Festive atmosphere at Big Walk

Above: President Halimah Yacob signing off on the National Steps Challenge pledge board yesterday, encouraging everyone to walk and exercise every day. Left: Participants in yesterday's Big Walk, which began and ended at the Sports Hub.
Participants in yesterday's Big Walk, which began and ended at the Sports Hub.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Above: President Halimah Yacob signing off on the National Steps Challenge pledge board yesterday, encouraging everyone to walk and exercise every day. Left: Participants in yesterday's Big Walk, which began and ended at the Sports Hub.
Above:walk and exercise every day.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

It was lovely weather for the National Steps Challenge The New Paper Big Walk 2017 yesterday.

Cool and breezy, it was perfect for the "Big Walkers", who started streaming into the Singapore Sports Hub as early as 6.30am.

Many began warming up for the approximate 7.9km walk ahead, while others took selfies and wefies around the premises, adding to the festive atmosphere. Soon, emcees Andre Hoeden and Catherine Robert from Singapore Press Holdings radio station One FM 91.3 were leading everyone in warm-up exercises.

There was a sense of excitement when President Halimah Yacob, who was the guest of honour, made an appearance.

At about 7am, Madam Halimah flagged off the participants, and the Big Walk was on as 10,800 participants steadily made their way out of the Sports Hub onto Nicoll Highway, and then past the Singapore Flyer. The walk ended back at the Sports Hub.

No age group was left out - parents walked with young children in prams or in their arms, while older participants went at various speeds, some faster than the younger ones.

Running along in a Big Walk shirt in the double XS size, three-year-old Luke Chew was with his parents on Nicoll Highway. When asked if he was enjoying the walk, Luke nodded enthusiastically.

  • 10,800 Number of participants in the Big Walk.

His father, Mr Christopher Chew, 36, said he and his wife had been taking part in the Big Walk up until 2006, when it was last held at the former National Stadium. "We came back to the Big Walk because it's fun. We're going to bring Luke for the next one."

The New Paper editor Eugene Wee, who joined Madam Halimah and the Big Walkers for the full route, said it was great to see everyone enjoying themselves while keeping fit.

"The Big Walk is definitely an activity you can do with family and friends, in a way that is interesting and fun. It is not every day that you get to take a scenic stroll in a big group on closed roads," he said.

Also spotted among the participants were some who made the effort to dress up in a variety of costumes. For instance, members of housewife Carol Scully's Zumba workout group were decked out in Christmas caps, reindeer horns and other Yuletide attire.

Ms Scully, 57, said all the members of her group wanted to "spread the cheer of the Christmas season" during the walk.

Even pets were not left out. Ms Shellen Tho, who is in her 40s, and her husband Anthony Tan, 66, brought their five-year-old mixed-breed dog Sheena along for the event, the first for all three.

And for some such as Ms Joanne Lee, this year's Big Walk was a homecoming of sorts.

The 59-year-old housewife proudly showed her certificate of participation from the Big Walk in 1994, held at the former National Stadium. "When I learnt that this Big Walk was going to be at the current National Stadium, I signed up out of nostalgia. It was great to walk along Nicoll Highway again, and I am so happy I did it again after 23 years."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2017, with the headline 'Festive atmosphere at Big Walk'. Print Edition | Subscribe