Last Saturday morning, the Wings Athletics Club held its 16th annual cross country championships for about 1,000 participants at Bedok Reservoir – but this year’s event was made all the more significant by a collaboration with ActiveSG.
“We are very fortunate to have these like minded aspirations with Wings [Athletics Club],” said Lai Chin Kwang, Chief of ActiveSG, who also took part in the race.
According to him, the Wings ActiveSG Cross Country 2017 hoped to drive home the message that taking part in a meet should not just about achieving the top 20 positions or emerging as one of the top three teams, but also about running your personal best as an individual.
This year’s meet saw fresh initiatives introduced by ActiveSG, such as the Teacher’s Category and certificates of achievements, both of which are relatively new to cross country races in Singapore.
“The motivation [behind the Teacher’s Category] was to [get the teachers to] talk the walk, and walk the talk,” said Lai, who encouraged teachers to take part alongside their students and carry out what he felt was perhaps a more impactful way of teaching.
The new Teacher’s Category saw 27 educators taking part; one of them being Tampines Junior College’s Lee Ying Qi, who is also coach to the school’s cross country team.
The 30-year-old, who came in 2nd in the category, saw the race as a chance to train alongside her students.
“It was really good running together with them, along the start-line, [and] to give them some race preparation at the same time,” she said.
Lee’s participation in the meet was a form of additional motivation for her students, such as 18-year-old Isaac Wong.
“She (Lee) has been training very hard, and I honestly hope she did well in the competition,” he stated. wings athletics cross country 3 Tampines Junior College teacher Lee Ying Qi (right most) took part in the new Teachers’ Category of the competition, and her presence in taking part positively impacted her students who took part in the race.
“[Her presence in the competition] did impact me – I wanted to push myself more and train myself [to be] better,” Wong revealed.
For Raffles Institution teacher, Steven Lim, taking part in the open category was already an option he was considering, prior to hearing about the teacher’s category. However, he welcomed the move to encourage teachers to get involved in the race with their students. “I felt that it was quite a fresh idea. I was quite happy that they came up with the Teacher’s category, because there are no other races with that,” said the 40-year-old, who came in 5th in the group.
Aside from the new category, ActiveSG also gave out certificates to participants who achieved certain targeted timings in their respective events, regardless of their overall ranking.
Lai elaborated on the importance of training for personal goals, instead of focusing on medals and rankings: “Typically in a cross country race, apart from the team position, only the top 20 runners will be awarded [a ranking] but in a race like this – [with] more than a 1,000 [participants] – what you want is also [to] try to achieve a certain timing as an individual.”
“In every race, you are [trying to] beat your personal best, not just the runner in front, but [you’re also] running against yourself,” he pointed out.
This has been the running theme of ActiveSG’s initiatives with the local athletics scene, from the introduction of the Athletics Club last year, to this recent collaboration with Wings Athletics.
As Lai assures, the local running scene can expect more from ActiveSG in the near future: “We want to work closely with Wings, and many other likeminded clubs to create more opportunities for these school kids to train, to compete, and more importantly, to come together with that fighting spirit as one.”
This post originally appeared first on myActiveSG.