The Income Eco Run 2017 flagged off this morning at the F1 Pit Building with a 10km and a 21.1km competitive run for the adults, as well as an 800m Kids Dash for the young ones. There had been roughly 10,000 runners taking part across all the categories.
South East Asia’s Premier Eco Run
Billed as South East Asia’s premier eco run which champions environmental conservation, the Income Eco Run aims to raise awareness for everyone to play their part in supporting this cause.
Runners taking part in the race had thought the cause was very meaningful. Said Ian Robert Pinner, 44, who works in Management at a food company, “This is a great cause. I have two kids, aged seven and eight, and we are all about saving the environment at home. We need to take more care of the environment and events like this raise awareness and help to get more people involved.”
He added “We do a lot of recycling at home, and my kids have told me to take the MRT and not a taxi to get around.”
The run has been renamed from NTUC Income Run 350, to up the ante on the green commitment and to bring runners closer to the eco friendly agenda. The call to action for 2017 is to run for “zero waste.”
“Zero Waste Runner” option
So the Income Eco Run had a “zero waste” option for both the 10km and the 21.1km runs. Runners who opted for “zero waste” did not receive a finisher tee shirt and medal; instead they received a Limited Edition “Zero Waste” running bottle as well as a special logo printed on their running singlet. About 1,500 participants had pledged to run as Zero Waste runners.
Stuart Berry, 26, a research scientist at A*Star, was one of the Zero Waste runners and completed 21.1km. He said “I run for fitness, not a medal or a tee shirt, so it was great for me to have this option to run for zero waste – I would be throwing the medals and tee shirt into the trash anyway. So I also liked the fact that Income Eco Run allows you to recycle your medals.”
He added “At the same time, this cause also means a lot to me. And this race was a great time to get people to come together to think about this cause – and oh, it was nice having a race pack without lots of paper that I would be throwing away too.”
The race pack given out to runners had been a simple one, a tote bag consisting of the race bib and an orange singlet, as well as a few sponsor goodies and a couple of promotional leaflets.
Took part in the 21.1km category
I participated in the 21.1km Competitive Run, which flagged off at 5am earlier today. As such, I had to drag myself out of bed this morning to get ready; I reached the race site at about 4.10am, which gave me plenty of time to catch my breath and find my bearings before the race started.
Since the theme of the run was “Zero Waste”, I also made sure that I had my own water bottle with me, to reduce the amount of paper cups that would be thrown away after the race.
The route was a city one, taking us from the F1 Pit Building and down Nicoll Highway and the National Stadium in the first few kilometres of the run.
Added Stuart, “The start was fine. I was in the second wave so I think that the start was pretty good, actually. I really enjoyed the run. The route was nice and it was great to run past some of the nice Singapore sights. I usually live in the West so I normally run around the housing estates there.”
Focused on my Easy Zone
I kept to my Easy zone at the beginning of the run, mindful of not to get caught up in the atmosphere and start too fast. It took quite a fair bit of discipline but I think that I managed that all right.
There were sufficient hydration points throughout the run, and they were serving either water, or both water and 100PLUS isotonic drinks. I took mainly the 100PLUS and it was great to know that this had been ice-cold.
Stuart also agreed, adding, “The drinks were cold enough for me.”
Along the way, I also did notice some narrow paths, but thankfully, as this race was not too crowded, major bottlenecks were not created. But said Stuart, “The paths were a little bit narrow so people were slowing down and bunching up.”
Around the 7km to 8km mark, I noticed my heart rate creeping into the Steady zone. I tried to keep it down, but after a while I decided to let it stay in that zone, as I did not want to slow down too much.
Park connectors and the Marina Bay Golf Course
The second part of the race took us through the park connectors around East Coast Park and en route to the Marina Bay Golf Course. This was not particularly scenic and the paths were also dark at times. But I was constantly kept on my toes, in order to not be overtaken by the green pacer balloons!
I realised that the race route had been pretty loopy, with plenty of twists and turns. As a result when I had been on the “wrong” side of the u-turns, it had felt quite depressing to see runners coming back the other way, as I didn’t know how much longer I would have to run before being able to u-turn around.
Marina Barrage and the Gardens by the Bay
The final stages of the race were through the Marina Barrage and the Gardens by the Bay areas before then heading back to the F1 Pit Building.
I must admit that at this point, it was a little boring to have to run all the way from Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay, to the NTUC Centre for roughly about 1.5km, and then have to u-turn back the other way when my legs had been getting a bit tired by then.
But at least I must say that most of the route was quite flat though, except around the 19km mark, when we had to run up the bridge. After having run for more than 19km, it was not easy to run uphill and as such, I could see my heart rate going into the Moderately Hard zone, but upon reaching the downhill I managed to slow back down and stabilise my heart rate again, so that was a relief.
Agreed Ian, “Just before the end of the race, we got to 19km and had to go up the hill and onto the bridge; I did not want to do that because I was so tired by then.”
But after conquering the bridge, it had been nice seeing the 20km marker and then the finishing line right up ahead, after that. I didn’t run a personal best, but I was also relieved that I had managed to stay ahead of the green pacer balloons, while at the same time, having my average heart rate in the higher end of my Easy zone, at least.
I noticed that my watch had measured a slightly shorter route, at 20.9km rather than of 21.1km when I had finished.
My goal when I was running this race, had been to take it slowly and use it as an aerobic training session, so I suppose that I can say that I was satisfied with the result, though my maximum heart rate had been still a bit higher than I would have liked.
The finisher entitlements given out at the end of the race had included a finisher medal made of recycled materials, and a finisher tee shirt, as well as a banana and a can of 100PLUS. These items are rather standard for most of the races in Singapore.
Upon completion of the run, there had been a race village for runners, which had focused on the eco friendly cause of the event, with activities such as a quiz on environmental matters, as well as a fun game that required runners to sort out discarded pens according to their colours.
Other eco friendly measures at the race village had also included sorting cans for trash and the provision of bicycle racks for runners to cycle to the race site – thus reducing their carbon footprint.
At the same time, I had also spent some time catching up with friends after the race, taking pictures and chatting to them about their race too.
In line with the eco friendly theme, I also noticed that the winners’ trophies were terrarium plants. This had been quite an interesting initiative and something that was quite unique to this particular running race.
Runners enjoyed the race
As a whole, runners had enjoyed the run. Said Ian, “I was here since 3.30am in the morning. It was an excellent event, with friendly staff who were motivating. Everything was great. This was my first competitive 21.1km and it has been really good fun.”
Agreed Stuart, “This race was done well and I can’t think of any improvements. I really enjoyed it.”
Click here for photo gallery for Income Eco Run.