Reflections On The 2013 SAFRA Bay Run And Army Half Marathon

Yesterday, I took part in the SAFRA Bay Run and Army Half Marathon.

This event has four categories – the 21km and 10km competitive runs, the 5km fun run and the 800m Dads for Life Father and Child challenge.

SAFRA Bay Run and Army Half Marathon 2013

SAFRA Bay Run and Army Half Marathon 2013

I participated in the 21km category. This was my first SAFRA Army Half Marathon, so I had been looking forward to it. Read on, to share my experiences of the race.

Positive Points

The early start

Raring to go at 5am

Raring to go at 5am

With a 5.15am flag-off time, this was one of the earliest starting run times that I have experienced.

Not surprisingly, when I finished the race, it was still pretty cool and breezy. So I wasn’t too exhausted. At least the morning sun had been totally avoided during my run.

Plenty of water points

This race had plenty of water points. Throughout the entire 21km route, I think there were probably more than ten hydration points, with a number providing cool and refreshing 100 Plus isotonic drinks. These really helped to boost my energy levels – and enabled me to achieve a new personal best of two hours and five minutes.

Festivities and motivational messages along the way

I particularly liked the festive cheer that the organisers added along the route. These included volunteers playing musical instruments such as the drums, which cheered the participants on. As well, feel-good songs were being belted out through loudspeakers, which helped to boost the tiring runners along.

There were also some SAFRA mascots, such as the tiger mascot, to entertain everyone. This certainly energised me to reach the finishing line.

Negative Points

Bottleneck at the 7.5km mark

Reproduced with permission from Hong Jie Ong

The Bottleneck (Reproduced with permission from Hong Jie Ong)

I felt rather fortunate myself to have avoided the worst of this bottleneck. I was only trapped in it for maybe about four minutes, but I heard a lot of complaints about runners having been stuck for more than half an hour in the bottleneck.

For runners, getting trapped for so long like this, can really kill aspirations to achieve a personal best.

Perhaps the organisers can look into this bottleneck next year, and modify the route so that it alleviates this problem.

Unripe Bananas given to Runners

Green bananas were given out

Green bananas were given out

Another gripe that many runners, including me, had about this race were the greenish bananas given to the runners.

If the bananas were riper, I could have eaten them as an energy booster, but I was put off by the green colour and I did not feel like munching on them – even though I was ravenous at one point!

Long queues for race pack collection on the First Day

Reproduced from SG Runners Forum

Long queue (Reproduced from SG Runners Forum)

I still remember the incredibly long queues when the race packs for this race were picked up – about a week before the race day.

I did not suffer the worst of the queues but on the first day (when the collection counters had first opened) people had to wait for up to two hours to pick up their packs. Those in the queue must have felt frustrated, especially queuing under the hot sun when the line had extended outside the Singapore Expo building.

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  • Paul says:

    Nice race review.

    I was one of those who were trapped at the Tanjong Rhu bottleneck for 15 mins. Though I’ve only been participating in races for slightly over a year, it was the worst bottleneck I’ve encountered.

    Despite that I had a good race and was happy with my race pace. I would probably have done my PB for a HM if not for the congestion.

    I keep reading about runners who felt their momentum was lost, had a drop motivation, inspirations being killed (your words) due to the congestion. While I can emphatise with them, personally I find it unproductive to be pissed at something that is beyond your control.

    I have a choice: I can let it ruin my race completely (which is probably what happened to a lot of runners); or I can choose to continue running to the best of my ability and enjoy it as must as possible. Personally I’m glad I choose the later.

    Like they says: When life gives you lemon, makes lemonade! 🙂

    So what next for you? Will you be running this coming Sunday? Another busy day with 3 races happening on the same day. I’ll be running around the Marina area again for the 3rd time in 3 weeks ~lol~

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