The 2017 edition of the 2XU Compression Run took place this morning at the F1 Pit Building. The race comprised of three competitive categories – 5km, 10km and 21.1km, to cater to runners of different abilities.
I took part in the 21.1km category, which was probably not the smartest thing to do – considering that I had run a full marathon the week before, and I hadn’t quite made a full recovery from a nasty bout of stubborn flu.
Early flag off time
Due to the early flag-off time of 4.30am in the morning, I didn’t get much sleep at all the night before the race and so, I struggled to wake up for the race.
Added Francois Verlaine, 39, a transaction banker, “The start time was too early. Getting out of bed to reach at 4.30am was a nightmare.”
But for John Yates, a 53 year old economics & business management lecturer, the early start time was great. He said, “Oh the start time was very good – it was very nice and cooling.”
Weather held up
I must admit though, that I was quite worried that the 21.1km race would be cancelled, as weather forecasts had predicted thunderstorms this morning. The race organisers were also alert and ready to take action in case this did happen; they published a wet weather advisory on their Facebook page as well as website, in order to give runners a heads-up and I thought this was great on their part.
Agreed Mohammed Rahim, 34, who works in IT banking, “I was worried about the race being called off due to rain and also impressed that they sent out instructions as a heads-up. So I actually had a Plan B arranged.”
Fortunately the rain didn’t materialise though, and the slight drizzle that was threatening to ruin the race, cleared in time for the flag-off.
Started in the first wave
I was in the first wave, and the race had flagged off promptly at 4.30am. Altogether there had been eight waves of runners for the 21.1km category – to accommodate the large number of participants (9,000 in the Half Marathon race).
Treating this as a relaxing recovery run, I tried to maintain a steady and consistent pace at the beginning, but after about 5km into the race, I realised that the recent bout of flu, together with having completed a marathon just the week before, my body was really not up to the task, and as a result, my heart rate started soaring even when I was running what was otherwise supposed to be an easy pace.
The first few kilometres
At this early stage in the race, I could feel some minor stomach cramps, despite the fact that I had not eaten anything this morning. But fortunately for me, these cramps went away when I slowed down my pace and kept on running.
I felt that the first few kilometres, though, had been quite loopy, taking us around the Republic Boulevard, Kallang Road, National Stadium and the Gardens by the Bay East areas. There were also a couple of supposedly gentle slopes as well.
It was at the Gardens by the Bay East that I took a quick urgent detour into the washroom; I think it had been because I had drunk too much isotonic drinks prior to the run.
Though there were some public toilets along the route such as the one that I had used, there had also been a number of portable toilets lining the race village when I had arrived. I admitted that had seemed to be enough cubicles and I didn’t have to wait long for a toilet before I had started the race, but according to John though, there had not been enough toilets for runners to use.
After Gardens by the Bay East, the race route took us towards the East Coast Park linear connectors, before then running through the pancake-flat East Coast Park itself for the next couple of kilometres.
Lots of hydration for runners
And along the way, there were plenty of hydration, with lots of cold water and Pocari Sweat available.
Said Rahim, “The volunteers at the drink stations were also thinking ahead. They spread themselves out well and made sure that everyone who was speeding past and had wanted to hydrate themselves, got a drink.”
I allowed myself to stop and take a breather at each of the hydration points. The en-route bananas, however, were not given out till quite late into the race.
Sharp turns and potential bottlenecks
Rahim pointed out that there had been a few sharp turns along the route. He said, “There were a couple of sharp turns, and a couple of water points just before the turns. So runners had to take water and turn; that could have caused bottlenecks.”
I did not personally face any bottlenecks, but then again, I’m not sure whether the same would have applied to the runners who had started the race in the later waves.
Unfortunately though, it had been somewhere along the halfway point of the race, where I felt my legs cramping up even though I had been taking my salt capsules. From then onwards, it was all about me maintaining a slow jogging pace and refusing to give in to the temptation to walk. My main goal became to make it to the finish line, rather than thinking about any sort of timing.
Usually I don’t tend to get cramps in my 21.1km races, but I think that today had been an exception, as my body was still recovering, and so it was not ready to run a half marathon.
As well, I admit that the running also did make me cough a little bit, but fortunately things weren’t as bad as during the Sundown Marathon last week, and I was able to maintain a slightly faster pace than during my previous race – though it was probably still slow, compared to my normal pace.
Route signages and marshals
The route signages and marshals along the route had been great, and the marshals remained alert in terms of telling runners when to make a turn. This had been especially so in the junction to separate the 10km and the 21.1km runners in the last few kilometres of the race. As well, the kilometre markers were also fairly accurate, according to my Garmin watch.
Added Rahim, “The marshals and volunteers did not lead us the wrong way, and that was good.”
As I was running along East Coast Park, I did notice lightning flashes threatening to illuminate the dark sky, though, but fortunately, a downpour never arrived.
Upon exiting East Coast Park, the route took us along the Gardens by the Bay, Kallang River and The Float @ Marina Bay, before returning to the F1 Pit Building. I could feel my legs with every step I took, but I told myself that there were only a few more kilometres to go, if I jogged rather than walked, then I would reach the finish line faster.
As well, I had also turned on my Pokemon Go game – in order to distract my mind so that I would not keep on thinking about the cramps.
Finishing the race
Seeing the finish line up ahead of me, had felt like sheer relief. For a moment my mind was playing games on me though; I was thinking that I would never see the end point. But it eventually came.
The 21.1km route, I must point out, had been 100metres short according to my Garmin, but I am certainly not complaining though.
Added Rahim, “The race was 100metres short. So when I crossed the line, I was happy with my time, but then I realised I would have to run another 100metres. Nah I’m joking; I didn’t actually do that.”
After crossing the finish line, I collected my finisher entitlements and caught up with some of my friends at the race village.
The Half Marathon runners were given a 500mL bottle of Pocari Sweat, a banana, as well as the finisher’s medal and tee shirt, and a refreshing cold towel. I had thought that the towel was possibly the best thing that I could get, as pressing it onto my face and body had felt so welcoming!
I had been feeling a bit too tired to look at what the race village had to offer but based on what I did notice, there had been a photo booth, food items for sale and other photo standees including a giant Pocari Sweat can, for runners to take pictures – in order to mark their memories of the race.
I later realised that my finisher tee shirt was a size too big for me, but according to the organisers, runners could only exchange their finisher tee sizes 1hour and 20minutes later, after the last finisher had crossed the line.
But after waiting and hanging around for the designated 1hour and 20 minutes, though, I fortunately managed to get what I had wanted – from another runner whom I had chanced upon. She had wanted the tee shirt size that I had and hers had fit me better too. So we made a straight swap, and we both then left the race village happy.
A well organised race
As a whole, runners had pointed out that the 2XU Compression Run had been well organised.
Said Francois, “The whole organisation of the race was good. Everything was clear, the start time was punctual and I have no complaints.”
Added John, “The logistics was very good and everything was well done. It looks like the organisers are very experienced in the run; despite the number of people here, things went on very smoothly.”