Race Review: OSIM Sundown Marathon 2015

This year’s edition of the OSIM Sundown Marathon – which took place from last night till this morning – saw close to 26,000 runners taking part across the four race categories – the normal 10km, 21km and 42km categories, as well as a brand new 5KM Fun Run category.

OSIM Sundown Marathon took place this morning. Photo Credit: OSIM Sundown Marathon 2015

The 2015 OSIM Sundown Marathon in action.
Photo Credit: OSIM Sundown Marathon 2015

The new 5km Fun Run

This new shorter distance was created to attract more beginner runners as well as to encourage more people to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Said Adrian Mok, 40, Managing Director of HiVelocity Events Pte Ltd – the organiser behind the OSIM Sundown Marathon, “For many years, people have known Sundown Marathon to be a serious, hard-core event. But it is necessary to innovate and introducing the 5km fun run was a natural progression to Sundown Marathon – as we wanted to attract beginners as well as the serious runners.”

There was a new 5KM Fun Run this year. Photo Credit: OSIM Sundown Marathon 2015

There was a new 5KM Fun Run this year.
Photo Credit: OSIM Sundown Marathon 2015

Continued Mok, “And we had wanted to create an entirely new category, the 5km Fun Run, to encourage more people to take on a healthy lifestyle through running.”

Took part in the 42km Full Marathon category 

In this run, I took part in the 42km Full Marathon category – and the scenic marathon route took us around the city, from the F1 Pit Building to East Coast Park, Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay and the Esplanade – before eventually returning to the starting point.

In the early hours of this morning at 1am, I was flagged off in the last wave – so as a result, I found myself yawning a little and feeling pretty sleepy as I waited for my turn to start running.

Meet your friendly Sundown Marathon pacers.

Meet your friendly Sundown Marathon pacers.

Race route change to include Sheares Bridge at 2km

Once I crossed the starting line though, at about 20 minutes past one in the morning, it felt pretty good – until I saw the Benjamin Sheares Bridge looming up ahead of me, around the 2km mark. This had been the biggest route change to this year’s Sundown Marathon.

Said Mok, “Changing the route to include Sheares Bridge at the beginning of the run was largely due to not being able to use Nicoll Highway because of the National Day Parade rehearsals.” The Sheares Bridge had been incorporated into the 2km mark at both the 21km and the 42km category routes this morning.

Preparing to flag off the Full Marathon category.

Preparing to flag off the Full Marathon category.

I must admit that while needing to climb up the bridge early in my run wasn’t totally unexpected because this had been in the race guide, the sheer steepness and the height of the bridge still managed to startle me a little bit. On reflections, it was better though, that the bridge section had been at the beginning of the run, because the marathoners would still be relatively fresh while tackling the climb – instead of doing it after more than 30km of running before going up the bridge.

Cool and breezy weather helped my running

Once we had conquered the bridge successfully, the runners reached East Coast Park at about the 6km mark of the marathon. I must say that the cool and breezy weather at this point was very welcomed. I still remembered the high humidity levels from my previous year’s Full Marathon experience – and that had been very tough.

42.195km Full Marathon route.

42.195km Full Marathon route.

This morning, it was also at this point that I passed the six-hour pacers. This meant that I was at least on track to beating my personal worst marathon timing – at the Sundown Marathon last year.

Running through East Coast Park

As I ran down the stretch of East Coast Park, the run felt pretty good and I found myself enjoying the scenic night landscape of Singapore’s largest park in the wee hours of the morning.

Running through East Coast Park.

Running through East Coast Park.

However, at around the 16km to 17km mark, the run started to get a wee bit tougher and I found myself taking longer and longer breaks at the hydration stations. But I felt that my legs were still managing pretty okay, up to this point, in terms of maintaining a slow pace.

Enthusiasm and support of volunteers and running clubs kept me going

From the 21km mark, I was incorporating a few short walking breaks into my running and to some extent, that, together with the energy gels that I had brought, gave me what I needed to carry on going. At the same time, the enthusiasm of the volunteers also helped to take my mind off the fatigue – together with the increasingly welcoming park benches which had simply been beckoning me to go and sit down on.

Halfway there!

Halfway there!

At the same time, seeing runners from clubs such as Team FatBird, at unofficial support stations to provide a variety of beverages and food, was very encouraging to participants and helped to keep me going too.

Running groups provided isotonic beverages and food to exhausted runners.

Running groups generously provided isotonic beverages and food to exhausted runners.

I carried on mainly doing slow jogging, with the occasional walking, till we exited East Coast Park to head in the direction of Gardens by the Bay. That was around the 29km mark of the race. I started to notice a lot more walkers at this point, and even though my legs were beginning to get quite cramped now, it still felt shiok that I was managing to do some degree of slow jogging – to at least overtake the walkers.

