Saturday, September 07, 2013

Running allowed at Chek Jawa?

While waiting for the monthly Naked Hermit Crabs guided walk to begin at Chek Jawa's information kiosk, some of us noticed runners donned in lime green t-shirts running into Chek Jawa Wetlands. They turned into the steep down sloped gravel terrain, which leads them towards the Tg Chek Jawa Muslim Cemetery and the back mangrove.

Running down the gravel slope.
Some runners were blasting music away as they entered Chek Jawa and running pass right in front of us. They took it as a joke when told to off the blasting music.
Runners running into Chek Jawa
There were some directional makers tied to trees to indicate the running route. The logo reads "K5 Kampung Run".
Directional signage.
It was simple to do a search and obtain information about this race. A search on Google brings me to a Facebook page for this event. You can read more about the event here.
Print screen of the page.
Here's a quote from the page about the event:
Back by popular demand, K5 KampungRun (Pulau Ubin) is a road and trail run specially designed to promote the love of kampung life, community bonding and runners who want a city getaway to experience the lost nature of Singapore. 
Proudly organized and guided by Team Kikikukiki, the route will bring participants thru the time tunnel into the 60’s where Atap houses are powered by diesel operated generators and drinking water from the wells. Paved forest trails at certain point of the run where you may see school of wild boars lazing around and through Chek Jawa’s boardwalk, Ubin’s enchanted mangrove swamp.

Do join us and invite your friends to enjoy the lush greeneries and freshness of the nature while running it Kampung style! 

Do join us and invite your friends to enjoy the lush greeneries and freshness of the nature while running it Kampung style! 
A photo posted on the page shows the route covers a loop round Chek Jawa, entering from the mangrove boardwalk and out the coastal boardwalk.
Running route.
Chek Jawa may not be a nature reserve, but it is one of the places where visitors come to enjoy and appreciate the flora and fauna of the place.

There are some points which I wish to highlight and question:

  1. With runners running through Chek Jawa, they frightened many animals away and some animals may not come out of their hiding place for a long time. 
  2. Will the boardwalk able to withstand such impacts from the runners running on them?
  3. What about the safety of the visitors along the boarwalk? The mangrove section of the boardwalk do no have railings and I have experience how aggressive runners can be when you get in their way.
  4. Do the organisers have the permission to allow this event to take place in Chek Jawa?
  5. Have the organisers thought of the possibility of disturbing the animals in Chek Jawa?
  6. Were there measures to educate runners of proper running etiquette (e.g. blasting of music, talking loudly... etc)?

Even at this very moment on Facebook, there is a group of concern people raising issues regarding The North Face 100 Singapore Run, which passes through the central catchment nature reserve with an overnight running event. 
Here's the screen shot of the feedback raised by the concerned people.
From TnF100 Facebook page
There have been 31 shares of this image to raise the awareness among friends how destructive to the environment this race can be. It was this very image and hit the nail on my head and made me thinking how destructive running events can be. Thinking about the trampling of soil (which is compacts the soil and stops vegetation from growing), littering along the route, loud music and shouting pass the animals quiet home, and many more. I hope you can help to spread the awareness too.

Do we want to continue having such activities in our precious nature?

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