Run For Funds Blog Site ..... Making a difference in the lives that we touch
While we are not a charitable organisation appealing for funds from the general public, the Run For Funds project is non-profit and all proceeds are applied to the continued funding of educational and charitable purposes in the community.
You'd recall 7 days before the marathon on 5th December (Sunday), I was down with fever and a badly infected throat.
Under normal circumstances, this would have been a knock-out punch for a marathon runner preparing for a race. It would be dangerous to run even if one has a slight flu, much less an infection with fever.
But with the wonders of antibiotics, adequate rest and (I believe) divine intervention, I made a full recovery 48 hours before the run.
To be honest, I wasn't feeling "top of the world" on Friday but because of my extensive training for the past 4 months, I knew I could finish the race (somehow).
But just in case my ego got the better of me and to assure my family that there would be no heroics, I consulted my family doc on Saturday who gave me an all clear.
This year's race had a new route which started at Orchard Road
19,000 runners started the 42km run at 0500h, only 15,000 completed it.
I wasn't surprised by the attrition rate.
People signed up but didn't train for it.
At 3km, I could see some folks walking and panting with hands on their hips.
I also saw couples walking hand-in-hand, sauntering down EastCoast parkway at their 13km mark (and I, a slow runner, had already covered 28 km!)
These people had no intent to finish the race.
The start of my run wasn't great.
I was directed to the wrong starting pen and was caught up with the straddlers.
For the 1st 10 km, I was running more sideways than forward.
On any other day, I would have been extremely flustered.
But since it was my final marathon, I decided I should take it easy and soak in the atmosphere and enjoy the sites along the way (also took note of restaurants along Amoy Street…… a lot of Korean makan).
This year's race was exceptionally tough because for a long stretch (29-36km), runners had to go round Marina reclaimed areas, on tracks beside construction sites.
There wasn't shade in these areas and the sun was blazing down on me and yes, I got sun burntJ
Morale of runners sunk to greater depths when occasional ambulances whizzed by with casualties of heat exhaustion (probably).
Thigh cramps also set in at this stage of the race.
It was quite a struggle but I could manage the pain. I also received a lot of encouragement from fellow runners. Must be because of my race tag........
At the 36 km mark, I turned into the AYE, opposite Marina Bay Sands, heading towards East Coast.
I looked up and saw a steep 2 km uphill run ahead of me (new route).
I was shocked and the shock waves obviously travelled from my head to my calves J
I've never experienced such massive calf muscle seizures before.
I stood rooted to the spot, not able to lift my foot at all.
With a huge stroke of luck, a medical staff happened to walk by.
I asked for help and he sat me down and massaged my rock-solid calves for 10 minutes (For the 1st minute, he was actually punching my calves to loosen the muscles).
I rested another 10 minutes before I could lift my foot an inch off the ground.
The medic asked if I wanted the ambulance to pick me up and I declined.
I told him I wanted to finish the race.
I've come too far to give up. Besides, I could still force a smile for the cameraman ...........
It took me close to 2 hours to shuffle my feet 6 – 12 inches at a time to complete the last 6 km.
My average speed for the last 12 km was 5.4km/hr.
Any ah pek could have overtaken me comfortably….. really !!
(This year, the ah peks win).
Slowly but surely, I shuffled my way past the finished line. From the pic, the pain is evident ?? :-)
I've always told myself when I started running marathons in 2003 that if I took more than 6 hours to complete the race, I'd give it up.
This year, perhaps a self fulfilling prophesy, my finish time was 6h 16 min and 33 secs.
Amongst the finishers, I was 55th percentile.
As the results show, it is time to call it quits. I'm happy with my 7 finisher's medals
However, it doesn't mean I'll stop running.
I love my pork lard (with meepok) too much give up exercise.
Next year, I'm signing up for the 21km run and will be aiming for a sub-2hr timing.
The 7th Maximize Your Potential (MYP) ceremony was held on Saturday 21st Aug 2010.The event was graced by GeylangMethodistSchool (Primary) GMSP Principal Mrs. Rina Yap and Vice-Principal Mrs. Molly Soong.
