GEORGE TOWN: Rise and shine, and walk!
For the 20,000 people who took part in Penang Starwalk 2018, which is into its 41st year, there was also the chance to take in the scenic views of Gurney Drive and Straits Quay during the event.
It was an enthusiastic crowd who came in good spirits and even costumes.
As for A. Janeni, whose father pushed her in a wheelchair, she was keen on joining Penang Starwalk as she had heard so much about it from family members and friends.
“This is my first Starwalk and it is really nice,” said a delighted Janeni, 31, who was born with a rare congenital anomaly.
She was thrilled when her parents S. Anand, 66, and E. Patricia, 58, registered her for the walk.
Anand, a retired police officer, said they wanted her to experience the event.
“My wife and I had participated in Starwalk over the years. We thought it was time for Janeni to come and experience it.
“She can walk for only short distances and it has to be a flat surface as she also has orthopaedic issues,” he said, adding that his grandson A. Sudarshen, 10, came along too.
A family of four who came in specially designed costumes also caught the attention of people.
Hotel housekeeping staff Zamduka Mat Kamis, his wife Rozita Rahim, both 35, and their two children, Mohd Akif, eight, and Balqis Zulaikha, five, were cheered on by others.
“I have been taking part in Starwalk since 2000 when it was held at the Esplanade back then.
“Once I had a family, we began participating together.
“We started dressing up in costumes designed with the Penang flag and Jalur Gemilang since Starwalk is held close to Malaysia Day on Sept 16.
“This time, it is near National Day and is extra special because we have a new government,” said Zamduka.
The 7km non-competitive walk was flagged off by Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas at 7am from Gurney Paragon Mall, the venue provider under Hunza Properties (Penang) Sdn Bhd.
He was accompanied by Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and state Youth and Sports Committee chairman Soon Lip Chee.
Sharing the stage were Penang Starwalk 2018 chairman and Star Media Group regional operations general manager (north) Simone Liong, Star Media Group executive editor Rozaid Abdul Rahman, YTL Corporation Bhd executive director Datuk Yeoh Soo Keng, Hunza Group managing director Datuk Khor Siang Gin and Penang Amateur Athletics Association (PAAA) president Datuk Syed Mohd Aidid Syed Murtaza.
Yeoh said YES, the mobile Internet and voice service provider under YTL Communications, was happy to sponsor Starwalk throughout the years.
“YES will be fully covered in three major cities, namely Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Johor by Malaysia Day, and soon the whole nation.
“With our network coming up in Penang, we look forward to bringing the best connectivity to Penang in a short time,” she said.
Penang Starwalk 2018 is organised by Star Media Group with the cooperation of the PAAA, Penang Island City Council, state Education Department and the police.
YTL Communications Sdn Bhd is the event’s platinum sponsor.
The US Department of Agriculture is the gold sponsor, while Eastern & Oriental Bhd, F&N Beverages Marketing Sdn Bhd, Wiitrac Elevator Sdn Bhd and Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd are the silver sponsors.
The event saw a host of fun activities and freebies awaiting participants upon crossing the finish line.
Among them were fitness games and booth activities and the much-anticipated Starwalk Contest that featured prizes worth RM100,000.
There was also a presentation of book vouchers to schools with the highest number of entries.