Today marks the 10th year of the largest all-women race in Asia, the Great Eastern Women’s Run (GEWR) where 17,000 over female runners from Singapore and beyond challenge their endurance, speed and celebrate the journey to greatness. This is the first time taking part in the GEWR and I’m glad I did in their milestone event this year!
Race Pack Collection
I collected my race pack on the last day of the collection date and I’ve got to say, the GEWR 2015 race pack is the most elaborate and generous of all the race packs I’ve received thus far. The huge red gym bag contained a bundle of sponsored items from female personal care items to a stack of retail and food vouchers, not to forget a race tee plus a memento tee for the 10th anniversary special!
I’m not sure if any other ladies experienced the same problem as I did, but the sizing for the shirts seemed to be larger than I expected. There was an option for exchanging shirts but unfortunately the size I wanted was unavailable for exchange as they are reserved for participants who have yet to collect theirs and had indicated that size when they registered. Though slightly disappointed, it did not affect me too much as I can always give to my fellow female friends who suit the sizing to wear for their runs too! To me, the race pack is a bonus and the race experience is what I am paying for – for clear and safe roads, organized and fun race day programmes, and perhaps a well-designed and memorable finisher medal.
Race Day: Finally, clear blue skies!
I was hoping all week that the haze would clear and I am super thrilled that it finally did! GEWR organizers notified runners twice of the haze situation before race day to pre-empt runners and kudos to them for letting us rest without worries the night before. My race flag-off was at 7am and I arrived an hour earlier to deposit my bag, which is a few hundred metres away from the starting pen. Mobile toilets, pre-race hydration booths were spotted and of course, ladies in vibrant tutus were seen getting hyped for the race! For those who are puzzled, runners can show their support by purchasing and wearing these special tutus, where all the proceeds from the sale of tutus go to the Breast Cancer Foundation, Community Chest (in support of children with special needs) and the SingHealth Duke-NUS OBGYN Academic Clinical Programme.
Well-planned and challenging race route – Turns, bends and slopes
It is a personal habit of mine to check out what I’m in for the night before a race day. At first glance, the 10km and 21km route seemed rather complicated, with numerous loops, turns and long stretches of roads/bridge that challenge one’s stamina and endurance to conquer the varying elevation. For 10km, I felt that the road was moderately flat, wide and I did not experience major bottlenecks. I guess this is probably why the flag-off timing for 21km was so much earlier.
Though there were many barricades placed throughout the route, there were still occasional road users like cyclists and random joggers who shared the route with GEWR runners. I’m not sure if that affected any runners, but I would advise everyone to keep on a lookout for each other’s safety and I believe it is a basic courtesy of non-race participants to give priority to event participants since it is “their day”.
Sufficient, varied hydration points
Hydration points were plenty where most offered mineral water and a few having isotonic drink options. Areas for throwing used paper cups were cornered and volunteers were very helpful and encouraging as well.
Clear and Motivating Distance markers
The GEWR distance markers captured my attention because each distance marker had a motivating statement and one of which I remembered vividly was the one towards the finishing line where it said something like, “You have been through tougher times than this!” That really made me push on and run the remaining distance.
Like most major race events in Singapore, a race carnival with food, beverage, photo and game booths were set up for today to let runners enjoy some post-run treats. For GEWR, there was a tentage that offered free massage services and another for runners to relief heat and sweat with mirrors, clean wipes and face sprays!
I enjoyed myself snapping photos with fellow female running buddies, snacking on hotdog buns, sparkling water, cotton candy and watching the adorable girls donning their tutus completing the Princess Dash!
At the 7-8km mark, I experienced a numbing sensation on both my thighs, as if my legs were jelly and lacked strength to go on further. Thoughts of giving up and walking to the finishing line did flash through my mind multiple times but the disappointment and regret would me feel really bad that I gave in so easily. So that made me chuck that thought away and I even resorted to pinching my thighs to inject some feeling into it. As nonsensical as it sounds, it somewhat worked and I held onto the belief of ‘mind over body’ and eventually I managed to complete the race successfully.
The past week hasn’t been smooth-sailing – Suffered some minor respiratory infection due to the haze and was busy managing work commitments, which resulted in a mere 5km mileage for the week. With that, I told myself last night that I would just run today’s race as a physical and mental relief from cooping in the office and run for the empowerment of women!
With some motivation and encouragement from my running buddies that sometimes a period of good rest can be beneficial to ‘refresh’ one’s running, I managed to surprise myself with a new PB I never imagined would have happened so early! A sub 50min was supposed to be my 2016 new year running resolution. So now it seems like I need to ‘refresh’ my goals for the new (and hopefully haze-free) year! Congratulations to all superwomen who finished their races and I look forward to GEWR 2016 and upcoming races too! Hope you had a great Sunday sweating it out with your female friends and thanks to all who came down to support!