Led once around the loop by RD Ben Swee from the off. However, the starting time of 0700 clashed with the usual start time of the MR25 Runners’ run.
Furthermore, both sets of runners seemed to be going the same way.
On this day, the MR25 were conducting their progressive long runs (as opposed to their 5k Time Trails). Their exact routes we weren’t sure of, not at least until they arrived at The Fitness Corner.
Coincidentally, they turned left heading towards Lornie Road as well thus adverting the possibility of any participants from following the wrong group.
I resisted the urge to stop for a sip at the Water-Only Support Station which was situated at the first of the 3 bus stops along this 1.5km stretch of Lornie Rd, found myself running in the company of Daniel Ong, Faith Tan, Ee Meng, and Muk Tuck Sang. I clocked in at 1st place at the end of this first loop. 27:44 mins which was to be my fastest of the day and the event’s too
If by time spent running this loop, then i’d ran faster on this 2nd loop than i did the first. Reason being, i’d stopped to grab a packet of Kara Coconut juice from my cooler box before heading out, and by which time a few others had overtaken me too
I eventually regained pole position by the end of this loop. Gatorade Fruit Punch, a cup full before i set off for the next loop
I had a fright somewhere in the middle of the Lornie Road stretch. Where previously i’d run over to the right side (closer to the road), this time i decided to run over to the left (next to the barrier) because of the sun. A heart in mouth moment as i suddenly spotted a snake just inches away from me on the rails. SG Jac who was just metres behind me must have seen me jumped ! He asked if i was alright after i’d suddenly stopped. I picked up a twig off the ground. I proceeded to pry the snake; a juvenile Wagler’s Pit Viper off its perch and down into the drain. It did not so much as moved at all the whole time which sorta gave me a false sense of security that perhaps it was already dead ! Furthermore the ants crawling all over its head and body certainly supported my belief. As i was doing so, a fellow participant came up and told me the snake had been spotted since the start of the race. I knew i had to act to prevent someone else from an accidental envenomation.
It was not until the end of the race when i chanced upon a photo taken prior to my encounter that the snake was truly alive and well.
The snake was on the lower rung of the railing before it made it’s way to the top of the railing where i found it !
Oh well, just another snake that i’ve occasionally chanced upon on my runs ! The 2 more prominent species i’ve came across was : Blue Malayan Coral Snake, and an Equatorial Spitting Cobra aka The Black Spitting Cobra.
Continuing on with my run, I caught sight of the girl in pole position. She was at least 400m ahead of me.
I completed this loop still trailing her in 2nd place Overall
I asked RD Ben who she was, and was told … she was one of the volunteers during the recent Twilight Ultra Challenge ! What ! lol …. a dark horse from out of nowhere !
Helped myself to my first can of Coke, a 250ml one i’d brought in my cooler box.
I could sense i was to pay for going too fast this first 20k
I was battling fatigue shortly after i entered the trails. The humidity, the hot weather, my speed was all collaborating to make me … SLEEPY !
The usual suspects still in and around me since the start of the day’s proceedings; Faith, Muk (Tuck Sang) Kor, Ee Meng, and of cos that mystery female runner.
Somehow i’d more or less managed to peck them back before reaching the Lap’s Split Point (Timing Mat positioned just before the first bus stop along Lornie Rd where the makeshift (was not officially designated for this race, but done so in light of the anticipated hot weather conditions) or on the home stretch to the End Point (Start Point of each loop) … not this time though, i relinquished my lead over Faith before the Split Point, and my pole position Men’s standings to Ee Meng shortly after the Split !
I was now in 4th placing overall, and i felt my first onset of cramps on my right calf !
I also spent the longest time before heading out – reaching for a can of Nescafe Milk Coffee from my cooler in the hopes that the caffeine would stop me feeling sleepy !
Walking more, and not just on the up slopes, but on the flat terrain as well.
I soon spotted Guru Sng Boon Heng just ahead of me. Caught up to him and joined him – walking ! Just the excuse i needed ! We were both tanked ! We would spend more time walking, having a jolly good time laughing and chatting. We only started jogging with minimal walking once along Lornie Road.
I think i’ve done enough Ultras to recognize this was a recovery phase ! Payback time (for going too fast !)
6 done … and my resolve to do as many loops as i can before flag-off was seriously being tested !
I was contemplating doing just 4 more and then calling it quits !
In the midst of my much needed break and rest, Daniel Ong whom i’d not seen shortly after leaving for loop #2 returned to complete his 6th lap as well
Setting off with a running buddy for the first time since Garang Warrior Ultra flagged off at 0700 am, we headed out at a slow and easy pace. I had run with Silent Warrior Daniel before, most recently The Green Race Ultra (together with Esmond Choo) …
but this was to be my first time running with him solo (just the two of us).
We complemented each other perfectly, walking up slopes, running down the reverse and on flats.
Before i knew it, we’d already arrived at the road segment of the race, and shortly after the completion of yet another loop under my belt.
This loop felt different ! The pace seemed to be much quicker than the previous, very un-Daniel-like ! I remembered vividly the frightening pace we did the last km ! we were really having a go at it ! But what’s strange was that i wasn’t the one setting the pace … it was my buddy !
I cramped just as we crossed the timing mat !
#8 done and dusted !
A much longer break, and deservedly so too. I applied muscle rub (i’d BYO), whilst Daniel proceeded to elevate his feet whilst lying on his back (his routine)
** on hindsight, wow … we probably overtook 4 others by the end of this loop !
We were like clockwork now, a well-oiled machine ! Soon we both had 50k under our belts, and our deserved lengthy break !
My right quad was now cramping a lil too … probably due to the adjustments i’d made to prevent my calves from cramping ! More muscle rub … Coke, a few dates, whilst Daniel enjoyed his can of Heineken !
