The weekend-long Safari Zoo Run kicked off today – with the 10km Competitive and the 5.5km Safari Zoo Family Run categories.
This running event continues tomorrow – with the 5.5km Safari Zoo Challenge category for adults as well as the 2.5km Safari Zoo Kids Dash and Family Dash.Originally conceived to commemorate one of Singapore’s most famous animal personalities – the orang utan Ah Meng, the Safari Zoo Run hopes to encourage family bonding and at the same time, to raise awareness on wildlife conservation.
Race route and scenery were unique
Runners taking part in the 10km Competitive Run and the 5.5km Family Run enjoyed themselves, especially with the unique race route through the zoo.Said Kenny Mok, 49, Global Practice Leader in Compliance, “The race itself has a unique route taking us into all sections of the zoo. I did this race for the first time in 2014 but this year, I decided to enter the 5.5km Family Run with my 13-year-old son.”
He added, “Given the later start time of 9am that meant the sun was out, but also the zoo inhabitants were also out, which was great. The route itself was undulating but remains on paved walk paths in the zoo. The trees throughout the route provided shelter from the sun. My son and i stopped to take some photos given a lot of animals were out and about and we really had fun.”Also finding the route interesting and unique, was IT engineer Romain Chanu, 32, who ran in the 10km category. He said, “Compared to most of the road races in Singapore which always take place around Marina Bay or East Coast Park, it was a good opportunity to run in this iconic place and experience something different. It is not every day that you run past lions, elephants and other animals looking at you running.”
Route had slopes
However despite the interesting zoo surroundings, Romain pointed out that some degree of hill training may be necessary for this race though. He said, “before the race, I was told my my friends that the route was hilly and indeed it was. For runners who are looking to challenge themselves, I think this race is a good chance to do so. There were lots of ups and downs, making the race a bit more interesting and difficult.”But the sights of the animals made the hills more than worth it though. Said Romain, “I was able to see a few animals on the way – lions, elephants and so on. I am sure there must have been a lot more to see, but I had been quite focused on the race.”
Feeling the same way about the animals, had also been Civil Servant Jarrel Tan, 24, who also ran 10km. He said, “Though the race route was challenging with lots of turns and it was rather hilly, the chance to run past the animals in the zoo brought some reprieve from the challenging run. How often can we run in the zoo? This is the only run that gives us the chance to do so.”
Logistics were well organisedTan also felt that the logistics were well organised. He said “The hydration points were adequate, one approximately every three kilometres. They were also manned by very encouraging and enthusiastic volunteers – kudos to them.”
Banker Justina Zeng, 33, also agreed. Said Zeng, who ran 10km, “There were many hydration stations which provided water and Aquarius isotonic drink which was sufficient for the runners. The logistics at the finish were well organised with ease of collection of drinks, bananas and medals.”
Another 10km runner, IT Service Manager Simon Lau, 43, liked the idea of taking photos with animal mascots at the finishing line. He said “The photo taking with the zoo mascots at the end point was interesting. The hydration was more than enough, even though I was surprised there had been two water points in the first three kilometres.”
He added, “However, I felt that the collection point for the medal, refreshment and bananas was too far away from the finishing line though – we had to walk for five minutes.”But collecting the cute medals though, were worth the walk, according to other runners. Said Desmond Loh, 41, a Civil Servant, who took part in the 5.5km category, “I think the medal was truly a collector’s item – unlike the previous years when only one animal had been featured on each medal, the 5.5km runners medal this year had included all four of the animal mascots.”
However, different categories received different medals though. According to Romain, the 10km runners had received a tiger-shaped medal.
Highly recommend the race
Added Loh, “I would highly recommend this race to those who want to challenge themselves with a route that is filled with rolling hills as well as for those families who wish to have a great workout and bonding time.”Romain also had positive takeaways from the Safari Zoo Run. He said, “Given the opportunity, I would definitely come back to take part in this again. It is one of the more unique running experiences in Singapore and if you like to challenge yourself, you will definitely enjoy running the slopes there. I would definitely recommend this race for any runners, beginners or seasoned runners.”