The New Paper Big Walk



The New Paper Big Walk is a walking event organised by The New Paper (TNP), a newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.1 First held on 16 June 1991 at the National Stadium, the event was attended by about 7,000 participants.2 Thereafter, it was held almost annually except in 2009 and 2013.3 The TNP Big Walk was last held on 26 November 2016 at the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, before the merger of TNP and My Paper took place in the following month.4

Inaugural walk
Before the TNP Big Walk started, there were other walking events organised by local newspapers, such as the Free Press Big Walk held in 1955, the Malay Mail Big Walk, the New Nation Big Walk and The Sunday Times/Shin Min Big Walk.5


The first TNP Big Walk, co-organised by the Singapore Amateur Athletic Association (SAAA),6 was held at the National Stadium on 16 June 1991. About 7,000 participants took part in the walk, setting a new record for the most number of participants since the New Nation Big Walk in 1982 with 4,800 participants.7 Participants competed in six categories: men’s and women’s open (no age limit), junior boys and girls (20 years old and below), and men’s and women’s veterans (35 years old and above).8

The flag-off occurred at 7.35 am at the west entrance of the National Stadium, where the 10-kilometre route began. Participants proceeded to Mountbatten Road, Marine Parade Road and East Coast Road before completing the walk back to the west entrance of the stadium.9 Apart from prizes for the winners in the six categories, participants who completed the walk within two hours received coupons for a free T-shirt and sandwich, and were eligible for a lucky draw with prizes worth up to S$70,000. Those who did not complete the walk in two hours received a free sandwich.10

Subsequent Big Walk events
1992 to 2006
The TNP Big Walk became an annual event organised by TNP until it skipped a year in 2007 due to the closure of the National Stadium, where the event had been held for 16 years since the first edition in 1991.11 The walk usually took place in May, except in 2003, when it was postponed to September due to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak in Singapore.12


For the first 16 editions of the walk from 1991 to 2006, the route for the event had begun and ended at the National Stadium.13 The route was first changed in 1993 to include more two-lane roads in order to accommodate the larger number of participants.14 It was subsequently moved from Raffles Boulevard to Nicoll Highway in 1998 until 2006, although it skipped Nicoll Highway in 2004 due to the highway’s collapse in April that year.15

Before 1998, the TNP Big Walk was a competitive event where all participants, be they casual walkers or serious competitors, registered as contestants.16 In 1998, participants were divided into two categories – competitive and non-competitive (or fun walkers) – with different registration fees.17 Since the walk was a non-profit event, proceeds from registration fees went to selected charities in Singapore adopted by TNP. For instance, in 1997, the proceeds went to the SAAA and the Down Syndrome Association.18

The event also saw support from sports and health organisations in Singapore. From 1991 to 2000, the SAAA had co-organised the walk with TNP.19 The Singapore Sports Council joined as a co-organiser from 1995 to 2000 in an effort to promote walking as a form of exercise.20 In 1995, the Ministry of Health sponsored S$300,000 worth of T-shirts for participants in a bid to promote a healthy, non-smoking lifestyle.21 The National Committee on Healthy Lifestyle endorsed the Big Walk in 1998.22

The number of participants for the walk grew over the years. In 1992, the number exceeded the 10,000 mark, reaching about 15,000.23 In 1998, the walk became the biggest walking event in the world with 69,030 registered participants, based on a survey conducted by sporting company Reebok.24 In 1999, with 76,000 participants, the walk was unofficially recognised as the biggest walking event in the world.25

The TNP Big Walk was officially recognised as The World’s Largest Walk by the Guinness Book of Records when it celebrated its 10th anniversary on 21 May 2000, with an overwhelming 77,500 participants.26 As at 2016, the Big Walk still held the Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Walk.27

Participants could take part as individuals or in groups.28 Many came with babies, toddlers or pets in tow, with some even dressing up in superhero or fruit costumes.29 Registered participants received goodie bags and qualified for lucky draws with attractive prizes such as cars, cameras and watches to be won.30 Events, such as health talks and free health screenings, were also organised for participants.31

In 2006, the TNP Big Walk was held for the last time at the National Stadium before it was demolished in 2007.32 About 55,000 people took part in this 16th edition that was flagged off by then Minister for Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim.33

