Race Weekend – 5 Things That London Marathon and Income Eco Run 2019 Share In Common

28 APRIL 2019 – For runners and running enthusiasts both in Singapore, and around the world, this weekend has been one that they have been anticipating and packed with exciting races. Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge ran the second fastest marathon in history to win the Virgin Money’s London Marathon for a fourth time while Britain’s Mo Farah finished fifth. And just a mere 12 hours before that, NTUC Income’s Eco Run was on, against the scenic Singapore skyline backdrop! We bring to you, interesting observations on the 5 things these 2 races have in common!

1. decked in New Balance

This was the starkest commonality! As the official sponsor of both races, New Balance had dressed up the pacers in London’s NB Runner’s World Pace Team, as well as Singapore’s Running Department!

It’s also a bonus, when we meet this New Balance couple here in Singapore! New Balance Singapore Ambassador, Mok Ying Ren & his wife, Belinda.

2. values-driven title sponsors’

Virgin Money: “When it comes to banking, you want an honest deal with no surprises. So we’ll always tell you the things you really need to know up front.”

NTUC Income: “We are a co-operative where, quite simply, people come before profits. Our values set us apart from other insurance companies. They are what make us different. “

it is pretty obvious that they stand for doing business right, and not for profiteering.

3. IN SUPPORT OF a social cause

Being the official fundraising website for the Marathon, Virgin Money Giving has helped thousands of events and charities, big and small, throughout the UK raise hundreds of millions of pounds. This year, the London Marathon also broke the $1 billion mark in donations raised! And because it’s 100 per cent not-for-profit, an extra £9.5 million has reached charities because fundraisers used virginmoneygiving.com instead of a site with higher fees. (Source: London Marathon). In yet another first, London Marathon racers will be drinking from edible pods made of seaweed extracts instead of a plastic water bottle, and is part of the organisers’ initiative to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced and its waste foot-print!

Locally, the 9th edition of NTUC Income Eco Run 2019 kicks off its 3rd year of ‘zero waste running’ with the introduction of its first Zero Waste 5km race category. More than 9,000 runners took to the street on this surprisingly cool Sunday morning in support of eco-conservation and green causes, with innovative measures such as re-usable cups for runners to refill at hydration stations during the race.

A fish sculpture at the Income Eco Run race village made up of plastic bottles

4. SPOT THE british

Alright, we were kidding about this! But in a comedic twist it isn’t too far off either!

The 2019 Virgin Active London Marathon was shaping up to be one of the most hotly anticipated spring race as many looked forward to another masterful performance by reining world record holder Eluid Kipchoge who remains unbeaten in all but 1 marathon in his career. His rivalry with 4-time Olympic medallist & one of Britain’s most accomplished runners, Sir Mo Farah, who has recently stepped up to the marathon distance and was looking to take victory on home soil, also added another dimension to the competition amongst the deep elite field assembled for a showdown. It was intense!

Back here in Singapore, it was a lot more light hearted! The Income Eco Run saw, amongst the 9,000 runners, a prolific author, broadcaster, journalist, and in his words – ‘1st runner-up in the 44 to 45 years old Men-who-don’t-puke-and-run 5km category’, Neil Humphreys. The Englishman quipped that he was very proud of himself for racing his heart out while his guts stayed intact, as he posed gamely for the photos!

Light-hearted, witty and fast-talking, best-selling author Neil Humphreys

5. Spot a ONEathlete!

ONEathlete Evan Chee (third from left, in black) racing at the 2019 London Marathon

Against the backdrop of intense speculation and spectatorship on the elite field, ONEathlete Evan Chee also waged his own race against the clock on the streets of London, in an attempt to lower his personal best (2:41:01) attained just 5 weeks ago at the 2019 Seoul Marathon.

Evan had felt that preparations had gone smooth and well since the beginning of the year, and hoped to ride on his earlier marathon fitness preparing for Seoul by straddling a short training cycle leading into London. He knew this was a risky move that could increase his risk of injury but also potentially pay off big dividends as he seeks a qualifying performance to represent Singapore at the 2019 SEA Games in December.

