Race Review: Standard Chartered Marathon 2014 [10km & Kids Dash] (by ‘red3’)

SCSM2014: 10km Race

As I sit with my throbbing feet up, I am reminiscing about this morning’s SCMS event.  Having had the worst run so far, I am not the least bit surprised. Returning recently from a 40th birthday party bash in Boracay, Philippines, my training suffered significantly (meaning I didn’t do any).  As the race day loomed my strategy suddenly became simple.  Survive.  Walk if I must and walked I did for a lot of it.

The morning started off well enough.  Along with fellow neighbours, we arrived early enough to enjoy the atmosphere and the breaking dawn.  By 7.00am we were established on the Esplanade Bridge waiting for the countdown.  One thing I have a lot of fun with at any racing event is taking pics of the endless sea of participants.  Last month it was all red at GEWR, today a sea of blue with the lovely CBD in the background.

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Fellow neighbours from my condo.
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A sea of blue.

As the gun goes off the crowd slowly spills over the Start line but it’s a bottle neck and difficult to break through until the space opens at the F1 Pitstop.  From there it’s smooth sailing with plenty of drinking stations along the way and reasonably good weather.  Slight clouding has kept the sun at bay, making the distance easier to bare.

I intentionally took off at a slower pace hoping it would carry me through most of the run.  Unfortunatley, my lack of training for this event made it impossible to get past my aching legs, particularly my ankles so I found myself barely making it to 3km and having to walk.  “Oh man, this was going to be a long race,” played in my head.  However, given that I was prepared for this kind of eventuality, I took it in stride and just kept going forward.

Sadly, I also forgot my headphones at home which meant it was a very silent run.  No Daddy Yankee, no Pitbull, no Coolio, no Wisin, no Urban Latin music was going to blare in my ears to keep me going.  It was just me and the voices in my head and yes, the voices won often.  However, on an upside, it made me more aware of my surroundings and mostly peaceful except for the occasional Darth Vader breather passing me by and pulling me out of my trance.

As I reached the 7km mark, I check in with hubby to let him know I’m likely to make it back in time for the Kids Dash.  He has two kids in different categories and needed me to make it back in time.  I pulled off the road to enjoy the view as I rested temporarily.  Given that there were 16,000+ participants in this category it was not surprising to still see them coming on the opposite side of the road.

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Left side just reaching 3km mark, right side happily clocking up the last 3km.
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This was a welcomed sign. 70% complete. Nearly there.

With only 3km to go I was inspired to pick up the pace again and whilst I barely kept the pace below 8min/km, I pushed on for 2km, walked 500m and then took the last 500m home.  I loved the big signs counting down each 100m, the familiarity of City Hall and I was relieved to cross that finish line.  Not my best run but there’s always another year, another race, another time to try again.  Tip to myself though – don’t party too hard before a major race.  Noted.

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Ranked 4016/16,650 for 10km.

Half Marathon

Whilst I’m making my way through the 10km, my fellow Team Costa members are tackling their half marathon from Sentosa Island.  Certainly not lacking in fun, a quick pic with Grover from Sesame Street added to the day’s spunk, especially since the AYE segment was lengthy and uninspiring.

Quick pic with Grover as they race through Universal Studios.
Quick pic with Grover as they race through Universal Studios.

Suffering an injury at the 10km mark Chelle found herself having to push through the next 11km.  Usually that’s when you find out what you’re made of.  Do you yield and withdraw from the race or harness all that you have and carry on through the pain.  For Chelle quitting is not an option and Tiger Balm was sought at every opportunity for injury management.  Chelle’s highlights were running through Sentosa even though hilly and Universal Studios where she met Grover and other Madagascar characters.

David on the other hand had a very good race today by shaving off 20min from his last attempt.  In his own words:

“The motivation I get from seeing everybody on the team go for bigger and bolder goals is awesome. Go Team Costa!”

For Stan this race was a culmination of months of effort, of 5am runs up and down East Coast Park that may have been slightly marred by the fact that he was at the same 40th birthday bash and wasn’t able to sustain the training as a lead up to today’s event.  However, here’s his take on his experience today:

“I was aiming for a 5:45/km race and thought I could keep it up through the Sentosa hills.  That was a big mistake, better strategy would be to take it easier through those hills and speed up on the flats later.  By the time I got out of Sentosa I was spent.  But overall I loved the race, with it’s great organizers able to pull it off with this many people participating.  Next year I’ll be prepared!”

Stan with his son who participated in the Kids Dash.
Stan with his son who ran in the Kids Dash.

Kids Dash

My daughter, Trinity’s running debut was the 2013 SCMS when she was just 5 years old.  We had so much fun that it set us on a new path in 2014, searching for kids races.  Since then she has completed the 2.5km Jurong Lake Run, SAFFRA Father & Child, NorthPassion Run, culminating to the 2014 SCMS.  Together with her friend Justin (Chelle’s 7 yo son), they tackled the 930m course (yes it’s longer than advertised but it was well worth it) at their best speeds.  Justin gave my hubby a run for his money by keeping a pace of 6.11/km, whilst I hobbled behind my daughter at 6.54/km (in my mind begging to stop; I didn’t want to take another step).

As junior Team Costans, they are the new generation of athletes.  Best described by SCMS this “race is designed to encourage kids to participate in a running event and take up the sport while they are young. Kids are encouraged to come out, have fun, and experience the festivities and be part of this momentous occasion”.  Setting an example as parents by participating in adult events, the kids are inspired to participate in their own age related events.  Keep the races coming Singapore.

Trini's debut in 2013 with her buddy David.
Trini’s debut in 2013 with her buddy David.
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This year with her buddy Justin.

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Marathon

Very simply said about the marathon as articulated by the only marathon runner in our group: “it’s a race, you have to suck it up”.  Enough said.

And on that note, me and my throbbing feet will hang up the keyboard for another day and farewell SCMS for another year.  For me the SCMS is the final event for 2014.  My runners need time out from racing, so I may indulge in the upcoming festivities.  The new year promises lots of fun races that include running events, an obstacle course race, the Tri Factor series, the Green Corridor run, my first running event in Australia and that’s just the first 8 months.

