Tue, 02 Aug 2011 08:19:18 GMT | By MSN Sports Malaysia

Senior citizen’s give back to the running community

Senior citizens dedicate their time as volunteers during the recent Standard Chartered KL Marathon.

Senior Citizens give back to the Running community

Senior citizens came to the fore as volunteers at the recent Standard Chartered KL Marathon run. Ng Keng Hoong or better known as Uncle Sunny, 68, the eldest among the veteran volunteers, was in charge of race pack packing and distribution. "I found out about volunteering from the official Standard Chartered KL Marathon website three years ago and since I have been volunteering in sporting events like the Commonwealth Games, KL and F1 Races, I thought that this would be fun," said the retiree who was formerly with KWSP.

"On top of that, I've already run 16 full marathon races in total. I thought it's time for me to utilise my experience in marathon running and contribute back to the running community," he added.

Conversely, Madam Leong, the youngest of the veteran volunteers in her 50s, joined the volunteer team for first time this year for the same tasks as Ng. "My friends encouraged me to join them this year and since I am an avid runner, I decided to do both!" says the 10KM participant.

These gung-ho senior citizens, are part of a huge community that dedicates their time to volunteering for small and large scale events around the country. Tan Swee Huah, in her 60s and has been volunteering since the inception of Standard Chartered KL Marathon in 2009, said that "With free time on our hands after retirement, volunteering seems like the best option to fill our time with a worthy cause. It is also a good way to meet like-minded people and expand our social circle." She, too, completed the 10km race.

She adds, "One would think we old ladies get tired easily but we lead active lives. We run each morning before our volunteer shifts which starts at 10am to 8pm. So it was not challenging at all to volunteer full time."

The volunteers, mostly passionate and experienced runners themselves, were able to anticipate the needs of the running community. Additionally, volunteering was their way of giving back to the running community to ensure participants were able to have successful run.

Words of wisdom by the senior citizens? Tan Swee Huah two cents worth was: "I believe that youths should start to volunteer to get a real sense of the world and to learn values such as teamwork, responsibility, punctuality and humility. Volunteering can also help the young people expand their social circle and adds value to their resume."

"Organisers should go to schools and colleges to meet these students and highlight the benefits of volunteering. It would be great to have some age variety in volunteers in the next marathon," adds Madam Leong.

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