Organised by The NUS (National University of Singapore) Alumni Association and the BizAd Club, the NUS BizAd Charity Run is a fundraising running event that aims to raise funds for those in need while promoting the spirit of contributing to the community by rallying students, staff and alumni of NUS Business School and members of the public.
2018 race took place yesterday at the Mochtar Riady Building, NUS
The 2018 edition of the BizAd Charity Run took place yesterday with the start and end point of the run at the Mochtar Riady Building at the NUS compound.
Now into its eighth edition, the run had brought back the 10km Competitive Run and the 5km Fun Run categories and had attracted about 1,500 runners altogether.
Took part in the 10km Run
I participated in the 10km Competitive Run.
The route for the 10km Run had been changed for this year, with the race taking runners out of the NUS campus and to West Coast Park for the second half of the run. Previous editions of this run had only simply taken runners on loops through the NUS compound.
The race carnival area
As the flag-off time of the 10km event was at 4.30pm, I took a bus down and I reached NUS just before 4pm. Upon reaching, I had a look around the carnival area.
There were a couple of food vendors selling a selection of items for runners to build up their energy requirements. These included beef tacos, finger food such as chicken nuggets and seaweed chicken, as well as Kong Ba Pau and Lu Rou Fan. These looked delicious so I told myself that I would come back after my run was over, to get some food.
I noticed the baggage drop area at the race carnival, but I did not use it.
But Lim Jia Siang, 31, an oil and gas engineer, had used the bag drop and felt that this aspect had been well managed. He said, “The handling of the baggage was great.”
Catching up with friends
I also caught up with several of my running friends at the race area and we took some photos together while we were still all fresh – before my event was scheduled to flag off.
As there had been a slight drizzle outside, the majority of the runners, including me, had stayed inside at the Mochtar Riady Building as we did not want to stand around getting cold and wet.
To kick off the event, NUS Blast – the NUS school dance team, performed a hip-hop dance and they received a loud applause from many of the runners who had been watching.
The Flag Off
Soon, 4.30pm approached and I had made my way to the start line which was just outside the building. However the flag off had been delayed by about five to ten minutes. Thanks to the rain, I was feeling a little chilly as I waited for the race to begin.
It was at this point that I caught sight of my friend – 87-year-old Uncle Chan Meng Hui, Singapore’s oldest marathon runner, who had just arrived to take part in the 5km run. He greeted me warmly and we also exchanged a few quick words before my flag off.
When the 10km runners were given the go-ahead to start running, I began my run at an easy pace, mindful of the numerous slopes that I would face running through the NUS campus. Despite the weather being great and cool for running, I was not out to run a personal best timing.
Looking around the NUS campus
It had also been rather interesting to have the chance to run at NUS since I hardly come to this part of Singapore – this year’s event was my second time taking part in the NUS BizAd Charity Run.
So as I ran, I had allowed myself the time to look around at the scenery too and take in the various sights and sounds of the university life on the campus – even though there were not many other students and staff around besides the runners, considering that it was during the weekend, after all.
Enjoying the West Coast Park loop
Running the loop at West Coast Park was also nice for me. I rarely run at this part of Singapore, so the change of scenery, together with the weather, was rather good. Usually it is rather hot to run in the mid-afternoon, by Singapore standards.
Agreed Yeo Jun Jie, 21, an undergraduate at the NUS School of Business, “I enjoyed the breeze and the scenery at West Coast Park, as well as the cooling weather. Running with everyone was a great experience for me.”
Ethan Chan, 30, a civil engineer, also shared the same sentiments. He said, “The weather was great for me – I really enjoyed the cool weather.”
Lots of Hydration
As it was cool, I did not take any hydration along the way, but I noticed that there was more than enough hydration for runners.
In fact, along the 10km route, there were about five hydration points and these were serving both water and 100PLUS isotonic drinks.
Lots of Slopes
As well, I had thought that the uphill slopes that were spread throughout the race route were pretty manageable, because I train on hills regularly.
Some of them were pretty steep, but to conquer these, I simply slowed my pace and lowered my heart rate when I jogged up these so that I would not feel too winded when I reached the top. This worked.
I was careful though when running down the slopes and I made sure that I took these sections of the race, really slowly. This was because due to the rain and the constant drizzle, it was slightly slippery and I didn’t want to trip.
Said Jia Siang, “The slippery road was a challenge because on the downhill, we could not run too fast. We had to slow down a little.”
Staircases killed my running momentum
But what had really killed my momentum, was the staircases. We already had one staircase in the first half of the race, and then in the West Coast Park loop in the second half, we had to ascend and descend an overhead bridge twice. So this had meant two sets of staircases.
