Look at routing marathon via heartland

I completed the recent Standard Chartered Marathon and while there could have been more water stations, I appreciate the staff who worked tirelessly to serve the thousands of exhausted and thirsty runners all morning under the blazing sun and heat.

If we are to position the Standard Chartered Marathon as an annual marquee event, the race organisers should consider that many major cities consider the marathon as a people's event which draws out the home crowds.

The key success factor is that the running route traverses through most major neighbourhoods, and it becomes a real spectacle to witness a sea of runners literally at one's doorstep. Sadly, much of the route for our marathon is along deserted streets down the Central Business District and along the monotonous East Coast Park.

Perhaps, the race organisers, relevant government agencies and community groups can work together to divert the race route into our heartland estates, and involve the community as part of this event.

We can certainly draw inspiration from global events like the London, New York, Boston and Tokyo marathons, to name a few.

These cities are just as busy as ours, yet, for one day of the year, everyone becomes part of the city's marathon. It builds a sense of camaraderie, where we encourage one another to persevere and celebrate as one community.

Given that the Standard Chartered Marathon is beginning to attract many foreign participants, it will be another wonderful opportunity to showcase our heartland and local hospitality, which will spur future runners to keep on going the full distance.

Daniel Tan Yang Sheng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2015, with the headline 'Look at routing marathon via heartland'. Print Edition | Subscribe