My Kuching Marathon 2019 [HM] (by Lingderella)

Runners are really easy to identify 😆 Saw many runners in their race tee or finisher tee at the holding gates in airport and at the race pack collections 😆 Saw many Singapore runners participated in the Kuching Marathon this year machiam it’s a Singapore Race 😆 Runcation is such a in thing now! ❤ Kuching International Airport is just 1 hour and 5 minutes of flight time away from Singapore, air fares is less than SGD$200 and it’s my first time to Sarawak 😍 And I think the only state I haven’t been to in Malaysia is only left with Kelantan? Any upcoming run there? 😏 Or have a aim to run in all the states in Malaysia? 🤓

This Kuching marathon really super epic and memorable ❤ First of all, sibeh sotong me lah! Didn’t remember I opted for courier delivery for the race pack? But sibeh WTF, Friday I’m flying to Kuching at 6 plus flight, Thursday I received a message I have a parcel from Kuching delivery to me the next day, I was still thinking what have I bought from Kuching online ah? 🤔

My mum will be at home the next day so I thought that’s fine, I’ll just call home and ask my mum what’s that. Flying off at 6.45pm and meeting Christine at 4.45pm at the airport but at 3 plus while I’m still at work, I called home and asked my mum is there any parcel for me and she said yes and I asked her to open it for me. My heart skipped a few beats when my mum told it’s my running stuff 😨 Was supposed to head off to the airport directly from work and in the end I had to catch a grab home claiming additional time off from work. With my luggage again, lao niang already make the effort to take my luggage out since morning and took bus to work some more leh 😤 Took the race pack so freaking long to reach me lah!😂 How can so last minute sia, I could have flown to Kuching with the race pack still in Singapore! 🙄

On Saturday, I accompanied Christine to the race pack collection at Plaza Merdeka, it’s in a mall located right next to Padang Merdeka where the flag off will be. The queue was long but fast moving and there’s some stalls there selling sports accessories, apparrels and footwear there. Also poisonous booths which stung my eyes with cheap registration fees for the Borneo Marathon and Miri Marathon for next year 🙈

After the racepack collection, we went for some site seeing with some of our running friends from Singapore and met two young handsome boys 😊

Plaza Merdeka is about a 20 minutes walk away from our hotel. We stayed in The Lime Tree Hotel about 1.6km away and walked everywhere nearby during our stay there, like what Christine said, because we are runners this distance of walking is nothing 😊 It was quite a nice stay at only about SGD50 per night and included breakfast as well. The breakfast was good. The hotel even offered free shuttle bus for full marathoners at 11.30pm as the flag off for full marathon was 1am. Heard from Rey who’s staying at the same hotel that he’s the only person on the shuttle bus 😆 Why shuttle bus not provided for half marathon runners? 😭

On race day morning, Christine asked me while we were still getting ready whether it will rain or not, I replied confidently: Weather so hot 😆 Wished I can be like Nami from One Piece, can know the weather very well lah 😆 While we were walking to the race site, we can already feel droplets of rain 😂

We were rather early and reached at about 3am. Of course I won’t missed the opportunity when I saw Milo Van 😍 It’s like 4 or 5 Milo Van lined up there. Luckily I went to get to drink some Milo before the race, because the queue is damn long after my run.

My anemia isn’t getting any better all these years, standing at a spot for too long I will faint so it’s common to see me in race site with all the opportunity to sit down like this while waiting to flag off 😆:

(Photo credits: Christine)

Then it started to drizzle about 20 minutes or so before our half marathon flags off at 4am. And it gets even heavier 😨 Christine and I went to seek shelter, weighing the importance of our health. Our body very precious to both of us as we had been sick for a long period very recently. I even asked Christine will they postpone the race or cancel the race? And her answer was: This is Malaysia 😆 Ya man, Malaysia race won’t cancel because of heavy rain. Which reminds me of Penang Bridge International Marathon last year which I ran the half marathon. It was thunderstorm lah! 😂

Both Christine and I were still contemplating whether or not to run. Since I got back from Khmer Empire Marathon, I’d been down with flu and didn’t run much. To me to run with a flu is fine as I’m almost recovered but I was pretty reluctant to run as I’m suffering dysmenorrhoea. Most of all, I DON’T WANT to be dripping blood on the tarmac along the way while I run 😂🙈😭🙈 It’s a nightmare for many female runners to have a race during these few days of the month 😭

Thinking I had already ran many races this year and it’s OK not to run this as next month I will have Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon and I will be running half marathon as well. Christine had just recovered from being sick for 3 weeks and I’m still sick since I gotten back from Khmer Empire Marathon 2 weeks ago 😂 I told Christine I will wait for her in the hotel room while she run. It was 3.58am and other runners who had seek shelter like us inside the tentage braved the rain and headed to the start line then. We heard the countdown for the flag off, its like heavy downpour and there’s even lightning just a while after flag off. Christine and I were the only 2 runners left in the bag deposit tentage hiding from the rain with the volunteers while Christine was videoing the runners running in the heavy rain exclaiming: All these are crazy people 😂

(Video credits: Christine)

We asked the volunteers are there any closing time for the start pen and the volunteers kindly and efficiently checked for us. We were informed that there’s no closing time for the start pen as long as we finishes the race under 4 hours from the official flag off at 4am.

It’s going to be 4.30am soon, finally the rain became a slight drizzle. Christine said she needed to burn off the calories from our day before feasting in the Kuching Food Festival 😂

Christine was paiseh to head to the start line alone so we tried jio-ing other runners who are hiding from the rain in another tentage to run together as well but they were all already planning to DNS or run a shorter distance themselves later on. I then told Christine I will cover a short distance with her and we headed to the timing mat to get our bibs “checked in”. A van stopped right there just as we were about to start running, these runners looked like the full marathon category runners who were sent back because of whatever reasons they DNF.

End up just right after we started running, we were lost 😂 We ran additional 1km even though it’s just like the first km 😂 We didn’t see any direction sign at all and concluded maybe the volunteer at the turning point declared pang kang already as we ran straight when we should have turned left but we ran straight and turned right 😆

After that we only saw signage for 10km runners and we realised it’s the wrong way, we u-turn and carried on running till Christine run into a building which I feel is not the right path and I told her I don’t feel that it’s the correct way and we make a second u-turn 😂 It was after that then I know it’s a Mosque.

Then we asked the table of uncles sitting in the kopitiam for direction, they told us to go back and turn right in Chinese and Christine pointed left 😨 Jin hoseh, literally want to face palm myself eh 😂 This was also her 3rd race she got “hilang” this year 😆 Since seeing Christine not good in her sense of direction, since Christine slowed down and waited for me(She can easily run a sub 2 half marathon but ran with me at 7mins pace), since I was the one who jio-ed her to come for this Kuching Marathon, I carried on running behind following her hoping I will be fine. A while later she also confirmed with me whether I will continue running or not 😂

After a while the drizzling stopped. There were many hydration points along the way but I think isotonic drinks were only available at alternate stations. Quite a few of the hydration points offered ice cold sponges. Think some volunteers along the way were shocked to see us still running after so long 😆 One volunteer even ran with us for a distance and make sure we turned to the right direction. I even asked him after the turn will we catch up with the rest of the 21km runners in front and he just shake his head and smiled a bit awkwardly think he dosen’t want to give us false hope 😂

(Video credits: Christine)

Some parts of the route is quite dark. After a long time I was even asking Christine nobody walk one meh? 😂 Then we heard the prayers from the mosques. It was quite nice to hear the prayer actually as it was so quiet with just the two of us. From the echoing of the prayer broadcasts, there is quite a lot of mosque nearby.

(Photo credits: Christine)

We set a target to at least overtake 1 runner 😂 It’s only at our 8km plus when we finally saw a runner in front and overtook him. Then a while later we changed our target to overtake 10 runners but the target was accomplished soon. We then saw runners coming out from a mosque, must be them going in to borrow the toilet. I didn’t see any portable toilet along the way at all but Christine said she just saw ONE cubicle at a hydration point. We carried on running. I stop counting when we overtook 110 runners and it starts drizzling again till the end of my race.

All was going well till around 15km, when I started feeling tummyache and I told Christine to go ahead as I’m going to walk already, she even told me “Don’t DNF huh” before she run off 😂 I said OK and luckily I said OK because at about 17km I thought of DNF and getting a Grab back to hotel. I walked because I know THE SHIT IS REAL 😂 Worst thing is no toilet in sight. I was cursing many times inside me. I think is the tummyache that caused me not to have any awareness of any upslopess at the later part of the race and I really had the thought of getting a Grab and DNF 😆 Christine they all were saying after the race about the slopes and I even said, got slopes meh? 😂 Perhaps I was too focus in thinking about tahaning the tummyache till I reach the hotel toilet estimating the remaining distance and counting down the distance left to the super shiok toilet. Hope no one thought I was cheating or take short cut when they saw me turned towards the hotel lah, I even ran additional distance hor 😆

Seriously, though the suffering of tummyache, but I enjoyed myself in this run. It was epic and memorable because the DNS and DNF is so real but I completed the race. It’s a new experience as it’s like Christine and I were the only 2 runners till our 8 plus km. Nobody overtake Christine her entire race 💪

There’s an additional Finisher Tee for the top 200 finishers which looks similar to the normal finisher tee as well. Love the medal very much as it’s cute and the finisher tee is very nice as well 😍 But people judge beauty/nice/cute differently lah. Had a friendly conversation with a lady from Kuching who ran the half marathon as well sitting next to us on the plane while flying back to Singapore and she said the race singlet and finisher tee is getting uglier each year 😂 But I’m quite interestedbto run Kuching Marathon again as I enjoyed the race and didn’t completely explored Kuching yet! Well, it’s just 1 hour and 5 minutes of flight time away 😊

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IAAF-AIMS Has Completed Certifying The Course For Hanoi International Heritage Marathon

In May, the course for Hanoi Marathon – Heritage Race has been officially certified by Grade A Measurers of the IAAF-AIMS (International Association of Athletics Federations-Association of International Marathons and Distance Races). HIHM received high evaluations on technical aspects, landmarks, and cultural values.️

In order for our athletes to enjoy the most of the Hanoi’s heritage and the six central districts of Hanoi, the organiser and IAAF-AIMS has standardised the course and included in it these following landmarks: the Opera House with its French architecture, Bay Mau lake and Thong Nhat Park, the thousand-year-old Temple of Literature , and Truc Bach lake, along with the ancient copper-wielding village of Ngu Xa.

