Click click click went the mouse.
Go faster, faster. Why is the Internet so slow? And I wondered why I could’t see the blue Facebook icon loading yet…
Finally the Facebook page loaded. The photo was uploaded.
For the past week or so, I had been rather busy making Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts linked to the upcoming Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) race – Singapore’s largest annual mass participation running event. On my social media pages, I was also rallying my friends to like these posts.
Taking part in the SCMS first-ever Digital Queue
But I had not been doing this simply for fun. It had been for a good reason – I was taking part in the SCMS’s first-ever Digital Queue.
This SCMS Digital Queue, which had opened on June 29, gave each participant the chance to receive goodies such as a free race slot, a pair of Adidas shoes and the opportunity to be flagged off together with the elite runners. Being able to literally rub shoulders with top runners at the flag-off was something that I simply could not pass up. Even though it would probably mean that I would be overtaken by them quickly, once the starting horn blew…
To get ahead in the Digital Queue, participants were required to make as many posts as possible on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as to encourage their friends to Like the posts.
And when the Digital Queue had eventually closed two days ago, I had managed to snag a place in the top ten. The eventual winner was Zac Chen, who accumulated 45,140 points, with 400 posts and received 3,000 social media Likes.
Also featuring in the top three was Paul Tagam – who had literally flown down all the way from the Philippines, to collect his Digital Queue prize at the SCMS Launch Event yesterday. Said Tagam, an avid endurance athlete who has taken part in several marathons and triathlons, “I told the organisers that if I am part of the Top 10, I would fly to Singapore to collect my prize. In fact I had been already at the airport waiting for my flight when I received a message from the organiser that I was in the Top Three.” So that had been a very pleasant surprise for him.
Added Chris Robb, CEO, Spectrum Worldwide – the organisers of SCMS, “We had over 2,000 people logging in to take part in the Digital Queue and these social media interactions have made more aware of this event, with the hashtags #SCMS2015 and #DigitalQueue.”
Kids Dash will be a stand-alone event
The awards ceremony of the Digital Queue winners was an additional component at yesterday’s Plaza Singapura Launch Event, compared to previous SCMS launches.
Another change from past years’ races, is that the Kids Dash will become a stand-alone event slated for Saturday, 5 December. This will be held at the iconic Sports Hub which will also host the ASEAN Para Games. SCMS’s aim is to deliver a week-long running fiesta, to encourage greater participation amongst junior runners on Saturday while preserving the status of the Marathon as a world-class multi-distance running event on Sunday.
Said Robb, “This will be a great chance for some 5,000 kids to race around the Sports Hub’s 100 Plus Promenade. Parents will also not be as stressed out. Traditionally they had to run their Marathon or Half Marathon in the morning, pick up their kids, and then run with their kids – yet still try to enjoy the day in a relaxed environment. We also made this change to prevent congestion at the finishing line. So this move will benefit not only the kids, but also the Full Marathon, Half Marathon and 10KM runners.”
The Marathon, Half Marathon and 10KM will still take place on the traditional first Sunday of December though – that is, on the 6th of December this year.
In addition, Robb also hopes that tying in the Kids Dash with the ASEAN Para Games will help to educate kids more on the challenges of disabled athletes and their sacrifices to get to the national level and represent their country in their chosen sport.
Only finishers who have completed the full 42.195km route in eight hours will get the finisher medal and tee
Another significant change to this year’s SCMS, is that only finishers who have completed the full 42.195km route at the Full Marathon event within the eight-hour cut-off time will receive the finisher’s medal and tee shirt.
This change had been made, because there had been complaints about Full marathon runners having been diverted in the 2014 edition to a shorter route – yet still being classified as official finishers and receiving their tee and medal, according to Robb.
First 200 registrations who physically queued up got half-priced race slots
At the SCMS launch event itself, there was also a Physical Queue for those who had still preferred to line up overnight for their race slots – rather than joining in the Digital Queue.
The first 200 registrants who physically queued up to register at the SCMS launch event were given 50 per cent discount off their registration fees and received a commemorative Golden Bib, to mark what would be the last major sporting event in the SG50 year.
Said Neeraj Swaroop, Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore, “2015 is a special Jubilee Year for Singapore. We are a nation of people who have played a part in shaping Singapore’s success. In the same token, hundreds or thousands of runners have each played a role to keep StanChart Marathon Singapore going strong.”
He added, “SCMS 2015 is about every single one of our runners and our common passion that unites us. We look forward to a fitting celebration of SG50 in the weekend of 5 and 6 December and we wish every runner the very best.”
SCMS is much more than the elite runners
Charity athletes who are running for a cause, are also featuring prominently in the 2015 race. These include 31-year-old Gerrard Lin, who chose to queue overnight to secure a Limited Edition Golden Bib and 50 per cent off his registration fees for the Full marathon.
He said, “My purpose of running the marathon at SCMS this year is not about speed or completing the race. It is to inspire more people to run. I want to finish strong – and I want to infect the people around me to go hey, run for a purpose, we will run together and run as one and we will finish strongly.”
Added Lin, “In addition to raising funds for the Bone Marrow Donor Programme, I will be coaching a number of first-timers running at this year’s StanChart Marathon Singapore. I hope I will be able to impart some knowledge and give them some inspiration to run for something they truly believe in.”
Shannon Heo is another charity runner, and she will be running at SCMS to raise awareness and funds for Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an inflammatory disease affecting the nerves to the brain and the spinal chord. She explained, “I am a MS patient myself and my neurologist said that I should get out there and inspire more MS patients to get off their butt – and start becoming more active.”
Registration for SCMS has just opened
Registration slots opened for the public to register for the SCMS yesterday with a new pricing system that sees the introduction of different priced slots for Residents and Non-Residents. With the Super Early Bird prices now available to the general public, runners can secure their places at the start line of the Full Marathon for SGD70, the Half Marathon for SGD65, the 10KM Run for SGD55 and the Kids Dash for SGD15.
To encourage those aged above 55 to lead an active lifestyle, ActiveSG, one of the partners of SCMS, will credit $15 from the registration fee back to participants accounts as ActiveSG dollars, one month after the SCMS event.
All runners who competed in the 2014 edition will also receive a 10 per cent discount from registration fees across all categories and Standard Chartered Bank cardholders will get 15 per cent off their registration fees. International visitors will be able to purchase special packages from the SCMS Official Hotel – Hotel Jen.
The cap to the SCMS 2015 will be raised to 60,000 runners. Last year, 53,000 runners took part.
For more about SCMS 2015 and to register for the race, visit the race website at www.marathonsingapore.com.
other blog posts
- My 42km Run at SCMS 2014
- SCMS 2014: Slower runners were diverted
- SCMS 2014: Meeting Haile Gebrselassie
- 85 Year Old Chan Meng Hui completes 100th Marathon