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5 disasters and heartwarming moments at Hello Kitty Run 2014

What happens when you mix the adorable Hello Kitty with a 5km run, then add a downpour of rain? Here is what went down

Me and my events writer thought the Hello Kitty run was a fantastic idea – we have been looking forward to it all week. We agreed on one thing: the biggest selling point of this race is the Hello Kitty Finisher’s Medal.

The skies looked gloomy when we reached but that did not stop the crowd’s enthusiasm. The first thing I realized was that most of the participants came as a family. The second thing I realized was that none of them were running, they were simply strolling and taking selfie streams. Suddenly, the downpour started.

And then it fell apart:

Hello Kitty Singapore Run 2014, Credit - Pink Apple  (8)
The Hello Kitty Run is going to withstand the toughest criticism since the McDonald’s riot in 2013

#1 The suddenness of it all

The crew was informed of wet weather rains but no one could have expected them to be capable of handling a storm of this magnitude. One minute it was sunny as Philadelphia then one minute later, the skies sobbed. The crew and participants alike were soaked, drenched and raging mad with nowhere to shelter themselves from the rain. It was downhill there on.

#2 The blame game

This was perhaps the most under-talked about of all. I walked past a man who was shouting at his wife that it is her fault for dragging them into the race just for the medal. Another teenager looked extremely irritable as her friends took selfies after selfies despite being the rain and finally snapped, “Eh serious have you had enough? Is her stupid Instagram photo that important?”

Participants were completely drenched and simply forced themselves to keep moving forward

#3 The wet weather plans

No one wanted this, I stress again. No organizer nor participant wanted this storm. But it remains that the wet weather plans were insufficient to contain the massive 17,000-participant turnout. There weren’t enough shelters and tent-age – most participants ended up continuing their run in the pouring rain.

#4 The families with little ones

Of all, it is the families who brought their babies/ toddlers who must be empathized with the most. The organizers failed to realize that this race was going to attract entire families as a bonding activity. They were here to take a leisurely stroll and have fun. But when the rain came, they could not shelter the little ones, who will be at high risk for evening flus/ fevers.

Hello Kitty Singapore Run 2014, Credit - Pink Apple  (15)
The weather was fine at 7am when the activities first kicked off. Who knew it would go down so badly in just a few hours?

#5 The medal giveaway

When we finally reached the pavilion after a muddy trudge, we found the whole place in chaos. Participants were screaming at the staff for medals while the harassed crew tried their best to accommodate everyone. We saw mothers screeching that they need two or three more medals for their kids. We even caught a participant tearing open a sealed box of medals and pocketing four for himself before disappearing into the crowd.

It is important to note this – these people who took advantage of the situation to take more than their fair share of the medal are the true scum of the race. Yes it rained and yes you think more medals is a rightful compensation. That is great for you, you selfish man – now what about the rest of the participants?

Hello Kitty Singapore Run 2014, Credit - Pink Apple  (23)
So much hype was created for Hello Kitty Run 2014 and the rain took it all away

But there were a few things that restored our faith in humanity too.

#1 The people joking about the rain

We were at the shelter when a man brushed past us holding his wife’s hand, walking straight into the storm and back to the race. He was shouting over the rain, “Woman if you can’t brave the rain, then you don’t deserve the medal. NOW LET’S FINISH THIS!”

Kudos to you sir.

#2 The people posing for photos

We had a van that transported us to the finishing point. In our short, silent trip, we saw a few participants look at us and pose for a photo when they saw our camera equipment. Plenty of teenagers gave us a cheery smile while holding up their wet hair. An entire Indian family even paused in their tracks and smiled happily for a group photo. What a faith-restoring smile it was.

I would give up my right lung to see that photo.

What do you think, is the Hello Kitty Finisher's Medal worth it?
What do you think, is the Hello Kitty Finisher’s Medal worth it?

#3 The people who helped shelter each other

I was trying to get out of the rain when an auntie bumped into me from behind. She quickly dragged me into the shelter and said, “Ah girl don’t go out now, take photos later, now go out will get flu.” An old, frail cleaning lady at the medal pavilion was handing out card-boards she saved for reselling to participants without an umbrella or ponchos.

So very heartwarming.

All in all, I consider the Hello Kitty Run an eye-opener that revealed both the scum and the cream of the people in Singapore. The organizers, the PR and the participants did all they could to make the best out of this rainy situation and I am honored to be able to see that first-hand.

Until then, I am going to sit my fat butt at home and opt out of future runs/ marathons. Pass me for Great Eastern Women’s Run and sign me up for food and movie marathons!

By Nicole Lee