Along with the inclusion of these new landmarks, your favourite Hanoian heritage features of HIHM 2018: Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake, Long Bien bridge, Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, Hoang Dieu road, and more, are still part of the course of HIHM.

We believe that this IAAF-AIMS certified course will bring you an internationally-qualified marathon and fond memories of the thousand-year-old capital of Hanoi.

Register at https://wejust.run/HanoiMarathon

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Race Review: 2019 Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon

SF Marathon
I left my heart in San Francisco (and my quads, and my glutes, and my hamstrings...)

If you’re going to run The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon, I suggest you do some hill work.

Held the last weekend in July, the marathon offers some great challenges along a very nice route. If you’ve ever been to San Francisco, you know it’s a hilly city, and you get to experience all of that during this race. Starting on the flat roads of the Embarcadero and along the water by Fishermen’s Wharf, you are soon aiming for the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. Since the bridge is high above the water, well, you have a little climbing to do. Later you’ll run over the rolling hills of Golden Gate Park, and up and down through some residential areas; between miles 21 and 22, you’ll face an upward slope that will make you scream, “What were they thinking?” (well, I screamed it, anyway)

SF hills
The hills are tough, but (mostly) not THIS tough.

Don’t worry; it’s not like you have to run up or down Lombard Street. The hills are manageable, not like the 29% grade that stood between me and the cafes I wanted to visit while I stayed at my friend’s place. Still, you’ll want to be ready, so do some training on hills before you go. Don’t limit yourself to just setting a high incline on a treadmill, either; you need to be as prepared for the downhills as you are for the uphills.

Golden Gate Bridge
Yes, it really does look this amazing in person (photo via Pixabay)

For me, the highlight of the race was running across the Golden Gate Bridge and back. As we approached the bridge it was climbing out of the morning fog, but once we were on it, the fog lifted and we had clear views in all directions. The pavement is likely to be wet from the fog, so watch your step. It’s about 3km across the bridge, and the wind was pretty strong; try not to slow down going over, or your body heat will dissipate, and you’ll start to get chilled. Looking off to your right, you can see the downtown rising in the distance, a pretty amazing view. Once you reach the end of the bridge, you’ll pass through a parking lot, follow a trail underneath the bridge and come back up to run back along the other side. On my return trip, the fog was settling in again and we couldn’t see the city, though visibility on the bridge itself was fine. I’ve got to say, that was pretty cool.

Coming off the bridge, you’ll mix with the Half Marathoners from the first half. San Francisco does something I have never seen: they have two Half Marathons. One that’s generally along the first half of the route, and another along the second. It’s a great way to increase the number of people who can run the Half marathon. Runners have the choice of starting at the Full Marathon starting line and finishing in Golden Gate Park or starting in the park and finishing with the marathoners back on the Embarcadero. A very interesting concept and I’m surprised I’ve never seen it anywhere else. (they also have 5K races and an ultramarathon).

SF Marathon starting line
Much more comfortable at the Start than I expected. (that’s the Bay Bridge behind us)

Race day weather was good, but as Mark Twain is rumored to have said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was the summer I spent in San Francisco,” so you need to be ready for anything. I ran in shorts and a singlet, but I had brought tights, a long-sleeve performance shirt, and gloves, just in case. The race starts at 5:30 am, and San Francisco can be very cold in the morning if the wind is blowing. Fortunately, we had no wind at the start that day, but be ready to wear something warm and store it at the baggage drop just in case. The forecast for race day was 54F/12C at the Start and 65F/18C by the time I finished, though it actually was up to 73F/22C when I crossed the line. Those last few miles were pretty hot.

The overall organization is very professional, one of the most well-planned events I’ve seen. The organizers are very proactive about sending out lots of information in advance. They made use of Neurun, an app that has a course video with coaching advice that helps you prepare. The expo was pretty large but easy to navigate. There were plenty of water stations on the course staffed by different community groups and other volunteers, such as the Sweat Tracker crew and a wonderful Sikh community group around Mile 21. Of course, Biofreeze was readily available along the way. The race starts in waves, with the last one going 25 minutes after the elites head out, and there are pacers to help you hit your target time. Registration is first-come, first-served, though the race is big enough to accommodate registrations close to race day; registration for 2020 is already open, so check it out.

Logistically, it’s an easy race even though it’s far away. There are direct flights from Singapore, Taipei, Seoul, Tokyo, Osaka, Manila, and Hong Kong. For my trip, I flew Eva Airways through Taipei (spending a Friday night there along the way) in their Premium Economy cabin, which is a nice way to do the 12-hour flight between TPE and SFO. Hotels in San Francisco are expensive, but for the night before the race, you would definitely want to stay downtown (I walked a kilometer to the Starting Line) or near the Embarcadero, because of the early starting time. From what I saw on Instagram, I wasn’t the only runner there from Singapore. So, ask around your running friends who have already done it and ask for recommendations on how to travel there easily.

The one thing that surprised me about the San Francisco Marathon was the lack of spectators. Marathons in major US cities typically have a lot of people out there cheering, but it seemed pretty quiet along much of the route. On the flight back, I was talking with a San Francisco runner and he said this year was pretty, unusual. It is because you can generally expect people to be out there, cheering. Trust me, you can really use some crowd support as you run through those hills, so take some people with you and enjoy yourselves!!

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How do you go from running the roads of Singapore to tackling the biggest mountains of the world?

While lacked the ideal terrain here in Singapore to prepare for the big mountain races we were passionate about, something about the sport of trail running and dreams of spending time in the mountains kept us hooked.

We sought to improvise and find creative ways to get the necessary training to chase our big mountain dreams, right on this pancake-flat island that we call home.

But one wonders then…
How do you go from running the roads of Singapore to tackling the biggest mountains of the world?

Live Low Race High

1.   Get the Right Equipment

Running Shoes

Running shoes are crucial for tackling the different types of terrains the mountains may offer.

For training: Salomon Sense Ride 2

For racing: Salomon Sense SG (for racing faster, shorter races) and Salomon Ultra Pro (for racing ultra-distances, where cushioning is more important)

Running Equipment

Apart from running shoes, running equipment are as important too – you can’t expect to find a pit stop in the mountains.

Hydration Vest: Salomon Advanced Skin 12L (for 100k races and above), Salomon S/Lab Sense Ultra 8L Set (any distance up to 100km). We are big fans of the Salomon Advance skin series and S/Lab Sense Set line up of hydration packs and have been loyal users of Salomon kit from the previous generations.

2.   Places to Train for the Mountains in Singapore

The total absence of mountains should not be used as an excuse not to train for an ultra-marathon. On the contrary, one can get very creative in finding spaces ways to train for mountainous races in the urban landscape of Singapore. Over the years, our coaches have also managed to adapt and modify our training programmes to suit the terrain constraints we face here. In other words, it is absolutely possible to prepare for the big mountains in our city. Here are some suggestions:

Fort Canning Hill (Fort Canning MRT/Clarke Quay MRT)

Pro-tip: Cross the overhead bridge behind G-Max Reverse Bungy and run repeats along the section spanning River Valley Road, behind the Foothills, extending all the way to Fort Canning Station Exit B.

Photo credit: 123rf

Bukit Timah Hill

While it’s common for trail runners to spend time “chasing vert” or accumulating elevation gain by running up and down continuously, we believe that an emphasis on spending time on feet is just as important. The reason for this is that the concept of running for hours on end may be a somewhat foreign concept to many first-time trail runners, as compared to training for a shorter road race.

Photo credit: Benjamin

With that said, you are welcome to try the LLRH loop, a carefully constructed training route designed to develop endurance, speed, climbing and descending skills all in one loop. It does get competitive once you start looking at the fastest known times set by our local runners. Try and see if you can beat them!

Lorong Sesuai (Bukit Batok Nature Park)

Another well-kept secret of a training ground for trail runners here, this quiet road can be located by running further down the road from Bukit Timah and also serves as one of the entrances to Bukit Batok Nature Park. Although only a long uphill road that ends at the base of a staircase, its prolonged slope helps to simulate the sustained climbs that runners will face when racing overseas.

Vigilante Drive (Kent Ridge Park)

A hidden jewel of a training ground in the West of Singapore, Kent Ridge Park offers a variety of terrain ranging from long, gentle slopes, to sharp, steep uphills. Vigilante drive, being of the latter variety, is a short road with a nasty climb that begins at South Buona Vista Road and ends at the junction of Kent Ridge Park.

The World is Your Stage – Running as a Means to Explore the Globe

Trail running is more than just running in nature; it’s also a way to connect with the people, culture and community of the locale. More often than not, we end up sharing moments with other runners during the races we run. While we may not always speak the same language or even understand each other, there is a certain camaraderie among all racers, a common bond forged through the suffering and experience that all of us are going through and sharing at that moment.

3. Things to take note of in trail running

i) Mileage matters – more specifically, time on feet

In trail running, training is usually done according to time instead of a specific horizontal distance. This is because time on our feet is a much more realistic indicator of effort and training load compared to distance alone.

