The inaugural Spongebob Run Singapore took place yesterday at Siloso Beach, Sentosa and had attracted several thousand like-minded participants.
Targeted at fans of the Nickelodeon character Spongebob Squarepants and his gang, the event had comprised a 5km Fun Run for the adults and an 800m Kids Dash for the children. The 800m Kids Dash had flagged off at 4.00pm and this had been followed by the 5km Fun Run at 5.00pm.
Said Ajay Pimpalshende, 33, a software manager in the real estate industry, “I joined this run because my two children are huge Spongebob fans – it is their favourite character.”
REACHING THE RACE SITE
I reached the race carnival site at about 3.15pm yesterday afternoon and after collecting my media pass, I took a quick photo with the inflatable Spongebob and Patrick characters on site before the queues started building up, and then used the rest of the time to walk around the race village.
I had quickly noticed that there were a few carnival booths selling Spongebob related merchandise and snacks such as popcorn. As well, a giant television screen had been erected for the children and their families to watch Spongebob videos on site. A glitter tattoo booth was available too, for children to decorate themselves in Spongebob themed designs.
While waiting for my turn to start running, I watched the various waves of the Kids Dash flagging off. There were about four waves altogether and seeing how happy the children were to run 800m, made me feel good – introducing these kids to running – with the help of their favourite cartoon characters – would definitely set them up for the rest of their lives.
HEADING TO THE STARTING PEN
At about 4.45pm, I headed to the starting pen and met up with a few of my friends there. We took a couple of wefies and were thoroughly entertained by a giant Spongebob Squarepants mascot on the stage, before the run itself began at roughly about 5.05pm.
I must admit that I was slightly worried at first because I could hear thunder and it was threatening to rain. Fortunately though for us on Sentosa, the rain clouds held out and the run went on smoothly.
SAND WAS CHALLENGING
The route however, was quite challenging for a fun run – I admit that this was something I had not been expecting. The first kilometre passed by quite okay, with a couple of upslopes but nothing that I could not deal with easily, thanks to the hill training that I had been doing with Coached’s Ben Pulham.
However the second kilometre partially took place on the sand – and that was really tough! I found myself struggling to keep my heart rate down.
Fortunately there was a hydration station also around the 2km mark though, so I took a cup of water gratefully and gave myself some time to stop and catch my breath.
Jeslyn Yan, a sales admin executive in her 30s, also found the sand portion challenging. She said, “It was really hard to run on the sand because I could constantly feel that my feet were dipping into it. I had to use a lot of strength to run; walking on sand is still ok, but not running.”
Another runner – Kartiva Bhola, 24, a PhD chemical engineering student at the Nanyang Technological University, had also shared Jeslyn’s sentiments about the sand too. She said “The sand part was certainly something new for us all and many of us were struggling with it. But running on sand will certainly be something interesting to incorporate into our training runs to build leg strength.”
Fortunately we were done with the sand portion of the run, roughly about 400 metres later, and the rest of the run took place once again on the roads. After conquering the sand, running on the road felt like a real relief again!
FINISHING THE RACE
I took the final portion of the race at an easy pace, though we had to run on the sand again for the final few hundred metres of the race. But when I saw the finish arch just ahead in the distance, this sandy section had felt much more bearable than the earlier sand section.
As well, I noted that the distance was also about 700 – 800 metres short for a 5km race but this was more than made up for, in terms of the difficulty of running on sand.
Ann Lee, a property manager in her 30s, however felt that there could have been more Spongebob themed elements. She said “There could have been more moving characters or cardboard cutouts for us to take pictures with, especially along the route. We had been expecting a bit more.”
At the finish point, runners were given a cup of water, a packet of Spongebob gummy sweets and a limited edition finisher’s medal. I think that after my exertion on the sand, a whole bottle of water may have been more welcomed instead of one cup!
However I thought that the race medal was quite pretty though; it had been cut out in the shape of Spongebob mimicking a running movement on the medal and I thought that was quite interesting and unusual.
Jeslyn though, pointed out that as she had paid $19 for the run via Groupon (the normal price is $59.50), so she did not get a medal. Said Jeslyn, “I was disappointed when I found that Groupon customers were not entitled to a medal; I did not realise this when I had bought the Groupon vouchers.”
COOLING DOWN AFTERWARDS
After the race, I gave myself some time to cool down, to catch my breath and collect my baggage while the queue was still short – before then rejoining my friends and taking some photos around the race site together.
Some runners felt that the queues for the Spongebob themed icons were quite long. Said Denise Yong Rui Qing, 28, a Senior Manager in Operations and Curriculum, “We came for the novelty of the run – it is Spongebob and I am a Spongebob fan. I thought the run was quite simple though, and was a little disappointed I could not get the photos I want – the queues were quite long.”
She added, “The cardboard cutouts were also a little small and the two houses, while these were big enough, I think there should be been more, to dissipate the queuing situation.”
Other post-race elements had also included a lucky draw and photo opportunities on stage for the children with the event VIP – none other than Spongebob himself.
Said Kartiva, “I especially liked the photo opportunity that I had got with Spongebob.”
RUN MET THE FANS’ EXPECTATIONS
Many of the participants felt that the Spongebob Run met their expectations as an enjoyable family friendly event.
Said Jane Farrow, 48, a Sports Teacher, “The run today was brilliant and really lovely. I thought it was appropriate for my eight year old daughter, Grace, and the atmosphere was lovely.”
She added, “my daughter really loved it. We have visited Sentosa for the attractions but never to run – Grace said that it was lovely going past all the landmarks and watching them having so much fun was so memorable for me.”