SINGAPORE - About 17,000 female runners - some as young as three years old - were some of Sunday's earliest risers as they took part in the Great Eastern Women's Run, Singapore's largest all-women mass run.
North Korean Kim Ji Hyang, 23, was the first to cross the finish line in the 21.1km Elite Open category. She stopped the clock at 1hr 12min 53sec, topping the field of 15 elite runners, including five local participants. Vivian Tang was the top Singaporean finisher in 1:28.37.
Tang said: "Everything went well, though it's hard to run a personal best time. I'm going to give myself a little brunch treat at the Ritz Carlton Hotel later."
Kim took home the day's biggest prize of US$8,000 (S$11,205) and a crystal trophy as the winner.
This is second time that a North Korean athlete has won the event. Kim Hye Gyong came in first in 2013.
With the iconic Singapore Flyer serving as a backdrop and cheered on by their partners, husbands and sons at the sidelines, the fourth edition of the run flagged at 5.30am with the 21.1km race.
Three waves of excited runners - in the 21.1km, 10km and 5km categories - breathed life and brought buzz to the city centre, as they were greeted by a cool gentle breeze, clear skies and, after weeks of haze - fresh air.
The participants were taken along a scenic waterfront route past Gardens by the Bay and the city's landmarks such as Marina Bay Sands and the National Stadium, before finishing at the Floating Platform.
Some runners gamely donned tutus to raise funds for charity, adding colour to the run.
"This is the only event I take part in, mainly because it's a women's run. For other events where there are guys, I cannot catch up with them, so this is something different," said55-year-old nurse Jasmine Tan.
"Running in a single-gender race feels so fun and comfortable, it's not so cramped and there's less jostling for space," said Ida Ang, 52, a customer service executive.
Joining the participants for the morning run was Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, who took part in the 10km race.
Girls between the ages of three and six joined in the fun too, pairing up with their mothers to take part in the 100m Princess dash, a new addition to this year's event.