I thought that the @yellowribbonsg run was a meaningful one to sign up for, not least cos I have a few prison officer friends, 2 pastors who were former inmates, and many friends who help out in the Prisons Fellowship Singapore and provide counselling services to inmates and their families.
We have also been participating in the Angel Tree hamper project, supported by our church. What this involves is volunteering to sponsor and deliver food hampers to the families of inmates every December.
So when some of my friends mooted going for this run as a reunion for our course, I signed up once registration opened.
And purchased some “wings” to go along with it!
Unfortunately there was a massive jam around 7am, and I only reached the start area around 755am, after flag off for the 5km run had taken place at 745am. The hubs had kindly agreed to send me there, but along the way as we crawled in the jam, we saw how most people who went via public transport had hopped off the buses and decided to walk to the start area instead. The exercise began slightly earlier than intended!
Finally, I reached the actual start gantry, and started to jog in a bid to find my friends who had already started. They were walking, so in less than 10 minutes, I met up with them at the 1km mark. Some 8000 people participated in the race this year, and I was heartened to see people of all ages, from all walks of life, coming together to support this worthy cause, to stand up and be counted as a Yellow Ribbon believer.
Overall, I thought the race was pretty well organised. Apart from the usual drinks stations, there was even a mist station – the first time I had seen one! Very fun to walk through this “cloud forest” haha.
I thought it was especially sweet to see daddies walking with their daughters. There were quite a number of young children, and even a group with kids in strollers.
Finally, we arrived at the main prison site, which was also near the finish area.
And here was a photographer, with a sotong on his head. We later surmised that this was to draw the best smiles for his lens! Clever trick.
My friends decided to complete this with a leisurely brisk walk, so we made it comfortably to the finish line!
The 10km route was certainly more arduous, with many twists and turns, including within the prison complex. Grateful to the prison authorities who pull out the stops to make this happen each year, as the amount of security and logistics involved is definitely non-trivial. But it goes to show how committed they are to rehabilitation, and to ensuring that their wards get a good chance at a second lease of life once they have paid their dues.
As for me, the most welcome sight was the Milo Truck at the Carnival after the finish line!
Ice cold MILO……….. always the best.
Ultimately, it was certainly a meaningful morning.
In an unforgiving society like ours, let’s be people who speak out for the right for second chances. Because after all, we ourselves have been redeemed at a price.