For example, an elite athlete make take half the time to cover a 10k compared to a novice. While the same distance may be prescribed, the training load experienced by both athletes is significantly different; likewise, the effort involved is very much dissimilar. Effectively, taking this into consideration prevents overtraining and burnout.

ii) Prioritising hydration

Rehydration during exercise is dependent on individual sweat rate and environment (temperature), and the need for electrolyte replacement depends on sweat composition. Therefore, simply guzzling water when feeling extremely thirsty does not resolve the problem of dehydration. On a day to day basis, it is necessary to improve fluid intake throughout the day in order to train and race in a better-hydrated state. A significant amount of stress placed on the gut during racing is intricately tied to the ability to hydrate and fuel properly.

We usually treat our long runs as a simulation for race day and as an opportunity to test out the strategies for fuelling and hydration. It is not just a matter of your electrolyte drink taste and the frequency of consuming it, but how it works out and responds to your individual sweat profile. As they say, racing nutrition varies greatly from person to person, and there is no one silver bullet. So make sure you test what works for you in training before trying in out in a race!

iii) Chasing Vertical Meters

Elevation training benefits endurance athletes of all types because it activates muscle groups that are not usually firing when running on flat surfaces. By doing work against gravity, athletes also develop significantly more muscular strength during push-off. In doing so, athletes become less prone to overuse injury as more holistic strength is developed.

As the saying goes, hills are also speed work in disguise. In order to achieve the same (flat) speed on an incline, one has to work harder uphill, and also inevitably run faster downhill, activating more muscle groups to stabilize the fall under gravity. 

About Live Low Race High – A short history of the team

As a collective, Live Low Race High (LLRH) was first established as our team name for The Great Relay – 100km trail & road relay race in 2015.  The name was in part a play on altitude training theories such as “Live-high, train-low” and “Live-high, train-high”, in part an allusion to the non-existence of mountains that Singapore trail-runners can train on. It’s also the mindset that we Singaporeans can dream of running the biggest mountain races in the world, even if we do not have any in our own backyard to train on.

The Original Live Low Race High Team At The Great Relay Event in 2015.
Left to right: Race Director Vlad Ixel, Ian Lye, Andy Kamsan, Azlan Ithnin, Bucky Hussain

Like most people, trail running was not on our minds when we first started running. Instead, most of us were forcefully introduced to the sport by being made to run during Physical Education (PE) classes in school, and later in life, during National Service (NS). After few short road races and some marathons, however, we soon grew bored of pounding the same routes on the tarmac and found ourselves drawn to exploring and running on softer trails. While lacked the ideal terrain here in Singapore to prepare for the big mountain races we were passionate about, something about the sport of trail running and dreams of spending time in the mountains kept us hooked. We sought to improvise and find creative ways to get the necessary training to chase our big mountain dreams, right on this pancake-flat island that we call home.

Running the 2017 Vibram Hong Kong 100
At our annual ‘Summit’ Gathering.
Left to Right: Ian Lye, Jiong How, Chua Duwei, Andy Kamsan, Azlan Ithnin, Chin Wei Chong

As a group, the legendary Salomon athlete Kilian Jornet, one of the greatest trail runners of all times, has been a massive inspiration to us on our journey to becoming trail runners. His legendary wins at the iconic Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) were a catalyst for us taking the next step forward in becoming trail runners, and by accident, global citizens. The possibilities of adventure, travel, camaraderie and friendship with not just Singapore runners, but like-minded souls from every far-flung corner of the world, became appealing to us.

Getting into the sport between 2012 and 2014 was a most opportune time, it coincided with the increasing popularity of the sport. We followed the exploits of the formidable Salomon-Suunto international team as they raced across the world via Salomon’s slickly produced Youtube videos – Salomon TV. This came full-circle when some of us were also fortunate to be able to attend trail running workshops led and guided by Salomon athletes like Ryan Sandes and Greg Vollet at UTMB last year.

With Salomon elite athlete Lucy Bartholomew at the Salomon Trail Running Clinic in Chamonix, 2018

Getting your first pair of Salomon

Salomon was born in 1947 in the heart of the French Alps and the birthplace of modern alpinism. Through performance driven design, Salomon delivers innovation and progression to mountain sports; converting new ideas into action and expanding the limits of possibility. Salomon’s heritage, culture, and commitment are tied together by one simple concept:

“The world’s leading mountain people creating the world’s leading mountain products.”

You can find Salomon products in Running Lab – specialty running store, and LIV ACTIV – outdoor lifestyle concept, the exclusive distributor in Singapore. For full stores list, please go to Running Lab Singapore stores or LIV ACTIVE stores.

Its #TIMETOPLAY!

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My Khmer Empire Marathon 2019 [HM] (by Lingderella)

Told myself every year to travel to somewhere I’ve never been to before. So taaadaaaa, it’s Cambodia’s Siem Reap this time! 😍 It’s both Willis and my first time to Cambodia. It’s the 6th edition of Khmer Empire Marathon this year and I must say I enjoyed the half marathon very much! 💗

I was super Rambo last year December, I booked flight tickets to Siem Reap immediately as I found it cheap and registered for the race without jio-ing anyone yet and after that Willis couldn’t confirm with me whether he can go or not as his workplace need to ballot for leave. I thought at first well, I can go alone.

About two months before the race, honestly I thought of forfeiting the entire trip to Cambodia when I couldn’t successfully “poison” my friends to go with me, I got a little chickened out when I was told that it’s not a safe place lah, got drugs got prostitution lah 😨

Luckily, Willis told me he managed to get the leave this time. I also asked my parents to come for a short holiday to Cambodia as well 😊 I’d never bring my parents overseas by myself alone, all the previous trips with my parents were planned by my sisters. Guan Yin Ma is kind to me, when I purchased my parents air tickets it’s super cheap at only about $150 as there’s a sale, even cheaper than when I purchased the air tickets for myself at about $200. Accommodations in Siem Reap is cheap as well, a 4 star hotel with buffet breakfast cost only about sgd50 per night .

Though there’s tour package offered by the race organizer, it’s at a super crazy rate of more than USD600 per pax for just 3 days with nothing much included but just a tour, pre-race gala dinner, return airport transfers with accomodation excluding air tickets 😨 Instead, I booked a tour with option of Chinese speaking guide on Klook for a day tour in Angkor Wat and it’s only about SGD$16 per pax, though bear in mind a day visit pass to AngKor Wat is USD37. In our tour group there’s also 4 other runners who came here for the Khmer Empire Marathon as well and I’m glad my parents enjoyed the tour 😊

We stayed in Apsara Angkor Resort and Conference, it’s also the place for race pack collection. First, we need to find our bib number on the lists according to our category and then search for our name to collect the race pack. There’s 42km, 21km, 10km and 3km. We found our name pretty quickly. I realised there’s many overseas runners on the list, mostly from Vietnam and China.

Race pack collection was fast and first thing Willis thought is that there’s plenty of child labour in this country. I love the race singlet! There’s a Buddha head printed on the singlet 😍 Though there’s an error on my name printed on the race bib, it’s rather inauspicious if I were to pronounce it in Hokkien 😂 There’s a coupon for foot massage, beer and drinks at the event site 😍

We didn’t really had a great stay in the hotel as no matter how we adjust the temperature to 30 degrees, it’s still super cold. On race day at about 12am I woke up suddenly as there’s no air conditioning, there’s no electricity as well but I didn’t really mind at first. When we woke up at 3am, the issue isn’t resolve yet 😤 Willis had to switch on the torch light on his phone while we wash up and get ready for the race. It’s actually one of the official hotel partners and yet no bus transfers for runners to race site and we needed to pay the hotel USD10 for tuk tuk which I found that Grab in Siem Reap is actually rather cheap. As we thought it’s in the middle of the night and we didn’t want to risk not getting a Grab in a country we are not familiar with so we booked the USD10 tuk tuk with the hotel beforehand instead. Yes there’s Grab in Siem Reap and then I found out that if we go to the race site which is about 15 minutes away by tuk tuk it actually would cost only about 13000 Riel


Funny thing was Willis thought I registered for full marathon but I only registered for half marathon 😂 So he ran the full marathon category while I ran the half marathon 😆 Full marathon flag off timing was at 4.30am in the morning while half marathon was at 5.30am but we went to the race site together. After Willis started running, I find a place to sit down and waited for my turn to run

Flag off was on time and when I started running, sky was brightening already. It was a cooling morning and it drizzled slightly for a while while we ran. I saw hydration points at aevery 2km and the energy drink tasted like Red Bull but it isn’t. Distance marker was very accurate. The entire distance we ran on tarmac and it’s a very flat route. Most of the road were blocked from vehicles till the last few km then I noticed we were running alongside the vehicles.

There’s quite a few local kids picking up the plastic bottles and cups near every hydration points. But there were some local kids just there to give high-5s and to cheer for runners 😊

I enjoyed the route because there’s no high rise buildings but just greenery and ancient temples and some ruins of the temples along the way.

I stopped quite a couple of times along the route to take pictures because it’s too pretty 😍 I’m not rushing because I’m going to wait for Willis to finish his 42km too.

Miraculously, I think I did pretty well for this half marathon though after Gold Coast Marathon last month I didn’t run much and I stopped quite a couple of time for photos and at hydration points.

Though the cut off time for half marathon is just 3 hours and full marathon at just 6 hours. But I saw runners completing way after the cut off time still gets their finisher medal. The medal design is so pretty, it’s Angkor Wat 😍 But I think only the full marathon runners have their medal with distance engraved while the 3km/10km/21km runners all get the same medal which doesn’t have any distance engraved on it. There’s no finisher tee for all runners.

After I finished the run, immediately I head towards the race village, it’s very lively, there’s like a dance battle which looks like the emcee host on the spot. I head towards the stage for foot massage. I did the foot massage twice as Willis had given me his coupon and tell me to enjoy while I wait for him 😊 There isn’t much queue at all for the foot massage as well and I only waited like 5 minutes each time. The foot massage was at least 10 minutes each time. The boy who did my foot massage striked a conversation with me, it was then I knew he worked 12 hours a day with only 2 off days a month. Earning a living isn’t easy here.

