Blind Man’s Buff?
Not Really. When registration started for RunningHour, I was in 2 minds as to whether to sign up. Honestly while it seemed a unique experience, I was not too sure running blindfolded. Hence when I was offer a slot, my question was whether I had to do the blind run. When it was confirmed that I didn’t have to, I sheepishly signed up for the 10km run.
Workshop and Race Pack Collection
I was also asked to attend the RunningHour workshop which I had blogged on previously. In short, it was great workshop which gave information on this great initiative as well as a hands-on session on guiding the disabled runners.
Race pack collection was at City Square Mall which was once again great for me. The contents of the race pack were simple but sufficient for the run. In addition, the t-shirt somehow beckon to me and perhaps with an intention to integrate with the other runners, I made the rare decision to put on the event t-shirt during the run (as per encouraged in the guidebook as well :p)
Arrived at the start point about 10 minutes before the race started and was happy to note a rather good turnout for the event. As the participants for the blind run waited, the competitive runners went off at 0700hrs. All three groups of pacers(50 mins,1hr and 1hr+10mins)which included the visually challenged runners, went off at a rather fast pace. I chose to go at a slow pace as I ran along a familiar path along MBS. At the helix bridge I finally caught up with the 1hr 10mins pacers and even went past them as we proceeded to Gardens by the Bay and the Marina Barrage.
Failing to note the route prior to the run, I was abit surprised to have to go up to the top of the Marina Barrage. As always, I slowed down to a walk to catch my breath during the climb up 😛
As we went across the Marina Barrage, I resumed my jog till the u-turn point at the base of Benjamin Sheares Bridge where I took another break before resuming. On the way back, I noticed the blind run runners making their way to the u-turn point as well. I also noticed the RunningShots photographer with the squid hat – Sotong, who had previously allowed me use of his photos. As I saw how he encouraged runners as they ran past him, it made me appreciate these enthusiastic photographers even more.
The way back was basically the reverse of the first half of the run and as I neared the Helix Bridge, the same group of pacers caught up me. Along the short stretch along MBS, I could sense the camaraderie between the guides and the runners as they motivated each other and joked as they hit the final stretch. ‘Stealing energy’ from them, I managed to keep pace with them and crossed the finish line with them and was rewarded with a unique medal.
Later on while waiting for my friends to finish their 5km run, I realized that the Runninghour group which did the 10km actually did the 5km as well – someone should have told us we could do that! But seriously, it again shows the boundless energy this group of runners has.
It was a good workout along a comfortable route on a Sunday morning. I must say that it is also unique to be running alongside the special needs runners and you really could draw inspiration and energy from them – I had not done a 1hr 10min for 10km for awhile and not expecting one on a day where I only had 5hrs of sleep – but somehow I did it that morning. Should this run return next year, I promise – if am not a running guide by then – I will do the blindfold run.
Thank You, Mr Lee Kuan Yew
Befitting as I write this review of a run that promotes integration amongst runners with special needs, I like to do a simple thank you to a great man whose vision was an all-inclusive nation for all Singaporeans regardless of race, language or religion. Honestly, this was never my plan when I started this review but as I wrote about the landmarks along the route – Benjamin Sheares Bridge, Gardens by the Bay and Marina Barrage to name a few, I was reminded of our founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
It was heartening to know that like many of us, he was a runner too. But we all know he was more than that, for he was a leader that built a nation that we runners can safely go running late in the night or early in the morning without fearing for our safety, it is in this nation that we can find so many places to indulge in our activity. The next time I put on a bib with SIN or the Singapore flag while running overseas, I will be reminded of not just the fact that I am Singaporean but also to be grateful for this man who had made it all possible.
Thank you Sir, you will be missed.