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Less than 12 Hours to the Standard Chartered Half Marathon

I is nervous.

Have I prepared enough?  Will I hit the Wall?  Can I finish in a respectable timing?

This will be my first REAL run with my human companion (PS. she will henceforth be referred to as “The Human”).  Yeah sure, I attended the Hello Kitty Run (“HK Run”) at Sentosa with her a month ago, but that seemed to be more of a ‘fun event’ than anything else.  During the HK Run, I spent most of the duration in the pocket of her running shorts.  This time, the plan is that I conqueror the 21km, strapped to her armband.

My greatest worry – Will I… fall and *gasp* get lost midway?

I hope not 🙁

I wonder she is ready.  This will be her 2nd Half Marathon, and honestly, I don’t think she has trained enough for it… running 1-2x a week, about 5km at a time.  Her previous attempt, at the Straits Times Run, took her almost 3hrs.  She seemed disappointed, and I think she is hoping for a time closer to 2hr 30m.  I wish she knows how proud of her I am regardless of her finish time.

I have other plushie friends joining me tomorrow too.  Some are doing the half as I am, and some are doing the full.  It WILL be fun.

Best of luck to everyone taking part in the SCMS 2014 tomorrow!  Say hi ~ and take a selfie with me if you manage to spot me!

bump SCMS(^_^)/

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Running Heroes Vol 3: Haile Gebreselassie

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The man is here in Singapore this weekend, he’s running Stan Chart with us all on Sunday.

So I thought it would be great to finish the series of running heroes with a real legend of the long distance scene.

Haile was born in 1973, one of ten children in Asella, Ethiopia. Legend has it he ran 10k each way to school as a boy, which contributed to his unique crooked left arm runnign style, apparently due to carrying books to school as he ran.

Not much has been recorded about his childhood, but aged 18 he won the 5k and 10k at the Youth World Championships – this set the tone for a glittering 1990’s, when he won 4 world championships and 2 olympic gold’s at 10,000m and was pretty much unbeatable over 5000 and 10,000 metres.haile2

His track career came to an end in 2004, when he failed in his quest to win gold three olympics in a row at 10,000m, beaten by his protege Kenise Bekele – with a pretty impressive set of PB’s : 5k 12.41 10K 26.22

At the grand old age of 31, Haile did what many of us do in our thirties – he started road running, specifically marathoning.

Except unlike us, he started at the top – and stayed there.

Haile and I have one thing in common……we both made our marathon debut in the 2002 London Marathon. That’s where the similarities end though, whilst I was very happy with 3:32 and something like 2000th place, Haile was finishing 1 hour and 26 minutes ahead of me, in 3rd place.

He then won 9 Global Marathons over the next 8 years, winning the Berlin Marathon a record 4 times and setting a then World Record of 2:03:59 aong the way.

Eventually, time has caught up with Haile and he isnt winning marathons any longer, but he is still keeping the young guys honest and can still run a sub 2:06 at the age of 40.

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Spot the difference?

 

What next for Haile?

From his twitter feed it seems a career in Ethiopian politics is possiblehaile4

“A lot of messages in the news about me going into politics. Yes, I want to be in the parliament in 2015 to help my country to move forward.”

There’s no doubt in my mind he will be successful.

Meanwhile, Haile and I will do another race together this weekend, although I’ll be sticking to the 42k while he steps down to the 10k.

Maybe I can take that as my own little victory over the great man 🙂

That’s the end of my series, I hope you have enjoyed reading about my running heroes, Pre, Steve Ovett and Haile Gebreselassie – all individuals, all talents, all amazingly inspirational!

Good luck to everyone running on Sunday, may the force be with you.

 

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The Maze Challenge Asia Breaks the Malaysia Book of Records as the Largest Maze in Malaysia

A record-breaking running event!

PRESS RELEASE, DEC 3, 2014: THE MAZE CHALLENGE ASIA, the first of its kind not only in Malaysia, but in the world, has been officially given the title of The Largest Maze in Malaysia by the Malaysia Book of Records (MBR). This adventurous and adrenaline packed event was held on the 29th & 30th November 2014 at Sepang International Circuit.

Organised by 2Spicy Entertainment, THE MAZE CHALLENGE ASIA is supported by Malaysia Major Events, a division of Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau, an agency under Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture. This 7700m2 of maze was preceded and finished with military styled obstacles which stimulated participants’ body and mind, through visual perception, coordination and critical thinking.

 

THE MAZE CHALLENGE ASIA saw some 3,200 participants over two days, vying for the grand prize worth up to RM5,000. The winners of the race were judged separately for the two days, 29th November and 30th November due to a bad storm that ruined part of the maze on late Saturday afternoon. The winner for the Saturday, 29th November is Mohd Khairul Ikhwan Bin Mhd Yusoff for the Open Category. The winners for the Sunday, 30th November are Choi Choon Onn for the Open Category, Abdullah Ariffudin Bin Ashari for the Media Category and Xavier Azad Hairston-Khan for the Tourist Category. Both the Saturday and Sunday winners have won cash and prizes worth up to RM5,000.

“We would like to thank all our sponsors that made this event possible. Although most of the feedback we receive from the public was positive, we want them to know that this year’s event was just a beginning and we promise to make next year’s Maze Challenge even better” said Brian Corvers, Director, of 2Spicy Entertainment Sdn Bhd.

Within just two years 2Spicy Entertainment, a fully integrated, Malaysia-based entertainment company, became a leader in live concerts, club events and their related businesses across South East Asia. The fully integrated, broad-based company stands at the forefront of every aspect of popular dance, trance and clubbing.

About Malaysia Major Events

Malaysia Major Events (MME) is a division of Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), an agency under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia (MoTAC). MME was established under the Government’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) to identify, promote, facilitate as well as support viable international events to be staged in Malaysia. With its main objective to enhance Malaysia’s economic growth and profile, MME is also tasked to identify and support major event bids for sports, arts, lifestyles and entertainment events and provide assistance to home-grown and home-hosted events in order to further strengthen Malaysia’s global appeal as the venue of choice for major events in the region. MME also acts as a conduit between the public and private sectors in ensuring seamless processes are achieved through synergistic relationships with diverse event stakeholders in staging successful events in Malaysia.