There’s a counter that gives out a tee shirt as well and I went to collect it. It’s not a finisher tee but a tee from one of the sponsor and I took it anyway. Two young boys looked like they are just 5 or 6 years old approached me and one of them pointed his tee shirt and pointed to the tee shirt that I was holding. I gave the tee shirt to him and the other one was sad because I only had 1 tee shirt of give 😂

I only redeem a can of drink from the coupon as I wasn’t very thirsty then I started walking back to the race course hoping to catch Willis and ran towards the finishing together.

Willis did quite well for his run though he had broken his toe nail while we were sightseeing the day before and it was rather painful 😂 He said some of the last few hydration points ran out of water or already packed up. We then redeemed all the coupons of the drinks, there was at least 20 local kids crowding around Willis while he gave away all the can drinks we redeemed with just the beer to us 😊

It’s a nice marathon and a nice place to go for a short and relaxing vacation/runcation. Will definitely want to run in Cambodia again but like always, I have other places I would want to explore first. It’s quite easy to travel around in Siem Reap with Grab available. Massage is very cheap at USD4 for an hour near Pub Street and beer is super cheap at just USD fifty cents. I think there’s no need to purchase a tour package and free and easy won’t be much of any hassle.

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3 Marathon Workouts that Could Take You Under 3hrs for Your Next Marathon

Coaches note: You do have to be relatively fit before attempting these workouts, as a guide you should be able to run comfortably for 26-30km before attempting the workouts featured below. Completing these workouts on similar courses to your marathon is also ideal.

Workout One: 3 x 5km with 1km float between

When: 8 – 10 weeks out from your marathon.

Pace: 5km reps at your goal marathon pace with the 1km float between 30 seconds per km slower than your marathon pace.

This is a great workout to test your fitness 8 weeks out from a marathon and it gives you a good feel if your marathon pace is realistic or not. This workout is 17km in total with 15km of it at your goal marathon pace. The idea of this workout is that the first two 5km reps should feel easy and then the third one it gets a bit harder with the accumulated fatigue. At the end of this workout you should walk away from it knowing that there was one more 5km rep to get out if you had to. If that’s not the case you need to reassess your marathon pace goals. When I race a marathon I break the race into 5km sections. I do this to help me mentally and it works well as the drink stations are roughly spaced 5km apart, this is also great practice for race day. 

Coaches note: You do have to be relatively fit before attempting these workouts, as a guide you should be able to run comfortably for 26-30km before attempting the workouts featured below.

Workout Two: 3 x 6km with 1.5km float between

When: 5 – 6 weeks out from your marathon

Pace: 6km reps at your goal marathon pace with the 1.5km float between 30 seconds per km slower than your marathon pace. The term float is used throughout these workouts and is best described as a moderate pace quicker than your jogging pace. 

This is an extension of the 3 x 5km and should be completed 2 to 3 weeks after the 3 x 5km with the same mentality. This workout will have you covering 21km. It is an ideal workout to use in a half marathon where you can also practice going through drink stations, race day routines and wearing the same thing you will on race day. Just remember you’re there to train and don’t get caught up in the race, your chance to race will be in the weeks to come! The 6km reps add extra minutes working at marathon pace and you’ll get a great indication of how your body will feel through the first half of a marathon at your goal marathon pace. As mentioned with the 3 x 5km reps, you should be feeling like if you had to get another 6km out at the end of the workout you could. This isn’t a workout where you finish being bent over and fully exhausted. If that’s the case the pace you are running is too quick for goal marathon pace on race day. 

(Left to right): Lach, Dan and Kane took their marathon PB from 3:00 to 2:46, from 3:40 to 2:56, and from 3:16 to 2:43, respectively, under Brady’s marathon training.

Workout Three: 2 x 11km with 2km float

When: 3 – 4 weeks out from your marathon

Pace: 11km reps at goal marathon pace with the 3km float 25-35 seconds slower per km than goal MP

This workout is one where you get close to the fire of what marathon day will feel like without getting burned! The 11km goal marathon pace efforts test youconcentration and give you a great insight of what the first 11km of race day will feel like. If you’re doing this workout correctly at the 1.5km mark of the 2km float you should be feeling ready to get into the next 11km effort. In total it’s 24km with 22km of it at marathon pace. It is also a great workout to practice your race-day nutrition and routines. After completing this workout it is important to ensure you have adequate recovery time. If you can complete this workout this will give you a lot of confidence for race day. 

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Race Review: Decathlon x Get Active Inaugural Race 2019 [7km] (by ‘red3’)

Post race L to R: Silvia, John & Michelle

Been a while since I’ve written but then I’ve not raced as much as what I used to when I first started back in 2014. My Sundays are also taken up with running the U11 SG Nippers (a junior lifesaving program at Tanjong Beach) that leaves very little racing time in my schedule.

When I think back to 2018, I focused on 3 HM for the year, Sundown, SAFRA and GEWR. Unfortunately, I suffered a stress fracture after the Sundown that never quite recovered and my following HMs just went downhill. I showed up and fudged my way through it but it wasn’t pleasant. Had a bit of an upside during the SCMS Ekiden relay race. I did the first leg which was around 7km and actually enjoyed the run. It was reasonable and satisfactory. That was my last timed race and pretty much stopped running altogether.

Review of my racing effort

Fast forward eight months to this morning and I found myself back at the Start line with my hubby, John and friend, Michelle by joining Decathlon’s Inaugural Race. It had a single category, being 7km, which you could register as a solo runner or as a pair (and had to finish together). At $45 for a pair, I thought it was pretty good value and a reasonable distance. Not too short at 5km but not quite 10km which I definitely was not ready for.

Having restarted running only 5 weeks ago, a good deal heavier and unfit, let’s just say that a run around the lake near my home which was my starting measure (a mere 2.2km) was quite painful on the legs and psychologically unpleasant. So over the course of the 5 weeks, I pressed on getting out 3-4 times a week with the target of just getting around the lake. I changed my diet and stopped drinking which helped shed 6kg and lighten the load during the runs. I could honestly say, I was good to go for a 3km race. Legs were trained, cardio still needed some work but that’s as far as I got.

So showing up this morning for 7km, I pretty much knew what would happen. I’d have a good 3km run and then fudge my way through the next four and like reading a crystal ball  that’s precisely what happened. Since I was signed up with John as a pair and him being a faster runner we agreed to run our individual paces and then meet up 100m from the end to finish off together. That worked out very well. In a nutshell, I am not trained up enough for this distance, my body improves slowly and I just need more time to get the mileage under my feet.

Review of the race

Being off-season with Nippers and a good distance, the Decathlon race was an ideal event to venture back into racing. Now, let’s review the race itself:

  • Registration – was a bit of an awkward two-step approach. First step was to make the selection and pay and then I waited a week before I received confirmation that my registration was successful.
  • Race pack collection – very easy and efficient with a location that was suitable to me. I despise travelling for race packs. It’s costly and imposes on my time.
  • Race pack – Good selection. Their famous Quecha 10L backpack (my family already owns 4 and are excellent value for money) was the highlight. Inside was a microfibre towel, powder electrolytes, breakfast bar (quite tasty) and racing tee. I have no idea how I ended with a 2XL (I’m usually a large as a Caucasian). The men’s tee was a great dark teal colour which fitted both of us well but I didn’t think much of the ladies version. The colour was a pastel green which was nice but it had a very wide and baggy cut as I observed on most of the ladies wearing them (I was swimming in mine so wore my usual running top). Overall though the best race pack I have seen since my 2014 & 2015 GEWR.
  • Event organisation – they were spot on. Although we started a few minutes late, I don’t really care about this. There were lots of enthusiastic volunteers and marshals directing. Two water stations with all the cups ready and filled and volunteers handing them out so you wouldn’t have to stop (any Sundowner here would understand how important this is).
  • Route – lots of hills, ramps, underpasses and sharp turns and mostly narrow paths. It lacked a visual feast. As hubby puts it, it felt like we were in an industrial area. So not much to look at. Not to mention that it was an extra 800m long which kinda messed with my head when I realised that instead of finishing I had to keep going further.
  • Finisher medal – if I could insert a crying emoji here, I would. There was none. Didn’t even realise that till my friend told me the morning of the race. Kinda felt a bit flat at the end, like something was missing that encapsulates the race, the event and the actual finish. Such a shame as I have nothing to commemorate my race with. I don’t know how others perceive finisher medals but for me they trigger memories and events. As the years roll by and I walk past my medal hangers, I remember the good, the bad and also the very ugly (fracturing my ankle comes to mind at the 2015 Urbanathlon). They provide a timeline and storyline of my running life. According to Decathlon’s website it was a choice towards being eco-friendly, fair enough but I would’ve enjoyed seeing the blue and white ribbon with Decathlon plastered on it and some swanky blue and white medal design. Well maybe next time.
  • Race village – usually when I finish, I look for water, electrolyte drink and a banana and they had all three in large tents, easily accessible and no queuing. I don’t usually hang around the festivals so I can’t comment on it but from what I saw, people were enjoying themselves and participating.

Wrap-up

What do I think? I’m on the fence. Lots of positives in the organisation, race kit and collection, volunteers, race village and water stations. I am not a hill runner so the downside for me was the route and disappointed about the lack of finisher medal (which you only find out if you bother reading the FAQs and get all the way to the bottom). I do wish Decathlon all the best in future racing events and I hope they maintain the organisational quality they have today (and toss in a medal, I’m willing to pay a bit more to cover that cost).

Cheers

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Race Review: Spartan Sprint, Bukit Timah 2019 (by stargazer)

There are 3 Spartan Races in Singapore this year. The Spartan Stadion in January was the first of its kind in Asia, followed by the second race at Yio Chu Kang in April and finally, this third race in August at Bukit Timah.

