South East Asia’s biggest Pokemon themed fun run, the Pokemon Run Carnival 2018, returned to Singapore for the second time – taking place last Saturday afternoon at the Marina Barrage.
Pokemon Run Carnival was co-organised by Avex Asia and Infinitus Productions.
This year’s edition featured an upgraded adventure course along the 5Km running route that featured Pokemon type themed inflatables and zones, as well as a carnival consisting of fun games and activities.
I took part in the run
I participated in the Run, which had multiple waves. I was part of the first wave, which flagged off at 4pm. I reached the Marina Barrage at about 3.20pm. By that time, there were already quite a lot of people at the race carnival.
Marina Barrage was muddy
One of the first things that I had realised upon reaching the Marina Barrage, was that the carnival was taking place on a rather muddy patch of grass, which was a dampener.
While I do understand that the weather is something that the organisers can’t control, but perhaps to avoid such issues, they could have avoided having carnival booths at grassy areas altogether.
Said Lee Min Kok, 31, a Journalist, “The mud was an issue, but it can’t be helped though because of the weather. But it was quite dirty – as you could see from my shoes.”
I took a quick look around at the food & drink stalls prior to my run, and the game booths that were available. Despite the fact that it had still been rather early, lines had already formed at most of the booths.
Queued up for a good spot at the start line
So I decided to quickly made my way to queue up for a good place at the starting line – in order to avoid the bulk of the crowds during the run.
I had told myself that I would take a more in-depth look at the carnival after I had finished running, hoping that the pre-run crowds would have dissipated somewhat by then.
We were let into the start pen at about 3.45pm and I was pretty near to the front. The flag off party comprised of the two event emcees together with the Director of Infinitus Productions.
Beginning My Run
When the horn blew to signal the beginning of the run, pretty punctually at 4pm, I started moving.
Everyone was bursting out the blocks as fast as possible, but I held back a little bit as I was not intending to treat this event as a race. I wanted to take it easy instead. It was supposed to be a fun run, after all.
The route had been pretty straightforward. From the Marina Barrage, the first part of the run led us towards the Satay By The Bay area and we made a u-turn near the Gardens by the Bay South stretch leading to the Marina Bay Sands.
Then from there, we headed back to the Barrage and then towards the Gardens by the Bay East before returning to the Barrage to complete the run.
The Obstacle Zones
And as promised, along the way, there had been four obstacles for runners. These obstacles represented four of the different Pokemon types – Fire, Water, Electric and Grass.
The first obstacle was the Fire Zone, where we had to walk through an inflatable ball pit and I felt that this zone was the most challenging one for me.
For the second obstacle, the Water Zone, we had to attempt to avoid the water guns that were being squirted at us. I tried to get past this zone by dashing as fast as I could, but to no avail though!
The third obstacle, the Electric Zone, had consisted of us climbing up inflatable ladders and sliding back down the slides. To me, this had been a pretty simple and straightforward task.
For the final obstacle zone, we had to simply walk past a few cardboard cut outs of grass type Pokemon en route to the finishing line. I had the most fun at this zone, taking a few quick photos before completing the run.
Kenny Chua, 29, a Human Resources admin, had thought the obstacles were quite nice. He said, “I took part in all of the obstacle zones and these were quite fresh, something new. Each of the zones was quite fun and my friend and I had a great time.”
Personally I had thought that the inclusion of these obstacle zones was interesting, but the obstacles themselves could be been a bit more challenging for adults – after all, the Pokemon games and TV series first came out in the 1990s, so this means that a lot of Pokemon fans today would be in their 20s and 30s.
Min Kok shared the same sentiments. He said, “The Pokemon Zones were underwhelming but maybe for the kids, they would have been fun. I did not take part in any of them myself, but I think the kids loved the Electric Zone though.”
Choo En Lin, 30, a market researcher, agreed. She said, “The zones were fun for kids but not for us. It was exciting to see the kids enjoying themselves at them. I didn’t really go through the zones myself except the water zone… because we had been forced to walk through it!”
I had also thanked my lucky stars that I had flagged off early because this meant that I did not need to queue to take part in the obstacles.
This was because other runners who were flagged off in later waves had to queue up, and for some, this resulted in them not participating in the obstacles altogether.
Kilometre signages had silhouettes of Pokemon characters
Besides the four zones, runners were also kept entertained along the way with the kilometre signages having outlines of selected Pokemon.
A few metres after each of these signages, the names and identities of each of the Pokemon would be revealed – and this reminded me of the TV series where viewers are asked to guess “what’s that Pokemon?”
But instead of simply having Pokemon silhouettes on the kilometre signages, it may have been nicer if there could have been human mascots dressed up as the various Pokemon to interact with runners and take photos with them.