Evan’s bid paid off as he dipped under the 2 hour 40 minute mark to finish in 2:38:58 (unofficial), clocking a new personal best as well as what is understood to be the third fastest Singaporean Men’s Marathon finish in 2019, thus far. Evan’s sister and national marathoner, Yvonne Chee, also finished the race in 3:03:13 (unofficial). Congratulations to the Chee siblings, Evan and Yvonne!

ONEathlete Evan Chee having a post-race victorious moment along the streets of London!

Back in Singapore, running his first race as an ONEathlete at the 2019 Income Eco Run is marathoner Giebert Foo. In the half-marathon category, Giebert finished in 1:21:35 to clinch the Union Men’s Open Champion with a strong performance and officially kick off his 2019 racing season.

The veteran runner had started running from the track, representing his alma mater NYP in shorter distances such as the 1,500m before moving up to the marathon in recent years. At last year’s Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, Giebert rounded up the podium in the Local Men’s category with a 3rd-place finish in a time of 2 hours 54 minutes.

Giebert’s partner, Esther Khoo, also bagged a respectable performance with a 4th place finish in the Union Women’s Open 10km race.

ONEathlete Giebert Foo (right) with his partner and fellow prize winner, Esther Khoo (left)
See you at the next race!
*Source information and photos of London Marathon from virginmoneylondonmarathon.com  

(Editor’s note – Evan’s results at the London Marathon is not the second, but third, fastest Singaporean Men’s timing in 2019 thus far. We apologise for the error, and the article has been amended as such)

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5 unique things about BB Blaze 2019!

13 Apr 2019 – Participants from ages 13 to 17 started streaming into the start location – the scenic Floating Platform – at 4.30am. They were sleepy, maybe, but undaunted, as they geared up for the annual (and may we add, grueling) BB Blaze 2019, an outdoor adventure and sport based trail race, organised by The Boys’ Brigade in Singapore.

1) Early Preparations

Preparations began as early as November 2018, kicking off with a preparation clinic by ONEathlete and former BB-boy himself, Ashley Liew. More about race prep clinic here!

Ashley Liew during his preparation clinic

2) Geared up by Mok ying ren

RunONE was also also on board as the Official Training Partner, allowing these young boys to train effectively in their lead-up to the competition, through a RunONE training programme created by Double SEA Games Gold Medalist, Mok Ying Ren.

Mok Ying Ren leading the youths in their warm up

It was thus apt for Mok Ying Ren to lead the 500+ boys in a set of dynamic warm-ups, also sharing medical/safety tips to keep in mind! He emphasized hydration tips – “Boys, remember to drink to the point of thirst” – as the organizing committee anticipated a very hot day.

Mok Ying Ren also mingled with the participants and heard them share about their planning phase and race strategies, before heading off for his hospital duties.

3) innovative race clocking 20+km in total

The organisers partnered with District Race – an innovative mobile app – to make the race more interactive and fun for the boys! If you had been in the city or Marina Bay area, you would have seen at least one of the 120+ teams in action.

4) camaraderie

We can learn a lesson about true sportsmanship just by observing as competitors mingled with one another, had fun together, and helped their ‘bros’! This characteristic of the boys from The Boys’ Brigade is quite the norm, but for any outsiders, it was a little more evident today.

5) Challenge Trophy & Social Media Challenge

What’s a competition without prizes? 5th Singapore Company, Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Secondary School (Team A106) and 14th Singapore Company, Anglican High School (Team A126) won the 3rd and 2nd prize respectively. Team A177 from 60th Singapore Company, Raffles Institution, emerged as the overall champion of BB Blaze 2019! They also received the coveted Winston Choo Challenge Trophy (named after the former BB Boy and former/first Chief of Defence Force (CDF), who flagged off the race in the morning). This was presented by Guest-of-Honour Dr Lily Neo.

