates of the brain, are capable of inducing a euphoric feeling when they are present in the brain. Apart from endorphins, other neurotransmitters are believed to contribute to a runner’s high include epinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine.

The high itself is variously described as a feeling of well-being, almost like floating or and out of body experience. It is typically related to longer periods of vigorous exercise rather than shorter, easier workouts, possibly due to the stress the body undergoes as the major muscle groups begin to run short on glucose. The exact time into exercise that kicks in varies between individuals.

Yiannis Kouros, a legend in the world of ultra-running wrote:

“Some may ask why I am running such long distances. There are reasons. During the ultras I come to a point where my body is almost dead. My mind has to take leadership. When it is very hard there is a war going on between the body and the mind. If my body wins, I will have to give up; if my mind wins, I will continue. At that time I feel that I stay outside of my body. It is as if I see my body in front of me; my mind commands and my body follows. This is a very special feeling, which I like very much. . . It is a very beautiful feeling and the only time I experience my personality separate from my body, as two different things.”

The mechanisms underlying the runner’s high have been debated for years, until in 2008 a german study of long distance runners showed that not only did periods of robust exercise produce endorphins, but that the degree of euphoria reported by the runners correlated strongly with the endorphin levels in their brains.

The runner’s high is an extreme intense feeling, and like all such, can be habit forming. Exercise addiction is a rare but real condition thought to be caused by an addiction to the endorphins produced by the runner’s high. It’s typically characterized by an OCD-like compulsion to exercise to the exclusion of all other activities.

Have you ever experienced it?

 

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MERCY Malaysia International Humanitarian Run 2014

MERCY Malaysia International Humanitarian Run 2014

MERCY Malaysia International Humanitarian Run, 2 March 2014

We are always happy to publicise and promote a good-cause running event, and this time we want to draw your attention to MERCY Malaysia International Humanitarian Run 2014, a run that will take place on Sunday the 2nd of March 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

About the run

MERCY Malaysia is launching its first ever International Humanitarian Run in an effort to raise awareness on MERCY Malaysia’s endeavors to provide health based humanitarian aid, both locally and internationally.

The 7km run which is being co-organized with Go International Group is open to the public, and will start at 7.00am on Sunday, 2 March 2014 at Kuala Lumpur’s Padang Merbok. Race technical partner, Pacesetters Club Malaysia, has charted the 7km route, ensuring that it is suitable for first time runners. The morning event, targeted at families, will have a carnival like atmosphere, as there will also be a mini concert and vendors selling assorted items.

In addition to that, MERCY Malaysia will be setting up a part of their Emergency Response Unit (ERU) field hospital on site, so that the public can view an example of a hospital that is set up during emergencies. The full mobile hospital which is fully self-sufficient consists of an operating theater, an emergency room, wards, an out-patient department, a pharmacy, and it would also include water and sanitation facilities, electricity supply, waste management, living quarters, storage and inventory, security and transportation as well as communication facilities. Recently, two components of the field hospital (the Out-Patient Department and the pharmacy) were deployed to Ormoc, Philippines in order to help provide medical aid to the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the area.

“One of the reasons we are having this run is to encourage the public to adopt a healthy lifestyle, where they are both mentally and physically fit. This is why we are starting with only a 7-kilometre run, making it feasible for Malaysians from all walks of life to participate in the event. After all, anyone can run, and anyone can volunteer. Additionally 100% of the proceeds from the registration fee will be directed into MERCY Malaysia’s Humanitarian Fund” – The Honorary Secretary of MERCY Malaysia, YM Raja Riza Shazmin Raja Badrul Shah.

YM Raja Riza also commented on the importance of fitness in this day and age where many people now practice a sedentary lifestyle which could hinder their response during an emergency or disaster. She also mentioned that many studies have shown that exercise improves blood flow to the brain, increasing mental alertness –which is essential during emergency and disaster response.

She cited that based on MERCY Malaysia’s model on Total Disaster Risk Management, and the organizations experience obtained from 15 years of providing humanitarian aid, they found that communities who are both mentally and physically prepared for disasters are more resilient in times of crisis.

This could be seen in Johor, where school children who had been trained under MERCY Malaysia’s School Preparedness Program (under its Disaster Risk Reduction arm), have not only been able to cope with the annual floods, but also help their loved ones to prepare for the floods.