19 MYP recipients ( seven Primary 4, six Primary 5, six Primary 6 students) and their parents started filling up the venue at 0930h.The event started promptly at 1000h with introductions from Mrs Jessie Soh (who has been instrumental in the success of the program since its inception in 2004) and an opening prayer by school Chaplin Reverend Nga Mee Hee.
Mrs. Rina Yap
Next, Mrs Yap addressed the students.She congratulated them on being selected for the award that was based on academic results, CCA participation as well as exemplary behaviour in school. She encouraged them to keep up their good work.
Adrian shared with parents the intent of the MYP award that was raised by the Run For Funds (RFF) movement: To help their children develop their potential by exposing them to developmental activities that would otherwise be financially out of reach.He also shared that RFF will be sponsoring a further $21,750 to run the MYP program at GMSP for another 3 years.
This year, we managed to get 2 of the first batch of MYP recipients (in 2004) to speak to the students.
Alfie Lim is a JC 1 student at NanyangJunior College.He told the students that each family faces different difficulties and challenges. They cannot change this reality. He urged them not to be discouraged by their immediate circumstances and continue to work hard and don't give up.He encouraged them to continually seek knowledge and improve themselves.
Tan Zhi Wei is now in secondary 4 in Hwa Chong's integrated program.He shared how the MYP award helped him pursue his interest in art.He also shared how he developed interest in software programming although it is not part of school syllabus.Like Alfie, Zhiwei encouraged the students to make full use of their time to try new things and discover latent potential which may be useful later in life.
The awards were handed out to the 19 deserving students. Below are pictures of Mrs. Yap (left pic) and Rev Nga presenting awards.
Jee Hui (left) and Joyce on their recorders, with Mrs Jessie Soh holding the musical scores
Then Teng Jee Hui and Joyce Chim entertained all participants an instrumental piece (recorder). Mrs. Soong presented Adrian with a token of appreciation and Teng Jee Hui presented "thank you cards" prepared by MYP recipients to RFF supporters.
Mrs. Molly Soong (left) and Jee Hui presenting token of appreciation to Adrian
The ceremony ended with a group photo session followed by light snacks for all involved.
MYP 2010 Group Photo
I'd like to thank GMSP for their continued support of the MYP program.
Special thanks to Mrs. Jessie Soh and Miss Theresa Tong for 7 years of dedication to the MYP program.
No stories of mega blisters, broken shoes and "high speed" ah pek runners overtaking me.
For the first time since 2002, I didn't take part in the Stanchart Marathon because of a back injury, L5-S1 nerve impingement.
So the average finishing time in 2009 was reduced significantly, with one significant plodder out of the way
(Recently, there was an impassioned Straits Times discussion on whether to allow slow runners, plodders, to participate in the Singapore Marathon)
With physiotherapy and chiropractic sessions, I'm recovering well from my degenerative disc condition.
I put on my running shoes again in mid Dec 09 and have started my training for the Adidas Sundown Marathon in May 2010.
For starters, I'm taking slow, steady steps with 5-7km runs @ 10km/hr pace, 5 times a week.
Below are RFF activity updates since Aug 2009.
2009 was a year of change for RFF and its partners.
Read on and find out more.
Thanks for your continued concern and support of the Run For Funds (RFF) movement.
1. Maximize Your Potential (MYP) award ceremony @ GeylangMethodistSchool (Primary)
This year, I'm proud to announce that RFF gave out a record number of MYP awards @ GeylangMethodistSchool (Primary), GMSP.
20 students of which 11 were new recipients and for one recipient, this was his 3rd award:
7 Primary Three
6 Primary Four
5 Primary Five
2 Primary Six
The award ceremony, hosted by teachers Jessie Soh and Theresa Thong, was held on 29th August 2009.
It was attended by the parents of the students as well as supporters of RFF.
This year's ceremony adopted a different format.
Instead of me speaking to the students and their parents (which should be as interesting as watching paint dry), I had 2 guest speakers.
The aim was twofold.
(1) To inspire the kids and
(2) To educate their parents of potential financial pitfalls that could affect their quality of life.
RFF supporter Sheena Ho shared how she overcame financial challenges at home to pursue her tertiary education.
Message to the students:Don't give up even when the going gets tough.
