S'pore running event in support of those with special needs goes virtual amid Covid-19

SINGAPORE – For 19-year-old student Wesley Neo, who has autism spectrum disorder, running is a passion that allows him to stay healthy and relaxed.

Mr Neo, who goes on runs twice a week, is looking forward to taking part in this year’s Run for Inclusion, an event aimed at bringing the community and people with special needs together that kicked off on Sunday (Nov 21).

Organised by Runninghour, a sports co-operative that promotes integration of persons with special needs through running, the event will be held virtually for the first time since its inception in 2015, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

To date, more than 1,400 participants, including 829 persons with special needs, have registered for the event.

Recalling last year’s event fondly, Mr Neo, who is studying aerospace electronics at Temasek Polytechnic, told The Straits Times: “I ran in the morning and went back in the afternoon to cheer on the other participants dressed in a crocodile onesie, and I felt enthusiastic and happy.

“Though there is no physical event this year, I am happy that it’s still carrying on virtually because I can still run with my guides, and I can also run at other places on my own.”

Participants can complete distances of up to 10km at their own time to get a finisher’s medal by sending a screenshot from their running app or a photo of their treadmill screen as proof.

Mr Neo aims to hit the 10km mostly during small-group weekly runs organised by Runninghour.

Singapore Turf Club is this year’s Run for Inclusion event partner and the medal given to participants is made from used horseshoes supplied by the club.

Mr Chen Phan Yeeh, 50, who has been taking part in the event since its inception, said he felt a little disappointed when he found out this year’s in-person event was cancelled but is now looking forward to making the most of the new format.

The PSA Corp manager said: “I intend to do a segment of my weekend run blindfolded with the help of a friend.”

Registration for the event will close on Dec 14. All persons with special needs and one caregiver can sign up for free.

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