In the Myanmar, a Community Based Disaster Risk Management project was implemented in several villages to empower communities in disaster preparedness, especially when it came to dealing with the heavy rains that flooded the area. A 9-year-old child named Maung was quoted saying, “If a storm comes, I would run to the temple. I also have packed bottles of water, schoolbooks and clothes. We prepared for everything”.

“We wish to encourage Malaysians and their friends from around the world to sign up for this 7KM #myMERCYrun as their donations are channeled towards MERCY Malaysia’s numerous humanitarian aid funds” – Nikki Yeo, Head of Sports Marketing at Go International Group.

In an effort to help raise awareness on the event, a weekly exercise event called Fun Fit Friday will be held for MERCY Malaysia staff and their families at various parks around Kuala Lumpur by Nikki Yeo.

 

The event at a glance

Race Date: Sunday, 2 March 2014
Start Time: 7.00am
Finish Time: 9.30am (2.5 hours)
Start Location: Padang Merbok along Jalan Parlimen
City: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Distance: 7km

Registration Closing Date: 20 February 2014 or when the number of participants reach the maximum number.

Registration/Donation Fee: RM 60 minimum donation per person.

  • Minimum donation of RM60 per person MUST be made upon registration. We thank you in advance if you wish to donate more than the minimum amount.
  • Donations are non-refundable nor are they transferrable.
  • Any payments made that are less than RM60 per person will be deemed as a donation and not as registration fee.
  • Payments can be made directly via the official MERCY Malaysia website, at www.mercy.org.my.
  • A tax-exemption receipt will be E-mailed to you.

Registration/Donation fee includes one item of each:

  • T-Shirt
  • Race Medal
  • Race Bib
  • Light Breakfast
  • Lucky Draw

Note: All participants will receive a race bib and an exclusive event t-shirt (sizes subjected to availability) in the Race Pack. All participants who successfully complete the 7km run will be awarded a finisher’s medal and light breakfast upon presentation of their bib number to the Race Secretariat. All finisher medals and t-shirts must be collected on Race Day and no requests will be entertained thereafter.

 

MERCY Malaysia International Humanitarian Run 2014 map

About MERCY Malaysia

MERCY Malaysia is a non-profit organisation focusing on providing medical relief, sustainable health-related development and risk reduction activities for vulnerable communities in both crisis and non-crisis situations. MERCY Malaysia recognises the value of working with partners and volunteers as well as providing opportunities for individuals to serve with professionalism. We uphold the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief and hold ourselves accountable to our donors and beneficiaries. As a non-profit organisation, MERCY Malaysia relies solely on funding and donations from organisations and generous individuals to continue our services to provide humanitarian assistance to our beneficiaries. For more information, please visit www.mercy.org.my

Register now and run for a good cause

Individuals who are interested to participate in the run can do so by logging on to MERCY Malaysia’s webpage at www.mercy.org.my.

It costs a minimum of RM60 donation to register, and runners will receive a tax-exemption receipt, t-shirt, medal, race bib, light breakfast and lucky draw.

Runners are also encouraged to help spread the word about the run via MERCY Malaysia’s Twitter handle @MERCYMalaysia with the hashtag #myMERCYrun.

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Win 3 slots for the NTUC Income RUN 350, Organised by Young NTUC

NTUC Income RUN 350, Singapore 2014

We are happy to announce the NTUC Income RUN 350, Organised by Young NTUC free race slot contest!

[alert color=”C24000″]The contest has ended and winners have been notified and received their slots. Thanks for your massive interest![/alert]

* Make sure you post the comment from your registered account, and that email address is working; otherwise we will not be able to contact you.

The winners will be selected in random and will be notified by email within a week after the contest has closed.

The codes are valid for all categories of the race (350 m Kids Dash / 10km / 21km).

Contest closes midnight on Sunday, February 9th.

Good luck!

Run for Tomorrow. RUN 350 / RUN 350 official website

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Would you say “Hello”?

runners culture greeting nod

Would you say “Hello”?

We all have our regular running routes, especially those in the neighbourhood, and those long runs along East Coast park. And we usually run at about the same timing most of the time…. more often than not, we meet the same familiar faces – do you acknowledge the familiar faces that run past you? I do, sometimes… when there is some eye contact, and if the person respond, it is a nice feeling – saying ‘hello’, ‘good morning’ to a somewhat ‘stranger’ but not a stranger.

