Organised by the Civil Service Club (CSC), the main aims of the CSC Run by the Bay is to promote a healthy lifestyle amongst public officers and the community at large. This run is also an annual event on the Public Service STAR (Staff Team-Up for Active Sports and Recreation) Games Calendar.
The 2016 edition of the CSC Run by the Bay took place this morning and began at The Float @ Marina Bay. The race had comprised of three individual categories which had been brought back from previous editions – these were the 21.1km Competitive Run, the 10km Competitive Run and the 5km Fun Run.
However, a new category, the 21.1km Ekiden relay, had been introduced this year also, in order to encourage team bonding.
Took part in the 21.1km Competitive Category
I took part in the 21.1km Competitive Run, which had flagged off at 5.15am in the morning.
As I had attended the National Day Parade Preview last evening, I admit that I had been feeling quite sleepy as I made my way down to the race village. The early race start didn’t help my cause either.
Reaching the race site and meeting friends
I reached the site at about 4.15am and met up with Jerry and Yi Heng before heading into the start pen with Jerry, just after 5.00am. Yi Heng was running in the 10km race.
Fortunately there had not been too many runners taking part in the 21.1km category, so Jerry and I were able to squeeze past quite a few people and snag a decent position at the starting pen. This is because we had wanted to avoid possible bottlenecks.
After some warm up exercises and some attempts by the race emcee to hype up the crowd, the run flagged off quite punctually at 5.15am.
A City Run
The route had been a very scenic city one, taking runners past iconic landmarks such as the Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay, the Esplanade Theatres and the Singapore Sports Hub. However as I run in the area quite often, it had been a rather familiar race route to me.
But some runners had loved the city route. Said Severine Toussart, 30, a student, “The route was the most memorable thing about the race. I felt that it was scenic and nice especially with the early morning start time – the Singapore landmarks were being lit up nicely and was really pretty.”
Thanks to the early starting time, I could feel some slight breeze in the first couple of kilometres, but after running for a while longer, the Singapore humidity started to get to me.
Agreed Severine, “The humidity was definitely a challenge.”
Her sentiments were shared by another 21km runner, Jacques Frety, 46, a Lecturer at Nanyang Polytechnic, who said “As usual, the race was very hot. It’s always hot in Singapore. But it was a nice race, and as it had flagged off early, it was cool at the beginning and very beautiful.”
Regular isotonic drink stations
Due to the humidity, I also tried to hydrate myself regularly by taking fluids from each of the hydration stations along the route. These had been strategically placed at roughly every couple of kilometres apart, so the frequency of the hydration had suited me quite well.
Added Tracy Lowe, 44, a Hotelier, who also ran 21km, “There had been lots of water points, but it would have been nice if there were gels provided too.”
In addition to gels, providing bananas may also have been good, especially as runners may get hungry because they are burning so many calories as they run a half marathon.
And the isotonic drink provided had been gassy though, so I drank it slowly, to prevent my body reacting to it, including burping.
But that said, I had thought it was quite helpful that the volunteers had handed the drinks to the runners, so that the runners would not have to crowd around the tables to help ourselves to the drinks.
Added Jacques, “I loved the young volunteers; they applauded us when we were running and it was great. Though I had brought my water bottle with me to run, I stopped a few times at the hydration stations to put water onto my face and cool myself down.”
Running was pleasant
As I had continued with the run, I must admit that I found the race experience to be quite pleasant – the fact that there were fewer runners taking part in this 21.1km race, as compared to some of the other mass running races, this had meant that the running paths were quite clear for us all.
So despite the fact that some parts of the route were quite narrow, it was free of bottlenecks – which I thought was a good thing for the runners who had been looking for a personal best.
In fact there was even one part of the race when, for a few fleeting seconds, I could not see any runner in front of me… so I was wondering whether I was heading in the right direction or if I had somehow missed a turn!
