When Li Tianhui signed up for The Straits Times Run at the Hub in July, little did she expect that she would win an early-bird prize - a four-day trip to Tokyo worth $3,000.
Sponsored by Chan Brothers Travel, the holiday is one of the prizes for participants who register before Aug 10 for the Sept 27 event.
The year two student from Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC) said yesterday at a prize presentation at Chan Brothers Travel's headquarters in South Bridge Road: "I signed up for the ST Run with my aunt and we did not know of the prize so it really came as a surprise.
"I thought it was a hoax before my aunt confirmed with The Straits Times that I had won the prize."
For Tianhui, the trip is an early present before her 18th birthday on Aug 14. She plans to visit the Land of the Rising Sun to celebrate the end of the A levels in November.
"The trip will be a good getaway for me after my A's and a deserved rest after toiling in junior college.
"I went to Osaka last year on an exchange trip but this would be my first time in Tokyo. I am looking forward to sightseeing and enjoying the food in the metropolis."
Tianhui nearly did not sign up for the ST Run.
Said her mother Siew Eng Peng: "Her A levels are coming this year and the race is in between her prelims and A levels so I asked her to consider against joining."
Undeterred, she signed up for the 10km event after being convinced to do so by her aunt Samantha Lee.
"I learnt that my aunt (Lee) is quite an avid runner and she convinced me to take up this challenge.
"I have not run a long-distance race before, with my furthest being about 4km."
"So the ST Run would be a physical challenge for me before my mental challenge (A levels) in November," she added.
Straits Times sports editor Marc Lim, who presented the prize to Tianhui, said: "The ST Run is an event for all runners, young or old, advanced or beginners, to participate in and enjoy being active.
"I am glad that Tianhui decided to make this her first long run. The finish will be truly memorable.
"But thanks to our kind sponsors like Chan Brothers Travel, our runners have also been receiving many goodies well ahead of the run - making them winners in their own right."
Participants can win a three nights' stay for two at Club Med Cherating Beach worth $2,000, sponsored by Chan Brothers Travel, if they sign up for the run by Sunday.