For more information, please visit www.mymajorevents.com.my and follow us on www.facebook.com/MalaysiaMajorEvent, twitter @MyMajorEvents and Instagram @mymajorevents.

THE MAZE CHALLENGE ASIATM was sponsored and supported by IJM Land as the Silver Sponsor, Concorde Inn KLIA, Skybus, Revive, Fly FM, One FM, 8TV, Time Galerie, 20th Century FOX Malaysia, GNC, Fitness First, Banana Boat, Loacker, YouthUnited.MY, Nuffnang and Justrunlah.com.

About IJM Land Berhad

IJM Land Berhad, the property development arm of IJM Corporation Berhad, has garnered a reputation as one of Malaysia’s premier property developers. Through the years, we are honoured to have shaped Malaysia’s township landscape and built thriving communities that are well into the future.

A strong sense of responsibility drives our business. What defines us is our customer passion, innovative spirit, drive for excellence and sustainable practices. At IJM Land, our design and build philosophy is always been about providing quality experiences and delivering meaningful value to those who matter most – our customers.

The company’s vast portfolio includes townships, sustainable developments, iconic waterfront community, luxury homes, landed and high-rise residences, offices and commercial properties in prime areas of Penang, the Greater Kuala Lumpur, Seremban, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak. Our global footprint extends to Vietnam, China and the United Kingdom

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Race Review: The Maze Challenge Asia, I Came, I Ran, I Conquered (by Dudi)

Challenge accepted!

I have a confession… I’m not the most active/sporty person in the world. Most of my free time are spend lazing at home (probably reading the latest Young Adult book from the library), trying out a new restaurant, going shopping, surfing the internet, or just catching some Zzz’s.

When I got invited by my friend Priscilla (below photo, right) – who’s one hell of a runner – to join the Maze Challenge Asia in Kuala Lumpur, I hesitated. Sure, I’ve joined a few marathons for the past few years in my attempt to become more fit and healthy, but the thought of running and overcoming obstacles along the way freaked me out. But I decided to take on the challenge and gave her my most emphatic YES!

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Ready or not, here we come!

On the day before the race (29 November), at about 745 am, I found myself at Golden Mile Complex about to board the bus which would take us to Kuala Lumpur. When we got there, we headed to Concorde Hotel near KL Sentral and when we checked in, discovered that it was the wrong hotel. So we took another hour to go to the right hotel – Concorde Inn at KLIA.

When we got to the hotel, which was kind enough to sponsor the racer bloggers with an overnight stay including meals, we headed straight to our room to get that much deserved rest for the big day ahead.

Race Day – 30 November 2014

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The racing duo.

 

We woke up at about 530am on the day of the race, pumped up and ready to overcome whatever may come our way. But first, we needed energy so we grabbed a bite at The Melting Pot, the hotel’s restaurant which fed us with freshly cooked eggs, vegetables, and protein for that added boost. And then, we were on a van heading to Sepang International Circuit for the Maze Challenge Asia.

Some backgrounder on this event: It’s a first of its kind in Asia, and it features a temporarily built maze that is peppered with obstacle courses along the way. You wouldn’t really know what you would be in for until you enter the venue itself. Intimidating, right?

We got to the venue with a little time to spare, so we rushed to the entrance and the host was already counting down the seconds until we officially begin. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!!! Then the gates opened and we just ran like zombies were chasing us.

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All set and ready to run, or crawl, or climb…or whatever.

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Climb every mountain; in this case, it was a wooden wall.

The first obstacle, though tough, was probably the easiest of the lot. There was a kind of tarp on the ground that was wet and very slippery. Above it was an entrapment of ropes that prevented us from walking. My friend and I just crawled and crawled until our knees and elbows hurt.

When we stood up, there was a giant wooden wall looming at us. The marshals told us that we had to climb it using a rope. My reaction was like, “No way!” but if I didn’t do it, I’d get disqualified. Mustering all my courage, I grabbed the rope and started my shaky ascent. When I reached the top, I discovered that I had to go down the same way. But I’m proud of myself that I did it without chickening out.

The third obstacle was a very wet one. There were about three makeshift pools that we had to wade through. To make it more interesting, there were tires below and we had to step into the holes while we made our way. The last pool surprised us… not with sharks… but with ice cold water.

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The view from inside the maze.

Cold and dripping wet, we reached the biggest obstacle of them all– the MAZE! There were four entrances and my friend and I took the 2nd one. I don’t know how long we were inside but there were a number of times when we just wandered aimlessly. But we were not alone, we saw a couple of racers who were also going in circles. We decided to team up with some of them and came up with a strategy to find that elusive exit. And voila, we found it!

Before the finish line, there were two more challenges we had to do. The muddy trail with a few bricks to step on and another wall climbing obstacle. But after surviving everything before these, we just breezed through them and ran towards the finish line.

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I got a medal! Woohoo!

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We conquered the biggest maze in Malaysia.

Overall, the Maze Challenge Asia was a good learning experience for me. It was a great accomplishment being able to break the chains of my mind and do all the obstacles I didn’t think I was capable of before all this.

Being able to be a part of this event also fuelled my thirst to become a more active and healthier person. In conclusion, you’ll be seeing more of me in upcoming marathons and events like these in Singapore. If you do, please say hi. I won’t run away.

*Special thanks to Maze Challenge Asia for allowing us to participate in this event and for Concord Inn at KLIA for sponsoring our hotel stay and meals in Malaysia.

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Race Review: The Maze Challenge Asia, An A-maze-ing Experience (by ‘SlowRunner’)

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Waiting for the shuttle, at Concorde Inn

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Left: Shenny, Back: Jonathan, Middle: Me, Right: Dudi

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Me, Dudi, ILOVEADAY & PLOIAWAIT

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With our precious medals!

Getting to the event

Both Dudi and I took a coach bus from Singapore to attend the inaugural Maze Challenge Asia which was held at Sepang International Circuit on 29-30th November 2014.

