In conjunction with Glad Tidings Petaling Jaya’s (GTPJ) 50th Anniversary celebration, the church organized Love PJ Run to mark the end of the Interchurch Sports Carnival on July 6.
From as early as 6am, some excited participants from more than 10 churches arrived at Dataran Petaling Jaya, the starting location, to do their warm-ups in preparation for the 3KM or 5KM runs. An estimated 1700 participants from all ages came for the event. Besides runners and walkers, there were cyclists as well.
“Today, we are running together. There’s such a unity among churches now,” said Senior Pastor Vincent Leoh of GTPJ in his opening speech.
“This is not an ordinary run, but we are running for the community and nation. In this run, we declare that we love PJ,” exclaimed Pastor Vincent. He encouraged participants to bless every building and workforce they see as they pass through the community.
The crowd was wild with anticipation as families of the young and old stood behind the starting line. Participants passed through many well-known landmarks such as Amcorp Mall, Crystal Crown Hotel, Bukit Bintang Boys Secondary School, Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital, Hilton PJ, Stamford College, Assunta Secondary School, La Salle School, etc.
Some runners performed quite competitively in their running records. In merely 19 minutes and 35 seconds, 15-year-old Dexter Yap from SIB KL reached the finishing line first in the 5KM route.
“I was encouraged by my father to join this run. Although I feel good being first, I wanted my run to be faster,” said Dexter who is also a state runner of KL.
25-year-old Joseph Joe Kulube from SIB KL as well came in second. Joseph is an international student from Botswana studying in UCSI.
“Running this way is quite ‘heavy’ for me because I haven’t been running in the past year,” Joseph said modestly.
Next, Dan Sapp hailing from Mississippi in the United States and currently worshipping in PJEFC came in third place.
“I was staying up watching tennis all night and slept at 4am. I just woke up 2 hours later and came for this run.” said Dan with a sense of humor. He is studying for a degree in Exercise Science in Malaysia.
Phyllis Liew from Glad Tidings was the first woman runner to arrive!
“I run on alternate days. I am joining the PJ run for charity and also for my passion in running,” said Phyllis.
Dr Lum Peck Yoong from PJEFC, who emerged as the fifth runner in the 5KM route, is nearing her sixties, She is as fit as a fiddle and breezed through the race better than many younger participants.
“I do not run competitively but I run at my own pace. I feel really excited to know new friends from other churches in a relaxed manner,” said Dr Lum.
As runners streamed into the finishing line, they were greeted and cheered by the roar of other runners who have already completed their race, together with the supportive and vocal organizers from GTPJ.
A toddler, Jethro Heong, who just started walking, was held by his mother by the arms, took baby steps to the finishing line. The proud father, Stevie Heong, walked behind pushing his unoccupied pram.
What was equally inspiring was seeing the oldest participant, 82-year-old Gan Chut from GTPJ, who walked the 3KM route with her daughter, Connie Tan, approaching the finishing line. Rev Julie Khoo of GTPJ welcomed her with a firm handshake and congratulated her, saying, “Poh Poh! You made it to the finished line. You’re so strong!”
The runners were given a goodie bag each for their participation.
The prize-giving ceremony for the Interchurch Sports Carnival 2013 winners was also held at the same location after all the runners returned to Dataran Petaling Jaya. FGA emerged as the overall winner for the sports event which started on June 9, followed by DUMC & SIB at joint second place.
With so many runners from so many churches, all ages and all walks of life, we could truly see the body of Christ coming together as one for the community. Perhaps we can also look forward to future joint efforts to hold runs in other areas in the state such as Cheras, Shah Alam, Kajang and Klang.
“We may do the runs in other places in the future too. To organize a successful run takes a lot of effort, but let’s see what the church and organizing committee say,” said Sean Chan, chairman of Love PJ Run committee in GTPJ.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed! Who knows? The next run could be just round your neighborhood.
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