The annual Safra Bay Run and Army Half Marathon flagged off early this morning, with four categories – a 21km Half Marathon, a 10km Competitive Run, a 5km Fun Run and the 800m Families For Life Father and Child challenge. I took part in the 21km category.
Many improvements from the 2013 race edition
And according to many of the runners, the 2014 edition was vastly improved from the previous year’s race.
In 2013, there had been complaints about several logistical issues relating to the event. The biggest of these last year, had been a very frustrating bottleneck that had completely spoiled the experience for many runners.
But this morning, that major problem certainly did not rear its ugly head again. In fact, some participants were impressed by the improvements.
Race organisers took last year’s feedback into account
Said 49-year-old researcher Kenneth Kwok, who ran in the race as a pacer for the 2:30 half marathon timing, “Previously there were bottlenecks, but the race organisers really took last year’s feedback into action and today was so smooth. Overall, I am really pleased with how everything had turned out.”
Parts of the route were congested and not so well lit
But 21km runner Cecilia Wong, a 44-year-old admin officer, felt that there was still some congestion along the route, though. She said, “I felt that the part around the Marina Barrage area, at the beginning of the 21km run, was very congested and I think they should have thought through that part of the route better.”
She also felt that other parts of the route were pretty dark, namely the Gardens by the Bay area. “So this makes it quite dangerous to run,” she explained.
Loved the cheerleaders and motivators
Cecilia loved the cheerleaders along the route though, and felt that they really helped to spur the runners on.
“It’s really nice to have encouragement along the way and have people in costume encouraging you because that really boosts your morale,” she explained. The two motivators that stick most in her mind would be the drummers and the belly dancers – and I think I would probably agree, too.
Plenty of water points along the route
For other runners, the ample water points were definitely a huge bonus. Said fellow 21km runner, 35-year-old Amanda Lim, who works in healthcare, “There were ample water points and they were very well-stationed apart.”
Added 38-year-old Alexis Pek, who works in corporate ticketing and also ran 21km, “During the second half of the race especially, I found that there was a water break every two to three kilometres. It was really a lot. Sometimes, I even felt that I didn’t need that many, and actually ended up skipping some of them.”
The weather during the race
As well, Alexis was also pleased with the weather this morning, as she found it to be just right and not too hot throughout her run.
Amanda also felt that the weather wasn’t hot, but struggled a little bit with the humidity this morning. “I thought that the beginning of the run was quite humid,” she said.
Having fun during the race and running freely
But nevertheless, Amanda definitely still enjoyed her running experience. “I had a great time at the run and being able to meet all my running friends. Having fun is the main thing, after all,” she said.
And another 21km runner, 49-year-old Yeow Lai Boon, who works in sports sales, certainly agreed with her. “I really enjoyed having fun and running freely today, doing my own race without any restrictions.”
To Lai Boon, listening to his body and completing the race in one piece was more important to him, than attempting to clock a personal best timing.
“Speed is not important to me. I just want to feel the freedom of running,” he explained.
He added, “But next time though, I might try and make the race atmosphere more fun for other runners – by donning fancy dress! Maybe something that will really attract attention.” He doesn’t have any race in mind, but is considering dressing up as the Scorpion from Mortal Combat.
The race pacers were good
Because he enjoys the freedom of running by himself, Lai Boon didn’t actually follow the pacers. But he did notice them during his run. “They all ended the race in front of me. I think they were doing a good job though,” he said.
And Kenneth himself, was definitely pleased with his pacing efforts too, in helping the runners following him and his group, to achieve their desired 2:30 hour half marathon timing.
He explained, “To motivate the runners, I actually had a music player with me – so this helped to set the mood and everyone was following us and listening to the music! I think it really helped some of the runners to keep up with us.”
“There were even a couple of runners that really followed us all the way to the finishing line, so we are quite proud of our pacing efforts. Some did fall back after a while, but then we don’t force people to keep the pace if they are unable to cope with it, so that was ok. It’s more important to listen to your own body while running,” Kenneth added.
And overall, Kenneth definitely feels that the Safra Bay Run and Army Half Marathon 2014 was a great experience. “It is certainly one of the races to run every year,” he said.
Click here to read about top runner Ivan Low’s race experience
Click here to read about the Singapore Blade Runner’s AHM experience, as he ran the 21Km race with a 5Kg backpack.