This was the second race for the new year after last year’s 24 challenges. I just completed the NUS Bizad Charity Run the Saturday before and improved last year’s timing by just over 2 minutes (of course still at my old man’s pace). So this was the second race in the first month of the new year, promoted as a trail and heritage event. The trail would be closed later this year so this was the second last race (the last one being the Green Corridor Run in March). (A new underground waterpipe line to meet future water demands in the city will be constructed. About half of the 22 km pipeline from Murnane Service Reservoir will be laid underneath the lower half of the Rail Corridor. Construction work is expected to commence in first half of 2016 and complete by 2019.)
I collected the race entry pack on the first day at Funan DigitaLife Mall Atrium and the queue snaked out of the building. I had to wait for 1.5 hours but the collection itself was done within 5 minutes. The queue was probably due to the collection of additional items for those who had requested for it. Perhaps there should be a different queue to allow the majority to collect theirs more efficiently.
I had done the Green Corridor Run last year so I thought I was prepared for running on crushed stones and maybe a bit of mud too, given the rainy interludes the past days before. However just 4 days before the race, I caught a bad bout of flu so I had sore throat, running nose, cough, body aches and fever. I prayed I would recover because this was only the second one in the year and didn’t want a DNS. On Sat night, I popped my Panadol and went to sleep. I woke up, no more aches, no fever, not perfect but recovered enough to run. I promised to listen to my body and just enjoy the run. I took the public transport to the starting point near Bukit Timah. The website did mention about possibility of some shuttle service being arranged but guessed the public transport was ‘convenient’ enough in the end though there was no further follow-up on that. And then I saw the queue again (to starting point, bag deposits and the toilets).
I joined the bag deposits queue and skipped the camera taking and toilet queues. I was early (or so I thought), and went to join the group of folks at the starting point but was at the back. The guards were strict, no, no, there were too many people in the wave. I squeezed through. Then it was time to start. We moved but then was stopped. Turned out I was in the second wave. No matter, we waited for about 3 minutes and then we were off. But the crowd was picking their way gingerly through the muddy ground. So it was run, stop, run. Since I was still recovering, this suited me fine at the beginning.
The hydration points were adequate, I came across two. Then around 6 km mark, we came to this big jam where a huge mass were just making their way ‘painfully’ across what looked to be a big big puddle. I couldn’t really see as I was far behind. But on the left was a drain, and some runners were astride the drain and made their way across, then some went up the hill and I guessed down the other side to skip the muddy ‘pond’ of water. After quite a few minutes and I seemed to be not making much headway behind the huge crowd, I decided to step right into the drain, and the water reached up the calves. Since my shoes were already wet, I then ran across the mud near the middle. I heard some squeals (of dread or encouragement ?). But I thought after that, a few folks followed too. Then adrenaline pumping, I picked up pace and ran across more mud, shoes squishing through. I did wear an old pair learning from the past experience with dirt trail.
Reached the finishing point within my target time of 1.5 hour, gulped down two cups of Gatorade and collected the medal. And met a running enthusiast, friend from FB, and we took a wefie. After collecting the bag (and smartphone), I took a few more pictures of runners at the finishing point and thought I also saw Jenny Huang (ultramarathoner and super mum). Looked like big families of runners gathered happily at one venue on that Sunday morning.
Overall, enjoyed the run. A different trail run from last year when the terrain was dryer and where there were more stones and pebbles than mud and water. Took longer than my PB, but nonetheless enjoyable muddy trail run. Hope weather and body holds for next trail run. But before that, it would be the half marathon.
(Note : Most were my shots but the beautiful ones are from friends : Photo credits to Lim Boon Tiong, Running Shots, Mythos Photography, FB friends, friend of friends)