The 2017 edition of the Herbalife Marina Run took place last evening. Featuring a 5km Fun Run as well as a 10km and 21km competitive run, the race, which flagged off at the Gardens by the bay East, is advertised as giving runners the opportunity to experience all of the beauty and grandeur that the Marina Bay area has to offer.
As such, the scenic race route takes runners from Gardens by the Bay to areas such as the Marina Barrage, Tanjong Rhu and East Coast Park.
Participated in the 21km run
I took part in the 21km race as a 2hours 30mins pacer.
It had been raining quite heavily in the afternoon with some thunder as well. So as such, the 5km race, which was scheduled to flag off at 4.30pm and the 10km race, which was meant to begin at 5.30pm, were both delayed.
Run flagged off promptly despite the rain
The 21km event, however, had flagged off quite promptly at 7.00pm.
Said Ron Siow, 48, working in sales & marketing at Toyota and who ran the 21km race, “Because of the heavy rain, we though that the run would be delayed, but it wasn’t, so we were happy it started on time. They also gave us ample warning too which was great.”
The first couple of kilometres went quite well, and we ran past the scenic bay front, with the Singapore Flyer and the three towers of the Marina Bay Sands in the backdrop, which felt quite good. My team was targeting a pace of about 6.50mins/km-7.00mins/km which was pretty easy. So I had the time to soak up the scenery and enjoy my running.
Marina Barrage Slope
At about 3km into the race, we ran up the Marina Barrage slope. It was still quite “siong” and I felt my heart rate climbing as I focused on maintaining the target pace as I went up. But as it was early on in the race, it wasn’t that bad though.
Said Daniel Christopher Kent, 23, an admissions officer, “Running up the Marina Barrage was intense and quite tough, but the rest of the run was great.”
Fortunately once I had reached the top, running back down the Barrage slope had returned my heart rate back to the Easy/low steady zone again.
From the Marina Barrage, we u-turned back towards Gardens by the Bay and towards Tanjong Rhu and East Coast Park.
As we continued running, the light slowly faded and evening turned into night.
Running through East Coast Park
Some stretches at East Coast Park were a bit dark; as such I almost missed one of the hydration stations – until the last minute when I passed by it. But that said, there were ample hydration stations throughout the race, and apart from the first station, it was good that all of them had provided enough isotonic drinks – in order to keep us going.
Said Bert de Baccker, 43, an electrical engineer, “There were lots of drink stations. That was good.”
The isotonic drink available en route was pleasant and light on the stomach. They were providing Herbalife’s new berry flavoured CR7 Drive for isotonic and it was pleasant to drink.
Said Daniel, “I also really liked the isotonic drink. It was really good and not too sugary and I enjoyed that.”
Distance markers were missing
As we ran through East Coast Park, I also noticed that the distance markers seemed to have gone missing for a while after the 10km marker. The positioning of the 11km-13km ones did not exactly correspond to my GPS watch and those of my fellow pacers. In fact, I didn’t see a distance marker again till 17km. But from then on, they appeared regularly and were positioned accurately.
Said Bert, “The markers went missing after 10km till 17km; that was a pity. But other than that though, I enjoyed the race.”
However a possible cause for this could have been due to the fact that the heavy rain earlier in the afternoon, had washed away some of the markers – which in this case, would have been through no fault of the race organisers.
Marshals could do a bit better
I didn’t have issues in terms of the directions, but some of the faster runners had pointed out that the marshals could have done a better job at the East Coast Park area.
Said Vincent Casanova, 39, a consultant in the tourism industry, “The marshal at the halfway u-turn point could have been more meticulous in terms of telling runners when to turn, and there could have been a little more lights at East Coast Park too.”
But apart from that, Ron had pointed out though, that the rest of the turning points had been good. He said, “There were people along the way and they told us to go left or right, which was great. The turning points were also clearly marked out.”’
Stairs and mud
There had also been one portion during the race which had required runners to slow down and climb stairs. And another part of the race had been fairly slippery thanks to the mud, and as such, may have resulted in runners slipping if we had not been careful and watched where we were going.
Said Ron, “One of the challenges was the steps; it was muddy and slippery so that stretch could have been made less slippery. Also, they could have paved the muddy areas or avoided using the staircase on the route to make it easier for runners, and if they did that, the Marina Run could be a much better race next year.”
Added Daniel, “After exiting Marina Barrage, we had run through a bunch of construction that was like fields of mud. That was the worst.”
It wasn’t only en route though with regards to the mud; there was quite a lot of mud at the race village and as such, my shoes were already fairly muddy even before I had started running. And the downpour earlier hadn’t helped too.
Continued Daniel, “The mud could be better dealt with. It’s one thing to run through mud, but another to get caked in mud before the race starts; that can be quite off-putting.”
As such, I had figured out soon enough that I would have lots of washing and mud removing to do, when I had got back home!
Also said Daniel, “There was also a karaoke performance at the race village, and that was unusual because the tent was surrounded by mud, as such you only had like five people going woo-hoo and that felt quite weird.”
Daniel also pointed out that the baggage drop-off tent was right in the centre of a muddy field. I noticed that this was the case too, for the pacer’s tent as well as the information counter.
As well, when we were running, we also saw some of the Sundown Marathon pacers doing their training run along a similar route, and we had encouraged and clapped for them as they went past.
Encouraging runners to keep going
Towards the end of the race, in the final few kilometres, more runners had been walking their way to the finish. So as pacers, we tried to encourage them to keep going. A few runners had panicked and quickly picked up their speed when they saw us approaching them, though.
In the last few hundred metres, there was the urge to “chiong” to the finish as with the case in most races. But we had to hold back and kept going at the targeted pace, crossing the line in exactly 2hours and 30minutes – according to my GPS watch at least.
Hopefully we had managed to help some runners to hit their personal best timings, too.
After the race, I picked up my finisher’s medal and tee shirt, as well as quenched my thirst with more of the CR7 Drive and then grabbed some dinner from the pacer’s tent. Fortunately there had still been plenty of left-overs even though it was already after 9.30pm when we had finished running.
A great evening run
Overall despite the shortcomings though, the Marina Run had been a great evening run, with the cool post-rain weather and the lack of sun making it quite an enjoyable and fun experience.
Said Vincent, “The run was very good and humid, there were a lot of people but the 21km route was well organised. I also loved the location.”
Agreed Bert, “It was a nice atmosphere and though there was some slight congestion, it had been great to run in the evening.”