Added Jia Siang, “There were a lot of slopes and stairs – this made the route quite tough.”
Jun Jie also shared the same sentiments. He said, “There were lots of upslopes – more than expected. The overhead bridge also really killed me – it was in the later part of the race and I was already tired by then, so having the overhead bridge looming up in front of me was quite mentally challenging.”
I had ended up walking when it came to the staircases because firstly, they were relatively narrow, and secondly because everyone around me had been walking and this left not much space available to run.
So I felt that the organiser could do without the staircases for future editions of the race, and perhaps have runners cross over to West Coast Park using a traffic light rather than the overhead bridge.
Besides the staircases, there had been also a couple of other parts of the running route that were rather narrow too, so I had no choice but to slow down to almost a crawl to get through these parts of the route.
Fortunately though, because the number of people running the race were still relatively small, so luckily this meant that no bottlenecks were created and time wasn’t really wasted.
Roads were not closed to the traffic
As I ran, I quickly realised too that during this race, the roads had not been closed to traffic, unlike most of the large-scale races in Singapore.
But I thought that the marshals did a relatively good job in terms of pointing out to runners which direction to go, as well as in controlling the traffic and getting the cars to stop so that runners could pass through.
Agreed Jun Jie, “The traffic was okay; the road marshals did an excellent job.”
But Ethan, who had been one of the frontrunners, begged to differ about the marshals, because the race leaders had invariably been led in the wrong direction.
He said, “I felt that there was a lack of marshals along the route. Some of them were not sure what they were doing and they directed us to a few wrong places.”
Ethan had completed his 10km race in about 41 minutes, missing out on a new personal best time by two minutes.
Continued Ethan, “It would also help if there were more signs to tell runners to say, go straight or turn left. I also saw one of my friends nearly being knocked down by a car, so there’s some space for improvement there, too.”
Ethan felt that putting additional signs to tell runners to say, go straight or to turn left – should have been placed along the route. This would have been in addition to having the kilometre markings – which I felt had been positioned relatively accurately at each kilometre of the route, based on my Garmin watch recordings.
Finishing the Run
The run finished back at the Mochtar Riady Building where the enthusiastic volunteers greeted returning runners with a banana and a can of 100PLUS to rehydrate and refuel ourselves.
I felt that the finish line area had been a bit misleading though because the finishing arch had been positioned at least about 50 metres away from what was supposed to be the finishing mat.
The medal collection for 10km runners had been positioned some distance away from the finish line, but there was a sign pointing runners in that direction so this was still okay.
Post Race performances and food
After completing my run, I headed back to the race carnival area inside the Mochtar Riady Building where there had been singing performances and a live DJ taking to the stage.
I was also feeling a bit hungry, so I bought a stick of seaweed chicken to munch on, and I also got a bowl of Lu Rou Fan for my dinner later. I thought that the food was quite delicious but maybe that’s because I was feeling hungry though.
An enjoyable experience overall
As a whole, I would say that I’d had an enjoyable experience at the NUS BizAd Charity Run this year despite a couple of shortcomings in terms of the design of the race route. At least the run was relatively well managed overall and I really loved running in the cool weather – in fact, this had brought back some memories of my maiden overseas marathon experience at last year’s Gold Coast Airport Marathon.
Added Jun Jie, “I think that the event had been pretty well managed overall with all the different NUS communities coming together and making this event a huge success. Despite the rain, everything went smoothly. So it was down to the hard work of everyone who volunteered and gave their time to the event.”
Agreed Jia Siang, “The logistics was great and everything had been well managed.”
Event raised funds for The Food Bank Singapore
Being a charity event, the NUS BizAd Charity Run this year had also raised funds for The Food Bank Singapore and the NUSBSA (NUS Business School Alumni Association) Bursary Fund.
The Food Bank Singapore is a charity that collects excess food from food suppliers and re-distributes them to organisations such as old folks’ homes, family service centres and soup kitchens.
Runners taking part in the race had thought that this was a great cause to support even though some admitted that they had not previously been aware of The Food Bank prior to the NUS BizAd Charity Run event.
Said Jia Siang, “I admit I hadn’t heard of FoodBank prior to this run, but as long as it’s an event for charity, then it’s good and meaningful.”
Added Jun Jie, “It was great that the organisers managed to get so many people to come down and give back to this great cause.”
He continued, “As NUS students, we have volunteered for other charities but not FoodBank, so this is a new experience for us. Prior to the event, we hadn’t really heard of FoodBank, but what they are doing is great.”