Emerge’s most defining event, Running Man 2013, gathered almost 1,000 youth in a mega game of tag and more. One “running man” lives to tell the tale.
By Eugene Teh
“Isn’t that Zhenfong, my junior from secondary school?” I asked myself as I reached Marina Barrage on the bright sunny afternoon of Mar 17. “And isn’t that Ambrose, my sister’s cell group member?”
In no time at all, I quickly spotted many friends from church whom I had not met for a long time since joining City Harvest 10 years ago. And that’s the thing when my editors send me to cover church events solo—you’re never truly alone in this spiritual family. Within half an hour before the event started, I was already having a good time chatting with friends.
Reconnecting with long-lost friends, making new ones, and bonding with cell group members are just one part of the package of the Emerge Running Man 2013 (hashtag #ERM on Twitter). The other part is the sheer adventure—messy, funny and altogether adrenaline-charged.
“Running Man 2013 is Emerge’s hallmark event. We have over a thousand participants as well as helpers gathered on this epic Sunday at Singapore’s iconic locations, Marina Barrage and Gardens by the Bay for our inaugural Emerge Running Man,” said zone supervisor and Emerge committee member Wayne Choong, as we leaned against a railing at Marina Barrage overlooking hundreds of youth streaming onto the scene in their dark green shirts.
Running Man events were organized last year but those had been held at zone levels, while this was organized on a church-wide scale.
The Emerge committee drew inspiration from the hit Korean weekly variety show of the same name, which pits teams of celebrities against each other in various game formats with different episodes.
Ever since Running Man first aired in 2010, it has made a mark on Singapore’s pop culture, garnering an avid following of teenagers and young adults alike with its irreverent game ideas and unscripted humor. “It’s a great way to engage with the youth in Singapore in an exciting and dynamic way,” remarks participant, Karuna Zoey Chua, 18, a junior college student.
“I wouldn’t mind being a participant in Running Man all over again! Thank you @CHCemerge committee for planning such a great event!! Thank You Jesus for a wonderful weather too!!” posted Chua on Instagram.
Registration was strictly open only to students from secondary school, JCs, and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) but still drew an impressive count of 816 participants. About 500 were CHC members, with the others being new friends. An army of 250 volunteer helpers were on hand to help run the show, rounding up the grand total of people involved to a whopping 1,060.
The event was divided into three parts— The Rush, The Race, and The Run. The Rush required teams to complete as many “missions” as possible at 30 stations located around Marina Barrage. One of the stations, the Clothes Rack Race, required players to wear articles of clothing hanging from a rack without removing them from the rack itself, and race another team.
Many started laughing even before wearing the items, only to burst into even louder guffaws upon the ludicrous sight of their peers and rivals with unnatural “extensions” scrambling to the finishing line.
Another station that drew much laughter was the Photo Zone, where players had to squeeze out their opponents while fitting in as many of their own team members into the sweet spot within the boundaries of a table-sized frame at the very moment the shutters clicked on a pre-timed camera.
The second phase, The Race, required participants to decipher the secret final location of the event by solving a series of problems at seven pit-stops. “It was so fun to see people screaming for joy during those ‘eureka!’ moments as they solved clue after clue. I could really feel their excitement as they got one step closer to the final point of the race,” recounts volunteer helper and tertiary student Doris Kwoh, 21.
Unbeknownst to the participants as they converged for the last phase, The Run, at the meadows of Gardens by the Bay, 50 chasers were already in position, tasked to tear the name labels off the participants in a grand game of tag.
Not only did the latter have to steer clear of the chasers, they had to collect as many plastic bottles hidden throughout the meadows as they could to earn points.
I was one of the 50 chasers. And we were up against 816 of them. Thankfully, the meadow area was not very big; we were the predators and our prey was basically stuck in a “pen.” The participants were given a grace time of five minutes to hide.
Cries of “Catch him!” and “Run away!” from both factions filled the air. It was feeding frenzy for us. I myself eliminated 13 others, one of whom I sneaked up on as the poor quarry was taking a rest. Soon, the organizers could not resist themselves and entered the fray donning bandannas, ripping off name labels from participants who had yet to be taken out.
Says chairperson of the Emerge committee, Lee Yilun, “It was truly a spectacular event in more ways than one!”
Follow @CHCemerge on Twitter for updates on Emerge 2013!