Race Review: 2XU Compression Run 2015

The 2XU Compression Run was supposed to have taken place on 29 March this year, but to respect the passing away of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s Founding Prime Minister, the organisers had decided to postpone the run to this morning.

And many runners had been eagerly looking forward to taking part in the run, since the new race date had been announced.


Postponing the race created several challenges for the organisers

The postponement of a large-scale undertaking such as this mass running race had led to several challenges for the race organiser, Pink Apple. Said Michelle Ng, 25, the marketing manager at Pink Apple, “The main challenge was that some people were happy about the postponement but others were not so we had to deal with that. We also had to get our permits changed to another date and to find a new venue – as Singapore had a very crowded calendar this year, with the South East Asian Games and the SG50 celebrations.”

She continued, “But we had made the choice to postpone rather than cancel the event because 2XU is a big race and many runners are looking forward to the race every year. So it would have been very disappointing for many runners if we had simply cancelled it. We also wanted this event to go through eventually. Despite some complaints that we had at first, we think that we made the right decision.”


Three categories in the 2015 edition

The 2015 edition of the 2XU Compression Run had three different categories – a 5km, 10km and 21.1km Half Marathon categories to cater to runners of differing abilities.

I participated in the 21.1km category. This had flagged off at 4.30am this morning.


Surprised by the large turnout

When I got to the starting line of this race despite the early hour, I must admit that I was quite surprised by the large turnout. With Pink Apple having set aside several collection dates for runners to simply collect their finisher medal and tee shirts, if they had changed their mind about running, I admit that I had been expecting a smaller turnout at the event. But about 20,000 runners had turned up to participate in the 2XU Compression Run across the three categories – with about six waves being flagged off for the 21.1km category alone. I started in the third wave and was flagged off at around 4.50am.


But this large turnout of runners for the event, had possibly been due to the fact that many other runners had also felt the same as me – about not wanting to pick up the finisher medal and tee, without running the race.

Said fellow 21.1km runner Axel Tan, 35, an engineer, “I could have taken the short cut of simply collecting my medal and shirt without running. But I did not feel any pride in just taking them. So that is why I insisted on running and collecting the medal and shirt after completing the distance.”


Added student Fiona Ng, 23, who also ran in the 21.1km race, “We paid for the race, so we must as well come and soak up the entire experience. There would also be no sense of achievement for me, in just collecting the medal and tee. I would also not feel good in wearing the tee, if i didn’t run the actual race to get it.”

Route took runners through Gardens by the Bay and East Coast Park

Beginning at the Marina East Drive and taking runners through The Gardens by the Bay and East Coast Park, and U-turning at Carpark F2 area before returning to the starting point, this particular race route was quite familiar to me – as I run at East Coast Park quite regularly.

Added Fiona, “The route was quite boring though, because with my running club, Running Department, I run loops at East Coast Park every weekend. So today just felt like another training run. But then again, it was not the route that the organisers had originally intended, so you can’t fully blame them for it.”


However, the race route aside, I must admit that due to the early starting time of 4.30am in the morning, the run was quite cooling and definitely helped me to avoid the heat. I found that the humidity though, got slightly worse as the run had progressed.

Route was a little bit narrow

The race route was slightly narrow especially towards the beginning of the race, and at times, I found myself being reduced to a slow jog or even a walk. But as Tan had pointed out though, the organisers had been doing their best to improvise with the re-staging of the race and all.

Said Tan, “Though some passages were quite narrow, the organisers tried their best – with several roads having been blocked for the National Day Parade. So they were doing everything that they could, in light of the current situation.”


Local runners are supportive towards our champions

It was good too, about how supportive the local running community is, towards our Singaporean champions. For example, in this race, when we had been running into East Coast Park at around the 3km to 4km mark of the race, we saw the eventual men’s 21.1km champion, Melvin Wong, streaking ahead of us accompanied by his lead cyclist – on his way out of the park. That would have been roughly about 15-16kms into the race for him.

When Melvin Wong appeared, runners were cheering him on enthusiastically, and I thought that the feeling was very heartwarming. It brought back pleasant memories of supporting our Team Singapore athletes at the recent South East Asian Games.


Hydration points were great

The spread of the hydration points throughout the run was good, with these all being spaced out every two to three kilometres. Also, there was ice cold water and Pocari Sweat isotonic drinks available at most of the stations, to energise tired runners.

As I continued running, I found myself looking forward to passing by these hydration stations and sipping something from each of them.


While there may not have been any energy gels or bananas along the race route though, I was pretty okay with that, as I had brought my own. I consumed gels around the 10km and the 16km mark of the race and these definitely helped to keep me going.

Lack of sleep was showing in the final few kilometres

I admit that the last few kilometres of the run – as we exited East Coast Park and ran through the new Gardens by the Bay park connector – got slightly harder, as my lack of sleep before taking on this race was starting to show. This was at about the 15km mark of the race.

But I maintained a slow jog and pushed on to complete the distance. Seeing the 19km mark along the route was good. I continued running, and was very happy to see the finishing arch up ahead a short time later.


I felt that the route may have been a little on the short side for 21.1km, but it was still good to finally finish the race – and receive my finisher’s medal and tee, as well as a nice, refreshing cold towel. An ice-cold bottle of Pocari Sweat was also given out, which runners eagerly accepted.

Lots of activities greeted me at the finishing point


Upon reaching the finishing line, plenty of activities greeted me. These included performances by ShiLi & Adi, one of the most popular duos in the Singapore music scene. There was also an Instagram photo booth for runners to capture the special moments of their race as well as an inflatable rock wall and a Bubble Bump game – in which participants would battle it out by bumping into each other to collect ‘points.’


Pink Apple is pleased and thankful to runners for supporting them today

Ng was pleased with how the 2015 edition of the 2XU Compression Run had gone. She said, “We are happy with the turnout today – as we still had most of our participants coming down to run the race. So we are glad and heartened by this. Everything also went smoothly and there were no major mishaps today, which was good. Once again, we are very thankful to our participants for supporting us throughout and also coming down to enjoy the event today.”


Pink Apple is now looking forward to organising the 2016 edition of the race – now that the 2015 edition is finally done and dusted. In fact, Ng urged runners to look out for the new range of apparel. She said, “Every year we come up with a different coloured range of 2XU products in time for the annual race. This year we chose black & gold. So participants can look out for something special from us in terms of the apparel, again next year.”


But 2XU is not likely to be bringing the 42.195km Full Marathon category back soon though. Ng said, “2XU has been established over the past few years, with the conventional distances of 5km, 10km and 21.1km and we want to focus on these – so we probably won’t be having the Full Marathon category again in the next few years. But maybe sometime further down the road, we might do it again.”

Click here for an interview with the 2XU Compression Run winners.


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