Free yourself and run
The YOLO Run (‘you only live once’) encourages participants to ‘seize the day’ and free themselves from labels and body stereotypes .
A POPULAR aphorism for Millennials these days is “You only live once”.
Like the Latin phrase “carpe diem” (“seize the day”), it implies that one should make the most of life, even if that entails taking some risks, as there may not be another chance to do certain things.
“You only live once” has been popularised in youth culture and even encapsulated in the acronym YOLO. And now, there’s even a run named after it.
On Aug 6, the inaugural 2XU YOLO Run KL will take place at Oasis Square, Petaling Jaya. It is fashioned after the YOLO Run first introduced in Singapore in 2015.
“Our event encourages participants to seize the day, not care about what people think and free themselves from labels, stereotypes, body types and inhibitions,” explained Alex Loh, managing partner of X-Change Republic, the event organiser.
According to Loh, the run’s debut in Singapore two years ago drew 3,000 participants and grew to 9,000 the following year.
“This year, the Singaporean run will be in October and we’re targeting 15,000,” said Loh. Based on the run’s success in the Lion City, the event is ready to go regional, with its expansion into Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong.
With 5km and 10km category options, it is described as a fun event where participants are part of a run that gives back. In Singapore, donations are made to an adopted beneficiary for every runner who runs shirtless, in line with its “liberating onself” theme. Obviously, the shirtless component is not happening in Malaysia.
Instead, sales of a T-shirt will go towards Make-A-Wish Malaysia (MAWM), the run’s adopted beneficiary. According to Loh, 50% of the proceeds of the limited-edition event T-shirt will benefit the foundation.
Response to the Malaysian run has been encouraging.
“We are even more thrilled that MAWM has agreed to come on board as our beneficiary. There is very good synergy between both organisations,” enthused Loh.
“MAWM shares YOLO Run’s appreciation of life and believe that children are our future. By granting a seriously ill child his heartfelt wish, we give hope, strength and joy to the sick child and family,” said Irene Tan, CEO of MAWM.
In line with freeing the participants’ minds and connecting their body and soul, the run will end on a high note with a mass outdoor yoga session led by singer and yoga instructor Atilia Haron.
“Conceptually, the run has managed to catch the attention of today’s youth, by incorporating the yoga element,” said Loh, 38.
A lifelong athlete, Loh was a water polo player in school. He was a physical education teacher for eight years before he joined the hospitality industry. Along the way, Loh co-founded X-Change Republic, which has a core business of producing T-shirts for run events in Singapore.
Loh describes the YOLO Run as “his baby”, and intends to make it a global brand. “We do want to take it to Indonesia, China and the United States, and we are looking for the right partners.”
“I dare say we’ve managed to create a product that people can relate to, which is fun at the same time. And the fact that we’ve succeeded in Singapore gives us credibility.”
Loh’s advice to participants is to keep an open mind.
“The YOLO Run believes in the appreciation of life. Everyone only lives each day once, therefore when one is able to, he should always help those in need, simply because there could never be another chance for it.”
Participants at last year’s YOLO Run in Singapore.