Total Pledged Amount (Base/Stretch): $400/$850
How the race went
So, I sent a team to represent Be An Idea at the recent Yellow Ribbon Prison Run 2017, the run to support ex-offenders’ integration back into society. It has taken me over a month to put pen to paper to reflect on this experience, but I now finally have a chance to do it. What follows are my musings on my personal experience of running 10km to support the fantastic work done by the Yellow Ribbon Project.
As a team, our challenge was to help raise funds by beating our personal best times and hitting our stretch targets. Let’s get the timings out of the way first:
- Anthony Cailao: 1:08:37 (1:15/1:05)
- Andy Ong: 1:23:29 (1:20/1:30)
- Ramya Ragupathi: DNF
- Nadim van der Ros: 1:26:35 (1:20/1:10)
Out of the three of us that ran, Tony was the fastest while Andy was the only one to hit his target time (perhaps being more realistic by setting a time longer than his personal best). For those of you who pledged to donate to this cause, please do so here: https://www.giving.sg/campaigns/be_an_idea_runs_for_yellow_ribbon
This donation link will be open until 31 October 2017.
Having spoken with the lovely people at Yellow Ribbon previously, I remember them explaining to me that that they designed the course of the race to reflect the prisoner’s journey back toward reintegrating into society. There were even helpful quotes from ex-offenders and supporters to motivate runners along the way.
Personally, I have never experienced any time in prison, but I’m keen to share the ways in which the run allowed me to reflect on the challenges faced by ex-offenders that have completed their sentence when reintegrating into society.
While most sensible runners training for a race prepare themselves extensively for the challenge ahead, offenders rarely have that luxury and instead face the great challenge of reintegration without much support. For the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run 2017, I was not a sensible runner: I failed to adequately prepare for it and I definitely felt the consequences.
I had a painful 10km to reflect on why I was so ill-prepared to run the distance. Was it complacency? I mean, I’ve run longer distances in the past and I specifically kicked off my training with the intended distance to be sure that I could actually do it. But, despite my determination, work and personal commitments soon put pressure on my schedule so that the last weeks before the race, my training was less of a priority, leading me to simply not train.
“My agreement to participate in this race began to feel like an unwelcome interruption in my already busy schedule. As I reflected on this, I couldn’t help but wonder if these feelings were similar, in a much smaller scale, to what someone facing prison time might feel."
The first profound insight I gained from the run was that it comes down to choices and owning the consequences of those choices. It was my decisions that caused me to be ill-prepared for the run and I suffered because of them. Would I make the same choices if I had the chance to do it all over again? Very likely, as the choices and consequences were still the same - if I spent less time on my business and family, they would suffer instead.
But what if there were other options available to me, with just a little help from the community? Would I make the same choices?
What I love about the Yellow Ribbon Project is that it seeks to create more options for ex-offenders than the ones they had when they went into prison. Through training and rehabilitation, mentoring and support, these guys and gals work to make sure that they can give as many ex-offenders as possible the opportunity to change their narrative.
If I’m completely honest, I like the Yellow Ribbon team a little less for the course they designed for the run itself. It’s a nasty little course that has plenty of long ups and downs. And when you reach the prison, as a 10k runner, your end goal is in sight but you still have a quarter of the race left to run. Poor placement of the 5km signage meant it was confusing for the 10km runners who thought they were nearing the end of the race. I even put a burst of energy and enthusiasm in for the last few hundred metres only to realise that this sign did not apply to me. Aside from taking its toll on me physically for the last couple of kilometres, it affected me psychologically - it made me angry. I imagine the possible similarities my experience has with ex-offenders in their journey towards reintegration.
It’s also tough knowing that the end is in sight and all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other. I realised that blame was fuelling my anger and it was telling me that I needed to develop a different attitude to get me across the finish line. I could blame the race designers, the course itself or the other runners for everything and anything, or I could just simply be tougher in strength of mind.
And here’s the second insight the run afforded me. In some ways, we look up to the most unlikely of people who are able to endure marathons or scale mountains. We respect them as leaders because their journey of hardship has made them stronger and more resilient. However, by doing the time that is given to them for their crimes, many ex-offenders undergo the same metamorphosis. This is where the Yellow Ribbon Project earns my respect. They step in to channel that positive energy and, through their work, they ask a different question: as a society, why aren’t we able to see the stronger men and women that come back to us after incarceration and leverage that strength to build a better community?
Not only does the Yellow Ribbon Project work with ex-offenders but they work to help change perceptions in the community around ex-offenders. They do this through their tireless work with employers, families and the community.