Winners of the Top 3 positions

The Social Media Challenge was won by the 26th Singapore Company , Tanglin Secondary School, who took part actively with their creative posts to win $500 worth of sports gear, sponsored by RunONE.

While looking back on a challenging but rewarding BB Blaze 2019, we certainly hope that the months of training leading up to the race paid off!

Catch the video below for event highlights by the race organizers!

10 local athletes who made the sporting scene dope in 2018!

21 Feb 2019 – 180 guests gathered at Shangri-la Hotel Singapore today to celebrate the best of the local sporting scene!

The awards event, organized by The Straits Times Sports Desk and presented by 100PLUS Singapore, has always been cherished by those in the sports fraternity to honor the local athletes who had done exceedingly well.
Along with it, is also an assurance for greater support for athletes:

Excerpt from The Straits Times
Speaking at The Straits Times Athlete of the Year award ceremony, Minister Grace Fu said: “We want our athletes to excel at upcoming major Games… To encourage selected Team Singapore athletes to take on a full training load to start their preparations early for these Games, SportSG is rolling out extended campaign support of $3 million up to two years in advance, for athletes who display potential to excel at these Games and a podium finish.”

It was nothing but an atmosphere of hope and excellence to the athletes, who took no qualms about sacrificing much for their sport. But who are the 10 nominees (in no particular order) who were #lit on their ‘field’?

1. National Bowler, Muhd Jaris Goh

(L-R) Lee Yulin, ST Sports Editor; Grace Fu, Minister for MCCY; Jaris; and Jennifer See, Managing Director for F&N

Muhammad Jaris Goh, who fired the Singapore men’s team to a first medal at the World Men’s Championships and a long-overdue medal at the Asian Games in 2018, was named The Straits Times’ Athlete of the Year 2018 Excerpt from ST

2. St Andrew’s Hockey Captain, Sean See

Sean with RunONE Co-founder, Jed Senthil.

Sean was awarded the ST Young Star award after he displayed sportsmanship when he asked the umpire to forgo his own team’s goal, which led to the Saints losing to Northland Secondary School, during the National School Games. At the age of 17, he is all ready to be the 2nd Singaporean to receive the Pierre de Coubertin International Fair Play Award already !!!

Today, he was also awarded the ST Young Star of the Year 2018!

(Admin’s note: We think Jed is slightly biased and beaming with pride here, as both Sean and Jed share the same alma mater. #UpandOn)

Interesting trivia, he was coached by ONEathlete Tan Yiru before.

3. National Paddler, Yu Mengyu

(c) The Straits Times

The table tennis star rose above her career-ending injuries to securing a medal.

4. Bukit Merah Sec’s Floorball Player, John Alicante Embile

(c) Redsports Sg

It was mind over matter, to take his first penalty and he led his school to the first title in 8 years.

5. National Swimmer, Toh Wei Soong

(c) Active SG

The parathlete returned home as a Double Asian Para-games Gold Medalist from Jakarta, Indonesia.

6. VJC’s High Jumper Kampton Kam

(c) Redsports Sg

He jumped to 2 golds, 2 silvers, and 2 bronze medals at the SEA Youth Athletic Championships in Bangkok.

7. National Shooter, Martina Veloso

(c) Active SG

Martina’s former schoolmate & ONEathlete, Shaheed Alam would agree. She is not even 20, sho(o)t to fame at Commonwealth Games with unexpected medals, and is totally photogenic.

(Admin’s note: Enuf said. We are gel-uuz)

8. Queensway Sec’s Footballer, Putri Nur Syaliza

(c) The Straits Times

She bends it like Beckham! Woaaaaaaa(go)aaaaaaaal!

9. National Swimmer, Joseph Schooling

(c) redsports sg

No introduction needed. He is Singapore’s golden boy and continues to have such strong camaraderie on the pool at Asian Games.

10. ACS (Barker Road) C Division Table Tennis Team – Ryan Eng, Ryan Chong, Ryan Tan, Ethan Ong, Ethan Chua, Silas Chua, Benjamin Wee and Seth Wong

(c) The Straits Times

We saved this for the last.