I have participated in the Spartan Race for 3 consecutive years. It has sort of becomes an ‘annual ritual’ for me. I will likely sign up as long as I am available for the race schedule and the venue is interesting. It is a good event which encompasses a whole body workout and is especially fun if your friends participate with you.

The Venue

Held at the Centaurs Sports Park, Turf City, the race has 2 separate routes for the Sprint [5 km] and Super [13 km] categories and bring the spartans into the forested area of Bukit Timah Reserve. This is also the same location for the Columbia Jungle Run organized by the Centaurs.

Today’s race is also the final race in the Southeast Asia Regional Series, whereby regional elites compete for the championship.

Race Day

My friend Alan joined me for this race. We have been ‘spartan buddies’ for the past races and like me, he was eager to explore this new route in at Bukit Timah and hoped it is similar to the 2017 edition at Tampines.

We reached Turf City at 11.30 am, well ahead of our race time at 12.45 am. It was a hot day and the organizers had reminded us one day before to have plenty of hydration. I have my fair share of local races and believe this is the only race where I got a reminder to ensure I am well hydrated.

The festival opened at 6.00 am, with the elites being flagged off at 7.30 am. Registration was reasonably fast and we collected our race kits and goodies. We did our stretching while waiting for the flag-off. The race site was a hype of activities. Participants from the earlier waves were mingling around and having their well-deserved rest. If I may say so, I always feel the race atmosphere at Spartan Race to be different from those of regular running events. It is more ‘lively’. I wonder if it is due to the collective overcoming of obstacles together and the camaraderie forged?

As usual, during flag-off, we were asked ‘what is our profession’ before we ‘roared’ Aroo! Aroo! Aroo! This question and answer have become synonymous with the Spartan Race! Off we went into the forest trails and emerged to the open field beside Tanglin Rugby Club. We cleared the 1st obstacle Hurdles before being subjected to the Dunkwall. It was still quite early in the race to be subjected to the ‘water treatment’ and I believe it may be because there was no other place that was suitable for the dunk, or simply the organizers want to ensure we are ‘fully hydrated’ to prevent heat exhaustion!

We continued on to clear the 7 Feet Wall and Spear Throw. As in previous races, the spear never found its target and we did burpees as a punishment. The first hydration point was here and there were choices of cold water or herbalife nutrition drink.

After a short rest, we soldiered on to attempt the A-Frame Cargo and the dreaded Bucket Brigade. The Bucket Brigade simply required us to carry a bucket of sand and walk approximately 500 m around the ‘horse ranch’. The bucket of sand must have been at least 40 kg and most of us had to take intermittent rest to complete the circuit, encouraging and motivating each other along the way.

Next, we cleared the O.U.T (Over, Under, Through) and Multi Rig. Somehow I found it harder to clear it this year. I attribute the reasons to ageing and insufficient training!

The remaining obstacles of Rope Climb and Monkey Bar were not easy to clear and inevitably, we had to do burpees as punishment. At long last, we reached the Finisher Point and jumped over the fire after clearing the last of the obstacles, the Slip Wall.

We collected our finisher medal and shirt and enjoyed a few cups of herbalife shake. Thereafter, we did some wash-up and embarked on our journey home, tired but happy.

After Thoughts

1) I am glad the organizers had found this venue for the race. It is a good replacement for the Tampines venue, which is no longer available. Spartan Race is supposed to be, in my own definition, dirty, muddy and hot. This is why I did not sign up for the Stadion race.

2) One big improvement is the organizers arranged portable shower facilities and wash up points for the participants to clean up before going home. Kudos to that!

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Review: Melaka Marathon 2019 (by healthobeing)

Melaka Marathon is held in the Heritage state of Malacca in Malaysia. In 2008, Malacca was listed as the UNESCO world heritage site for its long history and architectural buildings.

Joining the Race

Goodie bag

Introduced by one of the Tortoise runners, Ho Kah Leong (we commonly call him Ferrari, for the insane speed of running), he spotted the race and started to ask around for people to join. The lucky draw prizes and being the first time organisation, it really drew interest in many people. So happen, Ferrari’s wife is a Malacca resident too, Julie. So without hesitation, I decided to sign up.

The 21 km cost 90RM and 10km was 70 RM, all these amounted to about 53 SGD. It is really cheap considering that I am going to get 3 tee shirts, 2 medals and a chance to run 32 Km. The goodie bag had biscuits, sweets, active tape and some coupons for discounts.

Going Malacca

the hotel me and Katherine stayed

Strong heritage history and culture, Malacca is easy to get to from Singapore. You can drive or take a coach from Golden Mile Complex.  I board the bus with another runner friend, Katherine Lim.  The journey was about 6 hours.  Kind of long but that was due to the customs.

Chicken rice balls and Jonker Walk

After checking in to Estadia Hotel. We realise there were many Singaporeans in this race too. There were many of them in the hotel that we stayed. Katherine, quite a popular figure in the running scene, was greeted by many people along the way. We even got free durians from some friends around.

Chicken rice

Shopping around Jonker Walk

Chendol in Jonker walk

Ferrari and Julie has already picked our race pack the day before so we need not have to make our way down.  Doing two races, I got two bags which felt kind of funny.  After picking us up from the hotel, under Julie’s recommendation, we went to this special Chicken Rice ball shop, Yi Ji Bang Chicken rice.  It was near the hotel and also Halal.  The queue was long but we got our share of carbo loading finally.

Roaming about

Coming to Malacca will not be complete without going to Jonker walk.  So we went there and did some small shopping, I finally got my Peranakan Kebaya and also bought some local snacks for the people in the office and home.

Race Day

Race Venue in the wee hours

Rock and roll starts at 3:30 Am for Half Marathoners.  I have to finish it before 7 am for the start of 10km.  More like a night race, I felt really sleepy to get to the start line.  So I had a lot of coffee and of course the usual Red Bull to perk myself up.

Getting ready at the start line

Ferrari and Julie picked us up from the hotel. And we set off, luckily we were not blocked by any road blocks for the race. We parked, we made our way to the event place. There were already some people there but not too crowded. Putting our baggage, I heard that the Full Marathon sign up was only 800 participants so it was not that crowded. We saw the Full Marathoners flag off and it was quite impressive with the fireworks along the run way. There was also a traditional dance to kick start the run.

21KM

On the roads

About half an hour later, we flagged off, it was really not that crowded. To speak the truth, the race course is really enjoyable. Its not that super flat and the roads are well closed, starting around 3:30 in the morning will mean that we will beat the sunlight and heat. Surprisingly it was not that hot, humidity was also manageable. The water points along the way were well stocked and there was one point with banana, Isotonic and cold sponge. I think this is very good for the Full Marathoners. Along the way I saw Jaijendran, doing his FM. There were many other Singaporean runners whom I met.

Portable toilets

Start line

Fireworks to flag off

Baggage drop area

The last part of the route brought the runners up a gentle bridge and after coming down, less than 1km, you are at the ending point.

Finisher medal

We did it!

10KM

Roaming around the area while waiting for 10K to flag off

I came back around 5:30am, there was ample time to the next flag off for the 10km at 7am.  Though my timing was not ideal, I managed to come in 12 for overall women and 5th for my category.  Something which I thought I would not have managed since my injury.  Another Australian lady runner, Dani, came in 3rd and she was elated because it was like her first time cliching such a title and the fact that there were other Kenyan runners around making the competition tougher.

Me and Dani on our second race

Starting the second time

The best thing was both of us were going for the 10 km.  So we did a quick change, rest a bit at the end point with some red bull, Milo and Aik cheong kopi.  So we both went back to the start line.  To speak the truth, this was the first time I did a back to back.  Usually it is just a full marathon or just a 21km.  But this time I thought, since I came all the way here, I must make my trip worth.  Happy that I made this decision, as I really still have some energy for the 2 leg.

The 10Km route is part of the 21km, it was straight and only last with the bridge.  The rest was pretty flat.  Seems like after a rest, I was still able to tackle the 10 km.  Dani overtook me fast , although in between she seemed to slow down, she started to jet off after 1 km or so.  To speak the truth, the 10km was not really that crowded.  The water points were also well stocked.  The ending part was wide, so there was not bottleneck or Jamming up.

Overall

I would say for the first time organising, the race committee did really well.  The road closure was well organised.  Water points and baggage drop were well managed.  Although it got a little chaotic at the winner’s pen but things turned out well and they did not bring in cash to give out, which is kinda logical for safety reasons.  Finishers gets the tee shirt ( HM and FM only), Medal, some buns and a can of Milk powder ( however, it was stated that it was for senior 60 years old and above).  While for ten k , there is only the medals.

21Km Goodie bag

The ending area is a big park, so there was ample space for all to relax and also the carpark was huge to allow participants to be able to drive to the location.

A little improvement I felt was for the Finishing was that they should segregate the different categories for running in.  As it gets a little messy there.  You also had to walk quite in just to get the finishing entitlements.  Since it was not that crowded , I think the whole process was pretty smooth running.

Final loots

I would come back next year for more R&R and good food!

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Update to running route: Re-opened sections of the Rail Corridor

Trail enhancement works along the following sections of the Rail Corridor have been completed and these were re-opened to the public since 30 June 2019:

1. Commonwealth Drive to Jalan Kilang Barat
2. Near Former Bukit Timah Railway Station to the Historic Brick Drain

There will be alternative footpaths provided to connect the re-opened sections of the Rail Corridor. Do refer to the directional signage placed along the trail for more information.