Added Min Kok, “Though the run had been fun, I was expecting more mascots along the route to interact with runners.”
Logistics were well organised
In terms of the logistical aspects of the event, there were signages to inform runners of where to turn along the race route, and marshals were also on standby in case runners got lost.
But En Lin had felt there could have been signages to tell runners how to get to the location though. She said “There could have been more signs to tell us how to walk to the Marina Barrage from the MRT station as it’s not an easy place to reach by public transport.”
There was adequate hydration along the route too, so everything had been pretty well managed.
Said Min Kok, “The run was quite good and well organised. It was smooth going and there was enough water points as well as nice scenery. It was my second time coming to the Marina Barrage and it’s a nice place to hold a run.”
Run ended on top of the Barrage Slope
The run had ended at the top of the Marina Barrage slope. It had been a bit of a challenge for me to run up the slope when I was already feeling a bit exhausted, after having completed 5km in the searing afternoon heat. But I managed, though.
After completing the run, we collected our cute Pikachu-shaped finisher medals and a bottle of water, to rehydrate ourselves.
Besides the collection of our runner entitlements, there wasn’t really much else to do on top of the Barrage slope. I did take a couple of jump shots with the nice scenery with friends, but that was about it.
Taking a look at the Carnival
Soon, I headed back down the Marina Barrage slope and to the carnival area.
At the carnival area, there had been plenty of stalls for runners to take a look at.
Said Min Kok, “The stalls were quite standard for a run event.”
Food & Drinks
In terms of food and drink, there was coconut water, buns from Asanoya Bakery and takoyaki balls. Standard carnival fare such as popcorn and candy floss was available as well.
I had the coconut water, which had been served in a real coconut and this was extremely refreshing and delicious after my run. As well, I also got a couple of Asanoya buns for the next day’s breakfast too.
However I had felt that actual meals, such as rice dishes or ramen could have been provided – rather than simply giving runners snacks to nibble on.
Added En Lin, “More varieties of food could have been provided at the carnival, given the number of coupons that we have. A larger assortment of drinks could have been available too.”
As well, there were games that had been themed according to various Pokemon, such as a bullseye dart game called Gengar’s Shadow Challenge and another fishing game called Piplup’s Lucky Strings.
In addition, there was also a Pokemon themed colouring challenge, which had appeared to be pretty popular amongst the children at the event.
Kenny quite liked the games. He said, “The games were interesting and I liked the prizes.”
For the game prizes on offer, these were lollipops as a medium prize and Pokemon themed sticker sets as a large prize.
I had tried out a couple of these games and I felt that these were pretty fun for carnival games, but like the inflatables, I personally felt that they too, appeared to have been targeted at kids rather than adults.
I also felt that it may also have been more attractive, if Pokemon plush toys could have been amongst the prizes offered for the games instead. Most carnival games tend to offer plush toys as prizes and these are usually rather popular.
Due to both the queues as well as the mud situation, I must also admit that I didn’t participate in all the games.
But said Min Kok, “The queues were quite understandable because everyone would flock to the carnival after the run.”
Lots of merchandise for sale
Plenty of merchandise was also available for sale too at the carnival, including stuffed toys of Pokemon characters like Snorlax, Eevee and Pikachu, as well as Pokemon themed books and games, which I had spotted people browsing through after their run.
When most of the runners had returned, the event then ended with the Pikachu Parade, where nine Pikachus had marched out in front of the stage in unison, swaying to musical beats.
They were all really cute and adorable, and when they came out, runners whipped out their mobile phones to immediately snap photos and videos to capture the moment.
As a whole, the 2018 edition of the Pokemon Run Carnival can be considered as a great day out for families with young children.
Personally, I admit that it was a little underwhelming for adults though, as most of the events and activities had appeared to be tailored towards children.
But we all still had a great time at the event, soaking up the sights and sounds at the Pokemon Run Carnival, bonded by our collective interest in Pokemon.
After all, some of the participants have been interested in Pokemon for at least a couple of decades, ever since they were children.
Said Min Kok, “I have been a fan of Pokemon since I was a kid, about 10 or 11 years old. I used to follow the series when I was younger and I think that Pokemon: Sun & Moon is the best series out of the lot.”
Min Kok personally likes Blaziken – the bipedal chicken-like Pokemon that is the final evolution of the cute Torchic – because it is the “coolest one out of them all.”
Kenny too, has also been a Pokemon fan since his younger days, from the age of around 16 or 17. Said Kenny, “The story behind Pokemon and their will to fight for Ash fascinates me.”
He personally has an interest in Mimikyu, the mysterious Alola Region Pokemon that lives its life hidden under a rag. Said Kenny, “Mimikyu is mysterious and I would want to find out more about it.”
Kenny added, “I am already looking forward to next year’s Pokemon Run Carnival.”