Look, in many ways, it was just a (poorly run) 10km race. But was there a deeper meaning to it? For me, there was. The final insight I gained from this experience was that everybody runs their own race, and it really is up to each person how they choose to run it. Some will have different finish lines. Some struggle and some thrive, and even this can vary at different stages of the race. But it’s reassuring to know that there are a group of folks that are working tirelessly to make sure that we all reach the finish line and that, in doing so, we all get a chance to change our narrative.
Be An Idea x YRP Prison Run 2017
personal best time-------------- 1h 20m
target time----------------------- 1h 10m
personal best time-------------- 30m
target time----------------------- < 30m
personal best time-------------- 1h 15m
target time----------------------- 1h 05m
personal best time-------------- 1h 20m
target time----------------------- 1h 30m
About the yellow Ribbon Project
Every year, over 9,000 ex-offenders are released from prison and rehabilitation centres only to find themselves stepping straight back into a second prison as they face a future of living with society’s mistrust, discrimination and sigma. The Yellow Ribbon Project is a Singaporean charity that exists to help unlock this second prison by creating awareness, generating acceptance and inspiring community action to aid ex-offenders and their families as they integrate back into community.
The Yellow Ribbon Project has organised the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run 2017, taking place on Sunday 17 September, to raise support for their life-changing rehabilitation and reintegration programmes. As Be An Idea firmly believes in second chances, we are proudly supporting the Yellow Project’s fantastic work by registering our own team of runners who will be participating in the 10km run.
But we need your help! We ask you to pledge your support for an individual runner by pledging an amount for a their Base Target Time and a Stretch Target Time. By supporting our runners and pledging to this wonderful cause, together we can impact thousands of lives for the better and truly give people a second chance at life. For more information about this event (time, locations, route, etc.) and the incredible work being done by the Yellow Ribbon Project, please visit http://yellowribbonprisonrun.sg/.
- Why is Be An Idea doing this?+-
- What does the money go to?+-
- Who is running?+-
- How does the pledge work?+-
- What is a base and stretch target?+-
- Do you take any money from the donation?+-
- Can I donate directly instead of pledging? +-
- When and where is the race?+-
- Can I come and support my runner?+-
- What if a team runner doesn’t run?+-
- Can I cancel my pledge?+-
1. Why is Be An Idea doing this?.
Be An Idea is a firm believer in second chances and we love raising funds and supporting charities and organisations that devote themselves to this fantastic cause. We are hugely confident in the work being done by the Yellow Ribbon Project and it is because of this that we are sending our own team of enthusiastic runners to represent Be An Idea at the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run 2017.
2. What does the money go to?
Every single cent raised will go directly to the Yellow Ribbon Fund to provide financial support for their fantastic services. These include:
- Rehabilitative and aftercare services for ex-offenders.
- Rehabilitation and reintegration support programmes for family members.
- Public awareness programmes to inspire community action.
3. Who is running?
We have chosen the most willing and eager runners to represent Be An Idea and give it their all at the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run 2017. You can check out each runner’s motivation for running on our main page and choose who you want to support.
4. How does the pledge work?
Don’t worry, we make this part as easy as possible! After reading all about our Be An Idea runners, simply fill in the form at the top of this page with your personal information and the runner you have chosen to support. Decide on the base and stretch targets that you want to set and the donation amount you are willing to pledge. That’s it!
The pledged amount won’t be collected until after the race and is dependent on whether your runner has achieved their target.
5. What is a base and stretch target?
The base target is the minimum time in which the donor expects their runner to complete the 10km.
The stretch target is an additional amount that the donor will give if the runner exceeds expectations and reaches this harder targeted time.
6. Do you take any money from the donation?
Be An Idea does not receive the funds directly. After the race has concluded, we will inform you of your runner’s time and email you a link to the giving.sg platform through which you can donate your pledged amount.
Alternatively, you can donate directly via giving.sg.
7. Can I donate directly instead of pledging?
Of course you can! You can do this by visiting this link: giving.sg.
8. When and where is the race?
The Yellow Ribbon Prison Race 2017 is taking place on Sunday, September 17. Flag-off is at 7.15am for the 10km race and at 7.45 for the 5km race. The start point is at SAF Field, Farnborough Road (near Changi Village). For the full race route, visit http://yellowribbonprisonrun.sg/
9. Can I come and support my runner?
Absolutely! We would love to see you there and hear you shouting your support for our Be An Idea team! The start point is at SAF Field, Farnborough Road (near Changi Village) but as this is expected to be very busy, we recommend that you come and support them as they cross the finishing line. For the full race route, visit http://yellowribbonprisonrun.sg/
10. What if a team runner doesn’t run?
If, for any reason, your runner does not run on the day, we will not expect the donor to honour their pledge. Of course, donating the base amount would still be greatly appreciated!
You don’t want to miss out on the chance of supporting this great cause!