NUS Giving Run BIG 2021: A virtual run to recognise everyday heroes

It was indeed a big run – with a big cause to boot.

More than 3,000 runners took part in NUS Giving Run BIG ('Believe In Giving’) 2021 to celebrate everyday heroes in Singapore, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first virtual run organised by the NUS Development Office and the second of the Run BIG series, the event recognised individuals who have transformed and contributed to NUS, its communities and Singapore.

The Run @ Your Hood Challenge, held on 26 Sep, allowed participants to take part in an islandwide race where they could run at their own pace  and within their own neighbourhood. This not only enabled participants to be part of Run BIG in a safe manner but also rediscover the beauty and sights of their very own hood.

It also allowed participants to engage the community and promote active living during this period where hybrid work arrangements are on the rise.

Celebrating 1905

In the lead-up to the 26 Sep run, participants challenged themselves in a 14-day 190.5km run. They could form teams of four or run solo to complete the event. Through the collective efforts of all participants, over 34,277km of accumulated distance was achieved, breezing past the symbolic 1,905km target that was chosen to commemorate the year NUS was established through an act of giving by the community.

“1905 is a very important number for the NUS community. It was in 1905 that the University started as a medical college, made possible by Mr Tan Jiak Kim who rallied the community to provide support for the college. Ever since then, the philanthropic spirit has been a key part of the NUS DNA and this is also how the University enables a high-quality education to be accessible to almost everyone. This is the spirit we want to embody in Run BIG 2021,” shared Professor Tan Eng Chye, President of NUS, at the flag-off for Run BIG 2021 held at the Marina Barrage.

Giving heroes

Prior to the event, many participants nominated a “hero”  sharing heartwarming stories of someone who made a difference in their lives parents, mentors and friends. These people have shaped the lives of those around them.

Participants and the public also had the chance to be the hero themselves  by giving passionately to the cause of education. The proceeds raised from the “Be The Hero” campaign will go towards NUS bursaries to support financially needy students, enabling them to reach their full potential and realise their academic aspirations without financial worry.

Philanthropy has played a vital role in NUS history, from its founding in 1905 till today. It is this generous giving from alumni, friends, supporters and the public that enables the University to develop more opportunities for deserving students. Every gift to the University goes towards empowering its students, funding innovative academic and research programmes as well as supporting faculties in their mission to deliver a transformative world-class education.

“Through Run BIG, we want to highlight how the spirit of giving has benefitted many within the NUS community. It is heartening to see the tremendous support from the NUS community, along with members of the public for the event,” Prof Tan said.


NUS Giving would like to give a heartfelt thank you to all participants, sponsors and benefactors for making NUS Giving Run BIG 2021 a huge success. You are the heroes of NUS and we appreciate your contributions to our students, the University and our community.

To Be a Hero and make a gift, click here.


By the NUS Development Office