Back again for the eighth edition this year, the 2016 edition of the Salomon X-Trail Run started off at Punggol yesterday afternoon at 50 Punggol East – a stone’s throw away from the Riviera LRT Station.
The event had comprised of two categories, a 10km competitive run that flagged off at 4pm, as well as a 4.8km Family Fun Run that flagged off at 5.30pm.
Took part in the 10km race
I had taken part in the 10km Competitive Run. Due to the advertised flag off time, I admitted that I had been a bit worried that the weather would be scorching. But thanks to the clouds, it was not as hot as I had otherwise feared.
Added Anton Gustaffson, 24, a Civil Engineering exchange student at Nanyang Technological University, “The weather was actually ok. It was really warm before we started, but the clouds came out and made it better; in normal cases 4pm would be a crazy time to race, but today was cooler than expected.”
Warm up session
Prior to flag off, there had been a warm-up session at 3.30pm – the instructors were really enthusiastic and as such, a lot of runners joined in the fun and engaging session.
Said Leanne Atlee, 25, an outdoor education teacher at United World College, “The whole atmosphere and warm up at the beginning was good; it felt just nice before a race.”
Starting pen opened at 4pm
The starting pen opened at 4pm sharp and I started running at roughly about 4.05pm, so the race had been quite punctual.
Plunged into the mud
As soon as the race started, we were plunged straight into the mud for approximately the first 50 metres of the run – thanks to the rain from the previous day!
Said Daniel Melbourne, 28, an Outdoor Education teacher, “The muddy start wasn’t what I had expected, but other than that, I had enjoyed the race.”
Running through Punggol Waterway Park
The reason for the muddy start, had been because we were required to cross a small, muddy patch – before heading out onto the Punggol Waterway park connector for the next section of the race.
The volunteers along the route had constantly instructed the runners to run on the grass/pebbles parallel to the park connector roads when we were running at the Punggol Waterway Park – rather than on the actual cement pavements themselves – as this was a “trail” run.
However, these grassy sections were quite narrow at times. But at least there were no bottlenecks though, because the number of runners had been kept to a manageable size.
Added Leanne, “There had been just the right number of runners. The race was not too crowded and that was good.”
We were plunged into some more mud, though, at about 3-4km into the race – when we were crossing through the Par Golf Driving Range at Punggol.
There are gentle slopes and portholes here but nothing very challenging in terms of the grassy terrain at this golf course. But thanks to the rain though, there had been several muddy patches on the ground. This had lasted for probably just over a kilometre – so my shoes got quite wet and dirty!
Lots of volunteers
There were plenty of volunteers lining the 10km route, instructing runners where to go and telling us the turns that we should make, and this was really useful to prevent runners from going off the path.
Agreed Anton, “It was good that there were plenty of volunteers to show the way.”
Hydration points were sufficient
Along the way, about three hydration points lined the 10km route and these were pretty evenly spaced apart.
Said Daniel, “There were lots of drinks and volunteer support and the course was well marked, so that was quite good.”
Though the amount of hydration had been sufficient, I wish that the Lucozade given out at the stations along the 10km route, could have been cold.
Leanne also pointed out that the first two hydration stations did not offer water. She said “I just wanted some water and not Lucozade. There was no water at the first two hydration points.”
Running through Coney Island
We ran through Coney Island at about the halfway point of the race. The trails here were flat and the scenery was rustic; so this was a nice time for me to be able to tune out and simply enjoy my running.
I enjoyed the scenery and at the same time, I kept my heart rate down, not wanting to stress my body out too much.
However at roughly about 7km into the race, we had to run parallel along a rocky slope – runners had to be careful here, as they could potentially slip and fall into the water below.
It was a relief to eventually get back to the trails in Coney Island. And fortunately where there were no volunteers, the paths were well marked out with orange ribbons – so this had made it quite easy to stay on the designated route.
Added Leanne, “the most challenging part of the race had been this rocky slope near the fishermen, and then running through the rubbish by the trails on Coney Island.”
Crossing through Pasir Ris Industrial Park 6
The final part of the race saw us crossing the Pasir Ris Coast Industrial Park 6 – these were flat trails with some gravel, and then after that, we headed across the bridge from the Pasir Ris industrial area to Punggol Waterway.
Then we ran back through the Punggol Waterway park connectors, once again partially running on the grass/pebbles parallel to the concrete pavements, and also partly running on the concrete paths themselves.
The last kilometre of the run, had been along the road.
Race ended again where it had started
The race had then ended where it had begun – back at 50 Punggol East – and upon sprinting to the finishing line, it was a relief to know that the bottles of water and Lucozade that was being given out to the runners there, was ice-cold.
At the race carnival, I allowed myself to catch my breath – and then hung around for the prize presentation ceremony and the lucky draw.
Thank you Salomon for the race slot.