The Maze Challenge Asia was a world’s first running event that featured a giant complicated maze with physical obstacles in its course. It was more than your usual race, offering both a body and mind workout, through visual perception, coordination and critical thinking!

We had the privilege to stay at Concorde Inn KLIA over the weekend and had our carbo-loading sessions with buffet lunch and dinner at the Melting Pot Cafe.

Strategising

Even though we had to wake up at 5.30am for breakfast, both of us were excited over this race and we secretly hope that we can win a place in the top 10. We brainstormed several ideas to help us navigate through (e.g: using compass, etc), but after all, in reality, we just kept running aimlessly along with other participants! =p

Time to run!

Our race slot was for Sunday, 30th November. At the race venue, there were booths providing free drinks from chocolate milk to reviving isotonic drinks! The race was flagged off at about 7.35am with several other awesome participants in great hype!

Want to get an idea of how it was running the maze? Check out this video we took!

Obstacles

1. ‘The Crawl’

The race started with us crawling under wires on a slimy floor and getting slightly drenched from water sprinklers.

2. ‘The Climb’

My pearl izumi gloves certainly came to good use! With the encouragement and advice from the helpers at the tip of the inverted V-shaped structure, I conquered my fear of heights and completed the obstacle in a piece. From my vague memory, I think this was slightly higher than ‘The Highrise’ from Run For Your Lives. I hope the race could end after this, but this was only the beginning. :p

Managed to take photos of my buddy before climbing and while she was descending from this tall inverted V-shaped structure.

3. ‘The Dip’

Next, we came to a big pool of cold freezing water. There were tyres hidden in the water and I unknowingly slipped on some of them.

4. Maze

Finally, the maze appeared right before our eyes. The maze master told us to choose one of the four entrances to enter. We randomly chose the second one and dashed in.

 

After walking around for 10 minutes, we realized that we were going in circles as we reached the same hydration point for a few times!

Luckily, we bumped into other participants and we managed to find the exit door together! After which, there were another two more obstacles such as muddy trails and climbing before we approached the finishing line.

Lastly, a big thank you to the race organizer, Concorde Inn KLIA and JustRunLah! for this a-maze-ing experience in the largest maze ever, and my travel buddy Dudi for completing it with me! =)

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Borneo International Marathon 2015: Run, Eat, Play!

It is just the right time to fill up your 2015 running calendar. Many new races have been introduced around the region and few races are getting popular among Singaporeans. The one race that many have been talking about is the Borneo International Marathon (BIM) scheduled to be held on 3 May 2015. It is a relatively small race in Sabah Malaysia, about 2.5 hours by flight.

 

Run, Eat, Play!

What’s special about this event is the stuff that you can do after the race. We all have heard about Mt Kinabalu and Sabah’s beaches. You don’t have to go far to enjoy a day rolling in the sand, just 15 minutes by boat from the capital Kota Kinabalu and ta-dah, you’re at another island and your holiday mode is on. Or, if your legs still can corporate after BIM, you can go on a short trek at Kinabalu Park, about 1.5 hours away by road. Since you’re there, why don’t you just climb the mountain lah!

 

Another thing that is a must-do is eat seafood – after the race that is. It’s fresh and amazingly cheap. Lobster, big tiger prawns and steam grouper fish with a cold beer dinner sounds like a big food treat after running a marathon.

There are many city hotels in Kota Kinabalu and the places you need to go are within walking distance, so there’s no need to take a taxi. Just look at it as recovery for your legs.

Borneo International Marathon will be held on 3 May 2015. To register, please go to www.borneomarathon.com

 

Check out Borneo Marathon’s official page on Facebook.

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Marina Bay Cruise Center – The Noah Ark of Singapore

Running the Marina South Pier

Sg Unfit Runners have explored many places in Singapore but there is this infamous place at the Southern tip of the island which we haven’t explored yet. And what is it infamous for? It’s infamous for its 600m walkway from the newly opened Marina South Pier MRT station to the Marina Bay Cruise Center. So we decided to swing by Marina Bay Cruise center while starting from our usual starting point at the Helix Bridge.

The financial hub of Singapore and barren lands…

After cutting across Marina Bay Sands, we ran along Marina Boulevard, and the area is a stark contrast to the glistering build-up commercial towers to the north. Barren, hot and weedy. It feels a bit like the desert of Vegas between you drive into the Sin City of US.

Lots of weed
Construction materials
Foreign Labor. The people who build the foundation of Singapore… Literally
2.5 km run towards Marina South Pier

The route leading towards Marina South Pier cuts across a few major junctions, namely the major road towards Sheares Bridge and the major road leading into the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE). Lots of traffic junctions and a lot of waiting . On the bright side, the pavements are wide and it seems like that is a cycling road running parallel to the pedestrian pavement. The Singapore government seems to have an intention to encourage people who work in the CBD to cycle in. Interesting…

The Marina South Pier is officially opened on 23rd November 2014 and will link the Marina South Pier and the Marina Bay Cruise Center with the public transport system of Singapore. I don’t recall seeing a bus stop around the area, so I guess that is probably the only way to get to the pier by public transport if you do not want to take a taxi. The Marina South Pier is the gateway to Singapore’s southern islands such as Kusu Island and St John Island. The Singapore Maritime Gallery is also located at the Marina South Pier. The Singapore Maritime Gallery showcases Singapore’s maritime history and how a sleepy fishing port transforms itself into one of the busiest and most important trading port in the world.

 

Marina South Pier MRT. Opened 23th Nov 2014
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Marina South Pier
Singapore Maritime Gallery.
Grrrr.. Welcome to Singapore!

Right next to the Marina South Pier, we see a long, straight, 600 meters long covered walkway, stretching as far as the eye can see. The sight of such a architectural feat should be promoted as one of the achievement of Singapore and should be showcase as one of the “Must Take Picture” sight in Singapore. I should swing by at night when all the walkway lamps are lighted up. Should be a spooky sight!

I can’t see the end!!
Is this part of the Tick Eye Museum exhibit??

