Bonding Through Running

Declan Teo and Freddy Tan stepped up to become volunteer trainers at SAFRA Jurong Running Club, which fosters camaraderie and bonding across generations.

By Yong Shu Chiang      14 March 2019

Running is for everyone, and running clubs are not just for “serious” runners. So says Declan Teo, 30, a finance manager and volunteer trainer with the SAFRA Jurong chapter of SAFRA Running Club. “I had been attending training quite regularly and was familiar with the training programmes,” says Declan, who started volunteering in July 2018.

The running club conducts training sessions on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, encompassing speedwork and tempo runs during weekdays, and long, slow, stamina-building distance runs on weekends. Training sessions may also involve yoga, aqua aerobics, circuit training and running drills. Declan’s fellow trainer, Freddy Tan, 50, is a father of two who juggles his day job as an accountant with volunteering at SAFRA. “We often talk about work and discuss training methods. Since Declan is a Fitness Specialist [NSman with 9th Division], he’s taught me more about core muscle training.”

Training sessions may include yoga for strength building.

According to Freddy, the club focuses on training for key running events. There is also friendly competition among the running clubs of the six SAFRA clubs. “My most memorable experience so far was the annual SAFRA Road Relay in 2016, when our club emerged as the overall champion!” says Declan.

Indeed, runners and their loved ones also come together for social activities to celebrate Chinese New Year, the Lantern Festival, Christmas and more. Declan adds that having enthusiastic members, including women and children, enables bonding across generations. “Yes, [older and younger NSmen] do share about our NS experiences. But we don’t just focus on these. Wetalk about anything from running tips to career advice,” he says.

Declan Teo (centre) and Freddy Tan (second from left) with fellow running club members.

He hopes that prospective new members do not feel intimidated to join the running club. “We want to promote running to everyone, of all age groups and fitness levels. We are really a ‘family’ of like-minded people.” For more info on SAFRA Running Club, visit