'Blade Runner' Shariff Abdullah leads young people in charity run

Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Mr Baey Yam Keng, running alongside Singapore's "Blade Runner", Shariff Abdullah Peters (second from left), and participants.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Mr Baey Yam Keng, running alongside Singapore's "Blade Runner", Shariff Abdullah Peters (second from left), and participants.ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

SINGAPORE - He had to give up his bid to become the first athlete with a prosthetic leg to conquer the gruelling Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon in 2015 when the Nepal earthquake struck in April.

But para-athlete Shariff Abdullah - Singapore's "Blade Runner" - is taking another stab at the race in 2016, and shouldering another goal to boot.

Together with a group of youth, he hopes to raise $15,000 for Club Rainbow, a charity that helps chronically ill children. His own daughter, now 17, has been a Club Rainbow beneficiary for more than a decade.

Flanked by a group of about 90, Mr Shariff, 48, led a run for the charity effort at the Tampines Eco Green park on Sunday morning (April 3), with Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng also joining in.

As part of the Miles for Good movement, participants went on a 5km run around the park, pledging to donate $1 for every kilometre run, and in turn getting friends or family members to match the amount raised.

Having raised $1,500 so far, the organisers hope to meet the $15,000 target by the end of May and will be organising two more runs in the Botanic Gardens and the Central Business District.

Lead organiser Elson Leong, 26, said the Miles for Good movement aims to show that everyone can make a difference in a small way, creating a ripple effect with a huge collective impact. In addition to community engagement runs, they have started a crowdfunding platform and encouraged others to come up with their own group initiatives to raise funds for Club Rainbow, with a target of $500 per group of five.

"Shariff had always wanted to give back to the community, but was not sure how to go about doing it. We wanted to do something for children, and we thought we could collaborate," said Mr Leong, an entrepreneur, who led this initiative with a group of 15 other young people who had gone through a 21-day Outward Bound Singapore Classic Challenge Course in December 2015.

Meanwhile, Mr Shariff looks forward to planting the flags of Singapore and Club Rainbow at the end point of the marathon in Nepal after navigating through 42km of rough mountain trails come May.

"It's going to be a tough run because of the altitude and the difficult terrain. I need to train twice as hard as the able-bodied, but I believe that with the right mindset that I can do it."

To donate to Miles for Good, go to: https://give.asia/movement/miles_for_good_run_2016

yuensin@sph.com.sg