HE WAS out and about before the sun was up when most others would rather laze in bed.
On a public holiday, no less.
At 5.45am yesterday, Mr Tan Chu Meng, 32, was out of his Hougang home and on a bus to Ang Mo Kio.
The reason: He wanted to be the first to sign up for The New Paper Big Walk 2012.
What’s even more impressive is that registration for the event started only at 11am.
Counters were open at Central shopping mall, which is along Clarke Quay, and at Gain City showrooms in Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2 and Marina Square yesterday, the first day of registration for this year’s Big Walk event.
Mr Tan was one of more than a thousand people who signed up yesterday.
This year’s Big Walk is limited to 18,000 participants.
He reached the Gain City Ang Mo Kio showroom at 6am and waited outside the gates to the complex for an hour before they opened.
Speaking in Mandarin, the technician said: “I leave for work at 5.30am every day, so I didn’t have any problems doing it on National Day.”
Mr Tan was also the first person at the registration booth for last year’s Big Walk.
He said with a smile: “It’s all about the fun of queueing up. I also didn’t want to miss out on anything.”
While he may have been committed to be the first in line, Mr Tan was caring enough to let his 32-year-old wife, who did not want to be named, sleep in.
She joined him at the front of the queue at about 9.30am. By the time registration opened at 11am, a snaking line of about 100 people had already formed.
This is the third year that the Tans will be taking part in the Big Walk.
Said Mr Tan: “It’s something we’re really looking forward to.
“We work every day, so this walk will be a great chance to relax and take it easy.”
Added his wife: “Also, it allows us to keep fit together as a family.”
Each participant gets goodies worth more than $700 for the $20 registration fee.
Participants pay $18 each if they sign up in groups of four.
This year’s Big Walk, which will be held on Sept 2 from 7.45am to noon, promises loads of fun and great goodies such as food and shopping vouchers.
Participants will start the walk at Central and end at Marina Barrage, where they can take part in a carnival.
The first 50 to register at the Gain City showrooms yesterday received a “green” gift pack worth $30.
Sponsored by H-Two-O, the gift pack included recycled products such as notebooks made from used tetrapaks.
Mr Tan was thankful for the early-bird goodies: “It’s a good bonus. Actually, it was also quite fun, because all of us who were early started talking, so I’m quite glad.”
Among those Mr Tan chatted with while waiting were Mr R.S. Segar, 59, and his wife, Madam G. Sarojini, 52, who arrived at 7.30am.
This will be the couple’s first Big Walk.
Said Mr Segar: “We wanted to sign up the last two years, but unfortunately, the timing (of the event) didn’t suit us.
“So we’re excited we can do it this year. We will walk together hand-in-hand and show that an older couple can clear 5km.”
Madam Ong Moey Sang certainly showed yesterday that age is just a number when it comes to queuing up.
The 69-year-old arrived at about 8am and stood in line for almost three hours as she waited for registration to open.
She said: “I’m glad to join the Big Walk this year as it’s a good way to meet people and make friends.”
Meanwhile, at Central, retiree Johnny Chua, 76, was one of the first people in the queue.
He arrived at 10.15am.
The first 500 to sign up at Central took part in a sure-win lucky dip.
Mr Chua won himself a $30 dining voucher at the No Signboard Seafood restaurant. He said: “I’m very happy. Coming early was worth it.”
The Big Walk has been a sell-out event for the last few years, so be sure to sign up quickly.
Register from 11 am to 8pm today till Sunday, and from Aug 17 to 19, at Gain City showrooms at Ang Mo Kio and Marina Square, as well as Central.
Tomorrow and Sunday, and on Aug 18 and 19, there will be an additional registration location at Rendezvous Grand Hotel Singapore at Bras Basah.