Minister Tan to lead volunteers at ST Run

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin stretching during a run with grassroots volunteers at East Coast Park. Mr Tan will be participating in The Straits Times Run in the City next Sunday.
Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin stretching during a run with grassroots volunteers at East Coast Park. Mr Tan will be participating in The Straits Times Run in the City next Sunday.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Decked out in a red running vest, knee-length tights and orange running shoes, Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin joined his grassroots volunteers for a weekly run yesterday.

The minister, who will be the guest of honour at next Sunday's The Straits Times Run in the City 2016, is an avid runner.

"It's a good habit, and I do it to keep fit," he said.

"Running affects your stamina and well-being in a positive way, allowing you to carry out your responsibilities better.

"It's the easiest exercise. You just slip on your shoes and go."

Mr Tan, who is also the president of the Singapore National Olympic Council, runs about thrice a week. He makes it a point to run with grassroots volunteers from the Kembangan-Chai Chee ward, for which he is the Member of Parliament.

A group of 15 volunteers from Kembangan-Chai Chee and friends, including Mr Tan, will participate at the ST Run next weekend, many of whom are joining the race for the first time.

Said Ong Hoon Hong, a volunteer: "We will be there to have fun, and all of us will try our best."

The 44-year-old added: "A few of us (volunteers) were into running and we decided to try our luck and ask Mr Tan to join us for a relay race in July.

"To our surprise, he said 'on!'."

Since then, the group has started training for the relay, attracting other volunteers and residents to their weekly runs, which they began in early March.

"The ages of those joining us vary, so we have a range of distances to keep it fun and don't dampen the interest of the faster runners," said Ong.

Comparing the route of this year's ST Run, which starts and ends at the F1 Pit Building, to last year's, Ong said: "Last year it was held around the Sports Hub, and we were not as familiar with the route.

"This year it will start at the F1 Pit Building, and I'm looking forward to a good race with wider paths. It will be exciting."

The oldest runner in the group, 66-year-old Ong Cheng Hoon, will also be running next week in the 10km category.

"I've been running since I was 16," said the retiree, who is a source of motivation for other runners in the group.

"He's our inspiration here," said Ellen Teo, who is aiming to improve her personal best and finish 5km under 30 minutes at the ST Run.


Correction note: An earlier version of this article stated that Mr Ong Hoon Hong's age was 48. He is 44-years-old. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 15, 2016, with the headline 'Minister Tan to lead volunteers at ST Run'. Print Edition | Subscribe