Lynn Yap Runs to Make a Difference

Lynn Yap, an avid runner. tells us why she finds satisfaction in combining her healthy lifestyle and volunteering.


53-year-old Lynn Yap is a volunteer with Runninghour, a club that uses sports and running as a way to integrate special needs people with the general public. An avid runner herself, she tells us why she finds satisfaction in combining her healthy lifestyle and volunteer work.

Q. What made you interested in helping out with Runninghour?

Lynn: I was attracted by a Facebook post, where Runninghour was promoting their Blindfold Run two years ago. I love to run and wanted to do something meaningful too, so Runninghour was the perfect match.

I signed up for the induction program to learn more about guiding special needs runners. I remember the Blindfold Run was a week later and I was tasked to take care of two intellectually-challenged youth in their early twenties. They could run much faster than me, and when we were at Gardens by the Bay going to Marina Barrage, they winked at each other to slow down for me when they saw me struggling to keep up with their pace!

After the race, I joined Runninghour for their Saturday training sessions and was assigned to different running buddies. I found out many of them look forward to training and are always happy to mingle around with the guides and other runners.

Q. What do you find most satisfying about helping out with Runninghour?

Lynn: Seeing my running buddies complete the races, especially when they happily show you their finishing medals. Their smiles are priceless.

Through Runninghour, I did things I never thought I could do, for example finishing the Spartan race, trying out dragon boating and attending the F1 night races. Seeing special needs runners and guides become friends is also heart-warming.

Q. How do you balance your work, family and volunteer work time?

Lynn: I hardly did any physical activity in my youth. I had a pretty normal life, and am married with three children.

I started running when I was in my late forties only because I had to participate in a weekly run at my place of work, seven years ago.

It became more serious when I joined my first Sundown 10km run six years ago with the encouragement from my sister, and I completed it! I was motivated and felt a sense of satisfaction for someone who didn't like to exercise at all.

I am 53 years old now and I want to carry on running as long as and as far as my feet can carry me. I plan my volunteer work on Saturdays, and on Sunday mornings I will go for training with my running club, F1 Runners at McRitchie Reservoir. My husband will usually go there for a run with his friends, and we will have breakfast together.

Q. How do you think society can be more inclusive of people with disabilities?

Lynn: I think generally people are compassionate but they don't know how to approach these special needs people.

When I did my first volunteering work at Mindsville four years ago, I was quite nervous. Then when I came to know Runninghour two years later, I was more prepared and strongly believe that each one of us can make this world a better place.

I am very happy to see that more special needs families are coming forward to share their success stories with the media. With the combined efforts, we all can play a part to make a difference in people's lives every day.

Runninghour 2017 takes place this year on 13 May at Bedok Reservoir. This edition of the run will focus on pushing an important message to the people with special needs in our community – that it is possible for them to embark on a more active lifestyle. Runninghour will offer complimentary slots to special needs participants to encourage them to join in the event. This tradition has enabled Runninghour to see more special needs runners, from 200 participants in 2015 to close to 400 in 2016.

The public can also take part in the ‘Blindfold’ run – which is the signature feature of Runninghour’s events. To truly experience the challenges faced by special needs runners, participants are encouraged to try running in pairs, with one blindfolded and the other assisting as a guide with the help of a tether band.

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