The 2XU Compression Run flagged off early this morning from the F1 Pit Building.
Comprising of three different categories – a 21.1km Half Marathon, as well as a 10km and a 5km run – to cater to different groups of runners, the race had about 15,000 participants taking part in the event.
I participated in the 21.1km Half Marathon Category.
Ungodly flag off time of 5am
Due to the extremely early race flag off time of 5am in the morning, I pulled myself out of bed at about half past two this morning and quickly grabbed a banana and some coffee for breakfast – so that I would not fall asleep during the run, before getting changed and then heading out of the door to flag down a cab to take me to the F1 Pit Building.
Also finding the starting time early, was Emilie Tan, 31 and self-employed in the vegan nutrition field. She said, “My biggest challenge this morning was waking up – I had to get up at 2am and quickly squeeze down a toast and a banana before coming down to the race site. Also, I wanted to be at the front of the pack, so I could not warm up as well as I would have liked to.”
Thanks to a slight detour due to the race-related road closures though, my cab arrived at the race village later than expected. But I wasn’t too late in arriving at the starting pen.
I was in the second wave, so my flag off was several minutes delayed. But as I was not competing for podium prizes, so that didn’t really matter in my case.
Race started quite smoothly
The race itself started quite smoothly for me. Instead of letting myself get caught up in all of the hype and trying to zoom out of the blocks, I settled into a slow and steady rhythm, so that I would be have enough energy to last the distance.
However I soon began to notice that it was a very humid morning. Fortunately I had started at a comfortable pace!
Also finding the morning very humid, was also engineer Andrew Zakaluzny, 36. He said, “Oh man, it was so humid and warm that it became difficult to run. I did not feel the breeze at all for the half marathon. Fortunately it was dark which meant there was no sun but due to the humidity, my second half was a lot slower than my first. But at least the route was nice and flat though.”
Agreed banker Stuart Haynes, 40, “Though the race started early, it got pretty warm in the later stages. My head was beginning to feel the heat.”
Bottlenecks along the route
For me, I encountered a couple of bottlenecks along the way – one at the 9km mark at the Geylang Park Connector, and the other towards the 12km mark at Fort Road. Fortunately though, the amount of waiting time before I was able to resume running again, wasn’t as bad as I had otherwise feared, and probably lasted less than a minute in each case.
I had heard subsequently though, that the runners who had started the race in the later waves had been stuck at these two bottleneck areas for up to five minutes, which would have been quite frustrating for them.
Andrew had also faced some bottlenecks during the race, but his experiences were mainly near the starting line though. He said “At the start, there was what had felt like more than 5,000 people in front of me walking slowly and that was frustrating – it would be nice if the waves had been organised better, with the faster runners in the first wave and the slower ones in the later ones.”
Besides these two bottleneck areas though, the rest of the race went quite smoothly for me, helped by taking plenty of ice-cold water and Pocari Sweat isotonic drinks at the hydration stations. I heard later, that the runners towards the tail end had experiences of the hydration stations running out of fluids, but luckily this did not happen to me.
The problem of hydration also didn’t happen to Stuart, who had been one of the frontrunners of the race – with four bikes and three motorcycles to escort him at one point during his run. Said Stuart, “There was plenty of hydration and it was ice-cold too, which was great.”
Running across the Jubilee Bridge
Towards the end of the race, we ran across the Jubilee Bridge, and this was probably the most scenic part of the run due to its location and proximity. However due to the steps in this area, though, it may have been slightly dangerous for exhausted runners, as there is the risk of tripping and falling.
Agreed Andrew, “I thought this (the steps) was rather dangerous – in fact I actually saw someone fall here as it was also quite dark when I was running past.”
Other scenic sights that we also saw this morning, had included the Singapore Sports Hub, the Gardens by the Bay and of course, the majestic Singapore Flyer at the starting & finishing point.
Agreed Emilie, “It was a beautiful running route with the lovely scenery at the Gardens by the Bay and the other Singapore landmarks.”
Pushing the pace in the second half
It also felt good that I also had enough energy to push the pace in the second half of the race, despite the humidity levels, and finally managed to complete a 21.1km race with negative splits, and at the same time, without feeling as though I was dying after the halfway mark.
However it still wasn’t a personal best timing overall – but I should get there the next time, I hope!
Hanging out at the race village
After I had completed the race, I took a brief look around the race village and caught up with a few friends before making my way home.
The best thing at the race village, probably had to be the huge “2XU-shaped” ice sculpture which was on display in the pacer tent. Though it had been designed to promote 2XU’s latest product, the “2XU ICE compression tights”, it felt so shiok to be touching this chunk of cold ice, especially after I was feeling so hot and sweaty after a humid run!