Not just running, even in the morning when the lift door opens and there is someone inside, a simple ‘good morning’ brightens up someone’s day, especially if you live in the same block or work in the same office building, and bump into each other once in a while.

But very interestingly, everytime after I say the first ‘hello’, I hardly see that familiar face again… hahaha… wonder if anyone out there have a similar experience, but I thought it was kinda weird. Anyway, I just wanted to say that, while we are engrossed and training hard for our next personal best, do stop and say ‘hello’, it is nice to stop and smell the roses once in a while, or say ‘hello’ to the sunrise at the Bedok jetty. It makes those long boring runs more interesting and keeps us connected.

Would you say ‘hello’?  🙂

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Are we getting slower, despite records being broken?

Wilson Kipsang and Usain Bolt record holders for Marathon and 100 m
Wilson Kipsang (left) and Usain Bolt (right), record holders for Marathon and 100 m, respectively.

Records in running progression

On  September 29th, 2013 the men’s Marathon word record was broken, with Wilson Kipsang from Kenya finishing the race in 2:03:23. This is roughly a 40% improvement since 1908, when the record was 2:55:18.4 (Johnny Hayes, USA).

Similarly, all running sports have seen dramatic improvements in records. For example, the world record for 100 meters is currently 9.58 seconds (2009, Usain Bolt, Jamaica), compared to 10.6 seconds in 1912 (Donald Lippincott, USA). In women’s Marathon, the record has been brought down to 2:15:25 by Paula Radcliffe (UK, 2003) from 3:40:22 in 1926 (by Violet Piercy, UK).

Are we humans getting faster?

The bigger picture

Disappointedly, the trends are inverted when it comes to non professional athletes, and especially the youth.

In a recent report, Dr. Grant Tomkinson and his team from the University of South Australia’s School of Health Sciences, analysed 50 studies on running fitness between 1964 and 2010, involving more than 25 .000.000 kids aged between 9 and 17, in 28 countries worldwide.

Their study was based on measurements of how far kids could run in a set time, or how long it took to run a set distance. Tests typically lasted 5-15 minutes or covered a half-mile to 2 miles.

It was found, that on average, it takes children 90 seconds longer to run a mile than their counterparts, 30 years ago. Even more so, heart-related fitness has been declining at a rate of about 5% each decade, since 1975.

The results are correlated with obesity and body fat across different countries, and, not surprisingly, the study indicates that “about 30 percent to 60 percent of the declines in endurance running performance can be explained by increases in fat mass”.

Country-by-country

Surprisingly, the largest drop in children’s running performance over the years is seen for Africa, despite the hordes of professional running athletes originating from there. Today’s african children are slower by about 23%. The decline in fitness seems to be levelling off in Europe and Australia, and during the last years modestly in North America. The later being however, the second slowest continent (21% decline), according to the study.

Children’s performance has been declining worldwide.

Asia has scored 3rd, with a 17% decline; however, the numbers for China have continuously been getting worse: data from annual fitness tests (China’s education ministry) show that the country’s students are getting slower and fatter. In 2010 male college students ran 1,000 metres 14 to 15 seconds slower than those of a decade earlier. Female students’ performance was worse by about 12 seconds in running 800m.

Is an obsession with academic testing scores for China’s competitive college admissions to blame? Many experts believe so, especially when it is combined with the increasing popularity of indoor alternatives, such as video gaming and web surfing. On the other hand, Japan has never seen a falloff in fitness. It should be noted that 20 million out of the 25 million children in the studies originated from Asia.

Dr. Tomkinson said, and we can only agree, that children need to be more inspired and encouraged to do more vigorous exercise. If the current trends continue, the public health consequences could be dire.

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Running the Southern Ridges (Marang Trail to Kent Ridge)

Southern Ridges, Marang Trail, FaberWalk, Canopy walk, Singapore
Sights along the Southern Ridges trail.

Southern Ridges, Singapore. Running from Marang Trail to Kent Ridge.

A few days ago I found out about the Southern Ridges trail, and I immediately knew I had to run it. I did it this morning and I enjoyed every bit of it. The trail is about 9km in total, it connects three parks  (Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park  and Kent Ridge Park) and can be separated into the following trails: Marang Trail, Faber Trail, Henderson Waves, Hilltop Walk, Forest Walk, Alexandra Arch, Flora Walk & HortPark and the Canopy Walk.

