ST Run: Emcees Sarpani and Latimer practise what they preach

Kelly Latimer and Ross Sarpani both initially disliked running but caught the bug after they hosted many races.
Kelly Latimer and Ross Sarpani both initially disliked running but caught the bug after they hosted many races.ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

After a year's absence, Ross Sarpani and Kelly Latimer will return to help participants get into their stride at The Straits Times Run in the City on Sunday.

The affable duo, who emceed the 2014 and 2015 editions of the race, expressed their delight to be back.

"It has always been one of the iconic events that we host in the year," said Sarpani, with Latimer nodding in agreement.

Runners are in good hands as the duo have been on both sides of the fence. They take part in races whenever their work schedule permits.

However, this was not always the case. They initially disliked running but after hosting multiple races, the line between work and play blurred.

Sarpani, 47, was inspired by the friends he made at races where he was the emcee. These friends were runners themselves and that made him realise he should pay more attention to his fitness.

For Latimer, it was her stage partner that got her into running regularly at a charity run he was hosting.

"I was there just to run for charity but at the end of it, Ross took my then boyfriend (now husband) and I up on stage and asked if we were coming back the following year. He's so shy and he blanked out and said, 'Yes'. We committed to it after that every year," recalled the 30-year-old, who now runs other races as well.

On race day, they intend to dispense important information while keeping energy levels up by blasting inspirational music and interacting with the crowd.

Safety is a primary concern for Sarpani. He advises runners to "listen to their body". He speaks from experience, as doing so in a previous incident helped him avoid possible death. He declined to elaborate.

Latimer acknowledged the importance of safety but encouraged runners to endure the pain and smile during the race. "You would want a pretty picture and a happy memento of your run ," she added.

She also emphasised how smiling creates a positive mindset which releases good endorphins that will help runners power through to the finish line.

"You'd better smile because you might be on the front page of the national newspaper," quipped Sarpani.

All race categories flag off from Esplanade Drive this year, which the emcees describe as their personal favourite running spot.

"It's really beautiful in the morning at sunrise with the skyline in the background," noted Sarpani.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2017, with the headline 'ST Run: Emcees Sarpani and Latimer practise what they preach'. Print Edition | Subscribe