Inaugural Hello Kitty Run draws over 17,000, but also plenty of criticism

The world's most beloved mouthless feline, Hello Kitty, celebrated her 40th birthday Saturday morning - with more than 17,000 race participants turning up for the inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore held in Sentosa. -- PHOTO: PINK APPLE
The world's most beloved mouthless feline, Hello Kitty, celebrated her 40th birthday Saturday morning - with more than 17,000 race participants turning up for the inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore held in Sentosa. -- PHOTO: PINK APPLE
The world's most beloved mouthless feline, Hello Kitty, celebrated her 40th birthday Saturday morning - with more than 17,000 race participants turning up for the inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore held in Sentosa. -- PHOTO: PINK APPLE
The world's most beloved mouthless feline, Hello Kitty, celebrated her 40th birthday Saturday morning - with more than 17,000 race participants turning up for the inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore held in Sentosa. -- PHOTO: PINK APPLE
The world's most beloved mouthless feline, Hello Kitty, celebrated her 40th birthday Saturday morning - with more than 17,000 race participants turning up for the inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore held in Sentosa. -- PHOTO: PINK APPLE
The world's most beloved mouthless feline, Hello Kitty, celebrated her 40th birthday Saturday morning - with more than 17,000 race participants turning up for the inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore held in Sentosa. -- PHOTO: PINK APPLE
The world's most beloved mouthless feline, Hello Kitty, celebrated her 40th birthday Saturday morning - with more than 17,000 race participants turning up for the inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore held in Sentosa. -- PHOTO: PINK APPLE
The world's most beloved mouthless feline, Hello Kitty, celebrated her 40th birthday Saturday morning - with more than 17,000 race participants turning up for the inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore held in Sentosa. -- PHOTO: PINK APPLE
The world's most beloved mouthless feline, Hello Kitty, celebrated her 40th birthday Saturday morning - with more than 17,000 race participants turning up for the inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore held in Sentosa. -- PHOTO: PINK APPLE
The world's most beloved mouthless feline, Hello Kitty, celebrated her 40th birthday Saturday morning - with more than 17,000 race participants turning up for the inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore held in Sentosa. -- PHOTO: PINK APPLE
The world's most beloved mouthless feline, Hello Kitty, celebrated her 40th birthday Saturday morning - with more than 17,000 race participants turning up for the inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore held in Sentosa. -- PHOTO: PINK APPLE
The world's most beloved mouthless feline, Hello Kitty, celebrated her 40th birthday Saturday morning - with more than 17,000 race participants turning up for the inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore held in Sentosa. -- PHOTO: PINK APPLE
Race participants stop to take photographs of Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel on stage after they flagged off the first wave of runners at 8am. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Race participants stop to take photographs of Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel on stage after they flagged off the first wave of runners at 8am. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
A man dressed as an unicorn get stares from fellow race participants at the start of the Hello Kitty Run Singapore. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
A man dressed as an unicorn get stares from fellow race participants at the start of the Hello Kitty Run Singapore. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
The world's most famous feline character - Hello Kitty - celebrated her 40th birthday with 17,000 race participants at the inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore held at Sentosa on Nov 1, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
The world's most famous feline character - Hello Kitty - celebrated her 40th birthday with 17,000 race participants at the inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore held at Sentosa on Nov 1, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
The world's most famous feline character - Hello Kitty - celebrated her 40th birthday with 17,000 race participants at the inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore held at Sentosa on Nov 1, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
The world's most famous feline character - Hello Kitty - celebrated her 40th birthday with 17,000 race participants at the inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore held at Sentosa on Nov 1, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Race participants stop to take photographs of Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel on stage after they flagged off the first wave of runners at 8am. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Race participants stop to take photographs of Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel on stage after they flagged off the first wave of runners at 8am. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
The world's most famous feline character - Hello Kitty - celebrated her 40th birthday with 17,000 race participants at the inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore held at Sentosa on Nov 1, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
The world's most famous feline character - Hello Kitty - celebrated her 40th birthday with 17,000 race participants at the inaugural Hello Kitty Run Singapore held at Sentosa on Nov 1, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

SINGAPORE - Hello Kitty's 40th birthday celebrations kicked off with a rousing start early yesterday morning in Sentosa - with a 33 inch cupcake and the singing of Happy Birthday by 17,000 participants there for the run hosted by the feline.

Then the problems started. First came the rain, which forced organisers to put the inaugural Hello Kitty run on hold, leaving two remaining waves of runners, some with children, to seek limited shelter at the Sentosa Boardwalk.

But what really upset some participants, who paid $65 to $75 to take part, was the chaos they met when trying to collect a coveted Hello Kitty medal after completing the 5km run. As runners sought shelter from the rain in a pavilion where the medals were being given out, it became very crowded. According to a host of complaints on the event's Facebook page, an announcement saying there may not be enough medals for everyone caused the rush to become worse.

Race organiser Pink Apple apologised for the delays caused by the weather, and told those who were unable to collect their medals that they can do so on another day, which is yet to be announced.

kashc@sph.com.sg