Letter slamming MacRitchie running trail goes viral

Sunrays in the dense jungle of the Braulio Carrillo National Park, Costa Rica, Central AmericaSunrays in the dense jungle of the Braulio Carrillo National Park, Costa Rica, Central America

It takes one “strange” complain letter over a stone to set loose the earth-loving side of Singaporeans, it seems.

A reader’s letter published by The Straits Times on Saturday sparked major buzz over the weekend, receiving over 14,000 Facebook shares along with a slew of negative comments.

Titled “Dangerous obstacles along MacRitchie trail”, the letter was written by a Larry Quah Chai Koon, who seemed to be complaining about a fall he had while “exercising” at a nature trail in MacRitchie, at a slope towards the TreeTop Walk.

According to his account, his “foot struck a protruding stone” before he “lost balance” and “crashed”. His fall impacted his left shoulder, resulting in a “fractured left collarbone" two cracked ribs and "multiple lacerations”.

The writer then added, “Maintenance should be undertaken to remove protruding stones, branches and roots that may pose a danger to visitors.”

The letter stirred a storm of negative online comments defending the nature park; some even gave the writer tips on running at the nature trail.

Nature defenders

One commenter said, “Nature is undulating and full of hidden pitfalls… you have to learn to become more aware of the environment and watch where you are going… not trip and fall and blame it on the path…”

Another commenter said, “You [Larry] might be safe running around your neighbourhood or at a gym. If you are new to the terrain, take precautions and slow down. Sounds like you have been exercising at this area for quite some time; respect nature for what they are.”

The letter has been making its rounds among members of local running group, MacRitchie Runners 25, as well.

Committee member Martin Tay, 64, who runs at MacRitchie fortnightly, said that the trail described in the “strange” letter seemed like an “offbeat trail” -- Larry Chua fell at a downhill segment towards the TreeTop Walk, parallel to the Singapore Island Country Club service road.

He thinks that it is “impossible” to expect a smooth trail at the nature park unless you “run on the road”. His advice to the writer: “Be careful and slow down; if you can’t run, walk.”

Meanwhile, 25-year-old Darren Tan, who has been running at MacRitchie every week for over a year, regards the location described in the letter as “the Orchard Road of MacRitchie”, adding that it is a “popular” and “runnable” trail and that he rarely sees people falling at the slope, which he believes is “not that steep”.

“It’s nature, just deal with it,” he said.

Yahoo Singapore has contacted the National Parks Board for comments.