Coming together from the Junior school, they formed their own team (in the absence of a CCA club), trained for 2 weeks, played, won a bronze medal, and formed their own legit club! Hyperlapse story for these guys, #tbytb

Bonus: National Marathoner, Mok Ying Ren


Did you #runwithmok during the Straits Times Run 2018 too?

Posters of the 100PLUS Ambassador were seen all around the Island Ballroom, gently reminding us to hydrate well and power our daily exercise regimes with the ACTIVE’s electrolytes, Vitamins B3, B6 and B12!

The Double SEA Games Gold Medalist & National Records Holder, who won Singapore’s first male marathon gold medal in 2013, made his ‘presence-felt’ even though he was not at the awards venue, and was probably at work on the surgical table.

Orthopaedic Resident, Dr. Mok continues to be iconic of many Team Singapore athletes who strive to give a stellar performance in their sporting dreams, professional endeavors, and personal commitments!

Light moves fast!

30 Jan 2019 – With its efficient performance, comfortable support, and great aesthetic, the New Balance Fresh Foam series was made for neutral runners looking for responsiveness and cushioning in their running shoe. Always evolving and improving, Fresh Foam shoes deliver soft and smooth cushioning for running, training, trail or gym.

National Marathoner & New Balance Ambassador Mok Ying Ren with his Zante Pursuit. (c) ONEathlete

Birthed from an extremely lightweight and comfortable footwear series, the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit makes runners feel as though they are moving at the speed of light.

National Marathoner & New Balance Ambassador Mok Ying Ren shuttles in his Zante Pursuit. (c) ONEathlete

The latest Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit uses advanced laser-engraving technology that leverages on data-inspired design to provide uncompromising performance for wearers.

The NB Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit (c) RunONE

Simply put – featherweight! With excess material removed, Zante Pursuit promises an even lighter, better and faster run.

National Marathoner & New Balance Ambassador Mok Ying Ren leaping in his Zante Pursuit. (c) ONEathlete

The NB runners who wore the shoes for a run around the CBD area were quick to feel the little ‘springy’ sensation on the mid-soles, and the stretchable support at the cushioned collars. This was a bit more evident as they whisked and manoeuvered around the evening crowd and steps along the inclined route.

NB Ambassadors Jenny Huang, Marcus Reed, and Loh Guo Pei leading the run. (c) New Balance Singapore

For the competitive runners, having a light (read: high performance) shoe is everything! The run seemed a bit more effortless than usual for this elite pack.

NB Ambassadors Jenny Huang, Marcus Reed, and Loh Guo Pei leading the run. (c) New Balance Singapore

But the prowess of the Zante Pursuit is more evident during a rebounding session by the instructors from Beat x Studio. It sure looks easy, but your legs are nothing but wobbly as you bounce on the trampoline. That’s when you feel the one-ness of your feet with the shoe. The dynamic fit of the shoe helps you to land with ease, and jump up with no weights attached.

Rebounding session by Beat x Studio instructors at Singapore Flyer (c) New Balance Singapore

As Youtuber Umehara Kenji put it, he found a new balance on the mat that day, while others were literally bouncing off to earn their dinner.

Rebounding session by Beat x Studio instructors at Singapore Flyer (c) New Balance Singapore

It was ‘no sweat’ while the instructors threw in some burpees and push-ups on the trampoline while at it.

(c) New Balance Singapore

For those who prefer a sleeker sock-like version, you can also consider the Fresh Foam Zante Solas. (National Marathoner Yvonne Chee rocks out in her purple Zante Solas in the image below.)

In essence, the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante is a lightweight neutral trainer that strikes a balance between being a soft cushioned ride and a fast snappy responsive feeling.

(c) New Balance Singapore

Feel light and fast again!

ONEathlete x ONEteamsg Special – Mok Ying Ren

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

About two million years ago homo sapiens evolved long legs and short toes to run for survival. Since then, Man has progressed from hunter-gatherers chasing food to running down competition but the race against time, for time, continues. In this time immemorial cycle of life, the young chases the old, the hunter becomes the hunted. Time is the enemy of all. Does one choose to rage against the dying of the light or fill the unforgiving minute with its worth of run?

