The Orange Ribbon Run/Walk was held on 10th September, a Saturday late afternoon. There were both the 10 km and 5 km competitive runs and a 3.5 km walk. I signed up for the 10 km race. Another running buddy Chia (SY) also signed up and we arranged to meet to start the race together.
The race is organized by OnePeople.sg, which is the leading advocate for multi-racialism – the voice and main resource centre on race relations in Singapore. Each year, the Orange Ribbon Run/Walk provided an opportunity for everyone to express shared values and make a stand against racism. This is a worthy cause in my view. My first exposure to multi-racialism was in an assembly talk held when I was in primary school ! And I believed the speaker referred then to the strong need for cooperation/understanding amongst the different races in Singapore. Yes, it was ‘serious’ in those days – early 70s. And the vivid image was given by the reference to the 4 hands holding wrists at the back of the ten dollar currency note then (I have not seen this note in circulation these days !).
A week before that, the race pack collection was a breeze as there was just myself at the mall somehow. But a couple of minutes later, a few folks joined in.
On actual day, I took the MRT to Bayfront station and was early. I deposited the bag and visited the toilet cubicle without any time pressure. I saw only a small group of runners about half an hour before the start time. Besides my friend, I didn’t see anyone familiar till much later when we spotted one of the F1 runners. The surprise announcement was that as we were celebrating the Mid Autumn Festival soon, each finisher would be given a piece of mooncake from Old Chang Kee, besides the finisher medal ! That was a pleasant gesture.
The route itself was a loop back and in my opinion, one of the toughest. We had to tackle the dreaded Marina Barrage slope twice because of the loop. After the start, I tried to chase after the wrong pace group and slowed down near the 4th km, and my friend had already overtaken me and finished way ahead. The pacers’ balloons were all orange color to reflect the theme, I suppose, so you have to look at the prints for the right group to pace with. Still, it would have been nice to use different colors to denote the different paces. The sun was rather brutal too, a sentiment shared by my friend and another new-found, FB running friend who had also joined the race (Chris) although I didn’t realize it till after the race when he had commented on my post.
On finishing the race, each runner collected a finisher medal and a bottle of water (and of course the mooncake). The hydration stations were adequate, about 2 km apart or so, but we would have appreciated energy drinks in at least one station due to the weather and route.
Still, I enjoyed the race for its ‘simplicity’ and it took about 4 days to get the race results online (but there was a public holiday in between). All in, about 6000 folks turned up for all the categories that day despite the hot afternoon. There was about 350 participants for the 10 km race itself. So till the next race, run safe and run happy ! And congrats to Chris (and other running readers) who had gone on to finish his New Blackmores Sydney Half Marathon in a very good time despite his injuries. (When would I save enough and train enough to go for an overseas race ? !)
(Photo Credits are due to Runcapture, RaceAgainstRacism, Remembering Singapore and Chia SY)