Friday August 3, 2012
Annual affair to meet old pals
N. ANNADURAI has literally seen the Penang Starwalk grow in the number of participants over the years.
He has, after all, took part in the annual event since it was introduced in 1978 when he was just in his 20s.
Annadurai, now 59, said he only missed the event once — two years ago — due to a downpour.
“It was raining heavily. That was why I had to give it a miss although I had registered for it,” he said after signing up for Penang Starwalk 2012 at the Star Northern Hub.
Annadurai, who is a project manager in a freight forwarding company, recalled that the walk was initially flagged off from the Esplanade before the venue was moved to the Penang International Sports Arena and now to the Penang Times Square.
“Throughout the years, the number of participants has increased. What keeps me doing it all these years is because of the crowd. I can make new friends and it’s a good chance for me to meet up with old friends again,” he said.
The avid walker also lauded The Star for incorporating a heritage trail in the walk, saying that this would help promote tourism.
Also signing up at the Star Northern Hub yesterday was businessman Pang Chai Hock, 44, who said he was looking forward to having a good time with his family and friends during the walk.
“My two close friends and their families will be joining my family in the walk. It’s our first time and my three kids are excited about it,” the Bukit Mertajam resident said.
Pang said the event provided a good opportunity for family bonding.
“Family bonding is important. Otherwise, the kids will just stay indoors and end up facing the computer everyday. It’s not healthy,” he added.
Another person, who finds the walk a good avenue for family bonding, is undergraduate Beh Poh Lay.
Beh, 23, hopes to have a memorable time with her 59-year-old mother Goh Bee Keow at the Sept 17 event. Both are taking part for the first time.
Beh said they were looking forward to a relaxing stroll together while seeing the heritage landmarks in George Town along the route.
“I used to be very busy with university course work and spends little time with my mother,” said Beh, who is a final-year student in Universiti Sains Malaysia.
They submitted their entry forms for the non-competition category at The Star Pitt St. at Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling.
Also signing up there was goldsmith Lam Lay Guan, 67, who said that Starwalk was a great chance for him and his old friends to get together.
“Such opportunity does not come by easily these days,” said Lam, who submitted 15 entry forms for himself and his friends.
“I used to take part as a competition walker in the past but I prefer to join the non-competition category along with my friends as we can walk at leisure and catch up with one another,” he said.
Penang Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas will flag off the walk at Birch House, Penang Times Square, at 6.30am on Sept 17, a replacement public holiday for Malaysia Day that falls on Sunday.
The route for non-competition walkers is 6km while it is 10km for competition walkers.
This year’s non-competition route covers several new heritage and historical sites apart from the traditional landmarks such as Fort Cornwallis, St George’s Church, Goddess of Mercy Temple, Kapitan Keling Mosque and Sri Mahamariamman Temple.
The new sites include Sia Boey Market, Tan Kongsi, Chew/Lee Jetties, Wisma Yeap Chor Ee, Customs Building (formerly Malayan Railway Building), Logan Heritage, The Whiteaways Arcade, Pinang Peranakan Mansion and Masjid Melayu Lebuh Acheh.
The walk is jointly organised by The Star and Penang Amateur Athletics Association and endorsed by the state Education Department and Penang Municipal Council.
Participants, who complete the route within a two-hour time limit, will be eligible for a lucky draw which promises attractive prizes.
Registration fee is RM10 for non-competition walkers and RM15 for competition walkers.
Entries for competition and non-competition walkers will close on Aug 15 and Sept 3 respectively, or when the targeted 20,000 has been reached.
The public can register at Star Northern Hub in Bayan Lepas or The Star Pitt St. at 15, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling (9am-5pm daily including weekends and public holidays), The Star Seberang Jaya at 19A, (first floor), Jalan Todak 3 (Bandar Sunway), Pusat Bandar Seberang Jaya (9am-5pm on weekdays) or at the Penang Times Square information counter (10am-10pm daily).
They can also sign up online at http://sites.thestar.com.my/starwalk. For enquiries, call Eric Voon at 04-6473388 ext 3021 during office hours or 012-5851612 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).