THE first runner in the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB)-Sungai Buloh Hospital jointly organised Red Ribbon, Ride and Run (4R) crossed the finish line at 53 seconds over half an hour.
The 10km event organised in conjunction with World AIDS Day 2014, saw nearly 1,000 participants in six categories — Men and Women Open categories, Men and Women Veterans categories as well as two closed 7km categories for staff from the organising bodies.
The run started from the KTMB headquarters along Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, with KTMB technical senior vice-president Hilmi Mohamad and Sungai Buloh Hospital director Dr Khalid Ibrahim taking turns to fire the starting pistol.
Aside from the run, students from several private higher education institutes, including Universiti Malaya, Taylor’s University, Help University and Mahsa University also put up educational booths and fun events for those who were not running.
Students manning the booths handed out brochures, as well as displays to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS.
In between, they put on group dance performances, while onlookers were also treated to an awe-inspiring acrobatic teh tarik pouring display.
Policeman Kpl Shahrudin Hashim, who crossed the finish line at 30:53, was closely followed by his colleague Venugopal Rajendran.
“This is a refresher after resting for three weeks. My main aim was to keep 9km within the 30 minutes time frame,” said Kpl Shahrudin, after participating in the mid-November Penang Marathon.
Caroline Wong, who crossed the finish line in 47mins to place first in the Women’s Open category, said it was a different approach to promoting public awareness of HIV/AIDS.
Wong, who also volunteers with the Kuala Lumpur AIDS Support Services Society (Klass), said the last time KTMB and Sungai Buloh Hospital had collaborated on a similar event was two years ago, but on a smaller scale.
“It’d be nice if we can grown this event, and it is a great way to raise awareness, rather than the normal exhibitions, because a run reaches out to more participants, who otherwise would not know about World Aids Day,” said Wong.
Both Dr Khalid and Wong said World AIDS Day and such events went some ways in helping to dispel the stigma AIDS patients face each day.
“With anti-retroviral drugs to manage the disease, AIDS patients can still have a meaningful life,” said Dr Khalid.