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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Punggol Runners - 8 years and still running strong

Running groups in Singapore used to be dominated by formal running clubs like Swift, Flash and MR 25 that had to be registered with the SAAA, the predecessor of the SAA. In the past few years, together with the rise is popularity of running, a new breed of running groups have surfaced. Many came and went. Some survived but lacked direction and never grew. A few grew from strength to strength. This is the story of one of them.

Punggol Runners started life in 2007 when a motley group of passionate runners living in Sengkang and Punggol decided to get together for their runs. Together with the fledging town, Punggol Runners start growing as more and more residents moved into the area. Soon, runners from Hougang, Yio Chu Kang and even Pasir Ris started to join in  the weekly runs.
Photo courtesy of Punggol Runners
Led by the ebullient Mike Kang, the runners ran all over the areas exploring the area way even before anybody  heard of Punggol Waterway. Punggol Runners members also took part in many races and long weekend runs all the way to Mandai were conducted regularly for members. Other than training for races, the club also organised fun runs to other area and they were probably the very first runners to run in the new Lorong Halus trail and the Punggol Waterway. 

Punggol Runners also worked with the grassroots and other organisation and supported races that were held in the area. Members were drafted as volunteers for the first 2 edition of the POSB Kids Run that were held in Sengkang. Punggol Runners also acted as advisor cum resource facilitator for the MacDonald Punggol Waterway Run and the Punggol Waterway Passion Run.
Punggol Runners at the Punggol Waterway Passion Ruun
 Nowadays, Punggol Runners together with its sister club, Newton Running Club provides pacers for many of the local races such as the Newton Challenge and the 2XU Compression Run. 

Punggol Runners pacing at the 2012 Newton Challenge
The sheer size and very public presence of the club soon attracted attention from sponsors and  over the years they had been sponsored by many including  Lynk Biotech,  Newton and New Balance and JP Pepperdine. Currently, Punggol Runners has a close working relationship with Key Power International Pte Ltd, the local distributor for Newton, 2XU and Brooks.

Punggol Runners celebrated its 8 anniversary on 26 July 2013 with a dinner bash. Notably among the runners is "Wonderwoman" aka Miss Punggol Runners aka Fia who in 2011 was involved in a freaked accident that almost put a stop to her running and her involvement  with Punggol Runners. But she bounced back and since then have gone on to get a PB and completed another marathon plus take part in triathlons!  I leave her story for another day though.

Anyway, membership to Punggol Runners is free! and open to residents of Sengkang, Hougang, Punggol, Yio Chu Kang. However, any member of the public are welcome to join provided they can join in the runs on a regular basis. To join, contact Fia or Mike Kang via their FB page.

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