Crashed at around 33km to 34km

I think I crashed somewhere between the 33km to 34km mark and walked the next few kilometres. I must have been so exhausted that taking a gel didn’t really seem to provide me very much energy at this point of the run.

K5 Runners unofficial support station was a real boost to my race

At the 37km mark, I saw the K5 Runners unofficial support station – providing ice-cold coca-cola as well as an assortment of delicious snacks such as biscuits and jelly, and this really energised me. I stopped here for a while to take pictures and simply soak everything up.

Thank you K5 Runners for the generous support station at 37km!

Thank you K5 Runners for the generous support station at 37km!

Morale boosted greatly by the six-hour pacers

I also bumped into the six-hour pacers again here and they gave me the motivation that I really needed to keep going. I stayed and slow-jogged with them for a couple of kilometres, and then around the 38km mark, I decided to sprint on ahead of them – despite the cramping pain that I was having in my legs. It wasn’t comfortable, but I tried to mentally psyche myself up by reminding myself that the faster I finished this marathon, the sooner I would be able to go home and rest.

Six-hour pacers were full of energy!

The six-hour pacers were full of energy!

No amount of salt tablets or energy gels seemed to be very effective at this point. But seeing the scenic sunrise over the Singapore Flyer did help to somewhat distract my mind away from the pain to some extent, though.

Sprinted to the finish line

I sprinted all the way to the finishing line, and pushed myself along by counting down the kilometre markers as I spotted them. 39km… 40km… 41km… I kept remind myself that I was nearly there and my torture would soon be over.

Nothing beats finishing a Full Marathon!

Nothing beats finishing a Full Marathon!

Then I saw the 42km marker – which meant that there was only 200m left to go. I gave it everything that I had left in my tank and managed it to the finishing line – feeling tired and sore everywhere, but satisfied at the same time. Now I could finally go home and sleep.

Running marathons is part of Batman's training.

Apparently running marathons is part of Batman’s training – to successfully fight crime and seek revenge on criminals.

Organiser was pleased with how the race had turned out

Mok was pleased with how the 2015 edition of Sundown Marathon had turned out. He said, “This year went very smoothly, despite the fact that leading up to it, we faced a lot of challenges. For example, the event clashed with National Day Parade rehearsals and as a result, there were restrictions in getting the road closures that we had wanted. Also, due to the heavy downpour yesterday morning, that caused a bit of disruption to our setting up of the race site. But during the event itself, we faced no major problems and everything went very smoothly.”

The scene of destruction after a full marathon.

The scene of destruction after a full marathon.

Continued Mok, “I was particularly proud with the introduction of the Pulse of the Tribe concept this year. It allowed us to play with a few elements in terms of linking up the concept to the race. For example, the big thing we had this year was the fire display performance at the starting line that fitted in very well with our theme. We have always thought that starting the race is the moment that you remember most about an event, so every year, we think very hard about what we can do to impress runners. And the feedback about our fire performance was good, from the runners whom we had spoken to, about it.”

Click here for interviews with the 42.195km winners of Sundown Marathon.

My souvenir for running 42.195km.

My souvenir for running 42.195km.

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  • Elizabeth says:

    Hi Priscilla !

    Chanced upon your blog as I was looking into the Sundown marathon. It has been my dream to join this event and was thinking perhaps this year should be a good time to do it. 🙂

    Your article on your 2015 experience was really informative and I must say, encouraging. It’s very assuring that this event has a lot of physical and moral support during the race for the participants.

    As one reader already mentioned, I also enjoyed reading your nicely-written article. Your stlye is easy and definitely devoid of the “drama”. 🙂

    Lastly, let me just tell you that I think you helped me decide that I should make my Sundowner dream a go this 2016.

    Thank you very much for the push. ?

  • Chai Yin Jie says:

    Good Job to you Priscilla. Good Race Review 🙂 I enjoyed my 42k Sundown Marathon as well.

  • Damon Lee says:

    Hey, i was 18 mins behind you at the finish, hit the wall at 32km LOL

    • Priscilla says:

      The main thing is that you completed the race… Rest well and you will come back stronger next time. 🙂

  • Susan LEONG says:

    Enjoyed reading your article, Priscilla. The personal experiences were well written [not overly self-indulgent nor “drama-queen” style :)], and I really liked that you acknowledged the volunteer-running groups who set up F&B “booths” to help runners go the extra mile; the photos were great too!

    • Priscilla says:

      Hi Susan, thanks for your comments. Hope that you enjoyed the run, if you took part. 🙂

      • Susan Leong says:

        Yup, I was there, for the 10km run. Not as “powerful” as die-hards like you and the rest of the full marathoners. But I cheered for you all (privately) before I went to sleep that night, just as the first wave was being flagged off :).

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