SINGAPORE - Over the course of his 16-year teaching career, Adrian Kum has met students who do not have enough money to buy textbooks or food during recess.
Last month, he read that a special payout of $100 each would be given to about 10,000 students who receive regular help from The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund to help them financially during the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Inspired by this, the English teacher at Anglo-Chinese School (Primary) decided to start his own campaign to raise money for the ST fund while running 175km in The Straits Times Virtual Run (STVR). He is targeting to raise at least $17,500.
Kum, 46, told The Straits Times: "It's important to encourage the students because that can motivate them to work hard and contribute to society in the future.
"This run is dedicated to needy pupils and their families and it's a way for me to drive across this message to them to not give up and keep pressing on. At the same time, it's also for me to challenge myself, persevere and complete the race."
Kum has participated in the ST Run every year since 2014 and usually runs about 5km once a fortnight.
He aims to complete the STVR in 20 to 25 days and his first session was on Oct 19, when the window for the 175km race opened, after he had finished work.
Instead of feeling tired, he was more energised and said embarking on this race has rekindled his love for jogging.
"It was rather hot but I thought that I should run on the first day I launched this campaign," he said.
"Previously after a long day of work, I would rather lie down and take a nap. I would never have thought of doing a run. But after I ran that day, it made me feel more refreshed."
Kum runs once every few days and tries to clock at least 7km per session.
The race period for the 175km distance is until Dec 17.
To make his runs more interesting, he is also planning to complete each one along different routes including places such as East Coast Park, Merlion Park and Changi.
After each run, he will update his website with the distance recorded and photos taken at each site.
"This way, I can encourage people to keep fit and explore different parts of Singapore especially since we can't travel now," he said.
"I managed to catch the sunrise at East Coast Park, which I'd never seen before, and it was amazing.
"Hopefully people will see my sincerity and donate generously."
But his main goal is to inspire others to help the less fortunate.
"This Covid season has been a good time to reflect because simple things like sitting down to have a meal with friends have been disrupted," said Kum.
"I realised there are too many things we take for granted, so I hope people can spend more time treasuring what they have and being appreciative.
"Small, simple things can make a difference in other people's lives and I hope this small effort of mine is a stepping stone to making more people aware of what's going on around them."
Visit this website for more information or to donate to Kum's campaign.