RunNUS 2022: Clocking the miles for the disabled and special needs community
Over 1,200 participants came together to cover a distance of 13,000 km at RunNUS 2022, the University’s annual running event which returned in its first-ever hybrid run format this year. Organised by the NUS Students’ Sports Club, RunNUS was first held in 2007 and has since grown to become one of the largest and most anticipated running events for NUS students, staff, alumni and the public.
With the tagline ‘Run for a Cause’, RunNUS aims to encourage a healthy lifestyle through running, while raising awareness and promoting inclusivity for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs (PWDSNs). This year marked RunNUS’ fourth consecutive year in partnership with the Disabled People’s Association (DPA) and Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC), in raising awareness of challenges faced by PWDSNs, and empowering them to lead independent lives.
In line with the hybrid format this year, runners registered to run virtually or physically in three categories – 3 km, 5 km and 10 km distances. The physical run was held on 17 September at NUS, graced by Guest-of-Honour, Minister for Health Mr Ong Ye Kung, who also joined NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye and other runners in a 3 km run.
To mark RunNUS’ 16th anniversary, this year’s event also saw the introduction of a brand-new ‘Run as One’ category, where participants were required to register in groups of five and run or walk 5 km each to cover a total distance of 25 km per team. The category was introduced to debunk the stereotype of running as a solitary activity, and encourage participants to come together to bond and spur one other towards a common goal. True to its aim of greater inclusivity, 40 teams, which included persons with disabilities, seniors, families, and even children, signed up to participate.
Joel Chew, the RunNUS Project Director and a Year 4 student from the College of Design and Engineering, had the opportunity to engage with individuals from the two beneficiaries this year. “Through engaging with them, I realised that Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs are no different from you and I, and everyone should have the opportunity to engage in physical activities that they are drawn to,” he said.
“I hope that participants did not view the event as merely an ordinary run, but kept in mind that we are doing it for a cause,” he added.