(Photo Credits: ONEathlete)

Mok Ying Ren is 29 years old. The creases on his face wink in agreement when Mok smilingly bemoans “that the party doesn’t last forever and one day the music will have to stop.”

Once Mok was performing overnight duties at the hospital. There was a patient who got really excited knowing she was going to be stitched up by the national marathoner because “now I’ve got your autograph for life”. By all accounts time has also left its indelible mark on us all. In medicine as in running, it is always a race against time. Mok knows it only too well.

The enormity of the mission behind Mok’s medical profession has lent a great gravity and awareness of the fragilities of life and the human body. After spending a large part of his earlier running career overcoming personal injuries and now dedicating himself to the wounds of others, Mok quietly accepts when his legs take longer to recover, and his breathing more laboured as his heart and lungs strain to compensate. Men at 30 learn to close softly, doors they know won’t be opening again.

Professional running has been compared by some to poetry in motion. Gliding legs caressing the pavement like a carefree antelope, although not even the fastest or most graceful of them has been known to escape the endless pursuit of time. The younger Mok admittedly had an immolating passion and fury raged in his belly, which did not play well to the strengths of a sport where the one who wins is often the last to slow down.

Today, Mok can hold his own among some of the region’s best marathoners, and turn up the heat with a burst of speed or join a breakaway. The feisty runner is hardly one to expect mercy from after the gun goes off. But he always delivers respect. Respect your opponent and the distance. Respect your body. Respect the clock.

How much fire still burns within him? No one, including Mok himself, knows how his SEA Games bid will end. “You have to be absolutely committed, and hungry,” he said. “At the same time, I don’t tell myself that I must win this race or break that record.”

For the doctor-athlete straddled between medical responsibilities and athletic pursuit, Mok’s priorities were clear – his patients. “Their lives and well-being are my responsibility, and I owe it to them and their families that they receive complete focus and attention. When I was put in situations where I had to choose between my training and my patients, I was convicted to prioritize the latter. I guess then, training was compromised, but I gave the best of my ability.”

2017_Run_Mok_0334.jpg(photo credits: Ming Ham)

Like medicine, athletics is a lifelong apprenticeship where lessons are passed from one generation to the next. Through mistakes made and guidance shared, the baton is passed as the young learn what they can and the wise imparts what they have.

Mok knows his success is not his alone and he is grateful to friends, family and coaches who have stood by him throughout all these years, as well as the continuing support of partners and sponsors like 100PLUS and New Balance.

At the 29th SEA Games in KL, Mok will be trying to beat the clock but he is also racing the era. Champions don’t give up easily, not even against time. Coach Rameshon set the standing national marathon record of 2:24:22 at the 1995 SEA Games. Then, he was 31 years old.

Income Eco Run’s Inaugural ‘Zero Waste Runner’ Category receives overwhelming support as participants relinquish their finishers’ entitlements

Proud of our #runONE Co-founder & #ONEathlete @mokyingren running for #zerowaste at #incomeecorun2017 
Were you there too? Tag @runoneapp & share with us your photos! Leggo... 

 

(SINGAPORE, 30 April 2017) – Close to 10,000 participants raced the streets this morning towards a ‘Zero Waste’ future at the Income Eco Run (formerly known as the NTUC Income RUN 350, organised by Young NTUC). Runners from all walks of lives participated in various categories- the 21.1km Half Marathon, 10km and the 800m Kids Dash – in support of the common cause and was flagged off at the F1 Pit Building.

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Income Eco Run_21.1km Runners Gearing up for Flag Off

This year’s Income Eco Run saw a special group of 1,500 runners who took their commitment to the ‘green’ cause to the next level by racing as ‘Zero Waste Runners’. These runners opted not to receive their respective finishers’ entitlements (medal for all categories and a finisher’s tee for the 21.1 km Half Marathon category) in a bid to reduce waste. As a result, 87.8kg of fabric and 150kg of metal were saved.

