School sports: Queensway Secondary students bond over training for annual ST Run
At age five, Tan Jia Qi started following her parents on their Sunday morning jogs at the Tiong Bahru Park, near where they live.
"I like running because when you are running you can forget about all the problems and stress that you are facing," said the 15-year-old Secondary 1 student at Queensway Secondary School (QSS).
Her penchant for pounding the pavement has led her to join the school's athletics team as a 100m sprinter, and the team sometimes go on 6km training runs from her school to the Tanglin area and back.
Come Sept 23, Jia Qi and 24 other QSS team-mates will get to go on a different training run, when they take part in The Straits Times Run 2018, presented by Panasonic, at the Singapore Sports Hub.
The school has been participating in the run since 2013, and pays for the registration fees for its students who volunteer to take part.
"Some of the runners in our CCA (co-curricular activity) may get to participate in competitions, but not all of them may be able to win something," said Grace Lee, one of the CCA's three teachers in charge.
"The Straits Times Run gives them more exposure to what the running world is like in Singapore... and we hope that they will continue to love running even after they leave school." Secondary 3 student Michael Chang is looking forward to this year's run, having completed the 10km category last year.
The 15-year-old said: "I liked it because it gave me an opportunity to run with my CCA mates and we treated it like a bonding event.
"Also, the run last year took place very early in the morning and I could see the sun rise as I ran, and the wind was very cooling and refreshing," said Michael, who is aiming to go below 50 minutes for the 10km run this year.
"In addition, the people handing out the drinks were very nice as well, as they were encouraging us to finish the run, so I was more motivated to continue running and not to walk."
Jia Qi, though, has not set herself any targets, but hopes to enjoy her first mass run. She said: "I am a sprinter, so long runs can be challenging, but our teachers always encourage us to look forward, and to try our best."