Having ran various routes in Singapore, this one has gone straight to the top of my list. I don’t really know why it is not so popular with runners (or is it?) but I would definitely recommend it. It is a rather challenging route (quite a few uphills) but offers breathtaking views, clean and fresh air, and it is totally car-free. But let’s take things from the beginning.

Marang Trail

I entered the trail from Marang Road, which is right beside the Harbourfront MRT station (take Exit D). It is extremely easy to find as there are signs and markings on the pavement. There, I was greeted by one deck of stairs after the other. Within a distance less of about 500 meters, there is a gain of about 90 meters, so you get the idea. When on top, a quick stop by The Jewel for photos of the beautiful panoramic view of the harbour, the cable car and the southern islands during sunrise is a must.

Entrance to Marang Trail Singapore
Entrance to Marang Trail. Right by Harbourfront MRT station (Exit D).

Faber Walk

Next up is the Faber Walk. Amazing views all along, somewhere along the route is supposed to be a Merlion sculpture but I missed it. Hopefully next time I get to see it. Most of the route is sheltered, which is great for a morning run.

Panoramic view from Faber Walk top.
Panoramic view from top of Marang Trail / Faber Walk.

Henderson Waves

Now that’s an impressive pedestrian bridge. It is hanging at 36m above Henderson Road and has a wave-form shape, with curved steel ribs that alternately rise over and under its deck. The curved ribs form alcoves that function as shelters with seats within. The wave-forms are lit with LED lamps at night from 7pm to 2am daily. I have to get back there at nighttime.

Reflection at Keppel Bay as seen from Handerson Waves bridge.
Reflection at Keppel Bay as seen from Handerson Waves bridge.

Hilltop Walk

I missed the entrance to Terrace Garden, the highest point in Telok Blangah Hilltop Park. Will be back for this! Other than that, it is a downhill run that serves more as a connector rather than an attraction itself.

Forest Walk

My favourite part! The Elevated Walkway, is a metallic zig-zag structure that offers you the experience of running through a tropic forest at eye-level with the forest canopy. The walkway’s height varies from 3 to 18 meters, and the route is about 1 km. The metallic walkway is great to run on, and there is a constant breeze of fresh air as you run through the treetops. That was an amazing experience, please give me more of that!

Forest Walk elevated walkway.
Forest Walk elevated walkway. Photo by edwin.11. (Flickr: Forest Walk.) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Alexandra Arch

A pretty nice 80-meter bridge. You can take a glimpse of the Interlace condo. At the end of the Alexandra Arch, there is a path lined with flowering plants which leads to the HortPark.

Floral Walk & HortPark

HortPark is a gardening showcase centre. It comprises 40 showcase gardens and offers a myriad of exciting ideas and suppliers’ contacts for gardening enthusiasts.  Tip for runners: there are water fountains near the restrooms. There is a rather long upslope part towards the end, leading to the Canopy Walk.

Canopy Walk

This is a 280-metre long boardwalk that offers a great view of Kent Ridge park and the battlefield. Lots of birds as you run, once again, through the treetops.

I think this is where the Southern Ridges trail is officially over, however, if you’ve ran this far, let me give you two options to continue your way:

A: South Buona Vista Rd + NUS Campus

Keep on running straight after the canopy walk for about 300 meters and then make a left. After a rather steep downslope you will get yourself to South Buona Vista Rd. Make your way uphill till you get to NUH intersection. From here, you will have three ways to enter the NUS campus: 1) Kent Ridge Rd. is the most challenging and will eventually get you to the central library (you can exit to Clementi Road after that). 2) Prince George’s Park Road is mostly downhill and will take you closer to Pasir Panjang Road. 3) Lower Kent Ridge Rd. will get you to the most central areas of the campus. Tip for the latter option: Water fountains near the NUS sports facilities.

B: West Coast Highway / Park

If you want to end up to West Coast Park via the West Coast Highway, make your way to South Buona Vista Rd as above, but this time go downhill instead. You will hit West Coast Highway soon enough, make a right and keep on running on the sidewalk. West Coast Park is only about 2 km away.

Marang Trail to NUS Kent Ridge campus.
Marang Trail to NUS Kent Ridge campus.

