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06 September 2009 @ 11:04 pm

Yellow Ribbon Prison Run 2009
10 KM
Changi Village to Changi Prison Complex
06 Sep 09




My time: 52 mins. My excuse: still recovering from the ligament injury.

Organized by CARE network, which helps in the rehabilitation of ex-offenders, the inaugural Yellow Ribbon Prison Run 2009 was attended by about 6000 runners on Sunday, 6 Sep 09. The competitive 10 KM route started at Changi Village, going through smaller roads within the Loyang and Selarang Camp outskirts, before ending at a huge, empty field within the walls of the Changi Prison Complex. A 5.8 KM fun-run took place concurrently. 

This run is probably one of the best organized runs this year. In theory, the organizers got everything right: good publicity (you’ve all seen the posters at the bus-stops), an enjoyable route, affordable sign-up prices, a reasonably nice-looking running singlet and worth-it freebies from the sponsors. The vouchers in the goodie bag are pretty substantial (Andersens’ ice cream, Café Galilee, some local attractions etc). These, plus the fact that this run is the only run so far to serve you food upon finishing, makes it really worth the time and effort on a cold, wet Sunday morning – considering I didn’t win anything.

While the route cannot be described as punishing (at least no cross-terrain or crazy hills), there were some points where the up-slopes were a bit steep. Locating water-points after these slopes was a good tactic other organisers might want to consider. Also, a rather rag-tag – but very loud –bunch of cheerleaders seemed to be stationed at every major turn.

Mok, Patrick and I were the only cross-country team people running. No guesses who won. Patrick came in 10th and won $100, I think. Their exact timings can be confirmed with them. I took a leisurely jog and tried not to compete with all the people who sprinted at the first 5 KM. Many of them died at the final up-slope before the final stretch inside Changi Prison complex. Generally speaking, there was some grass to run on, and apart from the sudden downpour an hour after the event ended, I didn’t feel very uncomfortable. I’m also quite glad that I didn’t spend a single cent on transport. (Most runs on early Sunday morning require you to get to the venue in a taxi if you want to take your spot at the starting line, but the area is accessible enough for SBS buses).

That being said, however, I was discussing with Patrick that the rationale behind this run leaves me thinking. Doubtless every runner’s participation raises funds, support and awareness to programmes which helping ex-offenders & rehabilitated drug addicts. But the manner in which these goals were exhibited seems a bit questionable. Firstly, while prisoners performing music to keep the runners’ entertained after the run seems quite innocent, it suggests showcasing them. And, some runners were also wondering – why end the run inside Changi prison? Interesting thing is that the inmates can be heard, but you don’t see them. It gave me the feeling the place was like a zoo exhibit where what's being shown is the so-called successful control of an inmate population.

Just some things to think about. My views, of course. But a good run makes you think too. And then helps you study later.