When he signed up for his first full marathon two years ago, Reuban Kang wanted to prove to himself that he could complete the 42km race. He not only ran the distance but even began to enjoy running.

“I’d never run a day in my life before signing up for that race but since then, running has become something I look forward to doing. I’m usually so busy with work or attending work-related events that the only time I get to be by myself and my thoughts is when I run. It’s refreshing,” says Kang, producer of online lifestyle channel, JinnyboyTV.

This year, Kang is running the Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon (SCKLM) but he’s choosing to do it to raise funds for a charity.

“I didn’t join any runs after the marathon because, well, I didn’t have a reason to. But when I was asked to join the Race For A Reason (RFAR), I agreed immediately as it gave me a reason: to raise funds for Seeing is Believing, a global initiative to help tackle avoidable blindness. Giving people their sight back … I think that’s a really worthy cause. Also, I am a huge fan of Liverpool (Football Club) and they are big supporters of the initiative,” he says.

On April 8, Kang will join 758 RFAR runners (of the total of 38,000 registered this year) who will be running distances between 10km to 42km in support of one of four official charities for this year’s run. The other charities are Hospis Malaysia, Dignity for Children Foundation and the National Cancer Society Malaysia.

RFAR runners have been raising funds since January through their social media pages or their own fund raising activities.

“I hope I can raise a lot for the charity. I feel the weight on my shoulders to try my best and I am not taking it lightly. The response has been good so far and I’m thankful to all those who have contributed to this cause. I am so amazed at some runners who have managed to raise RM20,000 or more for their chosen charities. That’s just wonderful that there are many Malaysians who want to donate to a worthy cause,” says Kang who will be running the 10km race.

Among the top RFAR fundraisers is Teoh Jiah Sze who has raised over RM21,000 for Hospis Malaysia with the help of her mother, Joni Wong. Ironically, although Teoh will be running the 10km race, she isn’t a runner.

Teoh: My main motivation is, of course, to raise awareness and funds for Hospis Malaysia. Photo: Teoh

“I’ve always found running for more than 15 minutes a little bit like watching paint dry (while in pain) and have avoided it! But I have been training for the last couple of months and I am inspired by how hard people push their limits and run in these events,” shares Teoh, who turns 25 this month. Teoh has taken part in 3km and 5km fun runs before but her preferred form of exercise is pilates which she teaches on a part time basis.

Apart from reaching out to friends and acquaintances, Teoh and her mother also approached corporations to donate.

“My mother encouraged me to sign up actually and is the main reason I’ve received so much support from generous contributors. We’ve raised awareness mainly through word-of-mouth, social media sharing and approaching organisations to contribute as part of their CSR. I hope to reach my target of RM25,000 by April – it would be the best birthday gift,” she says.

Hospis Malaysia is a charitable organisation that provides community palliative care to those with life-limiting illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, organ failure or progressive neurological conditions.

“I am familiar with the great work Hospis does, and personally know family members and family friends who have benefited from their services. I’ve heard that the staff are professional and passionate about what they do, nurturing and providing quality care for patients and their families during their time of need. I have also always wanted to challenge myself to take part in a run, and doing it for a reason seemed the perfect way for me to get in gear and just do it,” shares Teoh.

It may be her first 10km run but Teoh isn’t planning to push herself too hard.

“I really love the sense of camaraderie when people come together for a common cause. I plan on having fun on the day without focusing too much on my pace or being too competitive. I’m mainly hoping to complete the 10km in one piece!”