This year's edition of The Straits Times Run, which ends at the iconic National Stadium, is set to boast its youngest field ever.
Organisers of the annual event, set to take place at the Singapore Sports Hub on Sept 29, have introduced a new category: the SPH35 - Panasonic Schools Challenge.
Another change this year is the introduction of a 3.5km Fun Run, which replaces the 5km distance and is open to the public. It has been created to mark the 35th anniversary of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), which publishes ST as well as other media titles.
The schools challenge will also be 3.5km long. It is divided into two divisions, one for tertiary students, the other for secondary school students aged 17 and under. Each school needs to enter at least 10 students, who will compete on an individual basis as well as attempt to win the team title.
It is open to both local and international schools based here, while tertiary students need to be enrolled full time for a diploma, pre-university or degree course.
The top three male and female finishers in each division will be eligible for prizes, which will be announced later.
ST sports editor Lee Yulin, who is also the organising chairman of the ST Run, said the event was created to give young runners more opportunities to represent their schools.
SPH also organises the annual SPH Schools Relay Championships, which are into their 28th edition.
Noting that schools remain an important focus for the ST sports desk, she said: "School competitions are one of the earliest platforms for Singapore's athletes to perform, where budding talents are spotted and subsequently honed.
"We wanted to give young runners here an opportunity to bring glory to their school in a mass participation event and I'm pleased that the ST Run is now able to do this."
Philip Chua, director of Panasonic Singapore, presenting sponsor of the ST Run for the seventh year running, said: "It has always been our social responsibility to promote healthier and better living.
"This year, we will also be presenting the SPH35 - Panasonic Schools Challenge, a new inter-school category that encourages healthy living among the youths, in conjunction with our vision of 'A Better Life, A Better World'. We are privileged to play a part in cultivating healthy lifestyle habits in these young individuals that will impact our society positively."
Besides the 3.5km Fun Run, the other categories are 10km and 18.45km, which was created to mark the year ST was first published. These categories will be launched later this month.
Registration for those participating in the schools challenge costs $25 per student ($20 for early birds). For more information and to register (via schools only), write to firstname.lastname@example.org