Friends of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very good afternoon.
2 In less than 48 hours, the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2011 will wave off a record 65,000 runners on a race through some of Singapore's most breathtaking neighbourhoods and landmarks.
3 I would like to extend a warm welcome to all our elite runners who are joining us this year. 26 elite runners from five countries will be testing their mettle at the Full Marathon. This is the highest number of elite marathoners we have had running at SCMS. I am happy to see that the 2010 Champions, Irene Jerotich Koskei and Kenneth Mburu Mungara, are back this year. Given the calibre of the returning champions and new contenders, it could very well be a photo finish.
4 However I am going to make only one prediction today. It is going to be a great marathon for all runners thanks to the combined efforts of our 31 official sponsors and partners, the more than 100 people from SSC and Spectrum Worldwide who have spent the past 12 months planning and organising the event, and the 7,000 volunteers who have been mobilised for race day.
5 134 people from SSC will also be running the race this year. Whether we?re organising or whether we're running, we all invest resources and time in the marathon because we believe that the race brings out the best in us. It develops our winning spirit - which isn't just about taking home a medal. A winning spirit comes from a place of hope and belief that we can surpass our own expectations. Singapore needs more of this kind of spirit.
6 This year, some SCMS marathoners will be running to support a good cause. Our 2011 slogan is Run for a Reason. Our national team athletes, Team Singapore, have been committed to giving back to greater Singapore, and I am delighted to see the marathon employ sport as a means of caring for the community as well. To date, we have more than 300 fundraisers listed on the GIVE.sg website who are using the SCMS to raise money for more than 50 charities. As Chairman of this year's organising committee, I want to say thank you to all of our fundraisers and best of luck.
7 Of course, luck alone will not lead to new benchmarks. So, this year, we launched a host of activities to help people train smarter. Our Facebook page has been an interactive platform for runners to exchange advice and ideas. The road shows and training clinics provided more opportunities for runners to share their experience and build camaraderie. Feedback tells us that people made great use of the training sessions and downloadable workouts by Racer's Toolbox as well.
8 We listened to what runners had to say last year about the congestion points along the routes and we have taken measures to ease congestion at the merge point of all three routes as part of our commitment to improve the race experience. The baggage collection point for the full marathon has also been moved for easier access, and is now conveniently situated at the War Memorial Park.
9 Many different groups contribute to the marathons' success. SSC, MCYS and SAA provide the organisational expertise. Standard Chartered Bank's financial support and passion for the marathon is a shining example of how Corporate Singapore can contribute to our national agenda. Standard Chartered has been a loyal friend and contributor to Sporting Singapore for many years. We want to see more companies supporting sport in the belief that it helps develop character and bond our communities.
10 I also would like to thank stakeholders such as the Orchard Road Business Association, Chinatown Business Association, Traffic Police, Land Transport Authority and several residential committees. Their cooperation has been invaluable in organising road closures for the race, resulting in a safe running experience for everyone.
11 Two key stakeholders, SMRT and SBS Transit, are operating the train lines overnight throughout this weekend, allowing runners, volunteers and supporters to get to their destinations on time this Sunday. New sponsor BMW has been actively involved in several race initiatives for our runners while ASICS outfitted every participant with the event apparel for the second year in a row. Last but not least, the recent initiative by Tiger Balm in sponsoring a runner to the New York City Marathon truly underscores their unequivocal commitment and support to local marathoners.
12 SSC hopes to earn Gold Label status from the IAAF for SCMS. This international recognition would enhance the reputation of our marathon. Thanks to our shared contributions, I am confident that we can achieve our aspirations to position the SCMS alongside the likes of the New York, Beijing, Tokyo, Berlin and London Marathon.
13 On that note, I wish all runners fair weather and great runs. I will see you at the starting line on Sunday.
14 Thank you.