This was the last Singapore race in 2012 that I would be running, which I had never done before previously. According to some friends, this event was held back in the late 80s or early 90s but was then discontinued. The race was subsequently revived recently (probably) due to our local running boom. What was unique to this race is the distance - 16.8km, which is very different from other events, normally measured at 5km, 10km, half or full marathon. Also, I like it that the organiser had come up with 3 different colors each for the men's and women's event singlet. The race was held on 28 Oct with the race pack collection held a week earlier on 21 Oct weekend. I also had an overseas friend, Ian (from South Africa), running the race as well.
Race pack collection held at Suntec (near Carrefour) was a breeze. Unfortunately, different day offered a different color for the event singlet. This meant that if you want a certain color, you better go down on that day to pick up your race pack. This was why Ian collected his on Friday and I collected mine on Saturday. :( There were some booth settling products but nothing like the sort that you would see in big marathons.
On race day, Ian and I decided to take the free bus shuttle opposite Peninsular Plaza. As we were not sure of the traffic condition, we decided to take a cab down to catch the first bus available. We reached around 5:50am and there were buses and marshallers waiting and guiding the runners. There was no queue as it was very early. Ian and I boarded the bus and reached the drop-off point around 6:00am. It was another 15mins walk to the race site at Garden By The Bay. The baggage deposit counters were almost empty and it took us only 1min to check-in our belongings. Then we take a slow walk to the start line which was 1km away. Although I didn't recall reading about different starting time for the different waves in the website, I suspected there might be 2 waves as I walked towards the start line, as I noticed 2 distinct yellow ropes, about 2~3 metres apart, lying across the path. And true enough, when there were too many people lined up, marshallers held up both yellow ropes to separate the runners from the two waves. As I had promised Elise to run with her, I told Ian to go ahead and start with the first wave, which was flagged off at exactly 7:15am. The second wave was flagged off 5mins later at 7:20am.
The race started from Garden By The Bay to the Marina Bay Sands, the Financial District and to the Esplanade for the first 5km. Weather was relatively good as it was still early in the race. Elise had decided to speed up and left me behind as I stopped too often for photos. :( I decided to take the opportunity to talk to whoever I bumped into, including Lay Khim (which I knew from F1 Runners) and Andy (which I knew from SGRunners.com). The volunteers at some of the water points were very cheerful and encouraging. Just before reaching the 6km mark at the F1 pit, I saw the race leader on his return to the finishing! It should be after the 14km marker (for him)! Some runners clapped and cheered as he ran past us. I past the 6km marker a while later (about 1/3 completion of the race) in at 8:05am after 45mins of running (which was fast considering I stopped and took photos).
After the F1 pit, I saw two supporters from F1 Runners cheering for the runners. Some runners had started walking by then. We went down and up a vehicle underpass after Republic Avenue, made a u-turn, before going down and up the other side of the same underpass. Just after the underpass, while stopping for some photos, I spotted Elise running towards me. I was not sure when I passed her. Elise told me not to wait for her and so I left her. Nearer to the Nicholl Highway MRT, the runners made a right turn onto the Nicholl Highway (road). There, I saw Ian on his way back towards Garden By The Bay! He looked as if he was enjoying although it was getting a little warm. I also met David on his way back. Before reaching the u-turn of the race at the end of Nicholl Highway, I saw Alexandra on the other side of the road. So I told myself to catch up with her. I reached the 12km marker at around 8:55am, covering the last 6km in 50mins.
Just before the 13km marker, I finally caught up with Alexandra along Nicholl Highway. She was pacing a friend and adopting a run/walk strategy. I decided to take a breather and joined them. Near the F1 pit, I decided to continue running as I would be meeting Ian and TheLonelyRunner after the race. At around the Singapore Flyer, I saw a lady in distress. Luckily, there was an ambulance nearby with the medics rushing to her aid. We then made a turn onto Bayfront Avenue towards the Marina Bay Sands. At the end of the road next to the bus-stop, we had to make a right turn back to the Garden By The Bay. The race organiser was thoughtful and had temporary ramps next to the stairs which made running safer and easier. The last 1km to the finishing was the hardest as we ran along some area which was still under construction. The ground was dirt road and uneven. It was also hot as there weren't many trees. But I was glad to finish it in 2hrs 8mins.
After the race, we were given a banana, a drink and our finisher medal, before being led out of the chute to the holding area. Again, it was thoughtful of the organiser to provide several huge tents for the runners to rest as there wasn't any shade near the finishing line. At the tent, I saw Catwoman, aka Jenap, who finished around the same time as me. I then went to look for Ian and TheLonelyRunner and was lucky to found both of them at around the same area! We chatted a while before Ian and I decided to leave. Ian felt that the race was well organised. Althought the weather was hot, it was still bearable. As compared to other races he did in UK and South Africa, Singaporean runners were more focus and hardly talk during the race. I was glad Ian had a great experience running in Singapore. This was my first time running from and around Garden By The Bay in a race. The race also marked the end of my training for the week just before Ozark the next weekend. I hoped I would be sufficiently prepared for it. :)