After an exhausting run (imagine hauling luggage for 600 meters in hot humid Singapore to take a luxury cruise to no-where!), I reached the mostly desolated Marina Bay Cruise Center. The current cruise center at Harborfront, is at full capacity and it’s narrow waterways and more shallow waters make it unsuitable for mega cruisers to navigate and dock. Marina Bay Cruise Center with it’s naturally deep waters, is a more ideal docking ground. The cruise center looks like a futuristic battleship, which I believe if needed, can really stay afloat in case of a global disaster whereby Singapore is flooded and we need a Noah Ark equivalent.

Selfie with the Noah Ark of Singapore
Fishermen hard at work.
Entrance to the Cruise Center
By the time I reached the cruise center, I feel a familiar throb on my knees again. I think I pushed myself too far today, especially in the hot morning sun when I dehydrate more rapidly and the chances of my ligament strain become higher. I had no choice but to start a 3.5KM walk back to the Helix bridge.
Yes, I left my EZ link card in the car, just in case you are wondering why I didn’t take the MRT back to Promenade MRT.
By 830am in the morning, the sun is already blistering hot and I am already panting with my tongue out like a overheated doggie. Halfway along Marina Boulevard, I spotted a small path that cuts through Garden by the Bay, which looks a lot cooler than the barren wasteland ahead.
Oh well, let’s take the plunge, if it can get me some shade with all the leafy foliage around.
In fact, I will recommend this route to the runners who are interested to try out my route, as this route skips 2 major traffic junction and the path is a lot more scenic… unless you enjoy looking at weed, ERP gantry, construction sites, zooming cars and foreign talents…
In any case, Garden by the Bay is all fully decked up for Christmas, giving it a very festive atmosphere. I also notice thousands of LED and light bulbs screwed into all these Xmas installment, which I think, will make the already spectacular night lightnings at the Gardens even more Epic at night. Gardens should be one of the “Must Go” places for this Christmas, especially for dating couples.
It has been a pleasurable walk through the Gardens by the Bay despite the pain in my knee. Oh well, I will probably swing by Gardens in one of the evenings with my DSLR camera. Meanwhile, Mcdonald breakfast at Marina Sq awaits.
Ouch… My knee hurts ….
The narrow path into Gardens by the Bay
A Very BIG Christmas Tree
The beautiful Xmas structures at Gardens by the Bay.

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A Marathon Starts at the 32km Mark

You have trained for weeks and it’s finally Marathon Day.

Having a good game plan can help ensure that you do the absolute best you can on that day.

What not to do:

Starting too fast.

The first 2km should feel comfortable. If you start out too fast, quickly adjust your pace and your mindset: think ENDURANCE. If you don’t, be prepared to hit the wall – hard!

Starting out too slow.

Negative splits work for shorter distances but for endurance runners, you won’t have enough left in you to go faster as your body (and your mind) start to become exhausted.

Changing things up unnecessarily.

Eat pasta the night before – this is good advice only if it’s something you’ve been practicing in the last 20 weeks of training. Stick to your usual diet so you get a sense of how much you can eat comfortably without bathroom breaks.

What to do:

Control your pace very well.

If you feel great on race day and your test races predict success, lock in your goal pace and be vigilant to maintain it over the race.

Be mentally prepared for the wall.

You will probably hit “the wall” during a marathon (between 27km-35km) depending on your glycogen stores and metabolism.
What starts as a major mental battle transforms into a strange ache, pain, or cramping. Physically, your body is switching from using glycogen, a fast burning fuel, to fat, a much slower burning fuel. Remember it’s not forever. You will come out on the other side ready to finish the final 10K of the race in style.

The last 10K

The last 10K presents the greatest mental and physical challenge. At 32km, here’s where the marathon really begins. Your mind will need to fight off the negative thoughts of doubt and defeat. Our advice? Look at your heart rate monitor and remind yourself that your body is coping just fine. This can also help quiet your mind by getting your breathing back on track. Try to hold on for as long as you can. If you have to slow down, do it in stages, never come to a complete stop.

last 10km sign

Enjoy yourself.

Enjoy the experience. Be well-aware of your pace, don’t maintain at the wrong pace. Find your pacer and stick closely to him/her!

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Race Review: Santa Run For Wishes 2014 (by Chelza)

IMG-20141129-WA0012Ho ho ho!

Christmas came early for Singapore this year! If you were at The Promontory @ Marina Bay last Saturday evening, you would have double- checked your calendar and thought that Christmas was yesterday instead. Decked in Santa-lookalike race tees and Christmas hats, thousands of Santa Run For Wishes’ participants were gathered in town yesterday and ready to start off Christmas with not only a generous heart, but also, in a healthy manner. How so? Well, the registration fees and donations made will go to Make-A-Wish Singapore, the only wish granting foundation in Singapore that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions between the ages of 3-18 years. After all, Christmas is about the spirit of sharing joy, love and laughter, isn’t it?20141129_173744

As any runner would know, warm-up exercises are important before any run. Accompanied with groovy music, we were lucky to have enthusiastic instructors from Fitness First to lead us with some dynamic exercises. Despite the cold weather after the rain, it was hard not to feel pumped- up for the race after the exercises.

As the race horn sounded, thousands of Singapore’s very own Santas and Santarinas dashed across the starting line with enthusiasm, passion and joy. It was as if they were all rushing and eager to deliver Christmas presents to the good kids! (We all know naughty kids do not get the presents!)

A comfortable run

Despite the huge number of participants, there was no overcrowding experienced during the race at all. Not only is the race route wide enough, it is also a relatively easy one with little slopes and inclinations. Not to forget, the scenery was breathtaking. Besides the sea of red and white balls of wishes floated along Singapore River, one can also witness the myriad of kites being flown at Marina Barrage. In addition, the Merlion can be spotted at a distance.20141129_173819

Besides, it was encouraging to have passers- by to cheer you on for the run. Furthermore, you get to witness the myriad of costumes that the participants donned on during the run. From kings with crowns to Green Lantern, many participants were keen on winning the Best Dressed Competition. There were even ladies dressing as sexy Santarinas and Catwoman!

When one thinks of Christmas, besides Santa Claus, one will not forget the elves. Dozens of elves were there to help out for the carnival. Not only were they selling popular snacks like popcorns and candy floss, they were also facilitating games stations like the Bouncy Castle and H2O walkers. Bring any kid to the carnival and it would literally be like a 20141129_184256paradise of fun and joy for them!

