This was my 5th consecutive SCMS since my 2012 comeback from a 21-year break since my maiden FM
Flashback Sep 2016. Craze Ultra 100 Miles. DNF after 142 km. 18 km left, 8 hours to go to finish line, but rest of journey not flat. It was not a difficult decision. No risk policy. SCMS coming. Anyway, completed Craze 100 Miles already last year
SCMS 2016 is of personal significance, having been selected as the (male) Face of SCMS poster boy. I’d be gutted if i could not take part. It is after all, probably a once in a lifetime moment
But too late, damage was already done …
I was sidelined with a series of injuries from early September thru to late October
3 injuries, all one following the recovery of the other
Left (ankle) ligament strain; front, outside
Right ankle ligament strain; back, outside
Left ankle posterior heel spur (bony protrusion caused by calcium deposit) confirmed with Ultrasound scans. Painful because of the inflammation of the tissue surrounding the region. Same bony protrusion at back of heel is evident on the right foot too – worst of the 3 injuries, needed trekking pole to aid walking around the first 2 weeks or so
By the time i felt i could run, it was already 20th October. But even then i was still managing with the pain, and making sure i wasn’t going to push it on my runs.
Longest distance run to SCMS was (one) 21KM from TTSH (after consultation) to home
Still not totally clear of this one yet
REPC DAY 1
Met The Flash Jeremy Lee for lunch, and afterwards accompanied him to The Expo
He seemed reluctant to do this race too (he’d DNS last week’s TNF100 SG 50K run, opting instead to go Bukit Timah Hill for elevation training)
REPC DAY 2
As agreed, met up with Eugene Aw (at Bishan Circle Line station) and headed to The Expo
Eugene, winner of this year’s Digital Queue FB contest was running SCMS to raise funds for charity; Singapore Cancer Society
I hadn’t anticipated him bringing his camera along. I’d thought it’d be like most other REPCs … collection, a few selfies, and be done
In retrospect, we both had a great time meeting our running friends as he made them pose holding a printout he’s sneakily prepared beforehand
SCMS 2016 – My Game Plan
Really unsettling. I wanted to race, to go for timing, but was scared my efforts might end in vain, and more importantly resulting in yet another injury !
The revised route (no Sheares Bridge) plus the reverse in direction (fresh route) seemed too wasted on a fun run !
I deliberated over the few days before and after REPC
Closer to race day, i was more inclined to go try the sub-4 again which has eluded me (my closest, a 4:02 Sundown 2015). And if that was compromised anytime during the race i could drop back and join my Eugene who was planning on doing a slow and easy 7-hour FM just as he’d done so during Sundown 2016
Jeremy was still undecided. He’d hurt his left knee from all the stairs training he’d been doing of late
In a last minute ditch of plans, i decided to forego my quest for a PB (i didn’t feel it was realistic and i should not risk another injury), and convinced Jeremy to run with me & Eugene
Slept from 2230 pm to 0145 am, left home 0225 am
Walked 2k from home to CCK Lot 1 Pickup Point.
2 SBS Transit buses arrived. 1 to The Stadium, other to Orchard.
Boarded the double-decker. I was pretty sure the buses left before the stipulated 3 am (i stand corrected, i think my bus arrived at Bukit Panjang pickup point at 3 am (my bus was not the only Orchard bound bus there)
Journey was smooth until the split point of Buyong & Penang roads
Slight congestion (of buses) at the first drop off point, before i could get off
It was 3.35 am then, and immediately i came upon Daniel Ong on the other side of the road, before the group grew in numbers, including Lai Boon.
Lai Boon was starting in Pen A with a HM bib. The 2 of us waited outside the Pen till just before 4 am. Eugene was already in the pen. He had tripped on his way from the pens further back, but thankfully was none for the worse except for a few minor abrasions. He was also concerned if he’d ripped or torn his new special edition Spiderman suit (it ain’t cheap !). Thankfully it wasn’t
As ever, time seemed to go by fast awaiting any race flag-off, and soon it was 0430 am !