Daniel was urging me to go out on on my own, not to wait for him. I did not take his advice as i suspected he would not continue any further had i left him. I suppose it was my turn to motivate him, just as he had been there for me since Loop #7 !
A change of shirt, a (small) can of Longans !
Why the change of shirt ? Well, i was making a statement to myself : A new start ! Time to clear out the cob webs in my head ! lol
After our routine break after each lap, we headed on out … except this time it seemed we were going out fast yet again.
I half sensing my buddy had decided this was to be his final lap ! All this time he’d been the one running ahead most of the time as i was unsure if i might unknowingly and unwittingly run too fast ! (and later causing both of us to crash).
We completed this loop as we’d always done – in high spirits !
Daniel told me he was going to take a very long break and that he will continue on his own thereafter. I knew better, and was glad i’d managed to squeeze (the last) 2 laps out of him too.
Daniel’s parting words : “You are ready (to run on your own again) …”
Just as fast as the one i’d just completed … hopeless me, can’t seem to learn tsk tsk tsk
Midway thru the trails section … the wheels came off the spokes ! I started walking where i ought not to be ! And when one walked long enough, negative thoughts might start creeping in ! And in my case, thoughts of calling it a day (again !) lol
Thankfully, I didn’t have far to get to the Lornie Road segment … for it was here that i started running again, probably boosted by the sight of fellow runners ahead of me
I hobbled across the mat … thanks to cramps !
Jian Hong had arrived not long ago with Tau Huay & Chin Chow packed from a PB stall at Chong Pang Food Centre. I declined the offer for that moment as i sensed a second wind was imminent …
Race clock : 2 hours left … and any attempt of a last loop had to be done 30 mins before this 12-hour was up
The personal significance of this loop : a personal milestone.
I’d only completed 70k in the year-end MR25 Ultra Race back in Dec, falling 10k short of my own target.
I started great but again started to waver.
Managed to psych myself with thoughts of how i did loop training at Chestnut Nature Park Southern Trails, and the same thoughts finally convinced me to go out on one last loop … to make that 80k which had eluded me back in Dec !
Loop 15 done ! time to head out for one last loop … and i wanted to complete it with 30 mins and more to spare before the 12-hour was up.
The final loop ! Knowing i had more than ample time to complete this final loop i decided to just walk, and walked i did … so much so i lost any notion to run.
As i was heading out, Yee Hua mentioned that i would either finished Men’s 5th, possibly 4th.
Unlike Twilight Ultra Challenge, i wasn’t keeping track of my position as i’d already known i was no longer in contention for the Top 3 … and hence was clueless as to who and how far the one ahead of me was. And in any case, 4th was of scant consolation since there was no prizes up for grabs except for the Top 3 Finishers of the respective genders.
On the opposite bank of the event site, Jian Hong caught up to me. He was hoping to pace me. I apologised that i was not compelled to run anymore, and hope he wouldn’t mind walking with me along the way.
So there we were, walking … and walking … but every once in a while looking back to see if anyone would come up from behind to push me back into 6th
I only decided to run once on Lornie Road cos i had hope to cross the Finish Line with at least 30 mins to spare. I was going to tease that i would be going out on one final loop 😛
I think we ran a fast and furious last 1.5km ! and completed with 31.5 mins to spare before the event was officially done and dusted.
Super happy with 80k completed, especially coming so close to throwing in the towel much much earlier.
Race Summary :
Ranked Men’s 5th in this inaugural Running Guild event ! and was pleasantly surprised of being considered a podium finisher as they had prepared prizes for 4th and 5th placed Finishers of both Men and Women categories as well !
1 runner truly stood out amongst all : The Overall Champ, the only one to do a 100 km (20 loops ! ) and be crowned “Extremely Garang” – Tobiaz Frenz from Germany !
I was also proud of the fact that i was one of 2 true blue Singapore sons to be in the Men’s Top 5. The other being the 2nd placed Men’s Champion : Yong Yuen Cheng, a star name in the local Ultra running scene. He completed 18 loops (90k) !
As for my friend Faith, she won the Women’s category – 17 loops, 85k in 11:11:27 and finishing 3rd Overall !
There were many amongst us who not only took up this challenge, but the 50-Hour Run (Bedok Reservoir) as well. I wasn’t one of them, electing to focus my energy on this event only. Of those who did, some had ran 10 loops the day before, on this day itself … after completing x loops of this event and going there to run y loops, or run the day after this event
Daniel Ong – awesome and selfless pacing and companionship. He admitted afterwards he was running faster than he usually would. He was pacing me at my speed rather than his own, and perhaps that had been instrumental in him calling an end to his own race with much time left still. Thanks bro ! Much appreciated. My 5th placing would never have been possible without you ! 🙂
Jian Hong – the desserts, and the pacing of my last loop. Thanks for walking, even though i sensed you were dying to have a run (with me) lol
Fugitive Bob – for the ice !
Muk Tuck Sang – for helping fill up my bottle with Coke. Saved me time
Lily Bimmo – Thanks for everything (SOP already, no need to mention what or how you help … whole of SG also knows lol), and just being there to support us runners
Photographers : Lawrence Ho (Project Happy Feet), Ming Ham (wow2wow), Running Shots Wheng, Run Shoot Repeat, Wilson Ong, EuGene Aw, Pris Chew, & any other overlooked. Humble apologies.
Running Guild, volunteers, supporters, and fellow participants
Coke, Coconut Juice, Gatorade Fruit Punch, Lucozade, Dates, canned Longans, canned Lychees, Water
A great event, well organized, awesome camaraderie as is synonymous with the local Ultra running races. A good mix of locals and expats, and foreign participants ! … and every bit as tough as i had envisaged it to be !
I’ll be back ……. for next year’s …. you betcha !
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