2008 to 2016
The walk was skipped in 2007 due to the demolition of the National Stadium, returning the following year on 2 November 2008 after TNP found a new five-kilometre route starting at the Suntec City Fountain of Wealth and ending at the Marina Barrage, which had yet to be opened to the public then. To celebrate TNP’s 20th anniversary, registration for the walk was free that year.34 Dubbed the Big Walk on Water, it was a uni-directional walk where participants were ferried back to Suntec City via free chartered buses. In contrast to previous walks, the 2008 event was a non-competitive, fun family walk.35 It was also the first time that the Public Utilities Board and Suntec City came on board as partners. About 20,000 participants took part in the event, which was flagged off at Suntec City by Yaacob Ibrahim.36


The 2010 edition, known as Big Walk@ Marina Bay, was held at the newly completed Marina Bay waterfront promenade on 18 July. It was co-organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, in conjunction with Big Carnival@ Marina Bay, to celebrate the official opening of the promenade.37 The four-kilometre route, which began at the Singapore Flyer and ended at Marina Boulevard, also showcased other iconic locations in the vicinity, such as the Helix Bridge, the Formula One pit building and Marina Bay Sands integrated resort.38 A total of 20,000 participants were flagged off by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who also unveiled the Marina Bay waterfront promenade.39

Subsequent editions of the Big Walk were also held at iconic locations in Singapore.40 In 2011, the Big Walk@ Resorts World Sentosa, which was flagged off by President Tony Tan Keng Yam, took participants to Vivocity’s waterfront and Universal Studios Singapore.41 The edition in 2012 began from The Central shopping mall at Clarke Quay and ended at Marina Barrage, where the Singapore G1 green lifestyle carnival was held.42 In line with the theme of green living that year, participants received S$700 worth of vouchers instead of the usual goodie bags.43 In 2014, participants travelled along a scenic five-kilometre route stretching from Raffles Boulevard, across Benjamin Sheares Bridge, to Marina Bay.44

In 2015, in conjunction with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence (SG50), a special edition of the Big Walk, called SG50 Jubilee Big Walk, was co-organised by TNP and the People’s Association, and was held on 29 November. About 25,000 people took part in the walk, which included parts of the Jubilee Walk, an eight-kilometre trail showcasing more than 20 iconic locations within the Civic District and Marina Bay area. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong flagged off the walk at the National Museum of Singapore, and also launched the Jubilee Walk to commemorate SG50.45

The 2016 edition of the Big Walk, called The New Paper Courts Big Walk, saw about 5,000 participants walking at the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari on 26 November. Co-organised by Courts Singapore, it was the last Big Walk organised by TNP before its merger with My Paper and revamp into a free newspaper.46



Authors

Dahlia Shamsuddin & Goh Lee Kim



References
1. Kong, J. (1992, March 31). Sign up for big walk tomorrow. The New Paper, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Ghosh, N. (1991, June 17). Well-spent morning for participants. The Business Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Koh, F. (2016, November 27). Big Walk good for family bonding. The Straits Times. Retrieved from ProQuest via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
4. Koh, F. (2016, November 27). TNP Big Walk at zoo, night safari draws 5,000. The Straits Times. Retrieved from ProQuest via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/

