Have you noticed that every time you log onto social media, someone has posted about a run they joined or will be joining? These runs often range from family-friendly runs, Colour Runs, full marathons, jungle trail runs and many more.
Before the advent of this new trend, the runs that you would hear or read about were the exclusive international marathons that brought forth images of extremely fit and athletic runners who train all year round for such events. In recent years, we saw a rise in casual running events, as charitable organisations worked together with event management companies to create a fun and healthy way to raise funds and create awareness for their cause.
These days, runs range anywhere from 1km to 5km for fun runs and from 10km to 42km or more for more competitive runs. In 2018 there are an estimated 125 runs of various kinds taking place in Sarawak, that’s more than two runs a week for the whole year! While most take place in the capital of Kuching, some even occur in small town areas such as Bario Highlands and Mukah. New runs are constantly being advertised on print and e-media such as the Kuching Runners Network and Sarawak Run Calendar on Facebook.
In addition, different themes and gimmicks help to make running events more unique and outstanding. The recent Miao Run in Kuching is part of a series of three awareness programmes organised by the Sarawak Veterinary Association to create awareness on responsible pet ownership, anima welfare and rabies. Those who join the Miao Run and the following Siyok Run and Woof Run can collect all three medal pieces that can be joined into one big medal. This is a unique attraction as it will challenge the public to join all three runs in order to complete the medal pieces.
A survey by Active.com found that one of the top motivators for participation in runs were ‘getting to hang out with friends’ and that most people had found out about the events via social media and friends. ‘’I started running about two years ago to be healthier. I found that getting the ‘runners high’ is quite addictive. I’ve joined quite a number of runs in Sarawak and Kuala Lumpur. I like a run with a scenic route and usually find out about them online,” said local enthusiast Mohd Khairun Abdullah. Local Kuchingite Sarah A.A. said, “There are so many runs to choose from that my friends and I would sometimes pick a run based on the t-shirt design and colour. I also recently joined a run in Miri and had a fun weekend getaway at the same time. I think a memorable run should have a fun theme and be well organised.”
According to local event organiser Mona Abdul Manap of Place Borneo, tying a charitable body to a healthy event such as a run creates a wholesome marketing point of view for the charitable body as well as for the run. “The SSPCA Animazing Race that we have been organising since 2014 has been great at raising awareness about SSPCA while encouraging the community to take part in a healthy recreational activity. The expenditure on these runs are then justified as part of doing what they like (running) as well as giving back to society (charity),” she added.
With so many runs available, the real challenge is to see what sets each one apart and what will attract more runners, old and new! After all, a runner can never run too much. Ask any runner!