My final long distance run before the long awaited Sundown Full Marathon! This is also my second last run for the first half of the year. And here goes the review.
Race Pack Collection
I went to collect the race pack on the last day of the race pack collection that was held at Raffles City.
It was a simple affair, there were a few sponsor booths like Compressport, Panasonic there and a dedicated area with ample volunteers for the race pack collection. Collection was a breeze.
There was no queue and the lady volunteer took my IC, scanned it, then proceeded to get my race bib and race tee and off I go with the little blue bag.
I thought that the race pack was pretty decent. There was a towel, instant oatmeal, a shower gel, and a cute keychain together with the usual race tee and race bib in a drawstring bag.
Since it is run organised by the newspaper, there is a special Straits Times Run newspaper with essential information like race routes, start times and other interesting reads inside. There was also an overload of vouchers by various sponsors.
Race pack collection: 5/5
Race pack: 3.5/5
It was raining heavy prior to the race start time of 5am and I was afraid that the rain would affect this race. However, I received an SMS at around 3+am informing us that the race will go on, but that there may be a delay in the flag off time.
I reached the starting pen at 4.40am but it was not opened yet.
At around 4.45am, the starting pen opened and everyone began to slowly walk thru the narrow entrance that was surrounded by 4-5 security guards to make sure that everyone had a race bib on. There was a led warm up at around 5am and we were flagged off at 5.15am.
I consider this race as a long distance training hence I was not aiming for a PB (weird distance anyway). I only aimed for easy start and strong finish. I started off well, not getting ahead of my planned pace. The first hydration point was at the 1KM mark, very early into the race. There were more than adequate hydration points for this race, the hydration points were approximately 2KM apart.
There was a light drizzle throughout the race, making it a cooling run. I think the cooling weather enabled me run better and I felt good to increase my pace gradually throughout the race.
Having ran this route a few times now (Marina Run, 2XU, NTUC Run 350), I have gotten more familiar with the route, like where the path gets narrower, where the darker areas are, and where that muddy-when-rain spot is. This helped me in this race as the unknown factors were reduced and I could run more confidently. Having said this, I nearly stepped into the drain while trying to avoid getting my shoes muddy while running through the muddy spot at the Marina Bay Golf area. Luckily a volunteer warned me of the drain! It was dark, and I couldn’t see well.
There were bananas at the Marina Bay Golf Range hydration point but I decided not to grab a banana for this race and carried on towards the Marina Barrage. There was a platform before the Marina Barrage for entertainment performances to cheer runners on their run, but sadly I did not see anyone performing while I ran past.
Passing the Marina Barrage and towards the Gardens by the Bay area, I checked my Garmin, did a bit of calculation, and decided that I should be able to finish in 2 hours if I carry on at this pace. This is where I encountered a fellow runner that ran the same pace as me. We ran side by side for around 1KM, then I sped up (or he slowed down a little) and I lost him for a while. I then saw him again at the Marina Boulevard stretch and again, we were running at the same pace. I was beginning to lose steam, so I decided inwardly that he could pace me. Amazingly, that is what he did! There was no agreement, just us running in silence, and pushing me not to slow down especially during the last 100 meters. Upon crossing the line together, we did a high five and I thanked him for pacing me. He made this race memorable and we finished in nett time 02:03:55h.
I collected a can of 100 plus, Ice Mountain, a banana, a finisher tee and my medal after crossing the line. I then went to the 100 plus tentage area to get a cold towel and went to their mist zone. I think the mist zone would be more awesome if it was warm this morning, but it was cooling this morning so I didn’t spend much time inside.
I went to the portable loos to change out of my sweaty race tee. I couldn’t find the portable loos at first, I thought that they will be situated nearer to the 100 plus tentage area like other races, but instead they were located nearer to the water. I didn’t spend much time at the F1 pit building post race, and left soon after changing into the finisher tee.
Post Race Thoughts
Overall race: 4/5
A well organised race. I was impressed when I received the SMS this morning keeping us up to date of the status of the race. There were many hydration points and the volunteers looked like they were coping well filling up the cups. I guess that with the many hydration points, runners will tend to skip some hence it will be less crowded at every hydration point and volunteers will have more time filling the cups. I did not experience bottle necks in this race, and many volunteers were enthusiastically cheering runners on. It was a good idea to have entertainment zones, I ran past one with musicians at the beginning of the race and the music does get runners going. This is also the first race where there were tables and chairs at the finishing point. In others races, runners will cool down on the ground, but in this run, there were chairs to sit on! Cold towels at the finish were a plus point to the race too.
I thought that the portable loos were positioned too far and out of sight. They could be placed nearer to the F1 building as it is more visible there. Light sticks (like NTUC Run 350) could be used to warn runners of dangers ahead as some areas were indeed dark and dangerous.
Overall, it was a good race for me, but I am getting tired of the same “picturesque city skyline” route that many races take.