It seems obvious enough but participants in the first Singapore Kindness Run had to be reminded not to take selfies while running the race route at Pasir Ris Park yesterday morning.
It did not stop a few social media junkies among the 1,000 runners from whipping out a cellphone. But because the event organised by the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM) was about good manners and running etiquette, they posed for pictures before the race started.
Others remained at the start point after flag-off for a picture with Singa the Lion.There were several other running tips that participants were urged to follow, such as not spitting on or hogging the pavements, and binning trash in the right place.
Runners' Heart-Reach founder Johnny Gan said the aim was to share the right etiquette with runners in Singapore. He collaborated with the SKM to organise the event.
The sales director founded the ground-up initiative last November to promote good running etiquette after encountering ungracious runners who hog pavements, spit as they run, or dump cups given at water points on the roads.
"Running is a sport that people can take up easily. But there are some types of ungracious behaviour that make it unpleasant, such as runners who spit on the ground, or those who push others during races," said Mr Gan, 52.
He approached the SKM with the idea of a Kindness Run.
SPREADING GOOD HABITS
It need not be a standalone Kindness Run. Hopefully, kindness can be injected into the other runs in Singapore as well.
SINGAPORE KINDNESS MOVEMENT ASSOCIATE GENERAL SECRETARY MICHELLE TAY, on the organisation hoping to get representatives planted in other running events as well.
During the event, 15 representatives of the organisers ran with participants along the 10km route to remind them about the tips, including keeping left if they are running at a leisurely pace.
Endurance triathlete Choo Ling Er, 32, one of the representatives, said good etiquette could extend to other sports as well, such as cycling. "If people don't follow the rules, for example, by using their cellphones while exercising, it could affect their own safety and the people around them."
Participant Tan Wee Yong, 27, has encountered inconsiderate runners before. "Most people may not know what to do, but this event could help them learn how to play their part," said the chef.
SKM associate general secretary Michelle Tay said the organisation hopes to get representatives planted in other running events as well. "It doesn't need to be a standalone Kindness Run. Hopefully, kindness can be injected into the other runs in Singapore as well."
National marathoner and 2013 SEA Games champion Mok Ying Ren said the Kindness Run was a good initiative to raise awareness about the need for good running etiquette.
But he pointed out that it was also important for race organisers to play a part in making races etiquette-friendly, as every second counts for runners who may be trying to clock a personal best.
"Some races have large canvas sheets laid out near water points for runners to throw their cups into. That may reduce bottlenecks near bins and encourage people to throw their rubbish in the right place," he said.
Mr Adrian Mok, managing director of HiVelocity, which organises the annual Sundown Marathon, said he might consider getting representatives of the Kindness Run at future events.
"We do try to make our races etiquette-friendly and we have installed canvas sheets before, but not all water points may have enough space for this. Making a run a pleasant experience requires the cooperation of runners too."