Even before The Straits Times Run at the Hub begins, participants Roy Lee and Justina Zeng have been rewarded for being firsts - the first male and female runners to sign up for the 18.45km category, that is.
The avid runners often take part in marathons and other races, but this will be their first time participating in the ST Run, which will be held on Sept 27.
"When I saw the advertisement for the ST Run, I signed up for it immediately as I missed the opportunity to take part for the past two years," said Mr Lee, who signed up minutes after registration opened on June 26. In 2013, he participated in the Perth Marathon and ran the Berlin Marathon last year.
Mr Lee, 41, added: "I also thought the 18.45km run was interesting (unlike the usual 10km or 21km runs) as it marks the 170th year of The Straits Times... I didn't know ST had such a long history."
Ms Zeng, 33, who works at a local bank, started joining races just over a year ago, when a friend who helps to organise such events encouraged her to take part. "My first race was the Great Eastern Women's Run last year, and after that I just fell in love with race events," said Ms Zeng, who proudly displays all her finisher medals at home.
Mr Lee, a teacher, started long-distance running around seven years ago. His main purpose is to keep fit, but the convenience of race events is what attracts him to organised mass runs.
"I don't have to carry a backpack or water around when I run as there are water stations, which makes it convenient and enjoyable," he said.
The two were pleasantly surprised yesterday when they received a full set of sports gear from sponsor New Balance as a reward for being the first to register. Among the items was a pair of Vazee Rush shoes worth $149.
"I will definitely be using the shorts and socks for the ST Run. We'll see about the shoes as I have to try running in them first, but they feel good," said Ms Zeng, who is looking forward to ending the race under the iconic dome of the National Stadium.
"I've only done races that go past the stadium, or just outside it, so ending this race inside will definitely be an interesting experience," she said.
Interested runners can sign up at www.straitstimesrun.com. There are three categories: 5km, 10km and 18.45km.