 

Southern Ridges trail map
Southern Ridges trail map (www.nparks.gov.sg)

 

Start your own blog with Just Run Lah!
Start your own personal running blog with Just Run Lah!
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RUN 350: Southeast Asia’s Premier Eco-run

NTUC Income 350 Run Singapore 2014

RUN 350: Southeast Asia’s Premier Eco-run

Just Run Lah! is proud to support NTUC Income RUN 350, Organised by Young NTUC!

About the race

RUN 350 is Southeast Asia’s premier eco-run in support of the global 350 movement. This movement aims to raise awareness to the need to lower atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels to 350 parts per million, which scientists believe is the level required for Earth’s sustainability.

First held in 2010 at Pulau Ubin, RUN 350 saw 1,000 runners coming forward to run for the cause. In 2011, aided by NTUC Income, RUN 350 grew more than 7 times to 7,200 runners. By 2013, the run had already grown in stature with more than 10,000 runners involved. To date, almost 700 trees have been planted through Garden City Fund’s Plant-A-Tree Programme.

Run 350 Singapore

What is the 350 Movement?

The number 350 means climate safety: to preserve a liveable planet, scientists tell us we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of 400 parts per million to below 350 ppm.

In the last century, CO2 level have increased at an alarming rate from decade to decade, thus urging us to reduce our emissions and slow the effects of climate change before irreversible damage is done to our home.

NTUC Income RUN 350, Organised by Young NTUC is in support of 350.org – an international campaign dedicated to building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis–the solutions that science and justice demand.

The mission is to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis – to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet.

350 movement
Logo of the global 350 movement

 

Greening RUN 350

RUN 350 has implemented a number of green measures, these include:

– Paperless Race Entry Pack Collection

– Race handbook to be given in e-format

– Waste recycling

– Reduced use of plastic

– Bring Your Own Bottle initiative where participants are strongly encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottles with them to RUN 350

and many more. Read about them here.

Medal Recycling Campaign

This year, NTUC Income RUN 350, Organised by Young NTUC is proud to introduce its inaugural Medal Recycling Campaign – making it the first run in Singapore to introduce a Medal Recycling Campaign. The public is encouraged to donate their old medals and give them a new lease of life. The medals will be processed and be used in the production of new medals.

medal recycling point 350 singapore

Medal recycling bins will be available at various locations island wide until 28 February 2014. Visit www.RUN350.com for a list of medal collection points (till 28 February 2014) and to register for the Run now! Registration closes on 28 February 2014.

Let’s make a difference by running for a greener future.

 

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Music on the run…

Music on the run.

Besides being obsessed with shoes in the last 2 years, I was also trying out all kinds of earphones… nah, this post is not about the earphones that I’ve used and had before, but just wanted to share that I need to have music to accompany me during those long distance runs.

My ‘love’ for music started way back in the 80’s – “Beat It” by Michael Jackson was what got me started, although prior to that, there was Carpenters, Bee Gees, Bonnie M, etc from my father’s trusty radio – but it was Beat It and Thriller that got me started to like English songs. My favourite playlist are songs from the 80’s, those were the days when the Pet Shop Boys, Aphaville, Depeche Mode, A-Ha rule the billboard charts. Personal fav while running include Slave to Love by Bryan Ferry, Forever Young (12″ mix) by Alphaville, La Femme Accident by OMD, and Domino Dancing by Pet Shop Boys, Freedom by Wham! and many many others – just my 80’s playlist alone, I can run 2 marathons!

Once in while, for a change, I will have canto-pop as my running motivation, while not as fast paced as the 80’s, but they provide the right pace for an easy jog. Songs like 十分十二寸 by Geroge Lam, 斤两十足 by Sam Hui, 梦半by Anita Mui, Monica by Leslie Cheung and many more, enough for a half marathon.

Now, for a good boost, the song that gets me going is actually Korean! “Cabi Song” by Girls Generation and 2pm, the startup beats gave me a good kick, and when the song played, images of the MTV came up and that gives me the added adrenaline to get going.

Oh, and if you want to know, I’m using the Bose SIE2i earphones 🙂

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Project Happy Feet: Slipper Race 2014

Project Happy Feet: Slipper Race, Singapore 22 February 2014.

We are always happy to publicise and support a good-cause event; this time we would like to bring your attention to the upcoming Slipper Race 2014 – Total Defence Edition organised by Project Happy Feet, to take place in Singapore on February the 22nd.

