ST's Run in the Park offers a workout close to nature

Priscilla Kham Straits Times 16 May 13;

RUN past flowing waterways and lush greenery and catch a glimpse of colourful waterside birds at what will be the largest running event at one of Singapore's new scenic hot spots.

The Straits Times Run in the Park promises participants an invigorating trail through the Punggol Waterway park connector, which is part of the North- eastern Riverine Loop.

The event, which spans the natural coastline of Punggol Beach, and the banks of Punggol and Sengkang reservoir, aims to be a refreshing alternative to runners used to pounding the streets or treadmill.

To be held on Aug 25, the event is part of the Straits Times Appreciates Readers (Star) series to actively engage readers and the community. Past events have included a carnival and concert at Gardens by the Bay, and exclusive movie ticket giveaways.

Said Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez: "Many of our readers love to get outdoors and have fun while keeping fit.

"They read us for the latest news and trends on how to do that. So we have decided to take them to this unique spot on the park connector network for a run with a difference."

He added that The Straits Times will also be with runners every step of the way during their preparation, through articles in the newspaper and its websites in the run-up to the event.

The Straits Times is partnering the National Parks Board (NParks), which is celebrating 50 Years of Greening Singapore, for this event.

Said chief executive of NParks, Mr Poon Hong Yuen: "The loop goes round one of the most scenic places in Singapore, with lush greenery by the river, as well as rich biodiversity. Several species of birds, butterflies, and even otters have been spotted there."

Even after the event, participants will get a chance to spot other marine wildlife creatures. Each participant will get a goodie bag containing a ticket worth $33 to Resorts World Sentosa's S.E.A Aquarium. The bag also includes a New Balance running T-shirt worth $49, among other things. More giveaways will be announced later.

"As with other Star programmes, we aim to give participants good value. So the ticket will be worth a lot more than what you pay for it, thanks to our generous partners," said Mr Fernandez.

Registration will start early next month and details on how to do so will be announced soon. Runners can sign up for a 5km "fun run", or a 10km or 15km competitive run. The registration fee is $55 (competition run) and $46 (fun run). Group discounts are also available.

Avid runner Adrian Loo, 41, a biology teacher said: "Runners get bored of the same old routes along East Coast and the city. I am interested in this run as it seems like a more unique route. I've cycled along this park area before. Hearing the birds chirping is extremely therapeutic."