Last evening, the annual NUS (National University of Singapore) Bizad Charity Run took place.
Organised by the NUS Business School Alumni Association (NUSBSA) and the NUS Bizad Club, the race attracted more than 1,400 runners.
The event had been graced by Mr. Lim Biow Chuan, Member of Parliament for Mountbatten SMC & Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
Took part in the 10km competitive category
There had been two categories in the race, a 10km competitive run as well as a 5km fun run and the event takes participants through the university’s Kent Ridge campus, which has several slopes, turns and an elevation of 36.3 metres.
I had taken part in the 10km category. This was my first time participating in the event, and while I was expecting slopes and hills, I admit that I had not been expecting that many slopes!
Slopes, slopes and more slopes
The 10km race flagged off rather promptly at 5pm and while it had started on a downhill, the uphill slopes quickly came… about less than a kilometre into the race… and these had lasted all the way throughout the entire race.
The slopes were a challenge for many of the other runners as well. Said Michael Blomenhofer, 29, a consultant, “The continuous slopes made it tough, especially running uphill.”
Added Mohammad Zulkahar, 25, an aerospace technician, “The slopes and hills were very tiring.”
At the beginning, I had tried to aim to maintain my heart rate within my Steady zone 2 during the uphills, and let it fall to the Easy zone 1 when I was running downhill. This strategy had worked for a couple of kilometres, but after that, I had realised that my heart rate was shooting up more quickly than I had wanted. But at least I had managed to recover my heart rate during the downhill segments each time, though, by jogging extremely slowly.
It also did not help, that a few of the uphill segments had been pretty steep!
The worst of the slopes, came towards the latter stages of the race, somewhere between the 8km – 9km mark, when I was already feeling a bit fatigued from all of the slope running, and then I was faced with an extremely long slope that had seemed to be never-ending!
Even by attempting to pace myself up this slope and go at an extremely slow jog so that my heart rate would not creep up too much, it still went up higher than I would have wanted! At this point, I did fleetingly think of walking to get my heart rate back down, but I didn’t want to lose the momentum.
Once this difficult slope had been conquered, though, the rest of the race wasn’t too bad, and it was quite motivating to see popular running photographer Ming Ham at the final couple hundred metres, filming with his video camera; he ran with me to the finish, with the video camera pointing in my direction. That had helped to motivate me!
Weather was cloudy and cooling
Fortunately the cooling and cloudy evening weather had been nice to us throughout the whole race, and that had helped in terms of conquering the slopes. If it had been hot and sunny instead, then I can’t imagine how much tougher this race would have been!
Said Ronnie Leaw, 42, an assistant manager in the shipping industry, “The slopes were a killer, but due to the good weather I had managed to overcome the slopes.”
Well organised with plenty of ice-cold hydration
But the slopes aside, I had thought that this had been a rather well organised race though, with plenty of ice-cold hydration along the way. In fact, each time I passed by a sign saying “hydration 300m ahead”, I found myself looking forward to the cold drinks and that had helped me to keep on going as well!
Said Michael, “Everything was smooth. There were lots of hydration points and everything was well organised so I can’t complain.”
Diane Schuermeier, 37, a German Language Lecturer at NUS, however had felt that there could have been a couple of extra hydration points along the way. She said, “The logistics were great and the students did a great job. There could be a couple more hydration points though; I had water with me and I found that I had actually needed it.”
However Diane had pointed out that this could have been due to her not being accustomed to the Singapore heat, as the lecturer had mentioned that this had been her first running race in Singapore.
Roads were not closed
Even though the roads around the university campus had not been closed for this race, I had thought the marshals had done a pretty decent job in terms of directing the traffic and helping runners to cross the roads, in terms of telling us when we could carry on running and when we had to stop and wait.
Added Zulkahar, “When runners are running, they are tired and fatigued and they want to carry on the momentum of running. They may not be aware of their surroundings. So if there are oncoming cars, runners may not be able to see it from the back, so the marshals would play an important role there in ensuring their safety.”
Michael however, felt that it may have helped if the roads had been closed instead. He said, “They could have closed the roads to traffic; but other than that, it was a really good run.”
Food, drinks and photo opportunities after the run
On completion of the run, there was food and drinks available to runners; some were complimentary, such as the fresh fruit cups and the bananas, while others – like the ice cream and rainbow cakes, were available for purchase. A photo booth was also on-site for runners to take their pictures.
As well, there had been performances on the stage, such as from the university’s in-house cheerleader squad, who had put up a great display and showcased their talents well.
Overall I had thought that the race was a challenging one; I never knew that there were so many slopes in Singapore! But at least I didn’t stop to walk at all though, and I was able to continue running slowly till the end.
This is definitely a great place to do those hill training sessions with Coached – the running programme that I am currently using!
But I must point out though, that getting to the start point was a bit of a problem for those who are not so familiar with the NUS campus.
The race site had been located at the Mochtar Riady Building, which isn’t exactly the most accessible place in Singapore…and I was having some problems giving directions to my Grab driver too.
It didn’t help, also, that the instructions on how to get there, had some room for improvements…
A nice tour of NUS Kent Ridge Campus on foot
But that aside, it was a race that I had rather enjoyed… despite the slopes, it had been a rather nice tour of the NUS campus on foot. I have been to NUS to cover events before, but actually running through it, gave me a different perspective of the campus there.
And I also realised yesterday too, that NUS is a lot bigger than it had seemed… when I go there in a car or a cab!
Raised more than $140,000 for autism
The 2017 NUS Bizad Charity Run had also successfully raised more than $140,000 for the Autism Resource Centre (ARC), a not for profit charity, as well as helping financially disadvantaged NUS Business School students.
Said Ow Tai Zhi, Chairman of NUS Bizad Charity Run 2017 & who graduated from NUS Business School in 2011, “The NUS Bizad Charity Run has helped raise funds for those in need while promoting the spirit of giving back to society. Such a cause has not gone unnoticed by the public and that is why we have seen a record number of participants at the run who want to do their part for the community.”
Over $100,000 will go to NUS Business School’s bursaries and scholarships. The remainder will support ARC’s Employability and Employment Centre, Singapore’s first autism focused centre providing services to people with autism to succeed at work.
Said Sonny Yuen, President, NUSBSA, “This annual flagship event of the NUS Business School provides a good platform for alumni to do their part for fellow students and the community. We are proud of this tradition and look forward to doing it every year.”
And also, in line with the event’s goal of raising awareness for autism too, the 5km fun run had also taken on the theme ‘colours & spectrum’ – so the 5km route had been a colourful canvas where runners had donned decorative appliqués and spray colours to celebrate the diversity of autistic conditions and individuals.
Thank you NUS Bizad Charity Run for the media invite.