More than just a women's run

Fifty women doing a stretching exercise led by fitness trainer Roxanne Gan at the launch of the Great Eastern Women’s Run yesterday.
Fifty women doing a stretching exercise led by fitness trainer Roxanne Gan at the launch of the Great Eastern Women’s Run yesterday. ST PHOTO: ZHANG XUAN

Female-centric training sessions, fitness test introduced in lead-up to Great Eastern run

Business owner Lily Lim may have "hated running all (her) life", but the 62-year-old was the first in line to sign up for the Great Eastern Women's Run yesterday.

"Running is (now) part of my fitness regimen. It's one of the sports I picked up in the last few years and I try to be as healthy as possible," said Lim, who has signed up for the event since 2012 and will participate in the half-marathon on Nov 3.

She was one of 50 who got a complimentary race slot and participated in a customised programme aimed at strengthening the female body yesterday. Rockstar Fit founder Natalie Dau, Nike Master Trainer Wany Misban and 2018 Shape Fit Girl Roxanne Gan led them in exercises such as squats, planks and stretches at the area outside Guoco Tower in Tanjong Pagar.

Lim, who joined a weights group about three years ago to strengthen her core, believes these exercises will be helpful to runners.

She said: "Once your core is stronger, (running) will be a breeze.

"I joined the group to do weights, arm exercises and core work and, the next time I ran, I could go uphill without any problem."

Explaining why the exercises were chosen, Misban, 30, said: "Planks are a very common core exercise that a lot of people are scared of and can do wrongly.

"Today's goal is to be more efficient in getting their planks done and then push into core endurance.

"As a start, you definitely want to strengthen the core so that it can support your movement.

"If your core is not strong enough, then your backache starts to set in early and you cannot last (a 5km run), and to even think of doing 10km would be very hard."

Gan, 29, noted that many people know what to do to get fit but do not know enough about recovery so that they can perform better.

"My job is to step in and educate them on the importance of stretching to prevent injuries and get a better posture," she added.

The trainers will conduct further group training sessions from August in the lead-up to the GEWR, with details to be announced.

This fitness programme aims to help women prepare for the run, as well as Singapore's first all-women Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) at the Singapore Sports Hub on Aug 24.

Keith Chia, Great Eastern's head of group brand and marketing, noted that while most men take the IPPT during national service, there is no continuation of the National Physical Fitness Award (Napfa) test for some women once they leave secondary school.

"Women don't really have an opportunity to understand how well they're doing from a physical well-being point of view, so (the IPPT) is a good yardstick and have a fun day with us," he added.

"Hopefully, some of them will feel motivated to sign up for the run as an activity that helps them improve their physical well-being."

Close to 1,000 signed up yesterday on the first day of registration.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2019, with the headline 'More than just a women's run'. Print Edition | Subscribe