Sheena handing out MYP awards
RFF SuperFriend (ie. day one supporter) Jason Chen related real-life stories to the students' parents how he tried to help people break free from the abyss of gambling entrapments and how bad debts (with loan sharks) destroy lives.
Message to the students' parents:Do not seek easy solutions to their financial hardships and land up in deeper ditches.
The personal sharings were well received by the parents and the students who later told me that these were timely reminders as the current economic crisis posed greater challenges to their already strained financial situations.
It helped them realize there is no "easy money" and that a good education is probably the best way of breaking the poverty cycle.
Below is a pic of the thank-you cards prepared by the students for RFF supporters. (I am safekeeping them for you... haha !)
Note: I apologize for not posting more pics of the event. They were blur because I brought a camera that people didn't know how to use properly (neither do I actually… haha !). My fault.
2. New Principal @ GMSP
Miss Mabel Wee retired as principal of GMSP earlier this year.
Taking over the helm of the school administration is Ms Rina Yap (Mrs Liang)
In my interactions with Rina, I find her to be a principal "with a caring heart" who is committed to evoke positive changes in the lives of her students despite their family circumstances.
She is extremely supportive of the RFF movement and in the coming months, we'll be discussing how RFF can better assist underprivileged students.
An example is the some MYP students were enrolled in a school enrichment program.
It is an experiential learning session: Sand castle building.
The students were taught that it takes hard work to build a castle and that a firm foundation is critical.
Rina invited me to speak to the students after that session and my impression was that they learnt an experiential lesson that was hard to forget.
In my discussions with Rina, I expressed my desire to provide continued support for MYP kids who have graduated from GMSP.
For those who moved on to GMSS (Secondary, which is just opposite the primary school), we will work out a way to extend the MYP.
For you info, GMSS also changed its school principal in 2009.
As for those students who have gone to other schools, we'll have to figure out how to provide support in a meaningful and sustainable way.
3. D'Joy Children's Centre
D'joy continues to serve the children and parents in the Jalan Besar area.
In its 2009 annual report, RFF was mentioned.
RFF provided study aids and equipment + defraying costs for medical bills of a student @ D'joy.
Bovis Lend Lease, led by Jerry O' Sullivan (BLL, my previous company, has several RFF supporters) also provided cyclical maintenance on a pro-bono basis with RFF sponsoring part of the bill.
Attached is an excerpt (thanks Jay for helping me extract this)
D'joy also had a change in management in 2009.
Janet Leong is now the principal of D'Joy.
I will be liaising with Janet on ways to extend the partnership that RFF has with D'joy.
This year, I also plan to engage BLL early in the year to see if they are prepared to chip in as well.
Work at D'joy is a labour of love as it changes the lives of children from challenging family backgrounds.
Dinah and I were invited to the graduation ceremony of the kindergarten kids in Dec 09.
They put up a heartwarming performance for parents and teachers.
Hopefully, the lessons that they've learnt @ D'joy will serve as firm foundations as they grow up.
Attached are some pics.
4. Looking ahead
In 2010, RFF will be looking to leverage the success at GMSP and extending it to GMSS through partnerships with both principals in one working committee.
We will also assess the feasibility of RFF supporters mentoring some of these kids.
As for D'joy, it will continue to be an area of focus for RFF.
We will plug gaps where the government can't, hopefully with support of corporate sponsorships.
So if your company wants to give back to society, please let me know J
For the 1st time in 6 marathons, I couldn't run past the finish line.
No triumphant hand-in-the-air photo opportunity.
I hobbled badly and inched slowly past the finish line.
For the first time in 6 marathons, with 250m of the 42km left, my mind told my legs to go left, they went right.
For the first time in 6 marathons, I walked the final 18km with one good shoe.
Despite the crazily siong (tough) SAF training which ended 2 days (Friday) before the marathon, I was physically tired but I felt in good shape.
The 2 weeks I spent in army uniform in the sun carrying stuff and maneuvering in the jungle probably helped condition me for the marathon.
So I spent the whole Saturday at home sleeping and by Sunday (7th Dec), 3 am, I was ready.
