More than 1,400 people woke up early on 1 September to join the SPD Ability Walk & Run 2019, in support of persons with disabilities.
A sea of yellow could be seen as the participants gathered at the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM), waiting eagerly to start the walk. In addition to the 3km walk, a 5km run component was newly added this year, with more than 400 participants signing up.
Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, did the honour of flagging off the event, with the 5km runners leading the pack. Although organised as a fun run, it did not stop some runners from completing the route in the fastest time.
The appearance of Star Wars characters from 501st Garrison added to the lively atmosphere along the riverside.
Sheltered Workshop trainees Ang Bee Lian, Ng May Chan and Norhissam Bin Kusaeni were excited over meeting Mr Chan and a photo opportunity with the Minister. When asked about their experience at the walk, Bee Lian said that it was her first time joining this event and she enjoyed it, while May Chan chimed in that she appreciated the breezy weather and would like to participate again next year. Norhissam shared his excitement at trying out at the ‘High Striker’ game booth at the carnival ground. He also took to Instagram to share the photos he took at the event.
For Ng Hsin Mei, who signed up for the event on the recommendation of her friend who works in SPD, commented: “It is a great location, being central and accessible. I had a relaxed outing with good friends while supporting a worthy cause, not to mention meeting friendly and cheerful volunteers along the way!”
Participant Leslie Eng, who also sponsored ice-cream, said: “Participating in the walk is just a small part I can contribute. Through this event, I gained some insights about the challenges that people with disabilities face. Being able to sponsor ice-cream and giving out to participants is a happy feeling of spreading joy to all!”
Besides food, participants could also enjoy muscle relief with head and shoulder massages given by blind masseurs.
There was a wider range of simulation activities this year for greater experiential involvement and awareness. The wheelchair basketball segment was helmed by our Sheltered Workshop craftsman, Mohd Hussain, who represented Singapore at the ASEAN Para Games in 2015. Hussain demonstrated his skills and encouraged participants to try out the activity. “It was a fun experience showing the participants how to aim for a goal from a wheelchair. By being involved in this event, I also want to show others that persons with disabilities can be independent and be involved in the community,” said Hussain.
The wheelchair obstacle course was also enhanced this year to include more challenges. While seated on wheelchairs, participants tried manoeuvring over a ramp, artificial grass turf and pebbled mat, picking up items from the ground and hanging up shirts.
Many participants were also sporting in giving the three-legged challenge a try to have a better understanding of the difficulties individuals with mobility impairment face when ambulating in the community.
Inside the museum, participants had a dark room experience to understand the challenges of navigating in dark space by relying on their other senses. The museum also extended free entry to its permanent exhibitions and discounted rate for its special exhibition for the participants of SPD Ability Walk & Run 2019 that day.
Thank you to all our sponsors, partners, volunteers and participants for supporting the SPD Ability Walk & Run 2019! We hope you enjoyed yourself as much as we did!