Source: PUB Facebook Page @PUBsg
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A Look at 2019’s Best Road and Off-Road Running Watches

The latest figures show that worldwide sales of running watches are projected to increase by 5.3% in the next five years. Throughout Asia, wearable tech for both road and off-road runners has become a valuable part of their routine. Whether you plan on running a marathon in Singapore, or taking to the scenic trails in Japan, having your up-to-date run stats is now an essential component of improving your skills. Advanced features on these watches also play a core role in helping you get the most out of each run. If you are in search of one of the best watches/monitors for either off-road or road running, learn more about how to make your selection among the top picks for 2019.

Watches for road running

For those who regularly run 5K, 10K, or marathon events on paved surfaces, having a quality watch for road running will deliver the best possible experience. Expert analysts from NanaDC state that the most common features that road runners now seek out include innovative designs (e.g. lightweight, stylish), cashless transaction functionality, the ability to view smartphone notifications, and streaming music. These features are practical for those who run in this city, as it allows for multitasking before, during, and after runs. One exceptional watch that meets the desired criteria of many road runners is the Suunto Ambit 3 Run. Its bold design, Bluetooth pairing abilities, and highly rated battery life are all user favorites. Additionally, the Polar M430, Fitbit Ionic, and Xiaomi Amazfit Health are top-tier choices for road runners of all ages and fitness levels.

Watches for off-road running

Although many road running watches would work well for off-road purposes, there are specific watch features that are preferred among those who take to the trails. For example, if you regularly run in places that are unfamiliar, or that are away from the main roads, having a reliable GPS is crucial. Also, many runners desire built-in altimeters, barometers, compasses, water resistance, long battery life, displays that are easy to read in sunlight, and storm alarms. In addition to these features being convenient, they can also help keep runners safe. Among off-road watches that deliver these abilities, the Casio Pathfinder PAG 240, the Suunto Core Crush, and the Garmin Forerunner 945 are outstanding models.

Making the right choice for your routine

If you are unsure as to which option will be optimal for your running routine, it is best to first create a list of desired features. To help you do this, consider what you currently want to know about each run, what functionality would improve the quality of your runs, and how much you run on roads versus off-road. From there, establish your budget, and choose the watch that best fits your needs, desires, and style preferences. Prior to selecting your new running watch, also explore any corresponding smartphone apps that go along with each model. While it is most important that you enjoy the watch itself, it is also crucial to like the apps that go along with your final choice

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VPBank Hanoi Marathon – Heritage Race: 11 Old Quarter And Most Central Heritages You Should Not Miss

1. Hoan Kiem Lake

The start and finish venue of Hanoi Marathon – Heritage Race is located right by Hoan Kiem Lake, the symbol of Hanoi. It’s famous for the Turtle Tower, a small, ancient and quiet tower situated on an island in the middle of the lake. Right nearby is Ngoc Son Temple, situated on a different island and connected to the mainland by a small, red, wooden bridge that highlights the fresh green lake water.

2. Hanoi Opera House

Was built in 1901, the Hanoi Opera House is a miniature copy of Opéra Garnier Theater. The Opera House is characterized by the French New Age and is one of the most important cultural centres of Hanoi.

3. St. Joseph’s Cathedral Hanoi

St. Joseph’s Cathedral Hanoi was built in 1884, in the medieval Gothic architectural style, with an arched dome facing the sky, much like the Notre Dame in Paris.

4. The Flag Tower of Hanoi

The Flag Tower of Hanoi was built in the early 19th century, by the Nguyen dynasty, the last dynasty of Vietnam. This is also the most preserved historical landmark of Hanoi.

5. The Temple of Literature, the Imperial Academy

The Temple of Literature is a collective of complex monuments built in the 11th century in the ancient East Asian architectural style. This is also a monument that symbolizes the cultural development process of Vietnam with 82 steles honouring its graduates from the 15th century to the 18th century.

6. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is the resting place of President Ho Chi Minh, the first President of Vietnam. It is located in the Ba Dinh square, where the President Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence, inaugurating the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is also a unique architectural work, built by leading Soviet engineers and talented Vietnamese craftsmen.

7. Tran Quoc Pagoda

Tran Quoc Pagoda is a Vietnamese Buddhist centre from the 11th to the 15th century. It is an 11-story-tall tower with a height of 15 meters. Each floor has six fenestras and in each, a statue of Amitabha (the celestial Buddha) made from mineral stone.

8. Quan Thanh temple

The Quan Thanh temple is one of the four ancient towns of the antique Thang Long Citadel, built in the 11th century.

9. Cua Bac (The Northern Gate)

Cua Bac is one of the few remaining traces of the ancient citadel of Hanoi. With traces of destruction from bombs and bullets, Cua Bac is also a marker of French colonialism and the First Indochina War in the mid-twentieth century. Opposite to Cua Bac is the Cua Bac church, built in a unique Asian–European fusion architectural style.

10. Long Bien Bridge

Was built in 1898, Long Bien Bridge is akin to a witness to one of the most turbulent periods of Hanoi’s history. It was built by the French and considered their pride of in Indochina, and was also where French troops finally withdrew from Hanoi after the Dien Bien Phu victory. During the Vietnam War, the Long Bien bridge was heavily bombed by American planes but remained standing, as if firmly representing and instating the spirit of the Vietnamese people during the war. Today, Long Bien Bridge has become a favourite place of Hanoians. From the bridge, you can admire the entirety of the modest and rustic charm of the outskirts of Hanoi: small green rice paddies by the tranquil river.

11. O Quan Chuong

O Quan Chuong is an ancient city’s gate situated in the middle of modern Hanoi. It used to be a security checkpoint for the commercial district of ancient Hanoi, what is now known as the Old Quarter. O Quan Chuong was named after a chief of the army to honour him and other Nguyen soldiers who fought in the war against the French.

Register at https://wejust.run/HanoiMarathon

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Running To Spread Positivity And Open-Mindedness (by Zhiyong)

I will be contributing 20km at the Relay Majulah coming this November. Relay Majulah is a ground-up initiative to form a 200-runners team to conquer 2,000km over 200 hours (2-10 Nov 2019) to raise funds for President’s Challenge and its 67 supported charities; and to commemorate Singapore’s 200 years. It also aims to unite the community, for the community; and tell the inspiring stories of people with an indomitable spirit, who live life to the full and live life without limits.

What motivated me to take part in this relay?

I’m proud to be a Singaporean and honoured to be displaying this through the sport which I’m most passionate about.

What am I most looking forward to in the participation of this relay?

Coming together with the 200 like-minded runners and completing the feat together.

Do I think this relay is a challenge for me and in what way?

It is not a challenge physically to me as an individual. It is more of a challenge for everyone to work together as a team to achieve the goal as one.

Does being a Singaporean/PR have a special significance to me?

Yes. I am grateful for the people who put in lots of commitment, determination and sometimes sacrifices to bring Singapore to where it is today. It motivates me to contribute in every little way I can to make it a place where we are proud to call Our Home.

Have I overcome any challenge which I would like to share?

My challenge may be immaterial compared to many people out there. However, my sharing is as such:

Challenges may come in many forms, be it physical, emotional, spiritual and social. Physically, I used to be an obese kid, which in turn leads to low self-esteem and was always bothered by how people around me see me. A common thought which used to ring in my head was “I am not good enough” or “I do not deserve this”.

It was through the desire and determination to achieve a Silver National Physical Fitness Award before enlistment in the army which changed my life. My fitness improved tremendously when I put my heart into the run training before, during or after school hours with a few classmates. My self-confidence also improved along the way, which allowed me to be more sociable and to have the ability to take on more demanding roles throughout National Service, University and work life. I also became more positive and open-minded and developed the willingness to do things for others, the country and the greater good.

Have I overcome any challenge that I can share that could inspire the community?

The constant pursuit of health and wellness as only a healthy mind, body and soul will be able to do wonders.

What is my favourite sport/choice of healthy activity and do I have any special relationship with it?

Running, and it is where I find solace and sanity in life.

Do I have any healthy tip to share?

Be consistent in your actions in achieving your goals. Results will come naturally when you turn actions into habits.

One of the reasons why I am participating in Relay Majulah is to help raise funds for President’s Challenge and its supported 67 charities.

I hope that through my fundraising efforts, I will be able to spread positivity and open-mindedness through the passion for running and fitness.

If you feel relatable to my story and motivation, you may check out or support my fundraising efforts here.

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A Run That Went Beyond

Life mirrors the runs or is it the other way, when you become a runner.  What exactly is a runner ?  I checked on the internet and the simplest definition is a person who runs for sports or pleasure.  I didn’t know if I qualify but I just like to run, especially testing myself initially in races.  Then in some ways as with many things in life, it became costly.  So I have to be more selective (about races) and run mainly for ‘pleasure’ at my own time and pace/place.   Then it changed to another P, Purpose.  I wrote about that a year or so ago.  It kept me going even when I was down.  (I started writing this thinking I would review a run event but it turned into something beyond… hence the title.)

Near the end of last year I decided to participate in the 86 km category of the 50 hours non-stop run organized by Tampines West Community Sports Club (CSC).  Into its fifth year, the venue for the Run is Bedok Reservoir Park with start / end point at the floating platform near Sheng Siong Supermarket.

This Run is to challenge participant to push their limits in achieving the running distance of 5 laps (21.5km), 10 laps (43km), 15 laps (64.5km) and the maximum 20 laps (86km) at their own pace and time within the 50 hours duration. This is a non-competitive event and times are not recorded.  Participants can choose any time to start, stop and continue within the 50 hours.  I chose 86 km and I planned to finish in one ‘go’.

I chose to run this to raise funds for the Singapore Cancer Society.  It was my second ‘big’ official campaign to run for funds for the society.  There had been a few persons in my life – my good friends and my mother-in-law who passed away due to cancer.  I was quite ‘angry with cancer’ when my mum-in-law was taken away too in 2012 after losing a friend earlier on.  Cancer doesn’t just affect the patients but the circle of people around them.  While my wife had not shown much external emotion at the loss I know she missed her mum a lot when she passed away after a short discovery and treatment period.