The first 21km was quite a pleasurable run. Completion time: 2h20min. I was on course to finish the marathon close to 5hours. There was a cool breeze (yes, I like "wind-assisted" runs) and again, at the 13 km mark, the African runners were on their way past the 26km, going the opposite way.
Then disaster struck.
At the end of this update is the SMS transcript between Jay (my buddy who went to support me with another chio-bu Grace, another runner).
I carry my mobile when I run marathons…. So I can order my cold tiger beer and meepoktah in advance for consumption @ the finish line.
(Warning: Some of the contents in the SMS transcript may not be suitable for those <18 years old).
When my right inner sole broke at the 24km mark, I knew I was in trouble.
There was no way I could run as the right foot had absolutely no cushioning and running would cause long term ankle and knee injury.
Walking the remaining 18km would mean there would be a lot of pain on the base of the foot.
Giving up wasn't an option………. No taxis in sight …. Hahaa !!
I had told myself many times before if I finished a marathon in more than 6 hours, I'd give up running.
This time I also knew finishing under 6 hours would be a huge challenge.
But since I have no plans to give up running so I solidered on …. Walk fast fast…..J
My finishing time: 5hr 57 min and the price to pay……… One mega blister (and there was another blister under this one... but it was too gross to take the pic).
Happy New Year everyone.
May you and your loved ones with blessed with good health in 2009.
08:39 Adrian: 24km and my inner sole broke. Sh**!!
08:41 JayWalk: So how? Can tahan? You can sms while running or not?
08:41 Adrian: No. I had a gd run till my shoe broke. 08:42 Adrian: Will try to complete. Feet Damn pain.
08:43 JayWalk: Hang in there. Sms me if you need the distraction.
08:43 Adrian: Ok.
08:45 JayWalk: Need anything? I can pass it to you on your way.
08:46 Adrian: No thanks. Appreciate the company via sms. Haha!
09:11 JayWalk: Where are you now?
09:11 Adrian: Right no support. Hurts. Can feel blisters forming…. 09:12 Adrian: 14 km to go. One third left should be no prob.
09:12 JayWalk: Gambate! 09:36 JayWalk: See you at finish line.
09:36 Adrian: 30km. Getting over taken by Ah Soh not shiok. 09:38 Adrian: See Ah Soh VPL can puke.
09:46 JayWalk: Better than seeing Ah Soh camel toe
09:47 Adrian: Puke!
09:55 JayWalk: I am directly opp durian at the Cenotaph. Remeber to pose for picture (Jay: Which we didn't.)
09:56 Adrian: K 10:06 Adrian: 33km. No giving up now. My right foot hurts like ****
10:07 JayWalk: Less than 10 liao. Go go go 10:07 JayWalk: Need me to take chiobu photos for you > got mms?
10:08 Adrian: Quite low morale to see pple collapse along the way. Esp during the final stretch
10:09 JayWalk: You can take their power gel. I dun think they need it anymore. You got see FatKitteh?
10:10 Adrian: No mms 10:10 Adrian: No see her
10:26 JayWalk: where now?
10:26 Adrian: Approaching 36 in 3min
10:27 JayWalk: Less than macritchie liao!! 10:38 JayWalk: Reach durian buzz me
10:39 Adrian: Ok. Now cant walk properly. Struggling
10:42 JayWalk: What you wearing? Hang in there. Almost there.
10:43 Adrian: Wearing red thongs. I will get there
10:44 JayWalk: Flash me the red thongs for me to post online 10:59 JayWalk: Heart doing ok?
10:59 Adrian: Ok. Feet not ok
11:01 JayWalk: Stay in there. You are too close to give up. Hobble if you have to.
11:01 Adrian: Will do
11:02 JayWalk: How far are you?
11:03 Adrian: At 39km mark
11:03 JayWalk: A bit more means left 2.4 liao. Peanuts!
11:04 Adrian: Peanuts expensive
11:06 JayWalk: Welcome to singapore.
11:13 Adrian: 40km. 2 to go
11:14 JayWalk: Yeah baby!!
11:19 Adrian: Approaching durian
11:20 JayWalk: At the bus stop at the turn
11:35 Adrian: I finish liao 12:05 Adrian: In bright orange rff t shirt (Jay and Grace totally missed me at the finish line !!)
