Review: The Teh Tarik Run 2017

Modelled after a similar concept as the Beer Mile Run, the inaugural Teh Tarik Run took place this morning at the East Coast Park Seafood Centre.

Throngs of runners congregate before the start of the Teh Tarik Run.

Family friendly version of the Beer Mile Run

In a Beer Mile Run, runners would typically drink a bottle or a can of beer, and then they would run laps around a 400m running track, drinking more beer before the start of each lap.

It’s basically a more Singaporean, family friendly and non-alcoholic version of the Beer Mile Run.

But on the other hand though, the Teh Tarik Run had been a more family-friendly and non-alcoholic version of the Beer Mile Run, with runners doing four laps of the 1km running route, drinking Teh Tarik before the start of each loop.

In order to drink the Teh Tarik, it was compulsory for us to bring the Teh Gongs that had come in our race packs. Paper cups were not provided. To the race organisers, the Teh Gongs took the position of runner bib numbers, which had been quite an interesting and novel idea.

A toast before the run begins, as everyone enthusiastically shouts ‘YUM SENG.’

Other runners also liked the concept. Said Alastair Ding, 49, an Asset Management Sales manager, “Compared to a Beer Mile Run, this was a great way to encourage being healthy with a local flavour.”

Agreed Denis Cunningham, 32, a Controls Engineer, “This is much more family friendly and accessible to people of all ages – you are less likely to get sick rather than drinking alcohol and running.”

Runners are on the way!

Got to the site at about 7am

I got to the Seafood Centre at about 7am and was immediately greeted by several dispensers full of Teh Tarik. There was probably more than enough of the sweet beverage for everyone.

An enthusiastic volunteer pours out Teh Tarik for runners.

For those who were not fans of sugar, Teh O Kosong was also available as a secondary choice for runners. As it was still very early in the morning, I took a little bit of the Teh Tarik in a bid to stay awake.

Flag off was early

Runners walk in between laps

The run was advertised to be flagging off at 7.45am, but we ended up running about 15 minutes earlier, at 7.30am instead. Perhaps it was because the organisers had been simply eager for us to begin running!

Prior to the run beginning, we also sang the National Anthem, which also added to the local theme and flavour of the event. Agreed Alastair, “I loved that we started with the National Anthem. That was unique because no other run does that. We are all Singaporean after all.”

Me, in between loops.

Experience of running on Teh Tarik

The first loop for me went by quite okay, but by about 7.45am, the sun started to come out, and then the weather began to feel rather muggy and humid. I felt my pace slowing down at each loop as it gradually got hotter.

One, Two, Three… Jump!

Drinking the hot Teh Tarik also didn’t really help in terms of keeping my body cool, but that said, I personally did not find the experience of using Teh Tarik as an “isotonic” drink, to be quite what I may have expected.

This is because I must admit that before the run, I was worried that I would have stomach cramps, which I sometimes do when I take food that is not so easy to digest prior to running, but I was surprisingly okay until I had some minor stomach cramps when I was running the second half of the final loop – fortunately these had soon disappeared upon my completion of the run though.

Walking back to the start point for the next loop.

But instead, during most of the run, I felt that the sugar from the Teh Tarik had been quite useful in replenishing my energy stores before going for each loop. It had been quite refreshing, but perhaps an iced version would have been better to combat the weather!

Route wise, it was a simple out-and-back 1km loop, that was mostly flat but with a gentle slope towards the end of the kilometre. There had been plenty of photographers when we were running downslope, though, and all the way to the finish line, so this had also helped to give me something to look forward to and at the same time, distracted me from the uphill running.

Enthusiastic runners about to reach the finish.

Added Alastair, “The run was not that torturing, it was nice but good enough to push you to complete the 4km and sweat it out. But I realised that after my first round, I should not have been so ambitious to have filled 3/4 of the cup! I was feeling quite full after the first drink.”

Carrie Au Yong, 44, a Sales manager in raw materials, had also shared Alastair’s sentiments, and added, “I enjoyed the run from the start to the finish. It was a short fun run.”

Catching up with the pack for my next loop!

I also noticed that after running the first loop, when completing subsequent loops, those who were actually running, would head straight into the walkers who were still completing previous loops; due to the slightly narrow pathways at times. This was slightly frustrating to have to weave around them, but then again, considering that this was a short fun run, a lot of walkers should be expected.

Said Denis, “It was both a fun and a competitive run, as some people pushed themselves to run as fast as they could. Honestly though it was a very well organised event, there could have been instructions for walkers to stay on one side, to have a clear path for runners. But I was still ok with everything.”

Runners pose at a Teh Tarik Run standee.

Unique finisher medals

Upon completion of the run, we were presented with the most unique and interesting race medals that I have ever seen – these were in the shape of Teh Gong milk tins. I must admit that I was intrigued by the innovation of it all.

I love the unique finisher medals!

Other runners also agreed. Said Denis, “I love the milk tin as a medal! It is one of the most unique medals that I have.”

Added Carrie, “I loved the Teh Gong medal. Though I don’t know what to do with it, except to keep it for my medal collection.”

Treated to breakfast 

Runners take a group shot.

Runners were also treated to breakfast at the Enak Enak Cafe, which was located within the East Coast Park Seafood Centre area. This had been a nice gesture on the part of the organisers, and it was good to have some food to fill my stomach after burning a few calories during the humid run.

And of course, unsurprisingly, the breakfast came with complimentary Teh Tarik. Other drinks were available too, but runners needed to buy these.

More photo opportunities were also present for runners at the Seafood Centre, with long queues forming at the Teh Tarik Run standee and its wide array of cardboard props. I lined up with some of my friends and couldn’t resist to have a photo taken here.

We queued and had a photo taken at the booth!

An interesting and unique running experience

Overall it had been definitely an interesting and unique running experience that I am sure everyone would never forget.

It was a unique and interesting race experience!

Added Alastair, “It was an interesting and very fun run. I really enjoyed it.”

Agreed Carrie, “The run was good, and very fun. I liked the theme and I think that it’s quite special.”

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