5. Walk through time. (2011, November 8). The New Paper, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. The New Paper Big Walk is on June 16. (1991, April 20). The Straits Times, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Ghosh, N. (1991, June 17). Well-spent morning for participants. The Business Times, p. 12; Biggest walk. (1991, June 14). The New Paper, p. 45; TNP Big Walk sets new record. (1991, June 17). The New Paper, p. 2; Chong, W. H. (1982, April 26). Miles of smiles in the rain. The Straits Times, p. 38. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Ken Jalleh Jr. (1991, April 20). Advert mystery unveiled. The New Paper, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Miller, B. (1991, June 17). They made it through the rain. The New Paper, p. 19; The New Paper Big Walk is on June 16. (1991, April 20). The Straits Times, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Your guide to The Big Walk. (1991, June 14). The New Paper, p. 45; Walking for Walkmans. (1991, June 12). The Straits Times, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Young, E. (2006, May 22). ‘Sentimental’ TNP Big Walk draws 55,000. The Straits Times, p. 4; 5 things about The New Paper Big Walk. (2008, November 2). The New Paper, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Long wait for the Big Walk. (2003, April 11). The Straits Times, p. 26; Walk through time. (2011, November 8). The New Paper, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Young, E. (2006, May 22). ‘Sentimental’ TNP Big Walk draws 55,000. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Norenshah Sahari. (1993, March 27). Next change: TNP Big Walk. The New Paper, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. May 24. (1998, March 25). The New Paper, p. 5; Ong, R. L. (2006, May 20). One last time on this route. The New Paper, p. 78; The new routes. (2004, May 8). The New Paper, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Tan, R. (1997, June 2). Big, bigger, biggest walk. The New Paper, p. 51; Big Walk info. (1997, April 23). The New Paper, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Big Walk 1998. (1998, April 20). The New Paper, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. For $3 you get… Plus: Fun. (1997, May 17). The New Paper, p. 15; Can we help you? (1997, January 13). The New Paper, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Chew, A. (2000, August 23). The Big Walk: World’s biggest. The New Paper, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Walking fitness test being planned. (1995, March 22). The Straits Times, p. 22; Chew, A. (2000, August 23). The Big Walk: World’s biggest. The New Paper, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. Tan, R. (1997, May 27). Thank$ a million. The New Paper, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. TNP Big Walk hopes to draw 75,000 this year. (1998, March 26). The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. Kong, J. (1992, May 25). Winners all, from start to finish. The New Paper, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Teo, Y. Y. (1998, May 25). Biggest walk in the world. The New Paper, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Wong, K. C. (2000, May 9). The Guinness Book of Records. The New Paper, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
26. Chiew, A. (2000, August 23). The Big Walk: World’s biggest. The New Paper, p. 3; TNP walk a Guinness record. (2000, August 22). The Straits Times, p. 35. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
27. Having a wild time with wildlife. (2016, November 28). The New Paper. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/  
28. May 24. (1998, March 25). The New Paper, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
29. Babies enjoy their day out. (2006, May 22). The New Paper, p. 6; Tan, F. (2002, May 17). The Jack Russell brigade. The New Paper, p. 20; Different worlds meet in one place. (2006, May 22). The New Paper, p. 7; ‘Cutthroat’ competition. (2005, May 23). The New Paper, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
30. Yeo, P. (2005, May 12). Going extra mile to pack goodie bags. The New Paper, p. 11; Big lucky draw prizes. (2003, March 15). The New Paper, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
31. Walkshop. (2004, April 23). The New Paper, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
32. Ong, R. L. (2006, May 20). One last time on this route. The New Paper, p. 78. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
33. Young, E. (2006, May 22). ‘Sentimental’ TNP Big Walk draws 55,000. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
34. 5 things about The New Paper Big Walk. (2008, November 2). The New Paper, p. 6; Here’s where it ends. (2008, October 2). The New Paper, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
35. 4 things about Big Walk on Water. (2008, September 27). The New Paper, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
36. Tay, S. H., et al. (2008, November 3). Big start. The New Paper, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
37. Marina Bay waterfront celebrations. (2010, July 3). The Business Times, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
38. Woo, S. B. (2010, May 22). Come walk with us. The New Paper, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
39. Ong, A. (2010, July 19). 20,000 throng Marina Bay for New Paper Big Walk. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
40. Khoo, H. (2011, October 1). Iconic destinations for walk. The New Paper, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
41. Chua, G. (2011, November 8). President flags off TNP walk. The Straits Times, p. 3; Khoo, H. (2011, October 1). It’s Big Walk time again. The New Paper, pp. 8–9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
42. Heng, J. (2012, September 3). Big Walk, big crowd. The Straits Times, pp. 2–3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
43. Lin, M. (2012, August 13). TNP Big Walk takes up green cause this year. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
44. TNP Big Walk packs in 18,000. (2014, December 1). The Straits Times, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
45. Yang, C. (2015, November 29). Jubilee Big Walk, flagged off by PM Lee, marks high point of SG50 celebrations. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
46. Get ready for The New Paper’s big walk on the wild side. (2016, October 17). The Straits Times; Koh, F. (2016, November 27). Big Walk good for family bonding. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/




The information in this article is valid as at 2017 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
 

Subject
Recreation>>Sports
Sports, recreation and travel>>Outdoor life>>Walking and hiking
Sports and games
Walking--Singapore