With The New Paper Big Walk returning to the National Stadium on Nov 26 after more than a decade, Miss Quek Ai Ling decided she would put on her walking shoes.
The 48-year-old said she took part in the Big Walk in 2001 and 2002, but stopped after the competitive categories were dropped.
Miss Quek, who was a member of the Red Hawk Sports Club, said she had switched from competing in running races to walking competitions on her coaches' advice.
"They felt that I would do better, and they registered me in races locally and overseas."
The Big Walk was among them.
"I enjoyed competing against the other Big Walkers. Members of the Gurkha contingent were strong opponents. There were also other race walkers from Malaysia and other countries," recalled Miss Quek, who retired young and now does freelance work.
But the nostalgia of returning to the National Stadium, albeit the new one, was too strong for her to resist. The first Big Walk was held on June 16, 1991 at the National Stadium, which hosted the event annually until 2006.
"I loved walking along Nicoll Highway and the rest of the route as it was scenic. Making it even more meaningful was that we were often with family and friends," she said.
The Big Walk, which will start from the Singapore Sports Hub at 7am, will tie up with the National Steps Challenge. The Health Promotion Board (HPB) aims to use the Challenge to nudge people into being more active, as studies have shown this improves health.
HPB previously said taking 7,500 to 10,000 steps daily can help lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. It can also improve glucose control, as well as reduce the risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases.
PRIZES UP FOR GRABS
WHAT: National Steps Challenge The New Paper Big Walk 2017
WHEN: Sunday, Nov 26, 7am
WHERE: Starts at National Stadium, Singapore Sports Hub
HOW: Register online at tnpbigwalk.sg
REGISTRATION FEE: $25
WIN: Stand to win lucky draw prizes worth a total of $17,000, including the grand prize of an Osim uLove Massage Chair (bespoke version).
Other lucky draw prizes include six Osim uCozy 3D upper body massagers, 20 Ice Watches and three hampers from SunMoon.
The National Steps Challenge The New Paper Big Walk route is approximately 10,000 steps long.
Like Miss Quek, Miss Rita Perumal has fond memories of the Big Walk. In 1993, her 13-year-old crossbreed poodle was the only registered animal participant.
"There were no other pets then, even though it was the first time pets were allowed to be taken along," said Miss Perumal, a 57-year-old therapist.
"Although Mimi is not with me now, I always fondly remember that Big Walk, and her being with me. By taking part in the event this year, I want to relive my memories of her. I may take my other pet dog with me this year," she added.