Monday, November 3, 2014

Bub & Me: Singapore's First-Ever Hello Kitty Run!

After a long wait, we finally got to take part in Singapore's first Hello Kitty Run last Saturday! You have no idea how excited this Hello Kitty fan was!! :)

Don't ask me why I love Hello Kitty.. I just do. It might be because of her kawaii-ness, it might be because of her simple childhood innocence, it might also be because it reminds me of all the happy times when I lived in Japan and went around collecting everything from Hello Kitty mobile charms, to toiletries, to obento boxes, to handkerchiefs from all the provinces I visited, to pillows etc. It got so "bad" that whenever my friends wanted to give me omiyage or gifts, they just had to give me something Hello Kitty.

My close friends even gave me a whole box of Hello Kitty goods for my bachelorette party when I got married, no sexy lingerie haha. One day I'll write a post on all the Hello Kitty stuff I have.. erm, it might actually be a series of posts actually #hellokittyloversunite

This is the complete runners kit which included a pull-string haversack, a small special edition Hello Kitty plush toy, a box of Nestlé cornflakes, discount vouchers and temporary Hello Kitty tattoos.

Hello Kitty celebrates her 40th birthday in 2014 so that's why she has "40" on her runner's bib :)

This is the race route around Sentosa. You can see here for a larger map. I thought it was going to be 5km, but the actual distance is 4.2km. It was our family's first time having a fun run around Sentosa island.

Since the run started at 8am, the boy and I woke up pretty early to get ready. We wanted to reach by 7.15am since those that drove would have to park at Vivocity {start point was at Sentosa Gateway} and carpark lots are limited.

Thought Lil Pumpkin would sleep in later and I'll carry her to the car but she woke up early too. Guess she was just as excited as well! I pinned a Hello Kitty ribbon on her hair and brought along our Hello Kitty specs/ shades for the run hehe.

After parking, we went straight to the start line. There was already lots of people there! We couldn't get close enough to the front stage to see Dear Daniel present a bouquet of flowers to Hello Kitty or her birthday cake, but we did sing Happy Birthday to her together with the 17,000 run participants that day *grins*

Since we were so far back, I didn't have any hope of seeing Hello Kitty at the front line anymore after the first 2 waves left but luckily, she came back for our wave-off!!! Was really so thrilled!!! ハローキティちゃん大好~きだよ!!

うちだち、キティちゃんとディアダニエル。Close up of us with Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel. When we went pass the stage after the flag-off, Lil Pumpkin nearly got to shake hands with Hello Kitty!!! Too bad the boy was pushing the stroller and couldn't take a shot :/

Yup, we brought her stroller along since it was going to be a long distance. We've been to enough family runs to know that her walking and our carrying limit was only up to 3km haha. With a stroller around, we won't put undue pressure on ourselves and on her. She can just walk/run as much as she likes, then rest as much as she likes.

It was a good thing though as we were walking into a heavy storm!! See the rainclouds above??

At the starting line I was just telling the boy that I should have worn my Hello Kitty bodysuit.. if not, where would I ever have the chance to in Singapore again?? But thank goodness I didn't since I would have been such a soaking wet kitty!!!

Nearly missed the 800m check-point shot as I was expecting it at the 1km mark. Luckily the boy spotted it :)

Soon after that, the heavy rain came and thankfully, Lil Pumpkin was kept dry and safe inside her stroller.

The boy and I didn't mind the rain much as long as Lil Pumpkin was snug & covered so we continued on with the run and braved the rain without stopping to seek any shelter. We enjoyed the stroll actually as it gave us time to talk about a lot of stuff and enjoy each other's company. We haven't done such a silly thing as walking in the rain for a long time!

We reached the finish line after about 1.5hrs? Not sure.. didn't really take note.

The run ended at Siloso Beach where there was a big carnival featuring a live band performance, a fashion show with Hello Kitty themed apparels, Hello Kitty merchandise store, Instagram-printing booths, sand-castle building etc. Looked really fun, but we weren't in the mood to enjoy it though...

The finish line and the medal collection was the only frustrating part of the run actually, not the rain. There was a lot of confusion and misdirections, and we had to go back and forth for the medal collection 2-3 times. I very nearly wanted to give up and just return another day to collect the medals somewhere else... but then, a part of me didn't want to wait since we had already endured so much so we determined through and finally got our hands on our finishers' medals.

We've participated in other runs like Safari Zoo Run and Garfield Run by the same organiser so was pretty surprised at how the medal collection for Hello Kitty Run was handled. To be objective, I don't think the whole chaos can be solely blamed on their poor organisation skills because they've proven to us before that they can organise great runs.. even during this non-competitive run, there was effort shown by the organisers to make it enjoyable with the various balloon photo-taking points {oh Hello Kitty fans looooove to take photos no doubt!}, kawaii route markers, encouraging cheer-leaders who stayed on in the rain and sufficient water points.

Part of the blame really goes to those people that grabbed more medals than they should, or shouldn't even have gotten medals because they didn't even run. Where is the joy in getting a runner's medal if you didn't even run or complete the run???? And why turn this all into a fiasco just to make a few quick bucks selling the medals?? It just made everything so frustrating and disappointing for the rest of us who were already tired out.

That said, I hope the organisers learn from this to improve for next year's run {please make Hello Kitty Run an annual event!!} with a better wet weather contingency plan and training to the run crew {some were pretty clueless with the change in plans and others seemed inexperienced with medal distribution}. They should now know that when dealing with Hello Kitty fans, it's not on the same level as dealing with the usual runners :P  

Overall, I'm still glad that we got to take part in this. It was like a Hello Kitty lover's dream come true for me and I'm really happy to have shared this experience with my family. Despite the hiccups at the end, I'd definitely do it all over again.

If you haven't gotten your finishers' medals yet, see the Hello Kitty Run Singapore website or Facebook page for updates. Follow them if you're interested to run in this next year too. Prices start from S$65.

Read about the other fun activities we did with Lil Pumpkin or my list of Kid-Friendly places in Singapore.


Susan said...

So sad I missed it. My friends who went said it was not as bad as all the reports and they too enjoyed taking photographs and enjoying the Hello Kitty camaraderie with fellow Hello Kitty fans.

Masshole Mommy said...

How fun!! I love Hello Kitty! You guys look so cute, too!

Jean said...

Pity about the medal collection chaos, but I'd like to join with my 2 daughters next year if they have it. They love Hello Kitty too.

An Apel a Day said...

What a fun theme for a run. The theme alone makes running a little more interesting.

Ai Sakura said...

Susan: Hopefully you can make it next year with Sophie!

Masshole Mommy: thank you :)

Jean: Do go if they have it next year!

Alissa: Yeah especially for Hello Kitty fans haha

Stacy said...

Everything is just so cute!

(The Boy doesn't look half bad shirtless)

Unknown said...

Neat looking event. I bet it was loads of fun. My girls just adore Hello Kitty.

Adrine said...

What an awesome event!!! If this ever comes to KL, I'll be the first to sign up :-)

The medal is super cute too.