Overall, despite it being a new run, Santa Run for Wishes exceeded my expectations. It would be a great run for any beginner and also, for anyone who is keen on bringing their families along to a run. Not to forget, it is a run that encapsulates the spirit of Christmas- sharing joy, love and laughter.

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84-year-old running his 100th marathon at SCMS14. What’s your excuse?

With the countdown for Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore coming to single digit (7 more days to go!), one participant at SCMS this year drew my attention. Mr Chan Meng Hui, or known as Uncle Chan to some, is seeking to complete his 100th marathon at SCMS this year. This makes Uncle Chan the oldest runner at this year’s race. The 84-year-old veteran joins host Yasmin Abdol Hamid  at SuperSports 360 to discuss about his running journey, as well as his lifestyle changes to run at this age.

Uncle Chan shared some tips for the runners at this race:

  • Listen to your body. Your body will tell you when to stop or go.
  • Have strong willpower for the long distance.
  • Most importantly, RUN TO ENJOY.

And a reminder for the runners doing SCMS14, remember to collect your race pack from 4 to 6 December at Singapore Expo!

Information booklet is available here with all the details for race route, transport, race day programme etc.

See you on race day! 🙂

– Video & Cover image source: SuperSports 360

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Race Review: 8th Hatyai International Marathon, 2014 (by ‘ALCE’)

Although not a Finisher Tee but I am still happy wearing it.

Change of plans

I was one of those unfortunate ones that booked the Starlight Ultra (21km) held in Penang in May 2014 but only to have the event postponed to August due to the by-election of Penang’s politician Karpal Singh. This has left me infuriated because my travel plans were all set and I was fully trained for this half marathon. I was frantically searching for an alternative overseas destination to run on the same date. It was then I had realized Thailand could be the answer. Alas, I found the 8th Hatyai International Marathon to be held on the same date! More on the event later.

First off, travelling to Haytai has been made easy because there are comfortable coaches from Golden Mile Complex that brings you right to the doorstep (quite literally) of the race start point. If travelling long distances by coach is an issue to you, skip this option and book a flight. I decided to book a bus ticket on a Friday night, which will be due to reach Hatyai by Sat, 8am in the morning.

Although not a Finisher Tee but I am still happy wearing it.
Although not a Finisher Tee but I am still happy wearing it.

Arrival in Thailand

After a good night sleep in the bus, I finally reached the Thailand immigration checkpoint at Sadao. Despite all the uncertainty and curfew conditions imposed in Thailand, the immigration counters were rather empty. Once I arrived at what is known as Hatyai’s central shopping district (another 1 hour drive from the checkpoint), I quickly went into the same bus company branch to book and secure a return trip back to Singapore on Sun night at 6pm. Don’t worry, there is plenty of time to rest and recuperate after your run on Sun. Trust me.

After getting that squared away, I wasted no time and proceeded to the race expo to collect my race pack by means of a motorcycle taxi. The journey is very near and it will not cost you more than 100Baht (S$4). The race expo is held at Jiranakorn Stadium, Hatyai, Songkhla, right at the start point of the race (I know, how convenient is that right?). Ok, here comes the beautiful part of the race – for those who are unfamiliar, you can actually do a walk-in, register on-site and still get the right size of your event t-shirts/singlets at the race expo! You get to choose either a singlet or t-shirt. I chose the t-shirt since I will not be getting a Finisher Tee for 21km category.

I had a quick look around the expo which most stalls sell lots of cheap sports attire and shoes, where most of it sold there I must say, were imitation of well-known brands. If you are looking for something that is meant for training (to take the harsh beating of your 70km per week mileage), this is not the place to purchase anything. Once happy and contented with my shopping, I headed straight to my hotel. It was a 6 mins motorcycle taxi ride that cost 40Baht (S$1.60) to be exact. I stayed in Greenview Hotel (700Baht/S$28 a night), which is like 1km away from the start point. Room was simple, very basic and within walking distance to night markets. Offers free and strong signal to WiFi.

At 5pm, I was again heading back to the Stadium for the carbo loading ‘party’ sponsored by the organizer. Food was delicious and it mainly consisted of rice, chicken and vegetables. Heading back to town, I shopped and shopped until 9pm. Tiring as it may seem, I just wanted to proceed back to the hotel to just chill and have an early night before race day.

One of my most treasured medals
One of my most treasured medals

Race day

I woke up at 3.30am on Sunday to have some pre-race snacks and a banana. Feeling excited, I walked to the Stadium where the start point is. All the runners were ushered to the start pen from the stadium which was led by a brass band. The full marathon is already in full swing while my half marathon race will be starting at 5.30am. The route is very flat and no unwanted surprises. The half marathon is a simple “out and back” type of running route with occasional supporters staring at you with a warm smile. You will have to run from the within the city out to the highway, do a U-turn at the 11km mark and back. But do take heed, there are no distance markers along the route at all. So as with all my overseas run (others being Gold Coast Airport Marathon and Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon), my best advice is to wear some kind of GPS/distance tracking device.

Running route was bestowed with drink stations about every 2km, serving cold drinking water, drinks that came in red, yellow and green colors, with light refreshments like watermelons and jellies. Overall, the route was scenic and safe. Thai traffic police were alert, enthusiastic and always cheering the runners on! Crossing the finishing line was such a joy! Volunteers gave out medals and certificate of completion at the end point.

At the finish line!

Moving further into the stadium, food and drinks were being served. I gave my Thailand chicken yellow rice away to a homeless man who came to me asking for food. Took another bike taxi back to hotel, had a well deserved shower and managed to catch a quick nap before checking out at 12pm. After a nice lunch, I remembered during my run that I promised myself to get a foot massage before I left just to pamper my legs. So I actually asked for a 2 hours foot massage (500Baht/S$20) and inevitably, I went into slumber land again…….. Altogether, I have spent only a S$270 (all expenses in) runcation. Not too bad huh?

Boarded my bus at 6pm and it was home sweet home.

