No 'runfies' allowed: Singapore's first Kindness Run promotes good running etiquette

Singapore Kindness Movement mascot Singa the Lion takes a picture with a runner.
Singapore Kindness Movement mascot Singa the Lion takes a picture with a runner.ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN

SINGAPORE - Rule number one: Do not take selfies while running the route.

This may be the age of social media, but that rule did not dampen the enthusiasm of some 800 runners who turned up bright and early at Pasir Ris Park on Sunday (May 14) for a 10km competitive run.

They were taking part in Singapore's first Kindness Run, organised by the Singapore Kindness Movement and Runners' Heart-Reach, a ground-up initiative that promotes good running etiquette.

There were several other "rules " that runners were encouraged to adhere to, ranging from not spitting on or hogging the pavement, to binning their trash in the right place.

There was a need for this run, to share the right running etiquette with the growing number of runners in Singapore, said Runners' Heart-Reach founder Johnny Gan, 52.

He added that he has seen his fair share of runners who hog pavements, spit as they run, or throw cups given at water points on the roads, which made the experience unpleasant for others who had to share the space.

"Recently, I went running at Bedok Reservoir, and did two rounds - the first round, I did not greet anyone, and no one greeted me back. But on my next round, I started greeting people I met, and almost everyone greeted me back. It showed that someone just had to take the initiative," Mr Gan told The Straits Times.

So that was what he did with the Kindness Run, approaching the Singapore Kindness Movement to co-organise the event.

Runners warming up at the event. ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN

During the run, Kindness Ambassadors urged runners to be mindful of the need to be courteous with a smile. Endurance triathlete Choo Ling Er, 32, one of the Kindness Ambassadors, said practising good etiquette could extend to other sports as well, such as cycling.

"If people don't follow the rules, such as use their mobile phone while exercising, it could affect their own safety and the people around them."

Singapore Kindness Movement associate secretary-general Michelle Tay said the hope was to get Kindness Ambassadors planted at other running events as well, to encourage gracious running on a larger scale.

Runners were also urged to donate shoes to the movement In My Shoes, which set up a booth at the event. The shoes collected will go to disadvantaged young people from children's homes and orphanages, for example.

Participant Tan Wee Yong, 27, said he has noticed inconsiderate behaviour by runners before. Said the chef: "Most people may not know what to do, but this event could help them learn how to play their part."