FLAG-OFF to 1 KM
This year’s flag-off was 1/2 hour earlier. The earliest of any Singapore Marathon
Spiderman (& i) ran at 5.47 pace despite his visibility being compromised by his suit, specifically the region surrounding the eyes (they were not cut-outs like Batman’s, Captain America’s masks). Instead it was more akin of the vision of a spider’s compound eyes. Visibility is not great when it’s dark, and also when it’s too bright (glaring). This on top of the limited field of view that the mask offered. Peripheral vision was next to zero
His new suit was also different. It was a single-piece, meaning there was no separate hood that he could flip up from under his neck region. That meant he was not going to be able to consume anything other than liquid, and even then this was to be done through the region of the fabric covering over his mouth. So in essence, it was not as simple as just putting on the suit, or coming to terms with the heat and humidity that most of these suits pose (at least this one though was of made of quick-wicking material)
We ran till the agreed meetup point and here we waited for The Flash, & The Hulk to join us (since they were from later pens) – Fort Canning Tunnel, 1 km point
Jeremy arrived, and was soon followed by Steven, arriving here at 4.44 am. The latter was already paying the cost for wearing The Hulk’s mask. It was not only hot and humid but difficult to breathe in. He decided to continue, but without the mask (He would put it on closer to The Finish Line)
0 to 5 KM : Split – 0:40 (Elapsed Time – 0:40) [Time of Day – 0510 am]
Departed Fort Canning Tunnel after 9 mins of waiting, the 4 of us ran for another 1-2 km before The Hulk decided to let us go whilst he dropped off the pace
Spidey, Jeremy, & i also decided that we were going to enjoy ourselves and so we shall drink from every station we encounter
5 to 10 KM : 0:34 (1:14) [0544 am]
Key Locations : GBTB, Barrage Bridge, GBTB East
In and around the 10k stretch, GBTB East … the area was pretty dark, and this greatly affected Spidey’s vision. I illuminated the ground with my iPhone
Jeremy knee was still holding up ok
I could feel a slight strain on my left heel, but it was not something out of the norm in recent runs
10 to 15 KM : 0:46 (2:00) [0630 am]
Key Locations : GBTB East, ECP service road, HM Split Point (12k Fort Road)
Daylight breaking, Jeremy suggested we’d walk after 13k … probably feeling the effects on his left knee
15 to 20 KM : 0:45 (2:45) [0715 am]
We bumped into Ashley Ng who was on his way to the SAFRA Support Station we’d just passed. He handed us Sng Baos. Jeremy & i took 1 each. Spiderman Eugene had to decline as he was not able to consume it in it’s solid state
20 to 25 KM : 0:42 (3:27) [0757 am]
ECP, U-turns zone
21k, 2 Hrs 50 Mins
had 1x banana
25 to 30 KM : 0:45 (4:12) [0842 am]
run walk still … but now picking up the pace a little
glad to chance upon Sandy Heng Support Station – Coke, Ribena (3 mins), and a little further up :
SAFRA Toa Payoh. Lim Teck Chye, Ashley Ng, Danny Tham, Eugene Teo, Yeo Kim Kiat – were helping out here. had another Sng Bao from Ashley before leaving after 4-5 mins here
30 to 35 KM : 0:50 (5:01) [0932 am]
Running on the ECP Expressway : 32 – 33 km
we finally arrived at the GGRC (Gei Gei Running Club) Support Station
manned by Lawrence, Lena, Amy, Melvin, Wen Lim
We were here longest out of all the support stations – 10 mins.
Had Coke, watermelon cubes, Sng Bao
The Amazing Spiderman does inspire people to run !
we were running pretty fast after some lengthy walking along the ECP Service Road,
5:30 – 5:45 pace.
At this point of the race, most of those around us aren’t the fast sub-4 or even sub-5 runners …
Spidey’s senses tingled … he felt like he was being chased !
A young couple was running after, and gaining ground on us …
they wanted (and got) a wefie with Spiderman !
