Runninghour: Stay Fit For A Good Cause

Runninghour’s sporting events are fun and all-inclusive – here’s how you can join in

Seok Hian at the RH 2015 race

Miss Ng Seok Hian (second from left) and her mother, Mdm Tan Siew Poh (second from right), at the Runninghour 2015 race. (Photo: Runninghour)

For many, completing a 10km marathon is a daunting challenge.

But for 24-year-old Ng Seok Hian, an intellectually disabled member of the Special Olympics Boccia Club, it was a dream that she and her family would never have thought possible.

After joining Runninghour, a local co-operative (co-op) that promotes the integration of people with special needs through mainstream sports, Ng has been actively taking part in sporting activities. She even crossed the finish line at last year’s Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon’s 10km run.

“I was very surprised,” shares Ng’s mother, Madam Tan Siew Poh, 61. “Runninghour has given Seok Hian the chance to experience new things [such as] running and participating in large-scale sporting events, activities which we would have never thought of pushing her to do previously.”

Seok Hian and Mom at a Zumba session during the RH 2016 Race & flag-off

Miss Ng (second from left) and Mdm Tan (far right) at a Zumba session during Runninghour 2016. (Photo: Runninghour)

A co-op for everyone

Chairman of the co-op, John See Toh co-founded the organisation with his wife, Jan Chan, seven years ago. He shares, “[Runninghour] is about being the change you want to see. A strong nation is best sustained by a strong sense of community.”

With other events, the guardians and parents are usually excluded from the activities, explains Madam Tan. But for Runninghour, family members are encouraged to “participate and exercise [and] run with other beneficiaries”, she says.

They also organise regular weekly activities where buddy runners are paired with special-needs members.

Seok Hian at a mass game during 2015 Xmas party for RH members

Miss Ng (left) at a mass game during a Christmas party for Runninghour members last year. (Photo: Runninghour)

Join in the fun

The public can join Runninghour’s weekly runs, which are usually about 4km long and held three times a week. The schedule can be found on Runninghour’s event calendar on its WordPress page.

The co-op also organises an annual nationwide race, where participants run alongside visually, intellectually and physically challenged runners. Runninghour 2016 was held in July, and coming up, the co-op plans to organise an exciting event in November in the central commercial district.

Seok Hian candidly singing before her lucky dip at the Botanic Garden Xmas Run

Miss Ng candidly singing at a Runninghour event. (Photo: Runninghour)

How you can help

Besides charging up with a refreshing run alongside Runninghour, there are other ways to help its beneficiaries.

For example, you can choose to volunteer with the organisation.

In the words of Madam Tan, “[By] volunteering and contributing what you can, I believe anyone can make a difference.”

What is a co-op?

– A regulated social enterprise

– Founded on principles of self-help and mutual help

– Addresses current social issues, eg cost of living and unemployment

– Co-op movement in Singapore is more than 90 years old; 67 of which are affiliated with the SNCF

What is Runninghour?

“Runninghour integrates people with special needs through running, so they are able to gain self-confidence and sense of identity… [We provide] authentic integration activities on a thrice weekly basis.”

– John See Toh, Chairman of Runninghour

This is the first of a three-part series on Singapore’s co-operative movement brought to you by the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF).

Find out more information about Runninghour at runninghour.wordpress.com.

Weekender is a social enterprise that supports similar businesses, co-ops and persons in need. Find out more about our community efforts here.

 

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