Virtual Runs: More Than An Uptrend, It’s The Mainstay

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Video calls and virtual meetings, once commonly found only in boardrooms and lecture halls have become the staple in almost every household. This year, video calls became the mainstay for adults and students working and studying from home, and to also stay socially-connected with loved ones far and near. They are (virtually) doing everything together. Even marathons and fun runs have gone virtual!

Anyone…(almost) everyone can run!

Runs have become a fun activity and one that does not require prior experience. As marathons and fun runs go virtual, it gives opportunity to more individuals from diverse backgrounds to participate in.

With more Malaysians living a sedentary lifestyle of being homebound for much of 2020, a simple solution to this is to run. Gear up with the right attire and a good pair of running shoes, and you are good to go. Virtual runs are generally a safer sport to pick up without being in a confined space, all the while keeping healthy and a safe distance from others in the new normal.

This is particularly good news in a society that needs us to up our game on our overall fitness levels especially with the threat of increased number of obesity cases.

Always with a purpose in mind

Many people start running for various reasons and with different motivations. For Edan Syah, Malaysia’s fastest 2016 marathoner, his inspiration to run was his mother who passed away in 2009, in the prime of her life at 54, following a two-year battle with cancer.

“It was a wake-up call for me. It all unfolded very quickly and it made me realise that life is short and I need to live a purposeful life,” said Edan who decided to train the following year for a full marathon (almost 42.2km) in Singapore in December 2011. “I was surprised that I completed the race within 3 hours 7 minutes and that is when I discovered my potential as a runner.”

For Malaysia’s fitness trainer, Nana Al Haleq’s motivation was always to get moving, and to ensure she can function and perform her daily tasks at optimum levels. “I hope to be able to do the activities I love till I’m old and wrinkly!” she quipped. Nana envisions herself lifting weights, enjoying walks in a park, or hiking to enjoy beautiful scenery, at the ripe age of 80.

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Run for fun

Malaysians who participate in runs and marathons opt to do so just for fun too! “Whatever the activity or sports you engage in, make sure it is enjoyable because living active is all about having fun,” said Nana, whose first virtual run participation will be this year’s Coway Run 2020: Change the Game happening from 1-29 November 2020.

“I’m sure that it would be a fun and relaxing experience because I’m able to complete the run at my own time despite having to juggle a few tasks from home,” she said, adding that the Coway Run’s gamification twist injects the fun factor into the month-long programme that allows runners to complete run even within the comfort of their home.

The gaming element allows runners to collect achievement badges having reached four significant milestones (levels) throughout the run namely Level 1 (first 3km), Level 2 (10km mark), Level 3 (20km mark) and Level 4 (40km mark). For excitement throughout the month, the Coway Run 2020 has weekly contests in store for runners to win attractive prizes. “Having the run based on an 8-bit game and the ability to earn rewards as I go makes it unique and enjoyable,” Nana added.

Pay it forward for common good

Virtual runs, as with conventional marathons of recent years, have sought to align themselves with noble, charitable causes. The Coway Run 2020: Change the Game is following through its commitment to champion the Happy Water Project, which aims to provide clean drinking water and promote good hygiene practices to 1,000 Orang Asli families as part of Coway’s 5-year goal. A total of RM10 from each Coway Run sign up will be channelled to the initiative.

For Edan who has participated in a number of virtual runs, being able to support the Happy Water Project was a catalyst for him to participate in Coway Run 2020. Nana echoed similar sentiments on this.

So, if you are looking to get a head-start on your New Year’s resolution to get healthy, start with a mile (or less) a day next month with Coway Run 2020.

To sign up for the run, register here: www.eventbrite.sg/e/coway-run-2020-change-the-game-virtual-run-tickets-117600069975. For more information on the run, visit:  www.cowayrun.com.my. Details on the Happy Water Project are available at  www.coway.com.my/happywaterproject.

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