It was attended by the award recipients, their parents and sponsors & friends of the Run For Funds movement. The event was graced by GMPS's principal Miss Mabel Wee. Recipients Jacky Thng and Lim Su Ru kicked off proceedings bidding everyone welcome and introducing the MYP programme.
MYP attendees Jacky and Su Ru, our little MCs
GMPS then gave an update on the progress of the MYP students. In the past 5 years, the MYP and pocket money fund @ GMPS have supported more than 50 students. The current batch of primary 6 batch have done well in their academic results, achieving average scores >75%.
This year, we celebrate the influx of new talent into the MYP programme. There are 8 new MYP award recipients from primary 3 and 4. If they continue to excel in both academic studies and CCA, coupled with good behaviour, MYP will continue to sponsor them through their primary school education.
Below are the pics of awards (@ $200 posb voucher, $50 book voucher, $100 training grants) handed out by Miss Wee:
Benjamin (P6) Su Ru ((P6)
Xiang Wei (P6) Jacky (P6)
Zhiguang (P5) Angie (P5)
Quan Fang (P4) Joyce (P4)
Kelvin (P4) Kok Kwang (P4)
Jee Hui (P4) Hui Ci (P4)
Jun Hsian (P3) Yi En (P3)
I congratulated the students on a job well done and encouraged them to keep up the good work. I shared with them why doing well in school is like running a marathon: One needs to train hard, be well prepared and NEVER GIVE UP.
I also thanked their parents for working hard and continuing to create the best possible environment to nurture their children's talent, despite challenging financial circumstances. I related the story of how Chinese philosopher Mencius' mother moved house 3 times to ensure Mencius had the best environment for studies. I urged the children to thank their parents for their labour of love and honour their parents (as per the 5th commandment that was given to Moses @ Mount Sinai).
Miss Wee presented the friends of RFF with a memento, in appreciation of our contributions.
The "old" batch of MYP winners also presented RFF friends a card, expressing their thanks.
Below is a group pic of the award winners, their parents and teachers. I'd like to draw special mention to 2 special people, without whom, MYP and pocket money fund @ GMPS would not have been possible. - Jessie Soh (front row, extreme right) - Theresa Thong (extreme left).
I thank them for their dedication and love for the kids.
Parting words, (which I shared with RFF friends @ MYP ceremony):
RFF is a private movement and will continue to stay this way. We will not raise funds from the general public but from friends and family. It is my wish that more Singaporeans will start their own charity movements to help the needy at times when they need it most (ie. when our government system of support cannot assist). To do so, there are 2 criteria:
1. It starts within: Be the change that you want to see in the world. There needs to be a compelling desire to evoke a change.
2. It extends outwards: Making a difference in the lives that you touch. Find a cause that you can identify with and let your desire and passion to help those in need flow through.
Start small. You can't save the world. How the plans will be executed will come naturally when the above criteria are met. You will find like minded people (like Mabel, Jessie and Theresa @ GMPS), who will help you further your cause.
Well, that's all folks. To friends who attended the ceremony, thank for making time. For those who couldn't make it, there's always next year :-)
Run For Funds Maximize Your Potential Award Ceremony (13th Sept, Sat, 10 am @ GMPS)
The annual Maximize Your Potential (MYP) award ceremony is here again. Date: 13th September (Saturday) Time: 10 am Venue: Geylang Methodist Primary School (3rd level conference room). Address: 4 Geylang East Central. S(389706)
Come meet the GMPS kids, some of whom you've sponsored for the past 5 years. Learn about their academic progress in school and how they've excelled in activities outside their schoolwork. Also use the opportunity to interact with their parents. I'm sure they'd appreciate a pat on their backs for bringing their kids up well, despite their financial challenges.
As there'll be friends visiting the MYP award for the first time, I will be giving a short briefing on Run For Funds (RFF), its goals (what we're doing @ D'joy children's centre and Sembawang Pri School) and the state of finance. If you have friends who are keen to start something on their own to help the underprivileged in S'pore, invite them to this event. If friends of RFF can do it, anyone can J
As GMPS will be catering light snacks for the event, I'd appreciate if you could RSVP by 6th Sept (Sat). You can also sms me