Keeping track of his new environment

Bernard Chan (foreground) running at the National Stadium for the first time. The 64-year-old, who used to run at the old National Stadium, got the chance with other members of the public to run at the Sports Hub yesterday thanks to the ActiveSG Athl
Bernard Chan (foreground) running at the National Stadium for the first time. The 64-year-old, who used to run at the old National Stadium, got the chance with other members of the public to run at the Sports Hub yesterday thanks to the ActiveSG Athletics Fiesta. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Bernard Chan used to run regularly at the old National Stadium until it was torn down in 2007 to make way for the Singapore Sports Hub.

So when the chance came to return to his old haunt yesterday as part of the ActiveSG Athletics Fiesta, he was eager to do so.

"One of the reasons I came here is because since the (new) stadium opened, I have never been here," the 64-year-old said.

As a youth, he lived near the old ground and ran there regularly. He now runs at the Clementi Stadium.

"I grew up at the old stadium. Even though I only started running after I enlisted in the army, I used to watch football matches there before that," he said.

His experience at the new stadium lived up to his expectations.

Chan, who is semi-retired, said: "It's a very modern and beautiful stadium. The track here is better than the old National Stadium, which was not that well maintained. Perhaps that's because they allowed anybody to go in."

Unlike the old stadium, members of the public are not allowed to run on the track except on certain occasions, such as the Athletics Fiesta. While the public can run at the 100Plus Promenade surrounding the stadium, Chan thinks that people should be allowed to run inside.

"Of course, you need rules governing the use of the stadium. But I think it's a great stadium with a nice track, and people should be allowed to run inside," he added.

He clocked 12min 6sec in the ActiveSG 2.4km Red Run senior men's category.

"I don't participate in any kind of race," he said. "I get a feeling of satisfaction after running, and I also want to keep fit. That's the reason why I run."

More than 3,500 people attended the inaugural fiesta over the weekend, which saw a variety of events organised, such as sports tryouts and a dance parade.

It was part of the first season of athletics at the National Stadium, and organisers Sport Singapore are hopeful that it will become an annual event.

Correction note: An earlier version of the story stated that 2,500 people attended the ActiveSG Athletics Fiesta instead of 3,500. This has been corrected.  

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2016, with the headline 'Keeping track of his new environment'. Print Edition | Subscribe