I was aware that I was a very ordinary runner who started a bit late in running and would be past 56 years old when I attempted the 86 km ultra.  The furthest I had done was 50 km non-stop.

And I had not kept in touch much with my usual social circle since leaving my career back a few years ago.  And the current group had no interest in running except for one.  Coincidentally the previous campaign I had done was completing 500 km (exceeded that distance finally) in 86 days, hence I decided to set the target of raising $8686 with this ultra 86 km mission.

I decided to run every day to train for this ultra so I started that on 29th Dec last year.  (And walked everyday too with my average total number of steps I took per week usually exceeding 100,000.)  Initially it was still fine.  As the weeks grew into months it became a challenge… When it rained…  When life’s schedule became complicated…  But I persevered and on days when I couldn’t do much, I just made sure that I did run 1 mile (at least 1.6 km) besides doing my walks.  Most times the runs were about 3-4 km.  Longest was a half marathon.  I didn’t attempt more,  as I didn’t want to get injured and aggravate my back injuries.

Slightly more than a month to go before the event, bad news came.  A dear friend, a female classmate of mine, also ex-colleague of mine and one of the strong supporters of my previous campaign had passed away.  Struck down by a relapse of cancer just late last year.  She had kept her illness private and so it came as a shock to most of us.  My last interaction was a couple of months before.  I decided to dedicate the campaign in her memory too.  At her wake, I met ex-colleagues and former course mates  who then brought me into the cohort’s whatsapp group.

Then, about 2 weeks before the mission, one of my younger brothers was hospitalized, initially in ICU due to a sudden heart attack.  I went in and out of hospital to help him out.  He had an emergency bypass and then another bypass within a few days.  I was feeling a bit of pain on my back of my right hip.  I ignored and carried on life and squeezing running into the tighter schedule.  Till about a few days before the actual date when things settled down for my brother and I went to the polyclinic to check on my pain.  Was asked by the female doc to come back the following day as the x-ray section had closed for the day and she gave me some painkillers.    Next day it was a male doc who then examined me physically.  He discovered a mass on the right abdomen.  I had noticed the swelling but didn’t think too much of it as my pain was behind, not on the front.  It was about a finger length firm mass which can be felt physically on the right abdomen.

He asked me a few question relating to cancer history.  Nope, I didn’t know of any cancer history in my family.  It sounded ominous.  He asked about the level of pain.  It was quite intense on the back, the hip.  He decided to refer me to the emergency department in a hospital of my choice.  I took the referral letter and asked him if it was alright to run in another few days’ time.  He said better not, what if the mass were to ‘burst’ in the worst scenario.  I left the clinic, thinking hard.  I had to complete my ‘mission’.  I also wanted to run for my friend who had just left.

I shortened the distance I planned to run that day, and the day after and then decided to take a break just to be ‘safe’.  It was just two days more to the ultra start.  I decided to start the ultra in the evening, a few minutes before 6 pm, though I went down to the site for a recce in the morning.  I took half a dozen packets of the running gel, thinking that there would be some energy drinks, banana and water provided.  I also took a couple of salt tablets since I rarely tried them in my short training.  But had read that salt tablets would be good for long endurance runs.  And of course, I said my usual morning and night prayers for a good day.  And that day was Good Friday too.

I went at my slow jogging pace.  And just went round and round Bedok Reservoir.  I had dreaded the sandy terrain.  I was wearing my black UA Hovr Sonic shoes.  After just two or 3 loops, they didn’t look black anymore.  Met a good friend whom I got to know from one of the races I did in the past.  Jogged along with him for a lap or so (and had him as a familiar face round the loops through the night and morning).  Chatted and during that conversation I did share about the recent events.  And as I talked with him, my mind did go to what the doc said about ‘bursting’.  But it was that few seconds and in that conversation.  I pretty much shut out the thoughts after that and went on, jogging with small steps and occasionally into brisk walks.

The night was long.  Start and finish of each loop, we would just hand over our run cards for the stamps – 2 stamps per loop.  I took water and the energy drinks after each loop.  There was no bananas.  But milk packets were provided after attaining some checkpoint mileage – see the circled ones.  Though the milk did make a few of us go to the nearby toilet somehow.  After 64 km, my Garmin watch got tired too and slept off (no battery).  The next 22 km was taking a long time.  I had targeted 15 hours originally but finished within 17 hours.  Disappointed but happy with completing without stopping.

In the early morning it drizzled a few drops and then for a short stretch towards the end – my last loop or so.  It was a baptism of sorts with water from heaven.  I had slowed down to walking then.  (That was also where my thoughts went back and forth between past events and I tried instead to focus on my physiological state.)

I had felt the feet swelling after 6 hours or so, reaching the marathon distance and the pain on the toes as they seemed to push against the tip of the shoes, and felt blisters coming after another loop.  I just told myself it would be over with another marathon distance to complete !  For the last 5 loops, it became easier for me to ignore my feet.

I had to stop and emptied out the sand particles that went in now and then, about 3 times in the journey.  I had slowed to a walk, brisk initially and then slowing down.  With a couple of loops to go, I also had to change my 2XU tights into my spare running shorts.  I found that the amount of chafing at the groin was just getting difficult for me to even move.  I told myself I was near the finish.  Then it rained.  The shoes got wet and the socks seemed to shrink further constricting the feet.  Extremely uncomfortable with the water and sand particles.  Just two loops – 8.6 km to go.  Which actually took me almost 2 hours by then.

Finally completed just before 11 am.  After I collected the medals and finisher tee,  I went to look for a chair to rest my legs at the tent.  After 15 minutes, I changed my shoes and started walking to the car park, feeling hungry but satisfied I accomplished the mission!  Thank God!

I drove back home and took my well-deserved lunch cum breakfast.  It was just duck rice with extra duck meat from the KouFu, so about $6.  I didn’t think about the mass on my right flank till I was reminded several times in the weeks after by the pain and my good friends.  (Photo Credit is due to Tampines West CSC photographers.)

I have to sort out my mum’s appointments for her eye issue the days after before attending to my own ‘mass’.  She turned out to have cataract.  The wait went on to weeks for the follow-up because I was getting my mum ready for her eye surgery as she lives alone and waiting for the appointments to be scheduled.  And the week after the ultra, I went on to do the half marathon race which I had already signed up.

A few good things came out of this long drawn-out wait :

1) my younger brother recovered slowly and stopped smoking after decades of the habit (and my nagging him for years) on the doctor’s advice.  As the doctor said, it was touch and go that afternoon when he was brought in by his colleagues semi-conscious.

2) my mother’s cataract eye surgery was successful though she had a short period of infection with extra follow-up.

3) I went to the polyclinic early July, to get another referral since I couldn’t very well go to the emergency with a referral backdated so many months ago.  The second doc did the same examination and wrote the referral after confirming the mass was still there.  A week passed by before the specialist could see me. The specialist would only confirm diagnosis after I went for a CT Scan.  Another week later.  Due to some administrative issue at the hospital end, the scan was postponed.  After I called up, they managed to place the appointment back.  The CT Scan took place in the morning with 4 hours of ‘starving’.

The miracle ?  See the specialist in the afternoon for the results.   No mass detected and organs, all body parts visible in the scan, all looked ok.  They could see the lumbar (backbone) fracture but nothing else.  I asked what could have caused the initial swelling and the pain.  Don’t know.  Only a MRI would be able to tell more which was more costly and more wait.  Maybe it was something to do with the nerves when I asked further.  I was given a referral to the Orthopaedic for follow-up on the fracture though.

Well, as folks who followed my blog, I had done a few more races, a half marathon about a week after the ultra and even the Sundown Marathon in between the final diagnosis.  I would attribute it to my faith that I went on despite the initial diagnosis.  I had believed then it was not time for me to go yet.  After a number of good friends had advised me to seek the doc’s opinion, I had thought it prudent I should at least just get an expert opinion.

Whatever it was, it had been a good miracle that I went through another slightly testing phase.  I had just completed the Runninghour 10 km and then the Singtel-SCS Race Against Cancer 15 km over this weekend.  I had started running every day again in June. Hopefully, the remaining days before this coming weekend (I had extended the campaign to include the recent Singtel-SCS Race since it was for SCS too instead of opening another campaign), I would be closer to the fund’s target.

Whatever it is, the fight against cancer must go on. The statistics on cancer seemed not to abate even with the advances made in past years.  I can only do what I could with the little I have at this point.  Hope kind and generous souls would contribute to the cause.  Till the next round, run happy, run safe.

(Post Event Note: I closed the loop two weeks after the event with my dear friend’s sister who then sent me these words (parts of the whole message): “Everything is good.  It’s awesome that you ran 86 km to raise funds for cancer society in memory of my sis.  I’m sure wherever she is now, she’s probably feeling pretty smug that a good friend of hers actually RAN 86 km (that’s more than doubled the regular marathon !) in her memory and for a great cause! …”  After reading, I felt good and more settled and know that my friend is probably in a better place now and I had said goodbye to her the way I know.)

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Review: The World’s Most Delicious Race – Meiji Run 2019 (3.5KM Fun Run) by Rebekah Ong

Like the title reads, the world’s most delicious race and I have to agree that Meiji Run 2019 definitely fits that description! It’s been almost a month since this event took place and I got a chance to savour all the goodies that I got from completing the event.  There were soooo many of these goodies that I dare say it had to be the highlight for me.

The Meiji Run took place on the 29 June 2019 at the State of Fun, Sentosa and the event’s location was at Palawan Beach. The Meiji event had 2 major components; the Meiji Yoga session which was the morning half and the Meiji Run which had 2 categories the 10KM Competitive and 3.5KM Fun Run.

My bestie, Cheng Yee and I took part in the 3.5KM Fun Run category which started at 16:30 hrs. We arrived early and got to explore the race village which had a small carnival going on. There were lots of game stores, photo booths etc. Unlike most of the runs we attended, this was not a competitive run and the participants that were there were not your typical run event crowds; there were lots of families with children. The atmosphere at the event site was super chillaxed.