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Evolution of Team Costa

Sometime during our Friday night’s poolside drinking, some 12 months ago, someone came up with the brilliant idea of registering for a triathlon in early 2014.  Up until now our Friday night group of about 10 friends were occasionally dabbling in an occasional form of exercise.  Maybe a gym workout, maybe a run, maybe a cycle but really what we were best at is partying, drinking and having a good time socialising.

We range between 30 and 44 years of age. We are families with kids from all walks of life. We are Aussies, Canadians, Americans, English,  New Zealanders and a variety of Europeans. Yes, we are all expats from English speaking countries although sometimes you wouldn’t know it given our different dialects, accents and colloquial expressions.

Anyway, nothing like peer group pressure and a jolly mood for most of us to say, “yeah sure, why not, I’ll do a triathlon”, followed very quickly by “what is a triathlon and how far do I have to go”.

And so the new year began, with a serious “holly Molly, the triathlon is in 4 months and I’ve yet to survive 50m in the pool and how far do I have to run” kind of questions, mixed with exclamations.  A steady training regime ensued for every single one of us.  In our own time, sometimes together and sometimes alone. It didn’t take long to note who were the swimmers and who were the runners.  Everyone was a cyclist, it’s one of those things you never forget.

Unfortunately in the end only 3 participated in the triathlon. It was a tough one since neither of the 3 were natural swimmers but perseverance and a naturally competitive streak took care of the rest. The event was like opening Pandoras Box.

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Metasprint Triathlon, April 2014.

 Within a month two of our members went from cycling 40km regularly to taking on the Wheels for Change Batam 100km cycling event. Most of us thought they were a little crazy but not as crazy as when they returned full of euphoria and signed up for the Darwin Gran Fondo 120km event. Since then other Gran Fondo events ensued along with the two-day 250km Tour de Kepri Training Camp in Batam and Bintan.  Now they clock up 110km round the island cycling on Saturday morning before breakfast and we no longer think they’re crazy nor do we bat an eyelid anymore. What’ll they do next?

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Come late May and there’s new talk about triathlons such as the SG International Tritahlon in August and the Trifactor Triathlon in September. This time registration has taken traction and 8 of us sign up for varying distances: a few entry level minis, a sprint and a standard. Swimming still a weakness for the majority, we finally adhere to common sense and engage a swim coach who can take us through weekly drills and open water swimming. It helped immensely as our swimming results attested to during the triathlons.

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Open water training with our coach 2nd from left.

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New bikes were bought throughout the year: some having their fancy racing bikes, some entry levels and some with whatever was available.  Brick training was introduced although something I found very difficult given that at the time I had not yet started running.  The muscles used for swimming, are different for cycling and different for running.  I found it tough to switch gears in my legs coming off a bike and launching into a run.  The triathlon day was no different and found myself walking a good deal of the distance.

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In between Grand Fondos and triathlons, several running races were also completed such as Saffra, Trifactor Run Series, GEWR, SMU Mile, PassionNorth, Colour Run and Newton Challenge and these are only what I can remember.

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To help with the training and motivation we have setup an FB training group, acquired training gadgets such as Suunto/ Garmin watches and connected ourselves to Strava to track each other’s sessions and accomplishments.

Our Friday night conversations are now often centered around races, sport articles, innovative sport gadgets and anything fitness related. But don’t think we’ve forgotten how to party. We just fit it around our training or is it vice versa?  Sometimes it’s a little fuzzy.

As the year comes to a close, with the Standard Chartered race as our last event, we found ourselves as a tightly knit, supportive unit.  We may have started a little haphazardly but we’ve pulled together enough now to create our own team with our own name. And Team Costa was born. With team tops in production, the colors were inspired by our condo’s swimming pool and it’s name translated as Coast of the Sun. The slogan on the back reminds us that: “It never gets easier, just faster”.

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Our jerseys waiting for production.

We have been so inspired by our personal changes and sporting milestones that Little League in our condo has been inaugurated 3 months ago where our children aged between 2.5 and 8 years, engage in various sporting activities led buy us as the parents. A roaring success it has since doubled in size with various games played, such as: soccer, tug of war, dodgeball, relay races, sack races and so on.  The kids are learning sportsmanship, tolerance, patience and of course physical skills. Developing physical fitness along the way, several of these kids have already competed their own fun runs like: Cold Storage, Saffra Father and Child, PasionNorth, Jurong Lake Run and Standard Chartered. We are certainly training the athletes of the future.

And just for added extra fun, Team Costa has created its own Top 10 Running Series.  It was inspired by an article from March 2011 entitled “10 Best Places to Run in SG”. Ideally we cycle to our destination, depending on proximity to our home, and run a predetermined route of varying lengths to allow for runner’s preference.  A hearty breakfast post run should give our legs the required rest prior to riding home.  The first one in the series took place on Saturday, 22 November but that’s another story.

Stay tuned.

We train together. We race together. We win together.
We train together.
We race together.
We win together.
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Singapore International Triathlon, August 2014.
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Trifactor Triathlon, September 2014.

 

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Who Said Running Was Inexpensive?

Welcome back everyone Captain Canada is fresh from a 28 KM taper run legs aching soul a breaking. With the countdown to the SCM 42 underway I thought it would be appropriate to discuss one of Captain Canada’s darkest secrets.

Now I hope you will all contribute some opinions to this post at the end, but before that I want to share something that only my beautiful fiance knows. I am a running shopaholic….. Yes there it is I said it…… I love shopping especially for running gear… I really believe I love it more than my fiance loves buying handbags haha..

Now you may not think it with my rough beer drinking lumberjack exterior (The Al Bundy of Canada see pic below), but when I get into the Queensway sports mall I turn into a little kiddy in a Candy shop. An example is today post run my colleague and I decided to go buy running gels in preparation for the SCM and Kaboom my inner child came out to play and walked out with a new pair of Newton Distance 3’s…. shhhh don’t tell my fiance I may not make it to the SCM after all haha.

images79KL9GZ4

Anyways to make a long story short and to get to the point I would like to believe I am not alone in this addiction. I really believe that runners know what I am talking about here. The thrill of trying a new running belt, or the first few runs in a new pair of shoes are my definition of a true runners high.

