Founded in 2009, the Tri-Factor Series is marketed as a progressive platform which aims to help sports enthusiasts to complete their first triathlon – with a mass swimming, cycling and running event respectively, which then ends with the Tri-Factor Triathlon.
CATEGORY 1 THUNDERSTORM
Before the event though, a heavy Category 1 thunderstorm had threatened to derail yesterday morning’s Tri-Factor Series Triathlon.
The first two waves of participants had actually been flagged off and begun their swim already when the thunderstorm initially hit, but they had been asked to come back immediately and take shelter because of safety reasons.
RACE WAS PUT ON HOLD
The race was then put on hold after that, in the hope that the weather would improve. While most of the participants had stayed back, some chose to leave and go home, though.
Eventually at about 10am, about two hours later, it was then decided that the swim and run legs would continue, but due to safety precautions, the bike leg would be cancelled.
Said Jonathan Tan, 25, a graduating student in Mechanical Engineering at NUS, “I think that most people were disappointed that they had cancelled the bike leg, but it was ultimately a good call because the course was wet and it would be dangerous with the sharp U-turns and all.”
However for those who had earlier done their swim, they had to re-do it though, the reason being that it would have been hard to clock the participants’ timings due to the long break in between the earlier swim and the run legs. And for the Standard Distance triathletes, their swim leg had also been cut down from 1,500m to 750m, also for safety reasons.
Zacharias Low, 19, a student taking a Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science at Republic Poly, was one of the participants who had to redo the swim.
He said “I was actually quite shocked when I heard that we had to re-swim. I thought they would be taking our first swim; if so, I could have run with more peace of mind, but then again, I just made do with what they dished out to us.”
Added David Knott, 54, a corporate education director, “I had thought that the second swim would be easier, and the sea would have calmed down, but there was still a heavy swell and the tide had changed direction. So we were swimming against it during the long section of the swim. It was hard going.”
PARTICIPANTS ON THE GROUND THOUGHT ORGANISERS MANAGED THE SITUATION WELL
Participants who had been on the ground during the onslaught of the storm, had thought that the race organisers, Orange Room, had managed the situation quite well.
Said David, “I think they had managed it as well as they could in the circumstances. Perhaps they could have been clearer though about what we would do if we had restarted. But then again, that would depend on the time that the triathlon would resume. But I am not complaining as they did keep us informed and everyone made their own choices on whether to stay or go.”
His sentiments were also shared by Nicholas Reynald, 32, a French chef. He said, “They provided good feedback to us and had updated us every 15 minutes on what was going on. We were able to rest a bit and get powered up to start the race again, which was good. Though they could also have postponed the event entirely to another date, that may have been quite hard to organise on their part.”
THOSE ON THE GROUND GAVE FACEBOOK UPDATES TO THOSE AT HOME
On the other hand, the participants who had not left home yet, had been wondering what was going on at one stage. In fact, I was one of them – I was getting ready for the race when I heard thunder and lightning outside. I had been scheduled to take part in the Freshman category.
So I was constantly checking the event’s Facebook page to find out what was happening, but it was not being updated for at least the first hour after the thunderstorm had hit. For me though, I had someone on the ground to give me constant updates about the situation, but not all participants did. So a number of participants were posting questions to the organisers about the latest updates.
One of these was Kenny Mok, who had posted on the Tri-Factor Series Facebook page, “What’s the update on the weather? Me and my son are meant to be there later.”
Kenny’s, as well as the queries of many other participants via Facebook, had been initially answered by the participants who were on the ground.
The first official Facebook update about the weather had been at about 9am, to tell participants about the Category 1 thunderstorm and to stay tuned for further updates, and then the final decision to carry on with the swim – run aquathlon was then posted at 10.13am on the Tri-Factor Series Facebook page.
Some participants felt that the cancellation of the bike leg was advantageous to some degree. Said Zacharias, “Running straight after the swim would make us slightly fresher, because after the bike leg there may be some lactic acid build up in the legs, so perhaps it was a good thing the bike leg was cancelled as this meant that our run times would be a bit on the faster side.”
SCHEDULED TO FLAG OFF AT 12.15PM
For me, I was scheduled to flag off in Wave 16, and the starting time for this had been changed from 10.05am to 12.15pm. Due to the weather, I admitted that I had been lazy to pull myself out of bed and head down at first, but in the end I decided to head down anyway… as I would probably later regret choosing to sleep in, instead!
Upon reaching the race site, I hung around and chatted to a few friends while waiting for my turn to flag off. With the bike leg cancelled, it would be a 200m swim and a 2km run for me.
I was flagged off finally at about 12.25pm. Fortunately the weather was not hot then, due to the thunderstorm earlier – but I felt that the storm had resulted in the water becoming a little bit choppier. And as I am not the strongest freestyle swimmer around, I admit that I ended up using breaststroke for about 90 per cent of the swim leg.
The running leg went by okay though, and I think that I overtook a few people during the 2km run. However I could feel the post-rain humidity levels soaring by this stage though and this made it a little hard to run. Fortunately, it was not as hot as it could have been though, as we were running in the early afternoon, after all.
And upon crossing the finish line, I was happy to have completed the aquathlon, and I felt that despite the weather woes, everything had turned out quite well in the end. Upon finishing, I took my medal and plenty of the Lucozade sports drink – the delicious orange flavour had never tasted better, after the Sunday workout. I also took some time to catch my breath and get my energy levels back. It had nevertheless been a good workout, despite the bad weather.
THE BAD WEATHER CAN’T BE HELPED
Other participants felt that things had also gone well in spite of the thunderstorm. Said Zacharias, “The bad weather can’t be helped, but I am glad that they had improvised and were able to give something back to us, so they did well in terms of the organisation of the event.”
His sentiments were shared by David, who said, “On the whole, the situation was well managed. I thought their contingency plans were good; at least everyone who had wanted to race, still got to take part in something.”
Thanks to Lucozade Sport for the slot.