Why Slipper Race?

project_happy_feet_slipper_race_singapore_2014_logo

The Project Happy Feet Slipper Race is Singapore’s only non-competitive walk in slippers to raise funds for Project Happy Feet’s beneficiaries. The race is inspired by the many school children in countries such as Cambodia who walk more than 3km to school either barefooted or in slippers – if there is a school nearby. By getting participants to walk in a similar distance in slippers, we hope people will put themselves in the shoes (or slippers!) of these underprivileged children and do their part to contribute towards them having a chance at education. For the younger participants, we hope they walk away with an appreciated for what they have been given, and feel inspired and empowered to do something for their counterparts who are less privileged. Though the event is not really a race in the competitive sense, we hope to send the message that there is a great urgency for us to do something about education for underprivileged children around the world, and that we should race against time to give our support and make that positive impact now.

About Project Happy Feet

Project Happy Feet is a Singapore-based not-for-profit organisation set up since 2009 to empower the lives of underprivileged youths and children in developing countries by supporting their education and training through fund-raising for education-related initiatives and programmes that positively impact them or their families. To date, Project Happy Feet has raised more than SGD 500,000 through its fund raising initiatives such as Chefs for a Cause in 2009, the Project Happy Feet Slipper Race since 2011 and supported more than 4,000 children and youth in Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and Nepal through its programmes.

Mission : To empower lives through education and training to alleviate poverty. 

Vision : A world where children go to school with happy feet, and poverty if alleviated.

Quick Facts:
Registered as Public Company limited by guarantee on 7 July 2009
Improves lives of underprivileged children and youths, especially in developing countries
Supports training- and education-related programmes and initiatives
Corporate Governance:
Funds fully audited (by H T Khoo & Associates)
100% of donations are designated for specific causes and are channeled to benefit identified beneficiaries
100% volunteer run
Operational costs underwritten by Emergenetics Caelan & Sage Pte Ltd (registered in Singapore since 2005)


project_happy_feet_slipper_race_singapore_2014_2

Beneficiaries

The Project Happy Feet Slipper Race 2014 – Total Defence edition will benefit the following organisations:

THIS LIFE CAMBODIA (CAMBODIA) This Life Cambodia is a not-for-profit, non-government community development organisation with a focus on education. It provides technical advice and support to individuals, communities and non-profit organisations in Cambodia. Its ultimate goal is to help local people and groups become fully self-sustainable by providing educational and training opportunities, securing project funding, building infrastructure and creating networks to support their needs. Funds raised at the Project Happy Feet Slipper Race 2014 will be channeled towards the Lower Secondary School Development Program, focused at developing community competency in designing long-term sustainable solutions for schools in Siem Reap. www.thislifecambodia.org

SPED FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE SCHEME BY COMMUNITY CHEST (SINGAPORE) The SPED Financial Assistance Scheme, a programme supported by Community Chest, provides financial assistance to needy students from special schools so that they can enjoy fully subsidized school fees, uniforms, textbooks and a 75% subsidy for national exam fees. The scheme aims to enable low-income families that face financial difficulties and challenges to support their children with special needs.

Race details

Event Date: Saturday, 22 February 2014

Event Time: Event ground opens at 3.00pm, Flag-off at 4:00pm sharp

Venue: Outside Singapore Management University School of Accounting

Distance: 3.6km

Race route:
project_happy_feet_singapore_slipper_race_2014_route

Footwear: Slippers/Flip-Flops

Website / registration: www.phfslipperrace.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/projecthappyfeet

 Information and images taken from www.phfslipperrace.org and www.projecthappyfeet.org.

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What is the heel-toe drop and shoe stack height?

Running shoes anatomy 101

Heel-toe drop (or offset, or differential) is a term that came along with the boom of technology in running shoes, and the increasing interest in barefoot running. So what exactly is it, and why are people interested in it anyway?

First of all, one needs to know what the “stack height” refers to; and that is simply a measure of how much material is between the bottom of your foot and the ground.

Now, measuring the stack height at the heel and the toe and subtracting those numbers, will give you the heel-toe drop. To make things clearer, heel-toe drop has been defined by Brooks Running as “the difference between (midsole + outsole) heel height and (midsole + outsole) forefoot height” .

