December 2022 Issue: Co-operator Newsletter Quarterly December 2022

After 2 years, inclusive sports co-operative Runninghour’s flagship Run for Inclusion returns

After 2 years, inclusive sports co-operative Runninghour’s flagship Run for Inclusion returns
Caption: After 2 years, inclusive sports co-operative Runninghour’s flagship Run for Inclusion returns

By Sng Ler Jun

On an overcast Saturday evening (Dec 3), more than 2,000 participants joined inclusive sports co-operative Runninghour’s flagship event Run for Inclusion at Singapore Turf Club (STC), Singapore’s only horse racing club.

First established in 2009 as a running club and eventually became a co-operative in 2014, Runninghour aims to integrate persons with special needs (PWSNs) through sports. Run for Inclusion aspires to use mainstream sports as a platform to promote integration and nurture an inclusive Singapore.

Participants could either cycle 20km, or walk and run across distances of 3km, 5km and 10km, alongside PWSNs who are hard of hearing, physically, visually, and intellectually challenged, as well as persons with autism or undergoing mental recovery in the eighth edition of the run.

A total of 371 PWSNs participated in varied cycles, run and walk distances. Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob, the event’s guest-of-honour, also participated in a 1.5km walk after flagging off a contingent.

Image Credit: Tan Kim Lai
Image Credit: Mythos Photog

STC, which became Runninghour’s corporate partner earlier in Nov this year, formed a 170-strong employee and family contingent, serving as either runners, cyclists or volunteers. “As a destination for sports and recreational activities, STC will continue to strike strategic partnerships with community partners, leveraging our vast grounds and unique facilities to help promote social cohesion and inclusion,” STC said in a press release.

Runninghour has also recently relocated its head office and operations to STC, allowing the co-operative to utilise the venue at STC to organise sports activities for its members.

To commemorate its 180th anniversary, STC also committed to cover at least 180km and pledges to donate $180 for every kilometre covered by STC. The donation totalled to S$32,400 which will go towards increasing the frequency of Runninghour’s programmes and more.

Seven members from the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF) also participated in the run.  

The story of one participant: Chris-Hortin Tan, Runninghour’s Vice Chairman

Chris-Hortin Tan was only 14 years old when she was diagnosed with juvenile glaucoma, a rare condition that affects children as early as three and would leave them with an ailing eyesight—and eventually, blindness.

For Chris-Hortin, the diagnosis put an end to her track and field career in secondary school. “When I was diagnosed with glaucoma and the doctor said I couldn’t play all these sports anymore, at that time, it was the end of the world,” she said, in an interview with Yahoo Singapore.

“I didn’t know who could help me, who should I seek help from. My parents and friends were all so concerned about my welfare and safety, they didn’t want me to get hurt.”

It wasn’t until a decade ago, when she discovered soundball (a special form of tennis created and adapted for the visually impaired) that she began making up for lost time by training for it at Runninghour.

Today, the mother of two has only 5% of her central vision left, or as she describes viewing the world “through a bubble tea straw”. At Runninghour, she runs with a buddy, who would warn her of the terrain and running direction, via a tether. You could often see her running with her signature cap.

Earlier in June, Chris-Hortin penned an op-ed on digital news outlet TODAY highlighting the need to make sports more accessible to PWSNs. One of her suggestions include nudging the public and private sectors to organise programmes that involve PWSNs to counter stereotypes that disabled people cannot do sports. She also encourages the integration of both sighted individuals and visually impaired peers to play sports together, such as soundball, to promote mutual understanding and normalise social integration.


Image Credit: Mythos Photog
Image Credit: Mythos Photog

From Zumba classes to outdoor runs, activities Runninghour Co-operative Limited strives to integrate persons with special needs through sports. It was first formed in 2009 and eventually became a co-operative in 2014.

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SNCF is the apex body of Singapore’s Co-operative Movement, and secretariat of the Central Co-operative Fund (CCF). Formed in 1980 with the aim of championing Singapore’s Co-operative Movement, the apex body represents majority of co-operative members in Singapore through its affiliated co-operatives.