People enjoy running for different reasons. You may run because it's one of the best ways to lose or maintain weight — in fact, it is the second most effective exercise in terms of burning calories, just behind cross-country skiing.
You may run for the health benefits — running helps prevent diseases such as diabetes, and reduce the risk of a heart attack. Some run to boost confidence, or even to improve their overall mental health. Many run to feel free — because as long as you've got a pair of running shoes you can run anywhere.
Both Singapore and Malaysia offer some great races that are suitable for a wide range of runners. Here are five of our favourites.
1. Sundown Marathon (Singapore)
Best for: Night owls
Why we love it: There are three very attractive things about this race: it is a night race, set against the backdrop of the lights of the city's impressive skyline, and made famous by the Singapore F1 Grand Prix. As the race is run into the early hours of the morning, it's much cooler (literally) than daytime races.
When & where: Around 30,000 people take part in the race, which occurs once a year in May, starting form the F1 pit building by the Singapore Flyer.
Categories: There are four categories catering to runners of all levels: full marathon; half marathon; 10km and 10km split between four people (2.5km each).
For more information on the Sundown Marathon, click here.
2. Skyhawk Nature Run (Malacca, Malaysia)
Best for: Early birds
Why we love it: Staged on the outskirts of Malacca, Malaysia, the Skyhawk Nature Run merges the hustle and bustle of a modern-day city with lush rural scenery. The run begins early in the morning, when temperatures can be as low as 24˚C – if you're lucky you may even catch the sunrise.
When and where: The run is staged annually in late January in Malacca. Getting there is a relatively easy drive from both Kuala Lumpur and Singapore..
Categories: Better sign up quick if you want to though — only 500 participants can take part in the 21km run each time.
3. Great Eastern Women's Run (Singapore)
Best for: Stunning city scenery
Why we love it: The Great Eastern Women's Run will have you running through the streets around Singapore's spectacular cityscape and inspiring marina area.
When and where: The run is held in November, at Marina Bay, Singapore.
Categories: There are several categories to choose from including 5km, 10km and a half marathon - so there's something for everyone.
The event attracted more than 14,000 participants last year. To find out more about the next race, click here.
4. Borneo International Marathon (Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia)
Best for: Adventurers
Why we love it: With its rich biodiversity and nature, Sabah has become a major tourist destination. Nature lovers will enjoy views of the spectacular Banjaran Crocker mountain range, and the full marathon route will bring you into the foothills. Make sure you drink a lot of water before the race though, as you'll be facing temperatures as high as 36˚C and humidity greater than 90% .
When and where: Held in May, in Sabah. Marathon venue is 15 minutes’ drive from Kota Kinabalu International airport.
Categories: The Borneo International Marathon boasts 12 separate categories, including full marathon, half marathon and 10km races. In 2013, more than 3,400 participants joined this unique race. For more information on the race, click here.
5. Crazy Ultra 100 Miles (Singapore)
Best for: Hill runners
Why we love it: Split over two days, the Crazy Ultra 100 Miles is an 'out and back' race, which means the return route is the same as the outgoing one. The small run normally features around 300 people and is run through seldom-visited areas, such as the Woodlands Waterfront, Yishun Dam, Punggol Waterway and Changi Beach Park. It's a good chance to get to know the city-state better. The route features many hills and gives runners a glimpse of suburban Singapore.
When and where: Held in September in Singapore
Categories: Choose from four distance categories: 43km; 78km; 101km and 161km (100 miles).
To find out more about the event, click here.
Running a good race is as much about the shoes you wear as it is about the hours of training you put in. Not sure how to choose the right shoe for you? Click here for expert advice on how to select your next pair of running shoes.