The weather which had been kind to us all morning did a reversal once we hit Fort Road
It was hot. Really, really hot !
We decided to walk in the shade, and run in the sun, and encouraged whoever would listen around us to do likewise
35 to 40 KM : 0:40 (5:41) [1011 am]
Mountbatten Road, Nicoll Highway
running alongside traffic was fun ! People were winding down their windows, taking shots with their mobiles … cheering and clapping
Credit to the motorists too. They were not impatient. Quite the opposite, driving with a smile. i also did not hear a single horn anytime here
And as before, volunteers and passers-by alike were awe-stricken and filled with amazement and admiration for my buddy in the Spiderman suit !
Some gasped as they see him running in the heat, in that costume, with that mask on
some wondered, few asked how he’d even drink
Me, i was feeling blessed just to be able to witness and experience such moments
Running has truly evolved in every aspect since it’s early days
There was still one other unofficial support group station that’s been on our minds
At last, we spotted them, but from the wrong side of the road
There was still a small matter of a business we needed to attend to … the final u-turn of the race !
It looked some distance off, but slowly and surely we came upon it, walking at first … and then running all the way to that station. And just as well, for we had no idea that they had been told to shut up shop by the race officials
it was only at the requests of bro Esmond & sis Lily that Keegan, See Chun Yan & others agreed to stay on a lil longer to wait for the 3 of us ! (i only learned of this after the race)
This was the PRR (Peirce Reservoir Runners) Support Group Station !
Keegan, See Chun Yan, Sharon Ong, Frankie Yang, Jenny Oh, Wendy Lee, PK Jang, OhMy Fran, and anyone else i might have missed out … Thanks for your hospitality, patience, and whatever inconvenience that might have arisen from the prolonged stay because you were waiting for us
We stayed here for about 6 mins before we knew we had to carry on !
Last 3.142 km to go !
40 to FINISH : 0:16 (5:57) [1027 am]
Republic Blvd, Esplanade …
Running Shots alley … this group’s photogs; Sotong, Tekko, & Marcus were all located along the short stretch of road just next to The Esplanade
At one point earlier on in the race, just before 30k, i predicted possibly a finishing time of sub 5:30 … now, we were just glad we were still able to complete before 6 hours !
We decided to make a run for it towards the end !
At The Esplanade Bridge, we agreed to walk (not run) across The Finish Line !
Our plan was to create a gap between ourselves and the ones just behind us … so that we would not obstruct anyone when doing so
Strange, i cannot remember if we did what we all set out to do; walk across The Finish Line ! (looking through the official photos, it didn’t seemed like we walked. Perhaps we slow jogged)
PWs (Personal Worst) for Jeremy & i (beating my 5:40 injury-stricken 2012 comeback SCMS race) … but boy we sure did have a PB race experience ! No cramps, no injuries, walking, drinking, chatting, taking photos, encouraging and motivating those around us … and Spiderman made more than a few fellow marathoners day as he obliged and posed for shots with them !
The 3 of us helped, and took care of each other, constantly checking if the others were alright … was the pace too fast, do we need to walk, was everyone ok to run again, etc
Pretty much the usual … but i still had one last task. A personal matter
I messaged this friend and we agreed on a place to meet
Chen Phan Yeeh has been keeping his consecutive streak of completing the year end Singapore Marathon (FM distance) going. He started off with the ’92 Singapore International Marathon, and this SCMS 2016 was his 25th !
And we’ve got another streak of our own … to meet every year at the end of the race.
And this year marked our 4th ! (we’d only ever met once other than in Dec before this)
Will i do SCMS 2017, very likely
But i’m glad i made the right decision in the end, thanks in part to Jeremy. Had he decided he was not going to run this year, then i’d probably would have not opted to do the ‘fun’ run, and who knows … i might even end up injuring myself even
We sometimes tend to forget why we run after a while, the need for speed poisons the mind and clouds the vision … we become machine-like in our quest for personal timings
It’s good to once in a while take a step back, and enjoy the runs, even if they are paid events
and, I’m glad i finally did my first in an Full Marathon