SINGAPORE - Mr Veerappan Veerappan did not know if he could complete the 5km run that he signed up for at this year's The Straits Times Run.
The 67-year-old had been diagnosed with a heart murmur last year and is also undergoing cancer treatment. But the chief technical officer of a company specialising in household cleaning products completed Sunday's (Sept 23) fun run, which is presented by Panasonic, in an hour, an achievement he described as "most satisfying".
He said: "I was slightly afraid I wouldn't be able to complete the run today, but I made it.
"I would like to run (regularly) to maintain my physical fitness."
What he also enjoyed at Sunday's run, which concluded at the National Stadium, was the energy of the friends and strangers running alongside him.
"There were a lot of enthusiastic people around me, and along the way we encouraged one another," added a smiling Mr Veerappan, who was participating in his second ST Run, after 2016. The annual event is now in its sixth year.
Fellow runner Mak Kwok Fai, who was accompanied by a representative from the Singapore Physiotherapy Association during his 10km race on Sunday, also relished the feeling of running with a companion at his maiden ST Run.
Said Mr Mak: "I mostly run alone, but today I had somebody to pace with me so it's nice to have support from other people also."
The ST Run is his third race since he suffered a stroke 10 years ago at age 29 - he took part in last April's Income Eco Run (10km) and the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (half-marathon) last year.
To him, running is both a reminder of what he has overcome and an encouragement of what he can achieve.
"I want to try running overseas... my friends say that for a full marathon, the toughest part is not the distance but the humidity and weather," said Mr Mak, who noted that his future running endeavours would depend on his fitness.
"So it'll be good to try running overseas in cooler weather conditions."
Finance manager Tony Lai and his wife Yvonne Chang were just happy to cross the finish line with their sons Jordan and Lebron.
Six-year-old Lebron, who "ran, walked and skipped" his way through the 5km fun run, declared: "I'm not tired."
In contrast, Jordan, seven, was "super tired" but still felt this year's ST Run outing was more enjoyable than last year's.
Ms Chang, 35, noted that while this year's route was more challenging than last year's, which ended at the Padang, as there were more slopes, there were fewer complaints from her children this year.
Her husband, Mr Lai, 39, added: "We enjoyed the scenery and sights that we didn't see last year, and the slogans at each kilometre were very inspiring."