Over 5,000 walk, run and cycle for noble cause
Syazwani Hj Rosli

A run for the education of underprivileged children in Brunei was held yesterday at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium, which was one of the biggest charity runs in Brunei this year. Charity runs in Brunei have had amazing responses and yesterday's event saw more than 5,000 participants in BIBD's fundraising event of the year, the Charity Expedition for Advocating Life-Long Learning for an Aspiring Future (CE-ALAF) programme.

The inaugural charity expedition aimed to provide opportunities for the participants to play a major part in helping underprivileged children to stay in school. Running and cycling enthusiasts of all ages came together for a single cause, raising money for charity.

The ALAF Programme, which was initiated by BIBD CSR, aimed to provide opportunities for educational progression to underprivileged students. The charity expedition, which carried the tagline "One Step, One Pedal, One Education" hoped to inspire people to perform good deeds for the community.

Starting and finishing at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium, it began with a warm up session conducted by GetFitCrossFit before participants set off on their expedition.

Around 350 cyclists enjoyed their ride in the 53km cycling expedition led by Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, as well as the Chairman of BIBD, an avid cyclist himself.

Participating and supporting the charity run were HRH Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah, HRH Princess Fadzilah Lubabul Bolkiah and YAM Pengiran Muda Abdul Mu'min as well as Cabinet Ministers, deputy ministers, permanent secretaries and other senior officials from the government as well as private sectors.

The 21km half-marathon was flagged-off by guest of honour Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong, the Minister of Education, also a key partner of the BIBD ALAF Programme.

The half-marathon run posed a serious challenge yesterday even to experienced runners. Also participating in the half-marathon was Haji Noorishanuddin bin Haji Noor Kaseh, a special needs individual who despite being wheelchair-bound was determined to complete the run.

Later, the second flag-off was held for the 10km runners as soon as the horn was sounded by Hjh Noraini binti Haji Sulaiman, BIBD's Chief Financial Officer. The start of the 10km run saw 1,000 participants taking part and it served as an event to identify emerging talents that can be nurtured for the future.

As for the 5km and 2.5km Fun Run, Ak Hafiy Tajuddin Pg Rositi and Maziah Mahusin, Brunei's young Olympians, were invited to flag-off the categories respectively. These categories saw 3,300 runners taking part.

Those who chose not to participate in the run also enjoyed the carnival with many stalls selling a wide variety of food and beverages as well as offering fun games and other entertainment.

The event also saw more than 200 lucky draw prizes given away to the participants.

Prizes to the winners of the 10km and 21km run were handed by Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Yahya.

The Charity Expedition for ALAF was jointly organised in partnership with the Ministry of Education, DSignku Enterprise, Brunei Press Sdn Bhd, AdXpert Marketing, Orchid Garden Hotel, Cityneon Brunei, Ezy Printing, Pusat Ehsan, Aewon Brunei and GetFitCrossFit.

The organisers of the event thanked the sponsors for making the event successful such as Fajr Capital, the event's Platinum Sponsor; Silverlake and Syarikat Takaful Brunei Sdn Bhd, the Silver Sponsors; as well as RBA who sponsored tickets for the 21km winners to Melbourne, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Around 500 personnel from the Royal Brunei Police Force, RIPAS, JPMC, HEART, KatakIjau, management and staff of BIBD volunteered to ensure that the event ran smoothly. - Borneo Bulletin (15 October 2012)