Yogis lace up their shoes for charity

Freedom Yoga founder Elvina Cheong (centre) and her running team of (from left) Nicole Chong, Joy Ng, Joanne Ang and Dorothy Yip are participating in the half-marathon of the Sundown Marathon on Saturday. They aim to raise $20,000 for The Straits Tim
Freedom Yoga founder Elvina Cheong (centre) and her running team of (from left) Nicole Chong, Joy Ng, Joanne Ang and Dorothy Yip are participating in the half-marathon of the Sundown Marathon on Saturday. They aim to raise $20,000 for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and the Singapore Disability Sports Council. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

At last year's Osim Sundown Marathon, Freedom Yoga founder Elvina Cheong dropped out at the 17km mark of the 21.1km half-marathon, but she and eight others from her studio still raised over $10,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

With a bigger team of 34 this year, Cheong has raised the target to $20,000 for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and the Singapore Disability Sports Council and is determined to complete the half-marathon on Saturday.

"Training for the past two months has been harder than I would like because I don't normally run. Last year, I had to drop out because I couldn't walk (towards the end)," said Cheong, 29, who now runs three to four times a week.

"This year, by hook or by crook, I must cross the finish line."

She chose running over yoga to challenge herself and her colleagues as most of them are not running enthusiasts. She said: "I was thinking of how we can give back to the community.Yes, we can do yoga, but it's not that challenging since yoga is the norm for us.

"We didn't want it to be a walk in the park. Our beneficiaries also face challenges of their own and that's something we wanted to embody.

"It would be more meaningful to do something we have to train for instead of something we can already do and this builds discipline and resilience as well."

Five staff are joining Cheong in the half-marathon while the rest are running either the 5km or 10km distances.

Participating in the event for the first time is creative executive Dorothy Yip, 25, who will be doing the 10km run.

While she does not enjoy running and has run 2km only twice since she decided to participate two months ago, she said: "It's for a good cause and asking someone to run 5km or 10km is not too much.

"You're doing good so the pay-off is worth it and running is good for you, too.

"This forces us to prepare for it and go for runs so it's a win-win."

Cheong added taking part as a team has also strengthened the bond among her colleagues as they train together and check on each other's progress.

She said: "Little groups have formed and they train together. We also text each other after runs to ask how long they ran and how they feel after running.

"It's fun because everyone's going through the same thing and now we discuss things related to running as well so there's more to talk about."

Yip agreed and added: "Seeing everyone so enthusiastic about it motivates you. Even though we don't like running, it's about the team spirit and doing it for charity."

The group is seeking donations at give.asia/campaign/fuel-joy-2019.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2019, with the headline 'Yogis lace up their shoes for charity'. Print Edition | Subscribe