It was with much anticipation I looked forward to the Yolo Run held at Gardens by the Bay East.
In my three years of running this was my first opportunity to run with my sister, Annie, in a local race.
Annie works out with a trainer six days a week but is a non-runner. She has read most of my racing blogs and as such gleaned an insight into my world of running.
This time I wanted her to be a part of my racing world so she could experience and truly understand what it’s all about: the endless hours of training, the early morning rises to attend a race, the acceptance or should I say accumulation of finisher medals and so on.
During her visit the Yolo Run (acronym for You Only Live Once) was the only race available. As part of their corporate social responsibility the race organisers partnered with Breast Reconstruction Awareness SG (BRAS), a non-profit organisation, to raise awareness and understanding of breast reconstruction choices and available resources for women. For every participant who ran shirtless on race day the Yolo organisers pledged to donate a sports bra to BRAS to aid in the recovery process of patients.
I thought this was an ideal race given that it is a topic close to Annie’s heart since she spent ten years in the intimate apparel industry where she often fitted women recovering from mastectomy or reconstruction. This is a very sensitive topic where many women are uncomfortable discussing their surgery nor being fitted for an appropriate bra.
Annie loved the idea and agreed to join me. She even started a running program to better prepare her legs and cardio for the task. I told her about the race pack and finisher medal and thought it would be great if she could take something home that she could keep to remember our joint running adventure together.
Unfortunately I was quite disappointed at the race pack collection when I was notified that finisher medals will not be handed out for the 5km category and I couldn’t have my sister return home with a piece of racing memorabilia. However, I can’t deny the race pack was beautifully presented with a custom made box that included a tee, race bib and custom printed sports top and a yoga mat upon finishing the race.
Come race day and we started with an easy bike ride down East Coast Park to the racing village. Seemed like quite a big event with some very long baggage drop-off lines and overcrowding. We found a spot to lock up our bikes and weaved our way into the start pen when it began raining lightly. The organisers requested us to leave the pen which had several hundred participants attempting to return to the race village and seek shelter. We were like a bunch of sheep shuffling our way out.
By the time we exited, the organisers recalled all 5km category back to the pen. Let’s just say it was quite chaotic and by the time we reached the start line we realised the category was already flagged-off. Given that we were sharing the path with the finishers coming in the opposite direction, the route was very busy and a large proportion of 5km racers were walking instead of running. It felt like a human obstacle course weaving in and out. As a result we found ourselves running some but mostly walking so we chose to enjoy each other’s company, absorbed the gorgeous Singaporean landscape and just celebrated participating in a race together.
As a regular racer with generally a great experience, I didn’t think much of the actual event. I appreciate the objective of raising awareness for a good cause but I would hope better logistical preparation such as: efficient baggage handling thereby reducing lengthy lines, faster processing at finishing line and a wider path for runners when there’s two way traffic that’s also shared with the public and cyclists thereby minimizing the bottle necks that occurred during this race.
On a last note, regardless of my personal thoughts about the event organisation, I was very happy to share my running world with my sister. Mostly satisfied we cycled off to Marina Cove for coffee, cake and breakfast.