Round Penang island walk to celebrate National Day

TWO friends celebrated the 53rd National Day by walking non-stop for 72km around Penang island.

Former army commando Abdul Halim Yaakob, 50, and teacher Tang Lee Mee, 33, started in front of the City Hall at the Esplanade in George Town at 6.30pm on Sunday, two days before National Day.

Abdul Halim is no stranger to the feat, having taken part in numerous long distance walking events through the years and welcomed 2010 by walking non-stop around Penang island for 24 hours.

The father of seven, who is now a businessman, also celebrated National Day last year by walking 375km from Butterworth to Kuala Lumpur in 50 hours and 40 minutes.

Tang, a sports science graduate who teaches Bahasa Malaysia and Physical Education at SMK Bukit Mertajam, said she took part in the event to encourage her students and the younger generation to be interested in sports.

The two friends, who had been training since early this year for the walk, were joined by a 77-year-old retired teacher, Khoo Hock Yew.

Khoo, who read in the Chinese dailies about Abdul Halim and Tang, said he had walked round Penang island more than 10 years ago.

“I have even taken part in the Komtar Tower Run up 60 storeys. I’ll walk at my own pace. The youngsters can go ahead and I’ll reach back here much later after them – I can’t estimate how long I’ll take but I know the way,” he said.

The three were flagged off by Penang Youth, Sports, Women, Family and Community Development Committee chairman Lydia Ong Kok Fooi at 6.30pm on Sunday.

Ong, who is Berapit assemblyman, also presented Abdul Halim and Tang who are both her constituents with RM1,000 from her office for moral support, adding that the sum was just enough for each of them to get a good pair of walking shoes.

“They are doing something special in the spirit of Merdeka to show their love for the country,” she said.

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