Dragons' Report: Nayana Jain caps outstanding season with landmark 50th Parkrun
By Ian Deeth, High School Cross Country Coach and Head of Primary School Activities, East Campus
On Saturday, 16 March, Grade 12 UWCSEA East athlete, Nayana Jain, celebrated a landmark 50th Parkrun after clocking 19:59 for 5km. She became the first junior athlete in Singapore to reach a half century runs. Nayana also holds her age group record for the course and has finished the first lady past the finish line a record 20 times.
Parkrun is a collection of 5km running events which take place every Saturday morning at over 1,400 locations in twenty-three countries across five continents. There are three parkruns in Singapore located at East Coast Park, West Coast Park and Bishan. The runs are ratified 5km events which means times can be used for official ranking purposes and the events are completely volunteer-led so free of charge.
Nayana has encouraged many other runners from UWCSEA to join parkrun including her younger sister Antara (also part of the Dragons cross country team) as well as her father and mother, the latter of whom also run a 5km personal best earlier this year.
Nayana’s run on Saturday capped an outstanding year in which she also claimed both the ACSIS (Singapore Schools) and SEASAC (South East Asia Schools) individual Cross Country Titles. Winning SEASAC was a particularly sweet moment for Nayana after her progression from 5th in 2016 to 3rd in 2017 and then finishing runner-up in 2018, where she was edged out of the title by just one second.
Nayana has also been the cross country captain for the past three years and led the team to back to back ACSIS and SEASAC team titles in 2017 and 2018. She also holds the school record for 5km (19:16).
Nayana, along with her sister Antara (and more recently their mother) have been volunteering weekly with Running Hour, an inclusive running club promoting the societal integration of people with special needs through exercise. Running Hour is celebrating its 10th year and Nayana has been a valuable senior guide on Thursday evenings for over a year now, overseeing the groupings of the faster visually-impaired and higher functioning intellectually-impaired buddies with suitable guides, and then encouraging all during their run from the National Stadium to the Marina Barrage and back.
Nayana is set to study medicine in the UK once she graduates later this year and we hope to hear further success of her running endeavours. With 556 new Parkruns to choose from, we hope she will soon reach the magical century mark.