Sunday, October 21, 2012

Yellow Ribbon Prison Run 2012

I couldn't remember how many times I participated in this race but I knew this was one of the must do races.  The objectives of the race were (1) to create Awareness of giving second chances to ex-offenders, (2) to generate Acceptance of ex-offenders and their families into the community, and (3) to inspire Community Action to support the rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-offenders.  Also, a very inspirational runner, Jenap, who was also a personal friend, was raising funds through her "Dusk Till Dawn" 12-hour challenge commencing 12 hours prior to the event.  I met Jenap at the race pack collection and she was hopeful about her personal fund raising effort and run.  I wished her all the best and in case I didn't see her on race day, to take care of herself during the run.

The evening before Jenap's personal marathon began, I whatsapped her.  I also arranged to meet Teelee and Joanna at the bus shuttle pick-up at Singapore Expo on race day morning.  This year, the boarding point was at the bus-stop along the main Upper Changi Road East instead of the smaller Changi South Avenue 1.  I arrived late but thankfully, early as compared to other runners!  By the time we started queuing up for the bus, more and more runners arrived and the queue had stretched all the way to the Singapore Expo Carpark!  Our bus arrived at exactly 7:45am at the Changi Village Bus Interchange, which was also the race start time!  We quickly walked as fast as we could to the starting point which was about 500m away.  I asked Joanna to help me take a picture before I started running as she was doing the 6km Fun Run starting at 8:15am.  As for Teelee, well, by the time I started, he was a long long way ahead!

This year's weather was cool.  And because the race had already started by the time I reached, it was not crowded at all.  I slowly up my pace and I tried taking photos at every km marker and every performance that I ran past.  After turning left at the traffic light junction towards the direction of Changi Chapel and Museum just past the 2km marker, I heard a familiar voice calling out to me.  I turned and saw Lynette!  Seemed like we are fated to meet during races.  She said she had stomach upset and I offered to walk with her to the potable toilet.  It was also a slight uphill and time to take things easy.  Near the end of the uphill, I told her I would check out if there were any toilets and luckily for her, I saw one just after a group of cheerleaders!  I waited for Lynette to come before I told her I would move ahead and see her at the end.

The first water point came just after the 3km marker.  I took a cup of water and moved on.  Another group of cheerleaders appeared soon, flapping the clapping hands ferociously and hitting on the bin loudly.  Then came the best part of the course, where runners could run through a cool zone where cool mist blast through the short distance of about 20 meters.  Sometimes, I wondered why didn't the organiser of SCMS catered for such "feature" towards the later part of the marathon when the slower runners would be hit by the hot morning sun.  I was sure even the elite runners would feel really great running through such cooling mist in Singapore's weather and humidity.  Although this was just a 10km run, I appreciated the cooling effect it had on me though I had yet to reach the 4km mark, which was a little further down the road.

We had to make another left turn soon.  It was a nice stretch of road where we passed the 5km marker, before a u-turn back towards the prison's direction.  Before the 6km mark, I saw a familiar face, a fellow runner whom I had seen on many occasions, drumming along with the cheerleaders!  He was encouraging the volunteers and other runners, while having fun!  I continued my run and was able to run hard for a while since this was not that much of a scenic route.  :p  I quickly passed 7km marker, and another group of cheerleaders before I saw the entrance into the Changi Prison!  It was also where the runners for the 6km Fun Run merge with the 10km Competitive Run.  Just past the prison entrance, I saw 8km marker.

Once inside the prison, I guessed everyone was on a high as you knew the end was really near though there was still almost 2km to run.  This year's route inside the prison back to the finishing was different from previous years.  We had to turn left instead of right, down an equally steep downhill.  Near the end of the downhill, I saw the 9km marker as well as someone familiar up front.  It was Tao and Yankee!  I shouted out to them for a pic as well as a pic with Tao and the 9km marker.  Then Tao told me to carry on as both of them are walking to the finishing point.  I thanked them for the pic and picked up my pace.  I passed a few runners, did another u-turn and flew pass the finishing line in a gun time of 1hr 44mins 08.57secs (1hr 19mins 21.87secs nett time).

After the run, I went to collect my goodie bag, which was a breeze.  There were many other performances which I missed, including a cousin of mine, Jiu Jian, a multi-talented local singer/songwriter and producer, who was invited as a guest performer for the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run.  Had I known about this earlier, I would have stayed and cheered for him.  There was also massage services available!  I was able to meet up with Lynette who finished just after me and we both met Teelee and Joanna to take the shuttle service back to Singapore Expo.  Although there was a very long queue, the flow was smooth and there were sufficient buses.  We needn't had to wait too long to board to bus.  As like past years, I always had great fun in this event and I would continue to support it in future.

Afternote: Jenap raised a total of S$120,000/- within 3 months in her fund raising effort.  (Was told that the online donation had closed but I was still able to access it caa 21 Oct 2012.  For those who are interested to make the donation, kindly email the organiser at "", stating "Jenap's Dusk Till Dawn Challenge" under your subject title.

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