 

Heel-toe drop (or offset) calculation formula

To put things into perspective, some realistic scenarios would be: heel stack 23mm, toe stack 11mm, giving a heel-toe drop of 12mm, or in another case, heel stack 18mm, toe stack 12mm, giving a heel-toe drop of 6mm. It is easy to see that the heel-toe offset indicates how “wedgy” the shoes are; the higher the number, the more  your heel will be left higher than your forefoot.

Traditionally, running shoes have been built with a 12-15mm heel-toe drop. but the minimalist shoe movement of the last few years has brought about lower stack heights and smaller forefoot drops. Moderate minimalist shoes typically have a 4-10mm heel-toe drop, while, zero-drop shoes (heel-to-toe drop of 0 to 4mm) are also available, aimed to provide an as close as it gets “barefoot” running experience.

As far as to which are better for you, many studies have been published, and the argument that is often being made is that running in shoes with a larger heel-toe drop encourages a heel strike. This, in turn, can not only diminish running efficiency and speed, but can also potentially cause injuries, as it is associated with higher impact forces and greater rotational forces (overpronation). On the contrary, a lower heel-to-toe drop is supposed to encourage a midfoot strike, and help the runner maintain a natural position.

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My first run with Kikikukiki Runners, Keppel Bay

Running the Keppel Bay, Singapore with K5 Runners

I have been wanting to join one of the fun runs organised by a running club in Singapore for quite some time now, and last night I finally went for it. I joined the Kikikukiki (or K5) Runners in their weekly BayFront run.

The meeting was set for 7:30pm at the entrance of Labrador Park MRT station, and even though I arrived a bit early, many of the club members (easily recognisable by their striking-green Kikikukiki tees) were already there.

kikikukiki_logo

Once the necessary introductions were done, and after a bit of chit-chatting we set out for the run. We were a total of around 30 people, and there would be two groups: the faster and slower runners; I joined the first one and hopped for the best 🙂

After about 5 minutes into the run, there was a mild hill to climb, before we reached Labrador Nature Reserve Park. The weather was perfect for a run with a very comfortable sea breeze. We “circled” the park and then headed for the Keppel BayFront. I had never been here before, and I was really impressed by the scenery. The boardwalk structure allowed for an easy and steady run. Soon we hit the Keppel Bay Vista bridge and made our way into the island.

Kikikukiki Run Keppel BayFront

A short pit-stop for photos and we were on our way back. Retracing our route, we once again made our way to Labrador Park, where would be our gathering point. More chit-chat while waiting for the rest of the runners, a few group photos and then back to the parking lot for a chilled cup of 100 PLUS.

All in all, I am really glad I took part in this, and I will definitely be back for more.

kikikukiki_16_jan_2014_keppel

If you want to join the K5 Runners, check out their Facebook page. They organise weekly runs at Jurong International Business Park (Tuesday evenings), Labrador Park / BayFront (Thursday evenings) and MacRitchie Reservoir (Saturday mornings).

The admission is free and fun is guaranteed.

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Running the Hong Kong Marathon

Hong Kong Marathon

The Standard Chartered Marathon Hong Kong

Your face lit up the moment you woke up. You do your pre-race ritual, had your quick breakfast fix and started doning your race gear. You take your race pack and dump all the essentials inside, dropped your hotel card inside, and headed out of the hotel. From the comforting air-conditioned hotel temps, you exited the hotel and headed out, bare, to the race site. You feel cold, and began to chatter as the chilling temps in the morning begin to get you.

Step by step, you walked to the race site to deposit your baggage. Your pre-race attire is stripped, baggage is deposited and you queue for the portaloos in your race gear. You are shivering now and began to jog on the spot and move your limbs to generate heat, akin to other runners warming up and down Nathan road.

You walked to the start point and got yourself jammed up in the middle of the pack. You feel warmer with the bodies around you. For now…

The siren goes and you are off. The adrenaline within you goes off as you run past the starting line. You felt great off the blocks but the human jam forbids seamless overtaking. 4km in, you are running on the West Kowloon Highway and one last turn awaits you and you’ll be running on the expressway. The crowd eases now with the entire length of expressway available to you. The undulating terrain starts now. You head up the hilly highway and witness the awesome Stonecutters Bridge in sight, approximately 2km away. The gradient increases and lo and behold, you are running up the bridge. It is an L shaped design. Once you are done, a water point awaits you for conquering the first major obstacle in the marathon.

