Run Review: The Force Awakens @ ION Orchard Mall 

There has been an awakening… Have you felt it?

Over a hundred Force-sensitive intergalactic beings certainly did – as they answered the call to form a Resistance group to battle the resurgent Darth Ben – who had risen from the ashes of the late Darth Vader.

Christmas Costume Run got off to a fun start. [Photo by Tan Kim Lai]

Christmas Costume Run got off to a fun start.
[Photo by Tan Kim Lai]

Darth Ben, the grandson of Darth Vader and the son of war heroes Han Solo and Leia, had issued a war cry to “finish what Darth Vader had started” – and so he would stop at nothing to achieve this – even if it had meant murdering his own father.

There had been no shortage of “popular characters” who answered the call…even some whom I would not have expected to have any part to play in the Galaxy Far Far Away! These had included Spider-Man, Superman, SuperGirl, the Green Lantern, Santa Claus, Santa Rina and so many more.

The Christmas Costume Run 2015

And they had all congregated at 8am – outside the ION Orchard Shopping Mall early yesterday morning – for the Christmas Costume Run.

Me and Spidey.

With your Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man.

Organised and led by Darth “Ben Swee” Vader, the Christmas Costume Run took place on a very fun 11km route that took us from Ion Orchard, through Orchard Road, Raffles Place and nearby areas before U-turning somewhere near the iconic Gardens by the Bay and finally heading back to the starting point via Dhoby Ghaut.

Our Running Route.

Our Running Route.

Lots of photo-taking sessions

Before we started running, there had been plenty of photo opportunities with the colourful background of Christmas decorations at Ion Orchard and so we grabbed the chance to snap a group photo. I also said hi and exchanged Christmas greetings with several friends.

And then throughout the run, we took plenty more photos. The two Spider-Men and Darth Vader proved to be the most popular characters for runners to pose together with – probably because they were wearing the most elaborate costumes. And I think there was probably more photos being taken than actual running being done!

Darth Vader and Spider-Man spread Christmas cheer along Orchard Road.

Darth Vader and Spider-Man spread Christmas cheer as they run down Orchard Road.

Kids and even adults also stopped us several times along the way – to take photos with the Spider-Man and Darth Vader runners.

At the same time, we also gave Christmas cheer to random passers-by along the way. Many of them had been polite and had either smiled, or they exchanged the greetings warmly. It felt really heartening.

I think my Christmas songs, which I had played through a mini portable speaker, really helped to add to the festive mood and cheer, too.

The insane heat & humidity 

Unfortunately though, as we continued running, the heat and humidity did us no favours at all! To think I had always thought of December as being one of the coolest months!

Darth Vader has no answer to my fierce lightsaber skills.

Darth Vader has no answer to my fierce lightsaber skills.

In fact, it had gotten so hot that a large group of us stopped at the 7-Eleven outlet in the Marina Bay Sands Shopping Mall to get cold drinks to energise us. This was just after the halfway point of the run. Others posed for photos at the mall’s huge Christmas tree, possibly in a bid to get some reprieve from the harsh sun.

But the heat didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits completely though – for example, all of us kept going and none of us was tempted to take the easy way out and catch the train back to Orchard! This had been despite the close proximity of train stations along the route!

Runners cross The Float @ Marina Bay.

Runners cross The Float @ Marina Bay.

But when we reached the Dhoby Ghaut area, we all sensed that the end was nearing… so many of us increased the pace, despite the heat! This continued at a more intense level through Orchard Road.

A Champion’s Finish

Though there was a nice surprise when we got back to Ion Orchard – this was because two runners had put out a piece of “ribbon” for fun, at the end point for us all to run through.

This is usually put out for winners and podium finishers at running events.

And... Spider-Man comes to rescue a tired runner!

And… Spider-Man comes to rescue a tired runner!

So I knew that although I wasn’t a “winner”, the feeling was still rather exhilarating – as I pretended to be the winner, when I was approaching the ribbon.

Hanging around to take more photos

Upon my completion of the fun run, we hung around for a while to wait for everyone to return – and following that, we went crazy again with more photo-taking sessions! It was a complete riot!

The best way to spend Christmas morning

It may have been my longest and slowest 11km run ever.

Runners taking a well-earned rest after their run - at ION Orchard Mall.

Runners taking a well-earned rest after their run – at ION Orchard Mall.

But the timing didn’t really matter in this case – for it had been certainly the best way to begin Christmas Day – doing something healthy that I love, with a whole bunch of running friends.

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