Sports & Wellbeing

Running for a cause

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3km inclusive run in 2019 with members of the Disabled People’s Association (DPA).

26 September 2020

Unlike previous editions of RunNUS, the annual running event which aims to promote a healthy lifestyle and inclusivity through sports in NUS and the wider Singaporean population has gone virtual.

Organised by the NUS Students’ Sports Club, the 14th edition of RunNUS adapted to safe-distancing measures brought about by COVID-19. The run, which began on 13 July, will end its last lap on 27 September. So far, the virtual run has attracted more than 1,700 participants. 

Year 2 FASS Student Don Cheng took up the challenge as Project Director of RunNUS’20. He was encouraged by the number of participants despite the challenges his team faced while organising the run. He spoke of how the team adapted to planning the sports event in these unprecedented times.

To move the run online, online participant engagement was critical to the success of the run. Don and his team managed to engage participants through initiatives such as their weekly #workoutwednesday videos curated by one of their beneficiaries and a “Humans of NY” style post on the introduction of our beneficiaries on RunNUS’ Instagram page.

NUS president, Professor Tan Eng Chye, was impressed by Don and his team’s perseverance. Professor Tan, who is no stranger to endurance sports, having previously conquered the 112km Gobi Desert Challenge in 2018, said: “They have refused to let the global pandemic dampen their determination to raise awareness and promote inclusivity, particularly for our friends who have disabilities and special needs.”

In this edition of RunNUS, participants clocked their run mileage at their own pace until they hit the stipulated distance for their run (3km, 5km, 10km). Tracking could either be done through the participants’ personal fitness trackers or by recording their distance on a treadmill. This provided the participants with freedom and flexibility to complete their runs in their own time without having to gather in large groups.

After finishing their distance, runners then uploaded images of their runs, as proof of completion, to qualify for their entitlements. The entitlements consist of a Finisher medal, a race pack (worth $25), and an e-certificate, all to be mailed to the run finishers.

Exchange students also traditionally made up a substantial percentage of RunNUS participants. However, due to travel restrictions, many could not turn up for the run. The beauty of a virtual run lies in its flexibility that has allowed foreign students to once again be involved in RunNUS’20.  A new “overseas category” was created this year as a result of digitisation.

Don added: “The minimal costs associated with opening such a category made it a rare opportunity to take the RunNUS branding global in running for a cause which our team thought was worth a shot.”


Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment of Singapore, is a supporter of RunNUS. She joined the 2019 edition of RunNUS as GOH and participant.

RunNUS 2020 has continued to support two main beneficiaries in their mission to “Run for a Cause. Net proceeds of the participants’ fees and pledged donations will be directed to Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) and Disabled People’s Association (DPA). In the previous runs, the ‘3km’ inclusive run was the highlight of the event where participants could interact with PWDSNs (Persons With Disabilities and Special Needs). Participants would complete the run blindfolded, with weights to their ankles, or engage in other means to simulate physical disabilities.

To learn more about upcoming sports programmes organised by NUS Students’ Sports Club, head over to their NUSync portal now.


Writer: Shriya Rajesh, Undergraduate, CNM