Next up, you enter the first tunnel on-route. You feel warm, air seemed thicker and you feel harder to run inside. When you are near to the exit, the temperature drops and you feel the cold chilly winds coming your way as you exited the tunnel.

Shortly after, you will reach the legendary Tsing Ma bridge. The bridge is uphill, and you will uturn in the middle of it.

You will then uturn into another bridge which is almost the same, uphill to and downhill fro.

These routes enable you to meet up with fellow runners whom you might know. You caught up with many of your friends, exchanging hi-fives, shouting HIs.

Your route brings you down-slope to the second tunnel of the route. Upon exiting the tunnel, you have ran 25km and your legs is starting to give way. You feel determined to charged through the entire route, refusing to give up.

Upon exiting the tunnel, you’ll be back on the highway, with ups and downs greeting you at every sight. You feel strong winds brushing past you and witness different runners running different paths of the highway. You will reach the West Kowloon Highway and there will be a water point there. You have now ran 30km of the route and you will see a pool of 21km runners merging with you. The lanes seemed packed now but its still all right. You used the 21km participants as your pacers and start drafting off them.

You continue your route for 4 more km before entering through a gate with massive supporters.

At 34km, you will enter into the final tunnel on-route. This tunnel is unique and is one of the highlights of the race. You run downhill for 1.5km before running uphill for 1.5km. You are exhausted now, but you cannot give up now. You exited the tunnel feeling extremely cold with strong, chilly headwinds coming your way.

After conquering the uphill climb, you go through a series of downhill and find yourself by a pier. You try your best to absorb the scenary and the supporters whom came down cheering for you. Your legs is giving way, but you trottle through as much as you can.

Your facial expression depicts the pain you have on your entire body, but you are still there, fighting your way through.

Your last obstacle comes crashing down on you. You saw a flyover with a steepness akin-ed to Upper Pierce. It is approximately 200m high but you are determined to get past it. You saw alot of runners walking up this challenge. You ran past it, and you saw the sign ‘Causeway-bay’. Surely the end is near.

You wind through Causeway-bay, a familiar shopping district. Looking up, you see residents cheering you. There are tons of supporters on either side of the road. You absorb their cheers, you smiled at the photographers, there is no giving up now, not for yourself, not for the supporters.

One final turn and the finishing line is in sight, you ran the final 195m on green platform and ran past the finishing line.

You did it! You completed the Hong Kong Marathon.

 

 

PS: Enjoy the cramps the following day. =\

 

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Adidas Takumi Sen Review

Adidas Takumi Sen

The quest for a marathon flat can be taxing. For the most of us, it could get boring racing and training in the same shoe again and again. Most end up getting new flats to race and in turn realize, awww this shoe is not for me.

I saw the takumi sen in Hong Kong and never looked back. I was on a trip with my girlfriend and she purchased this pair of racing flats for me as a gift. It cost 1099 hkd in Jan 13.

This shoe felt really good on the feet. Initial impressions seemed positive. I was jogging up and down the store at Tsim Sha Tsui and was convinced this is the shoe i need. The key decision criteria lies in how this shoe wraps around your feet comfortably and the responsiveness it provides on every stride. I could feel it just by jogging in it!

I could fondly remember my first test-run in it. I brought it out for a 10km tempo run and clocked a very good pace but didn’t felt too hard. I describe the shoe as ‘the shoe that doesn’t slow down’ to my friend!

Thereafter, I used it for all my tempo runs and crucial LSD leading up to my marathon.

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This shoe gave me a PR in 10km, 21km and 42km. I’m not an elite runner but this shoe works for me at sub 5:10 pace in a full marathon.

500km into runs and there’s significant wear and tear underfoot. The responsiveness is wearing off but hey, its a racer. 500km is hard to come by nowadays. I have this shoe for more than a year now and I’m still using it.

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There’s new colorway for the shoe. Its widely available in Hongkong. SG is selling it through runners gait.

A man’s meat is another man’s poison. This shoe works for me and i highly recommend it to runners looking for the following attributes:

  1. Low stack heights
  2. Light weight racer
  3. Meshy Upper
  4. High Responsiveness
  5. Midfoot / Heel-strikers (For heel strikers, do note that the outsole will wear out faster)
  6. Minimal cushioning
  7. No habit of going sockless

The Adidas Takumi Sen is available at Runners Gait at S$229.

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