1,500 participants today took part in the third edition of Singapore’s first humanitarian-themed run, Ground Zero Run for Humanity 2017. Participants gained valuable insight into the experiences of survivors and aid workers, as they ran in support of humanitarian causes and the promoting of goodwill in the region.

Organiser Mercy Relief, Singapore’s home-grown disaster relief agency, celebrated its third edition of the run this morning at Casuarina Grove, East Coast Park, with more than 30 partners, including official title sponsor The Hour Glass. These partners contributed their expertise to the event to give participants a more immersive experience.

For example, The Food Bank Singapore contributed 3000kg of rice that was used at the 5km Relief Aid Challenge and 1km Dash for Humanity. After the event, these ‘relief packs’ will be distributed to the following beneficiaries: Sion Christian Aftercare Service Centre, Bethel Community Service, Migrant Workers Centre.

Multinational media company, Dentsu Aegis Network, helped to secure nearly $300,000 worth of media value to promote the event, while participants received special edition tote bags from Sealed Air’s Linens For Life™ programme, which were sewn from recycled linens by disaster affected communities in Thailand.

Guest-of-Honour Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth & Trade and Industry, flagged off the 5km Relief Aid Challenge. She said, “Organisations like Mercy Relief provide opportunities for Singaporeans to come together, and build resilient communities both at home and abroad. This is the spirit of SG Cares, where we look out for one another.”

Other additions at the event this year included the 1km Dash For Humanity, where parent-child teams race to the finish line carrying a relief pack weighing 1kg. Another popular category, the 10km Race Against Time also returned with meaningful prizes. The winners of the men’s and women’s category, Lars Fischer and Natalie Dau, each won a pair of Singapore Airlines tickets to the Philippines, where Mercy Relief has reached out to communities in need since 2006.

Group Managing Director of The Hour Glass, Mr. Michael Tay said, “As a third-year participant, I have witnessed not just an increase in runners’ participation, but also an increase in the number of relationships forged with individuals and companies across different sectors. These partnerships allow an exchange of expertise and a shared, steadfast commitment to show compassion and spread a message of inclusion from here in Singapore, to our neighbouring countries”.

Furthermore, the event was also a platform for the public to learn more about Mercy Relief, as they showcased partners from the ground and innovations used in the field. Participants were guided through an exhibition that included shelters, water filtration kits, as well as solar lamps often deployed on the ground.

Zhang Tingjun, Executive Director of Mercy Relief, said. “As we celebrate our nation’s birthday this week, we take this opportunity to remind ourselves of how far we’ve come as a nation that is built upon the values of compassion and kindness. From small daily acts of goodwill, to volunteering, or even simply getting together to raise awareness and understand what disaster survivors have to experience; every action helps the most vulnerable in societies. At this year’s Ground Zero Run for Humanity, the production of the runners’ entitlements from the Finisher’s Medals to the Tote Bags, benefited communities across Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.”