The Marina Run 2016 took place last evening at Gardens by the bay (East), with three categories – a 5km Fun Run, a 10km Competitive Run and a 21.1km Half Marathon – to cater to different categories of runners.
I participated in the 21.1km race – organised by Epic ESR – as a 2 hours 30 minutes pacer. This was my first pacing experience.
Getting to the race site
As I realised that the location had not been the most accessible in terms of public transportation, I decided to cycle down to the race site.
Though there was a shuttle service from Mountbatten MRT Station, I didn’t want to rely on this. It turned out in the end that I had made the right decision, as I had heard later, that the queuing time was pretty substantial – and so I could have been late.
B. Premnand, 45, an Education Officer, had been one of the runners affected by the queues. He said, “The logistics could have been improved – the waiting time for the shuttle service as well as the baggage deposit was quite long. I took half an hour to get here from Mountbatten Station. As a result, I was late to begin the 21.1km race.”
So thanks to my bike, I wasn’t late. I reached the race site at around 6.00pm and had some fun with friends who were also running in the event, before heading down to the pacer tent – to see if I could help out with anything.
Time for race to flag off
But before I knew it though, 7.00pm arrived – this had meant that it was time for the 21.1km race to flag off.
In terms of my own running experience, it had been a rather fun race overall… thanks to a squawking rubber chicken toy that I had borrowed from another pacer! I was squeezing this pretty often – to “motivate” the runners around me! I had noticed some runners were smiling to themselves whenever they had heard the chicken squawking.
Though one friend who had passed me along the way, did comment – in jest – that the rubber chicken was “annoying”, but then again, this makes it a good excuse to make runners go faster… right?
Runners were happy with the experience
For other runners who had taken part in the event, they had been pretty happy with their own race experience. Said Kate Farrell, 32, a Human Resources Director, “It was a pretty well organised run, and there were definitely enough drinking stations which had sufficient hydration – even during the last few kilometres of the run.”
At roughly about 2km apart, the hydration stations were pretty well placed apart, and I felt there had been enough to go around throughout the race. Some were offering water, but others had a choice of water and isotonic beverages sponsored by the Boost brand.
But as I had been running at a pretty easy pace (average of 7 minutes/kilometre), I was able to survive on mainly drinking the ice-cold water, together with the gels that I had brought along with me.
Apart from the logistics elements, Farrell also loved the race route. She said, “I just wanted to take part in a half marathon and this was the next one on the calendar so I signed up for it. And the route and scenery were definitely great. It was a good race.”
Some areas along the route were slightly dark
However though, she admitted that there had been some areas along the route which had been a little on the dark side. Farrell added, “There were a few areas that had been a little dark, but it was still OK. Some patches were slightly muddy too, but this was only a minor thing.”
While there was some mud along the race route, most of the muddy areas at the race, in my case, had been inside the pacer tent – so when I reached home, I could barely recognise the colour of my shoes! But then again, mud can always be washed off!
Farrell’s views had also been echoed by Ahmad bin Ali, a 50-year-old civil servant. He said, “The distance was OK and quite accurate and the scenery was really lovely. The only concern I had though, was that some areas were a little dark and this could be improved for safety reasons with extra marshals and lighting.”
The U-turns and loops were not as confusing as feared
Though the race route had comprised of several loops and U-turns along the way, Ahmad reiterated that this wasn’t confusing for him. He said, “The loops and turns were OK but then again that may have been because my friend and I studied the route beforehand.”
I admit that I had been slightly concerned myself about the multiple loops and turns too when I first found out about the race route. But in the end though, this had worked out to be pretty OK, as there were marshals to tell the runners where to go and there wasn’t really any point during the race when I had felt lost.
Finishing the Race
My pace team and I completed the first loop in pretty good timing and we were able to maintain this pace for the second, smaller loop. Overall we finished running… just in time to catch the spectacular fireworks from the Chingay Parade. It was really beautiful and rewarding and a rather pleasant way to finish off a night of running.
After the fireworks show ended, it was now time to rest and recover at the post-race village before cycling home, in my case.
Runners also enjoyed themselves at the race village. Said Premnand, “To me, the stand-out thing about this race was the finish point – there was lots of free food and drinks given to us.”
He added, “I hope to take part in this race again next year.”