NTUC Income Run 350, 2014: Cancellation of 21km Race

The 21km runners camping in the tent, hoping for the rain to stop.

The 21km runners camping in the tent, hoping for the rain to stop.

The 21km race for the NTUC Income Run 350 was supposed to flag off promptly at 5.30am today.

But instead, as fate would have it, there was only one thing that flagged off promptly at 5.30am… the rain. It wasn’t just any ordinary simple spell of rain though. It was a Category 1 thunderstorm, complete with lightning.

Dry weather before the storm hit

To think that earlier on, the weather had looked fine. The earlier part of the morning had been dry and breezy – with no hint of what was to come.

So the 21km runners, me included, had made our way down to the starting point – at the F1 Pit Building. We were looking forward to the race – perhaps even gunning for new personal best timings.

Rain pouring down

The calm before the storm, at the F1 Pit Building.

The calm before the storm, at the F1 Pit Building.

But as time ticked by, the weather had completely changed. There was now heavy rain. We all took shelter inside a giant tent erected at the F1 Pit Building for the race. This was to have been the starting and ending point for the NTUC Run 350 race, but it had now become our reprieve from the thunderstorm.

Like the other runners, I was feeling a little frustrated and my legs were itching to run. But in such a storm, no running was possible.

However, the tent provided a good reprieve from the rain. Said a fellow 21km runner, Jean Zhao, 31, “I was pleasantly surprised that that the tent could take in every single 21km runner. There was also plenty of space there, and we didn’t get wet at all.”

Providing efficient updates to runners

And one positive that we can draw, is that the organizers were trying their best to provide updates.

Added Jean, a Human Resources Business Partner, “Even though the rain was there, runners were promised updates every 15 minutes and they actually got them. So the organizers kept people informed and we didn’t have to wonder about whether the run would go on.”

Waiting to flag off the 10km race at Run 350.

Waiting to flag off the 10km race at Run 350.

Showing no signs of stopping

The rain seemed to show absolutely no sign of stopping as the minutes passed. 5.30am became 5.45am and eventually 6am. And the rain and wind appeared to be getting progressively heavier, with thunder cracking and flashes of lightning too.

But I was still hoping, like all the participants, that the 21km race would still eventually take place.

Pulling the plug on the 21km race

At around 6am though, the race organizers decided to pull the plug on the 21km race. According to them, they could not really delay the start of the race anymore, because the roads had to be re-opened.

The 21km runners were all very dejected about the cancellation of the race. Said 42-year-old admin executive Norliza (Liza) Noordin, “I was so disappointed! I was looking forward to this run for my post-birthday race.” She had celebrated her birthday yesterday.

At the starting line fot Run 350 (10km).

At the starting line fot Run 350 (10km).

But most were positive about the cancellation. Added Liza, “We can’t really do anything because the weather can’t be controlled. But I will definitely come back to support Run 350 again, as I like the race route.”

And 40-year-old Food and Beverage manager, Sidi Fikri, agreed. He said, “The weather is out of everyone’s hands. I was very much looking forward to the 21km race at Run 350, but there is always next time.”

Weather cleared up in time for the 10km race

But the weather did eventually clear up, so the shorter 10km race was allowed to proceed.

It had been delayed by 15 minutes though, due to the rain. And to help to “pacify” participants, the 21km people were allowed to “gatecrash” the race if they wanted to – even though this was going to be just a fun run for us.

And for the 21km runners who chose not to run, their entitlements, including a medal and finisher tee shirt – could still be collected.

Runners crossing the 10km finishing line.

Runners crossing the 10km finishing line.

Being a part of the 10km race 

For me, I didn’t hesitate when presented with another chance to run. So when the 7.15am flag off time arrived, I joined the pack for the 10km run and took off from the blocks as soon as the horn blew.

In the end, it may not have been the 21km that I had been training for. But I must say that the weather turned out to be perfect for the 10km run. It was really cool, breezy and not too hot.

Surprisingly too, despite the addition of a large majority of the 21km runners, the 10km race wasn’t actually crowded and there were no bottlenecks during the race – something that I did have fears about at the starting line.

Still a good race experience overall

Generally, the 21km runners were not too worried about the rain.

NTUC Income Run 350 finisher's medal.

NTUC Income Run 350 finisher’s medal.

Said Jean, “I think it was a very good race experience overall. Even though I came prepared to run 21km and I ran 10km instead, that’s ok. After all, you don’t want to hear of news reports that something unfortunate happened, if they had let the race go on – in the bad weather.”

Agreed fellow runner, 43-year-old Steven Tan, a specialist in service engineering, “I don’t blame anyone for the bad weather this morning. We can’t help it if the sky doesn’t turn out to be good.” Like Jean, he also ended up running the 10km race.

And indeed, despite the major hiccup at the beginning that had ruined the party for the 21km runners, it turned out to be a rather eventful morning of outdoor activities and I am satisfied with the way that things had panned out.


Other Blog Posts

Click here to read about my Yellow Ribbon 10km run last year.

Click here for my 21km experience at the 2XU Compression Run 2014.

Click here for my first Full marathon experience at the SCMS 2013.

Click here to find out about my Sundown Marathon 42km Run With Love.

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  • sandstorm says:

    My first time here. It’s a well written piece. Couldn’t agree more with all the positive things you said about the race organiser and I share similar experience of enjoying the 10km after the organiser invited us to run in the 10km. Also a little disappointment over the sudden change of weather. The only difference btw us is that my friend and I were all drenched under the big structure because we were near the edge but that’s ok 🙂 It’s interesting also that you managed to interview participants.

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