We were flagged off in the 2nd wave and we tried to brisk walk but sadly, that wasn’t possible as it was really crowded. We decided to take it easy and soak in the fun run atmosphere.  We don’t normally get to explore Sentosa and it was really pretty exciting walking the route.  The 3.5 KM fun run took us around some famous Sentosa attractions like AJ Hackett Sentosa (where Bungee Jumping or taking a ride on the Giant Swing are some of the things you can do), Sentosa Skyline Luge, ifly Singapore, Kidzania etc.

We also noticed that this route also had a bit of slope which made it challenging even though we were walking but hey I’m not complaining because we got to enjoy some chilled isotonic drinks from YOU-C1000, both the orange and lemon flavours ones at the hydration stations. Those drinks were soooo refreshing that both Cheng Yee and I decided to have a short break to enjoy them.

We completed the fun run in 47 minutes (that included our drink breaks) and we headed to collect our medal and the Meiji hamper which consisted of both yummilious Meiji confectionary products (like Hello Panda, Yan Yan, Plain Crackers etc.) and dairy products (like Milk, Yogurt, Bulgaria etc). The hamper was definitely the crowd favourite! No other races treated their participants to such an awesome hamper!

Overall, I would give this event two thumbs up! Not only was it well-organised but it also had that WOW factor especially with that awesome Meiji hamper at the end of the event! I would definitely recommend this event to anyone looking for a combination of a workout and awesome goodies! Till my next review! Run happy and keep smiling!

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My Cultra Cameron Ultra Trail 2019 [15km] (by Lingderella)

It’s my first Cultra Cameron Ultra-Trail 😍. They say it’s the most scenic ultra trail run in Malaysia. The trail isn’t really my type of vegetable after the super exhausting and scary experience in Gopeng Ultra Trail. Also, I have Khmer Empire Marathon which I’ll be running half marathon category next week, so I did 15km for Cultra Cameron. 15km seems like a super cute distance and category as compared to 30km, 55km and 100km 😆. But seriously, this 15km also not easy due to the elevation hor, and it’s one of my toughest race ever. It’s sibeh tough.

We joined a group with two buses of Cultrarians heading over from Singapore and paid SGD$260 for the accommodation and coach to ferry us from Singapore to Cameron Highland. It also included some sightseeing tour and two meals but exclusive of race fee. The bus driver Abang must have thought that we are penguins and polar bears because it’s freaking cold lah! 😂 Fortunately, it’s a smooth and comfortable journey. Once I woke up like magic and realized we’ve miraculously arrived in Ipoh, super near to Cameron Highland.

It was the 4th edition of Cameron Ultra Trail this year and the tickets were selling like hotcakes, for some distance categories. It’s so popular that a ballot was needed to get a slot. I like the slogan, “Be prepared. Be very prepared,” but honestly I didn’t prepare leh. Hurhurhur 😂 I didn’t go trail training or stairs training at all and suffered big time during the race.

We reached Cameron Highland on Friday afternoon. We stayed in Century Pine Resort, conveniently it’s the site for Cultra Race pack collection and it’s also just a less than 5 minutes walk to the race site. Firstly, it’s the verification counter for our identifications and race registration confirmation. It was a long queue but it was also a fast-moving one. Then, we proceeded to another counter for mandatory items check. For 15km, the mandatory items are our handphone, hydration of at least 500ml and a cup. For other categories, mandatory items include headlamp, blinkers, raincoat, first aid kit etc.

Verification of documents

Mandatory Items Check

Only after these two counters, we were then able to proceed to collect our bibs and race pack containing a very chio duffel bag, a wrist band for a tea party on Friday afternoon, a temporary tattoo of the elevation map and a super nice Salomon Tee with Malaysia flag on it. It was my first event tee with Malaysia flag on it. I was a Malaysian 💗 Till now, I only have ONE event Tee with a Singapore flag from The Great Relay Singapore 3 years ago and another Vietnam flag on the event tee from Vietnam Mountain Marathon. Maybe I should start a new hobby, collecting race tee with flags 😆. Love my race bib, it has Singapore’s flag on it and I have a super nice bib number O001 😍

The elevation map was printed super accurately and it tallied with my GPS watch and I can expect the ascending and descending. My name was printed as “???” because I gei kiang, I typed in my Chinese name during the registration 😆

Explored the area around and discovered a lot of the shops there sell many trail running-related stuff. I also bought an official merchandise cap 😍. Though the cap is rather expensive, selling at RM100, it’s very chio I have to buy it! 😆

We didn’t know there’s a tea party for participants! 😍 It’s awesome, there were performances by the local kids and most of all, I enjoyed the food! There was soya bean curd, cakes, roti prata etc etc and I eat fat fat 😆

Flag off for the 15km race was at 7.30am on Saturday and the longest distance 100km was flag off earliest at 3.45am. The hotel was so sweet to accommodate runners with buffet breakfast starting at 2 am in the morning 💗.

It doesn’t feel very cold, maybe about 20 degrees when I was waiting in the start pen, but I wore a jacket to run. It was better to be warm than cold. But also, it was to protect myself from getting cuts from branches and rain since the weather forecast predicted rain. Lesson learned from GUT is to wear long pants to avoid bruises and cuts and I’m glad I wore my compression tights. There were occasions during the race that I accidentally brushed my legs at protruding branches and without the compression tights, I would have gotten huge cuts. Flag off was on time at 7.30am after Malaysia’s National Anthem.

The first km or so was tarmac, I tried to chiong and have a fast start because I heard of human jams at the ascendings into the trails. It was a tough climb so it’s really expected to have caused a jam. Some paths are only wide enough for 1 person. It was due to nature and we should respect that and we shouldn’t do much more to destroy it. It’s muddy and slippery as the path was already stomped through by hundreds of participants from the other categories earlier. I was careful because safety is utmost importance on my list. I even brought whistle along with me as well just even though it’s not a mandatory item for 15km category.

And luckily I chionged and luckily, throughout my entire course there weren’t any bottlenecks. I heard that there were quite a long jam and had caused many runners their precious time that they almost could not make it to the first checkpoint within the cut off time. I had a pair of leather gloves with me, but I took them off after 2km because it was starting to get too warm and I had to continually remind myself to be alert where I place my hands. A friend of mine received a DNF at the first checkpoint at 7.7km with a cut off time of 2 hours. They had to cut her race bib and she was not allowed to carry on the race and was ferried back to the race venue. The race crew were very strict at the cut off time at the checkpoints. No matter how much you cry, beg, or argue with them, they still cut your bib 😭.

Credits: Cultra Cameron Ultra Trail

It was like experiencing Gopeng Ultra Trail again. But this Cultra was actually much tougher in comparison. Gopeng’s elevation for 25km was 600+ metre but Cultra’s 15km’s was almost 800 😅. I had to climb on all fours, pulling tree roots and holding onto tree trunks to climb up and down, rolling over fallen tree trunks, slide down on butt, many near falls and luckily just two very light fall on my butt. Felt like I was in a survival/obstacles course. It’s also pretty stressful as I’m not very fast at the ascending and descending, the stress felt machiam like there’s a shark behind chasing you, so after a few climbs, I kept standing by the side to let people overtake.

At the 2nd ascend, it’s like I’ve entered the Mossy Forest (I came before about 8 years ago with my family), but I’m not very sure whether it’s the Mossy Forest. All the trees and surrounding were so mossy and pretty. Wanted to take out my phone and snap a few pictures but I decided to forget it lah since my hands were all wet and muddy 😂 My face was itchy want to give it a scratch but I also don’t dare to use my hand to scratch 😆

I felt that the 2nd ascend was much tougher than the first one 😵 It’s all muddy and it was drizzling. Some runners said they encountered heavy rain but maybe I was just blessed. I was getting a little more alone already as many runners already were at the front. The sky was dark, the forest was dark and it was cold. It’s pretty scary as well. I was going slower and slower as I was getting very breathless and tired. Legs were getting jelly and arms were getting heavier. I paused many times to catch my breath. I also started praying to complete the race safely as I had really too many near falls. Praying really maybe did help as I successfully completed the race safely after all 😊. Also, over here I had a record-breaking of 1km at 44 minutes pace 😆

Finally reached checkpoint 2, then I realised that for the first 2 checkpoints all participants will pass through here. Really idolise the other distance category runners, 15km already felt so tough to me and they are doing so much more. There was a first aid station and a waterpoint which has 100 plus, coke and cold ice water ❤. At this checkpoint, there isn’t any cut off time. I took a while to clean my hands, ate some oranges and bananas then carry on.

The only few photos I took in the trails


At the later part of the route I thought if I walked all the way I could still manage before the cut off time. I was already all wet, muddy, smelly, super drained and grumpy. I met a Singaporean zeh zeh who I just met for the first time and we completed the last 3km or so together. I’m sure the distance would be much gruesome and torturing without her. It’s only then I realized 5hours cut off time for 15km is not really generous like I thought it was at all. I managed to complete in 4hours and 27minutes. It’s not just a 15km. It’s not a walk in the park and definitely not for people who don’t run/train regularly.

I didn’t download GPX file into my watch as I still didn’t figure out how to 😂 But the route for 15km was well guided with a wrong-way sign planted, there were blinkers and also ample red and white tape around to guide runners along the route.

Heard from one past participant that it was tougher this year because of the wet weather and the trails were so much muddier and slippery this time. Out of 450 participants for the 15km category this year, only about half, finished the race within the 5 hours cut off time and the rest were either DNF, DNS or finished after the cut off time. To run Cultra again? Maybe if it’s with Willis, was hoping he would be by my side while I’m on the trail, then something torturous and gruesome would actually become something sweet and romantic 😆

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