SCB half-marathon kicks off Sunday

National 3 minutes, 30 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

WITH only one day left to go before Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) Brunei kicks off its first ever half-marathon, its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) said preparations are running smoothly and hopes participants will "savour the moment" and enjoy the race.

Speaking to The Brunei Times in an interview at the bank's headquarters yesterday, Lai Pei-Si said the over 4,000 participants should prepare well and ensure they are 100 per cent healthy before the race.

"Drink lots of water and be hydrated along the way. We will make sure we have enough water stations," she said.

The CEO said as of Thursday, 1,700 participants have already collected their race packs.

"This is really a departure from our previous years, where collection of race packs were done at the branches. This time (by doing it at the Indoor Stadium), it was an effort to improve on efficiency and, indeed, the first day has proven that it was received really well."

Lai said running marathons and doing work for the community has always been a great passion for SCB, and that this year's half-marathon is "extra special to us because we are growing from a charity run to a half-marathon. It is also very special to us because we are giving back to charity".

"We just really want to contribute positively to the community. Also, this marathon, like the previous ones, is to contribute back via donations to the Pengiran Muda Mahkota Al-Muhtadee Billah Fund for Orphans (DANA) and Seeing is Believing (SCB's global initiative project to help tackle avoidable blindness)."

Running marathons as an event is also part of the Standard Chartered World, Lai added.

"We are so passionate about it because these are the values of SCB, such as striving for excellence, thinking creatively, going according to your passion, being brave, doing something beyond what you would normally do; these are things we embody. Marathons actually represent all that, and it becomes a much more attractive community event that we want to run across the world," she said.

Meanwhile, the CEO said they are pleased to note that their participants have been growing in numbers since 2010.

"In 2010, we had 1,400 participants and in 2011, we had 2,100. This year, we have above 4,000 participants. So we are seeing an 83 per cent increase, and the great thing about this year is that while we have significant growth in local Bruneian runners, we also have participation from runners from 13 countries," she said.

In this regard, she said it is nice to not only grow in numbers, but also in the diversification of participation.

"We think this is truly because we made it a lot easier this year to sign up for registration, where we put up an online registration so people from around the world could also sign up."

"We (SCB) run nine marathons around the world and now the SCB marathon has become a brand name. When we placed ourselves on the web to say Brunei is putting up a half-marathon, we had people from 13 countries responding," she said, adding it was also a testament to all the great reasons why SCB runs these marathons across the world.

In concluding the interview, she expressed her thanks to runners and supporters for making the event become a reality.

"Without the runners and supporters, this would not have happened, and without you, the half-marathon would not have been born because you asked for it, and we gave it to you," she said.

Hopefully within the next two to three years, she hopes the organisation will be able to bring the full-marathon to Brunei.

"We would also like to thank many parties involved in making the SCB Brunei half-marathon possible this year: the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the Athletics Association, the Municipal Board, police, among others, and our main sponsors Total E&P Borneo BV and TelBru. We would also like to thank our volunteers, comprising more than 500, for helping us with the event," she said.

For further details about the half-marathon, visit the official website www.scbruneihalfmarathon.com.

The Brunei Times