I took part in the 18km Category of the Energiser Singapore Night Trail Race 2015 last night, at the Lor Asrama trails in Mandai.
Three night trail running categories available
Now into its fifth year, this trail run featured three competitive, individual running categories – the 6km, 12km and 18km runs, to cater to participants of differing abilities.
There was also the 3km Open Obstacle Course for adults, as well as the 1.5km and 3km Parent & Child obstacle races – to cater to families with children, to encourage bonding while running.
Pre Race Activities
I had arrived early at the race site, so I took a brief look around the carnival area. This was pretty interesting, comprising of food, games and activities. Some games included a Treasure Hunt and mini reverse bungee jumping. Complimentary food items available included ice cream, cereals and fruits, while other items, such as sandwiches, pasta and rice and salads, could be purchased.
I caught up with friends and took photos, while waiting for the flag-off time to approach. And the cute Energiser mascot was present too, for runners to snap photo souvenirs together with. But with so much activities going on – before I knew it, it was time for runners to enter the 18km starting pen for the race, which flagged off at 7.30pm.
Before the starting horn was blown though, we were also led through some warm-up exercises by Fitness First.
Turned on our head lamps and started running
Then we were ready to begin. When the lights at the race starting pen were turned off, we switched on our head lamps, and the race was finally flagged off.
And almost as soon as I had started running, I quickly realised that this would be a challenging 18km run – that’s because with only our head lamps for lighting, I realised that I would have to take plenty of care where I ran, to keep injuries at bay. The last thing I wanted was to trip on something in the dark trails and wind up nursing a sprained ankle or even a broken leg. And fortunately for me, I managed to complete the run in one piece.
Interesting and unique trail run and the weather was good
However, that aside though, I must say that it was a rather interesting and unique trail run – and it provided me with a good opportunity to explore the Mandai trails, which is usually closed to public access. It’s an SAF protected area, and is not really open to civilians. Once I got accustomed to the idea of running through the trails at night, with only a head lamp for lighting, I began to allow myself to relax and soak up the beautiful scenic natural settings.
I also liked the fact that the weather was quite cooling and breezy and the humidity level was not too high – partly thanks to the rain which had taken place earlier in the day.
Race route was quite hilly
But I also quickly realised that the race route was going to be pretty hilly – so it would be harder than the MacRitchie trails, that I’m more used to. From the first couple of kilometres into the race, there were already slopes, both uphill and downhill. Some were steep, but still pretty manageable to walk up. The only one where I needed assistance to climb up, was the infamous Hill 265 after the 10km mark, which brought back fond memories to guys of their National Service days.
But luckily, ropes had been installed along the right side of the hill for runners to hold onto, and this had greatly aided my climb up Hill 265. I did notice many other runners struggling to ascend it though, as they were constantly stopping to take breaks and even crawling up the hill, on their hands and knees. But for stronger trail runners, they were able to run up with no trouble at all.
And once I had successfully conquered Hill 265, the rest of the slopes somehow seemed much easier – and I found myself running better, towards the second half of the race. In fact, running downhill, with the breeze blowing, felt quite shiok and I could really feel the running adrenaline rushing through my veins.
So when I reached the finishing line, after running slowly through 18kms of trails, part of me felt relieved that the race was over, but another part felt slightly sad that this enjoyable night run had finished.
Generally, I think that this was a well-organised and interesting trail race. There were more than enough hydration points, offering both ice-cold water and refreshing isotonic drinks. Also, ample volunteers had been stationed at strategic points along the trails, holding torches, to ensure that runners did not lose their way. I thought that this had been a good gesture by the race organisers – as it gave the runners a stronger sense of safety and security.
At the end point, when we were given our respective race medals, together with an ice-cold can of isotonic drink, I felt relieved that I was able to finish my first Energiser Singapore Night Trail Race in one piece, without sustaining any injuries.
Other Blog Posts
- First 50km Trail Race at The North Face Singapore
- The Great Relay – A Team Trail Relay Comes to Singapore
- A Talk by Trail Running Pro, Vlad Ixel
- A Trail Marathon in Singapore with an Austrian Marathon Collector