But my fears were soon resolved though, when I had turned the corner! This had been around the halfway point of the 21.1km route, near the Sports Hub area.
The Marina East Drive area along the route had some rather dark portions though, and I slowed down my pace slightly here so that I could watch my step and prevent myself from tripping over something.
This had been especially so at the Marina Bay Golf Course area, and having some lights here, may have been helpful for the runners.
Race route was mostly flat
I thought that most of the race route itself was also relatively flat and straightforward, but there was a few slopes coming at the end of the race around the Nicoll Highway area.
These slopes were the most trying part of the race, and my pace slowed down a little, but I was at least still slow jogging up these – without feeling as though I had wanted to “die.”
And according to Sabrina Ong, in her 30s and working as a service manager at a bank, these slopes had been “fantastic.”
Explained Sabrina, who had been a 2hour 10minute pacer for the half marathon, “Especially when we were running so early in the morning, we would be feeling sleepy. So the slopes helped to keep us awake and on our toes, thus helping us to run with a strong finish towards the end.”
Sabrina had a great experience
Sabrina, who had been on pacing duty for the first time, also added that she’d had a great experience as a pacer at the CSC Run by the Bay.
Said Sabrina, “It was also really motivating to be running as a pacer – I found that my fellow Pink Apple pacers were fun loving and always there to help others and encouraging the newbies like me to keep the pace. They were there to give plenty of good advice and I learnt a lot more about running from them.”
She added, “The route today was also fantastic and the hydration stations were very good. The views were great and I enjoyed the scenery along the way, chitchatting with good friends and also making some new friends along the way.”
Witnessing the sunrise was beautiful
Indeed, seeing the scenery and witnessing the sunrise, and experiencing night gradually turning into daytime as I was running, had been definitely one of the main things that had helped to keep me going during the latter stages of the race.
But unfortunately I didn’t actually stop to take a photo of the sunrise though, as I did not want to waste any time during my run.
Agreed Tracy, “It’s always great seeing the sun starting to come up.”
Picked up the pace at the end
I picked up the pace in the final few hundred metres of the run, and broke into a sprint when I saw the finishing line up ahead.
At this stage we were running down Republic Avenue. At one stage, I had wondered where the U-turn was… because the final kilometre had suddenly felt so long! Perhaps it had been simply because I was quite exhausted though.
Finishing the race
And eventually, I crossed the finish line and collected my medal, finisher’s tee shirt as well as a bottle of water and isotonic drink. In addition, I also received the biggest banana that I have seen in a while!
But the best thing of all though, was probably the ice-cold towel which was handed to us… This had felt so refreshing after a long race.
I then caught up again with Jerry – who had been sitting on the ground to catch his breath – for a short while, before then subsequently bumping into and chatting with some of my other running friends.
As well, I also exchanged a few words with Coach Ben Pulham from Coached, who was the official training partner for the CSC Run by the Bay – he had also set up a small booth at the race site to let runners know more about his training services.
The best part of the post-run refreshments though, was queuing up for and eating some complimentary ice cream – which had thoughtfully been sponsored for the runners. I admit that I always love something cold, especially ice cream… after I have finished a run.
Besides the ice cream booth, there was also a mini cocktail bar at the race site, as well as another booth stocking various models of running shoes. A massage booth was also present – this was a rather good initiative, but I didn’t stop for a massage as I wasn’t really having cramps after my run.
But I was a tad disappointed that there had been no Milo van today – I can still recall queuing up for the free Milo at last year’s edition of the CSC Run by the Bay!
Overall Race Comments
The organisation of the race was pretty smooth as a whole, with runners’ needs generally being met. The finisher’s medal this year was solid and heavy too. I also liked the golden coloured touch to it; reminding runners of the gold medals that the winners of major competitions such as the Olympics, receive.
Added Sabrina, “I would encourage runners who have never tried this race, to join us at the CSC Run by the Bay next year.”
Thank you Civil Service Club and Pink Apple for the slots.