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It was the first time the race introduced the option for runners to race as a ‘Zero Waste Runner’ and it was fully subscribed before registration closed at the start of April.

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Income Eco Run_Dr Mok Ying Ren Racing Through The 21.1km Finish Line.JPG

Double SEA Games Gold Medalist in the Triathlon (2007) and Marathon (2013) events, Mok Ying Ren (Managed by ONEathlete), raced as a ‘Zero Waste Runner’.

He shared, ” I’m very happy that I placed first in the 21.1km local category. I just started training again, so I’m quite pleased with my timing! Running as a ‘Zero Waste Runner’ was actually refreshing to see fewer cups on the road after the race!

I run home after work regularly as part of my longer distance training. And I use my own bottle during these runs just like today. I believe that these efforts, though small, enable us to be environmentally conscious, and helps in the larger-scale-of things towards reducing carbon emissions and zero waste. Doing good is now made simple, isn’t it?”

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As the pioneer of eco-races in Singapore, Income Eco Run adopted eco-friendly practices for different aspects of the race. They included encouraging runners to bring their own bottles (BYO) to reduce the use of plastic bottles and paper cups, giving out post-run e-certificates, producing finisher medals from recycled metal and using bio-diesel fuel for the generators. The event also readily offered sorting cans for trash to be recycled and provided bicycle racks on race day to encourage participates to cycle to the race venue. Participants were also encouraged to carpool or to take the shuttle bus services to the event.

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Reinforcing Income’s commitment for a ‘Zero Waste’ future, a ‘green’ audit, carried out by Green Future Solutions, was conducted today to set environmental benchmarks for improvements year on year. The ‘green’ audit^ focused on two main areas- waste and energy, and the results are targeted to be available by end May.

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Mr Marcus Chew, Income’s Chief Marketing Officer, said: “We set out to take ownership of the race this year to champion a sustainable future, which is aligned to our core business of making insurance not just accessible, but sustainable, for all in Singapore so that we can be more future ready. We are heartened by the level of participation in this ‘green’ run, especially the eager subscription for the ‘Zero Waste Runner’ category. This shows that many of us are ready to do our part for a sustainable future. With the ‘green’ audit, we look forward to doing more for our collective eco cause and to inspire and encourage others to do more to protect our environment.”

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Income Eco Run_Runners with the Eco Run Structure.JPG
The Run today was graced by various ‘green’ partners who flagged off the race alongside Income’s Chief Marketing Officer, Marcus Chew. This included Ms Sharmine Tan, Manager (Environmental Outreach), Singapore Environment Council and Mr Eugene Tay, Executive Director, Zero Waste Singapore. Mr Lee Kheng Seng, Director, Communications and 3P Partnership Division, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, said: “The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) would like to commend NTUC Income on the Income Eco Run 2017 in bringing together runners and environmental enthusiasts with a common goal of moving towards a zero-waste nation. The Ministry supports the ground-up initiative in promoting the Sustainable Singapore Movement and in setting an environmental benchmark for other marathon organisers to emulate.”

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33-year-old Kenyan, James Barmasai who placed first in the 21.1km Open category shared, “I am feeling great about my win! I expected to win because I trained hard for it. The route was well planned.”

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Jasmine Goh, a familiar face in Singapore’s running scene was placed twice in the Income Eco Run by clinching third place in the 21.1km Open category and the 21.1km Local Champion. The 38-year-old said, “Overall my race experience was enjoyable! The Income Eco Run has a great eco positioning this year, too! In terms of my performance, I expected to run well and do my best. It also helped that the weather was great!”

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Runners were brought on a scenic race route as they raced through Gardens By The Bay, Marina Barrage and The Singapore Flyer.

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For more information, please visit www.incomeecorun.sg or https://www.facebook.com/IncomeEcoRun/.

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(c) Photos from Income Eco Run 2017.
As per press release. For enquiries, please direct to ecorun@sprg.com.sg