I have been in Singapore for 11 months now and have somehow managed to amass a collection of 3 running watches, 2 running belts countless shorts/shirts and 6 pairs of shoes to go along with the many that have been left in Canada, or found the garbage can due to the sewage like odor that was being omitted from them haha.

I posted a pic of the current collection of shoes and miscellaneous items just for a little visual evidence of my addiction. Well that is it for now I am very much looking forward to hearing about others addictions, strange purchases, or like in my case the lovely but non supportive wife/fiance/gf opinions you all encounter.

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Till my next post- Live Love Run and most importantly Beer!

Captain Canada

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Jurong Central Night Cycling 2014

It was a great friendly community cycling with over 400 cyclists last night. The event (in its second year) was flagged off at Jurong Green Community Centre and ended at East Coast Park over a humble distance of 42km. I was assigned to the fifth group and we waited patiently as the other groups moved off slowly. The ground was slightly wet due to the rain that afternoon. However the weather was kind and it was just humid throughout the night.

Friendly Pace

Unlike races, this event is not time-competitive. Cyclists were moved off in small groups, each with its own lead, sweeper, safety cyclists, road marshalls, etc.

Landmarks

Along the way, we stopped at some landmarks like West Coast Park, Marina Barrage and The Promontory for water breaks and photo taking.

grp photo
[me (on the left) with the rest of safety cyclists] =)

the promontory
Bikers at the promontory

Great participants

I also have the opportunity to chat with some participants and we encouraged each other to conquer some small hilly roads. Most of us managed to reach east coast park at 3.30am.

Overall, it was a great, fun and friendly night and I look forward to the next one!

 

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Race Review: Salomon X Trail 2014 (by ‘sinaistrider’)

A quick review of this year’s installment of the Salomon X Trail Series.

xtrail 2012I did this in 2012 just after I arrived in Singapore. As with this year, it was during November, and as with this year I was supporting ‘Mo-Vember’  and sporting a fine (thats my opinion, not shared by most of my family) moustache.

In 2012 the event was at Tampines Mountain Bike Trail (not sure if that was always the home of this race – perhaps Singapore Running Historian Reawakened Runner can advise 🙂 ? ) But that was a proper trail, mud, jungle, streams, roots and all. I remember that it was tough. (Funny annecdote – here’s a pic of me at 2012 Salomon – see that guy running just in front of me? Didnt know him then, but he’s now one of my main ‘Running Kaki’s’  we only realised we both ran this race and were running so close about 2 months ago – SG such a small place – especilly in the Running Community).

Fast forward to 2014 and the run has been moved, since Tampines Mountain Bike Park has been/is being demolished. I wasnt going to enter, but Lexus from F1 persuaded me and so I put an entry in.

I am now in the final run up to SCMS in two weeks time, so my plan for yesterday was a final hard/endurance day – Park Run 5k in the morning, and X Trail in the afternoon. 15k in total, all at race pace. Decent final hard workout before the taper begins.

Park Run was good, ran the whole thing with Ben, including re living our own Coe vs Ovett moment in the last 200m, lucky for me Coe had an off day and my Ovett reincarnation won the sprint finish. Stuart had already won the race by about 2 minutes, but I was very happy to come away with a PB of 18:31 and a rare win over Ben!xtrail2014-2

Part 1 complete, now to see what impact that exertion would have on my 10k performance in the afternoon.

Punggol, never been here before. A fair drive up the TPE and I arrived around 4.15 with Shug, my race buddy, who is recovering from an ITB case and will use this run to test out his knee.

Race Village is in a really nice setting, with a broad expanse of Park and Pulau Ubin visible in the distance.

Great organisation and fairly low numbers make the whole bag check, toilet visit and line up very simple and we flag off ontime at 5pm.

First section is in the park and through a sort of building site, then we are out onto the boardwalk for abbout 5k. This is 1) all wood and concrete 2) a lovely place to run and 3) not very trail like! but I am ok and enjoying the run, shug is ok at this point also and we go through 5k in about 21mins having spent about 800m off road!

Loop back at the end of the boardwalk and head back towards the finish, still on the Park Connector, Shug can feel some pain so he’s eased off, I’m feeling pretty good, so I push on and overtake a couple of guys heading into the last 3k.

Surely there must be some trail coming some time?

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Finally, we turn off up a bank and into the woods – finally we get 1500m or so of hardcore trail, there’s no path, just the flattened grass of the few runners ahead, we’re running along a ridge through the trees – I have a guy just behind me who i overtook going up the hill and so we have a good 7-8mins of racing through the jungle – most fun part of the whole race.

We emerge from the jungle, run under the MRT line, and then climb the hill I saw from the start line, along the ridge again and back down hill for the final blast to the finish. My jungle trail buddy and I go head to head all the way through the last 3k in some great old fashioned racing and we finish together in just over 43 mins.

Course Route Map and KM Splits courtesy of my Garmin Fenix 2 and Strava:

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Lexus later confirms I finished 10th, sadly no MAsters category and prizes for top 5 only (I would have been 4th masters/over 40 if there had been), but I am very happy with the run, with how good I felt in the second half and with my overall effort for the day of 15k in 1 hour and 1 minute.

Nice atmosphere post race, I’ll say again, this is a great spot to start/end a race – hopefully we will see more events moved to this beautiful part of Singapore. I will certainly sign up the next opportunity I get.

In Summary, this was a great race, well organised, pretty good marshalling and hydration, nice items in the race pack –  only two negatives for me really, being 1) on the hill down from the trail there was a turn which wasnt flagged – me and my race buddy overshot it and had to turn back after going 50 m in the wrong direction and 2) the very small amount of actual trail – for me this was fine as I am just as happy road running, but I can imagine a pure trail runner wouldn’t have been so happy.

If I had bought a pair of $200 Salomon trail shoes to do the race in I would have felt a bit mislead!

So now I am going to start my two week SCMS taper, eat loads of pasta and drink a tonne of water, hopefully I can get it right come Sunday Dec 7th and hit my target.

Good Luck to everyone in the same position, hope you can ahieve your goals and have a great race.

Happy Trails….

 

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