From now, the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) will now be known as the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM). This had been one of the several “huge changes” that the event organisers, Ironman Asia, had in store for the 2017 version of Singapore’s marquee marathon running event – and had been announced at the media launch for the SCSM which took place today at noon.
In line with SCSM’s bid to become a World Marathon Major
The name change, according to Geoff Meyer, Managing Director of Ironman Asia, the new SCSM Organiser, had been done in order to align Singapore with the other Abbott World Marathon Majors (WMMs), London, Berlin, New York, Chicago, Tokyo and Boston.
This is in line with the SCSM’s bid to join the six and more renowned marathons in the world. The Singapore Marathon has been recognised as a Gold Label event by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) since 2012 for its world class excellence in global sporting significance, organisational quality, athlete safety and compliance with the IAAF Rules and Regulations.
Said Andrew Messick, the CEO of Ironman, “We are excited about the possibility to elevate this event and continue the development of this race into a great race, that services the needs and opportunities of the Singapore people.”
A 10 year partnership between event organiser Ironman Asia and WMM to expand the current race calendar from six to nine cities with additions in regions such as Asia, Africa and the Middle East, has made it possible for Singapore’s marquee event to bid for the opportunity.
Said Meyer, “The SCSM is perfectly placed to be a World Marathon Major. Since 2011, the race has been one of the most popular in the region, attracting an annual average of 50,000 runners. With the support of our Ironman global network and our longstanding commitment to the Singapore Marathon, I am confident that we can bring the event to greater heights and develop Singapore as a premier running destination. Stay tuned as we will be rolling out our roadmap and vision for the future of the race, in the coming months.”
Meyer admits the SCSM atmosphere is not on par with the WMMs
But Meyer concedes that the atmosphere of the SCSM is not on par with the other WMMs though. He said, “We know; a big thing is that culturally the attitudes and environment in Singapore needs to change. But if you look at the early days with marathon such as Boston, London, New York and Chicago, we are sure that they started as a nuisance or hindrance, but once the local community started to understand the benefits coming from these events, then it really started to change the mindset.”
He added, “You only need to go to London to feel it for yourself; I was there for the marathon last week – the roads were closed all day and I did not hear one complaint. You could really see the spectators out in full force and the excitement and celebration they brought to the event was uncountable. If London, or even Boston or Tokyo can do that with their communities, then Singapore can do the same. It is all about trying to get Singaporeans to see the health and fitness messages that the marathon brings out, and the tourism impact to the country. I hope that Singapore and Singaporeans can see these in the same light as us, and come out to celebrate what we want to achieve for the Marathon.”
What runners can expect for the 2017 race
To support their quest to become a WMM, Meyer revealed that the SCSM last year had been given a 20-page dossier on the improvements that they would have to make to the race in the next three years, in order to make the cut. And according to Meyer, they have already incorporated a lot of these improvements into the 2017 edition of the race.
Some of the key highlights of what the 2017 edition will bring, for runners, will include:
Enhanced experience Pre Race
Runners can expect an enhanced race experience beginning well before the race weekend on 2-3 December. They will receive a race pack worth over $180 which includes new items such as an upgraded backpack and free race day personal accident plan.
Said Meyer, “We will be giving runners a one day accident insurance plan by Prudential for free when they sign up. Other events around the world have such implementations so I think it will be good to have this too, and offer it to our runners.”
For the first time, runners at SCSM will also be decked out with event and finisher tees by the event’s new race apparel sponsor, Under Armour.
The Race Entry Pack Collection will also be taking place within the city centre, at Marina Bay Sands. This is part of the organiser’s aim to offer SCSM runners a bigger and better race expo with the return of the Prudential Healthy Lifestyle Expo for the second year, while facilitating a convenient and seamless pick up of the race packs.
Said Meyer, “Marina bay sands will be our festive hub and we will have year long activities there all year round. We hope to create a huge festival around the event, which is more than simply a running expo for Singaporeans.”
Enhanced Race Day Experience
Runners can look forward to numerous new experiences such as new race routes, a cold towel upon crossing the finish line and a free digital personal race photo they can share on social media. Runners in the Half and Full Marathon categories can also enjoy a completely new route that will take them through some of Singapore’s most iconic heritage locations.
In the 10km race, runners can expect to see more of the city skyline as they blaze their way through the central business district during the daytime.
Said Meyer, “We are looking at a more city centric course that really shows off Singapore, as well as an improved race atmosphere and more entertainment. We also hope to offer better drink and aid stations and cooling zones, where runners will go through tunnels to keep themselves cool in the heat of Singapore.”
And in future editions, Ironman Asia is also hoping to make the SCSM into an evening race. Said Meyer, “If we want to get the community to come out and celebrate this event, the way that I see it, is to run SCSM in the evening. The city of Singapore is a night city. We can run at Marina Bay at 7am and you have the whole place to yourself. But at night there are people everywhere. We can capture the imagination of Singapore and move the flag off time to 6pm and run the race till midnight; that will create a big festival of music, activities and celebration. I think it would make the SCSM globally iconic, to run under the night lights.”
Meyer, in the longer term, is also hoping to bring the race to the Singapore heartlands. He said, “I can tell you that the WMMs said that East Coast Park (ECP) is not up to standard for a WMM race.”
At the past few years’ editions of Singapore’s marquee marathon, about 20km of the race had taken place at ECP.
Meyer continued, “So this year we have designed a brand new city course; I will get into trouble if I reveal the details but we are hoping to take in the major city icons, as well as the heartlands of Singapore. We hope that this will be really embraced by the runners and create an even better race atmosphere.”
This year, Meyer revealed that some of the race will take place at ECP but it will definitely not be a 20km stretch. Said Meyer “it will feature a tiny version of ECP. At the moment ECP has nice, wide roads at the beginning and we need that. Some of ECP is great but running 20km is not fantastic. We are excited about the new course but let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet.”
Along the route, there will also be new features such as mist tunnels, cooling zones and longer hydration points and more entertainment, for an improved runner experience on race day.
Said Meyer, “There will be more aid stations and these will be more spaced out. We will also introduce ice at the aid stations, to cool our runners down as we know that the climate in Singapore is hot.”
With the SCSM now into its 16th year, Ironman Asia will be introducing a loyalty programme that will reward loyal runners. Participants who have clocked more than 300km since the 2010 Singapore Marathon will get a customised running tee shirt and a collector’s 300km Club coin.
Come July, SCSM will also unveil runner’ programmes that will help participants to prepare themselves for the best race yet.
Said Meyer, “We will have clinics and workshops to prepare runners. As well we have partnered with the Straits Times Run as a lead-in event, and the Performance Series, to help runners to get to the level of fitness to complete either a Half Marathon or Full Marathon at SCSM. We will also have running workshops in the likes of coaches, as well as running with pacer programmes.”
Registration is now open
Registration for the SCSM 2017 is now open at www.singaporemarathon.com. Standard Chartered Bank cardholders will get 15 per cent off registration fees across all categories.