SINGAPORE - In 2013, operations assistant Nel Tulsiani was a volunteer at local running events, cheering participants on from the sidelines. He weighed 140kg then and was never an active person.
But he was motivated to run after "seeing all these fit and healthy people cross the finish line" and, five years later, the 47-year-old Singaporean is an avid runner who completes more than 20 races a year.
Having cut his weight to 67kg, he said: "I started running to lose weight, keep fit and lead a better life. It was really tough at the start, but I had a lot of support from the running community here."
Tulsiani will be taking part in this year's The Straits Times Run and the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) on Sept 23 and Dec 8-9 respectively - his fifth straight appearance in both races.
He is also one of the first 3,000 runners to receive an exclusive runners' belt for signing up for both events. Today is the last day to snag early-bird discounts for the SCSM.
"I love taking part in races because I get to meet familiar faces in the community and motivate other runners along the way," said Tulsiani, who is also a pacer at some events. "It's my way of giving back to the community."
He now clocks 10km in under an hour, half the time it took him five years ago.
He will be taking part in SCSM's half marathon (21km) and ST Run's 18.45km category and is looking forward to the route in the latter.
"I like that the ST Run always switch their end points," Tulsiani said. "As a regular runner, it gets pretty boring to finish at the same place all the time."
This year's ST Run will end under the dome of the iconic National Stadium. Last year's runners finished at the Padang. In 2016, the race ended at the F1 Pit Building.
There are three categories this year - 18.45km, 10km and 5km.
The SCSM 5km and 10km races will begin at the F1 Pit Building and end by The Float@ Marina Bay on Dec 8, a day before the 42.195km marathon and half marathon.
Sales coordinator Kelvin Ng, who registered for the 10km category in both races, said: "I love running, I signed up for both because I want to experience the different routes."