SINGAPORE – Since 2016, The Straits Times Run has been a yearly event for Ping Yi Secondary School, and this year was no different even though the run was converted to a virtual one owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
To spice things up, the school turned the virtual run into a friendly competition among its four student houses: Andes, Rockies, Atlas and Alpine.
The 20 students who took part in The Straits Times Virtual Run’s (STVR) 17.5km category were ranked by their pace and awarded points according to their ranking.
Alpine House emerged as winners.
Yong Tze Woon, Ping Yi’s head of department for physical education and co-curricular activities, explained that the school decided to come back for the run this year to encourage students to stay active.
He said: “This year is special because of the Covid-19 situation. We see a lot of students are less fit and some have put on a bit of weight, so we wanted some activities to come back.
“The Straits Times Run has always been a feature of our programme because we believe in doing something for a cause (a portion of registration fees goes to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund), so we also used this as a chance to educate the students about giving back to the community.”
The school has also come up with its own initiative named Ping Yi Walk Run Challenge, which started on Aug 3 and will last till the end of this year, to encourage students and staff to keep active.
Secondary 3 student Ravi Raveena used to run at least 2km a day, but stopped exercising regularly during the circuit breaker period.
The 15-year-old saw the STVR as an opportunity to regain her fitness, splitting the 17.5km into four runs of about 5km each.
She was also excited to represent Andes House.
“During the lockdown, I just stayed at home and completely forgot about being healthy so when my teacher said there was this run, I signed up for it,” said Raveena, who ran with two friends.
“It was hard in the beginning because I hadn’t exercised for so long, but my friends and teacher motivated me to finish this.”
While the students had over two weeks to complete the distance, Atlas House representative Dexter Lee, whose longest run up till that point had been 5km, was motivated to complete the entire distance in one attempt to help his house get points.
Although his legs felt sore and he struggled with stitches, the Secondary 3 student covered the 17.5km at Bedok Reservoir in close to two hours.
The 15-year-old said: “It was very different, it felt like it was never ending, but I just kept thinking that I had to do it because I signed up for it.
“It was such a long distance. I don’t think most of my friends have done it before, it felt special.”
The race period for STVR’s 17.5km category was from Oct 9-23. The 175km event started on Oct 19 and will end on Dec 17.