Race Review: The Straits Times’ Run at the Hub 2015

The Straits Times Run at the Hub 2015 took place this morning and had offered runners the opportunity to run straight inside the new National Stadium and experience their family and friends cheering them on inside – just like what Singapore’s elite athletes would have probably experienced at the recent South East Asian Games in June.

ST Run at the Hub 2015 flags off @ Nicoll Highway.

ST Run at the Hub 2015 flags off @ Nicoll Highway.

The running race had comprised of three categories. There was an 18.45km Commemorative Run to mark the Straits Times’ 170 years of operations (they were founded in 1845). As well, there was a 10km and 5km category, to cater to runners who preferred shorter distances.

The National Stadium.

The National Stadium. It looks amazing.

THE HAZE ONSLAUGHT

With the haze levels rising throughout the week – and even crossing into dangerous hazardous levels last Thursday and Friday morning – runners, including me, had been quite worried about whether this race would become the next victim of the 2015 Singapore Haze.

The scenic ST Run race route.

The scenic ST Run race route.

But fortunately for all of us though, the haze had dipped into the moderate range (PSI 3-hour reading of 51-100) on Saturday, and remained there during the whole of this morning. So as a result, this run had been given a lucky reprieve from the haze – much to my sheer relief.

CHECKED MY PHONE WHEN I WOKE UP

And despite the moderate haze levels when I went to sleep last night, I still must admit that when I woke up early this morning, the first thing I did was to check my phone. This was because the race organisers had told us that they would update us on the status of this race via SMS.  I was probably holding my breath in anticipation then, hoping that the haze had not risen drastically overnight. And I couldn’t help grinning from ear to ear, when I saw that the haze levels had remained in the moderate zone. And as I glanced through the text message from the organiser that the race would be taking place, that was really good news!

Runners hydrate themselves during the run.

Runners hydrating themselves during the run.

While one part of me had been quite excited though, about running this race, I admit there was also another part of me that felt nervous. This was because I had not managed to train properly ever since the haze had first descended upon Singapore – several weeks ago. So I was not sure whether I would be able to even run at the event.

Participants at ST Run 2015.

Participants relaxing at the ST Run 2015.

FLAG OFF

This morning, when I reached the Singapore Sports Hub where the race flagged off at 5am. I first caught up with some of my friends. We chatted together for a while and after waiting for everyone to deposit baggage and use the toilets, we made our way together to the starting line and then we waited patiently for our turn for flag off.

Pacers.

Pacers.

Soon enough, it was our turn to begin our run. We were in the third wave. When the starting horn blew, I spent the first kilometre or so jogging slowly because it had been quite crowded due to the large numbers of runners taking part in this event. But when the mass of runners spread out, and there was more space, I quickened my pace slightly.

The first drink station was around 2km into the race. There, I helped myself to some of the isotonic drinks here, as I wanted to err on the side of caution – so that I would not hit the wall later on during the race. Then I continued running.

MUSIC STATIONS TO TAKE RUNNERS THROUGH TIME

These signboards set the tone for the music stations along the route.

These signboards set the tone for the music stations along the route.

Then just before the 5km mark, I heard music playing. This jogged my memory – back to what I was reading before, about the 18.45km route having music at certain zones along the race, to take runners through the eras – from the 1960s to the present day, as part of the flashback journey through the last few decades in the Straits Times’ history. This was also accompanied by a signboard bearing the key Straits Times headlines from the 1960s, such as Singapore’s merger and subsequent separation from Malaysia.

Super cute mascot!

Super cute mascot!

Moreover, this music station was pretty impressive too, with live musicians literally belting out tunes and this really gave me a blast from the past. As well, they were even dressed up in what looked like 1960s costumes. So I found myself stopping here for a few moments to soak up the lively music. And after leaving this music station, I couldn’t wait for more of these as the race progressed. And as a bonus, the next hydration station was also here so I helped myself to more of the refreshing isotonic drink, since I was already taking a break, anyway.

1960s Era Music Station.

I then carried on with the race, trying to maintain a steady pace. Along the route, I subsequently passed several more music stations. The 1970s music station was in the form of a few dancers grooving to tunes, blasting out of a loudspeaker. For the 1980s as well as the 1990s stations, these had also been located at hydration stations along the route – and again, the music was blasting out of loudspeakers.

Dancers at the 1970s music station.

Dancers at the 1970s music station.

SCENIC SINGAPORE LANDMARKS

Besides the music, we also passed scenic Singapore landmarks such as the Singapore Flyer, the Fullerton Merlion and the Marina Bay City Gallery. And as a bonus, we also got the chance to run up Jubilee Bridge, which I haven’t really got to do so far yet – in a race. This felt quite amazing.

10km down, 8km to go.

10km down, 8km to go.

We ran past the beautiful Gardens by the Bay and the Marina Bay Golf Course along the 18.45km route too, on our way back towards the National Stadium. I thought that the sight of the SuperGrove Trees bathed in brilliant purple lights was beautiful and these pretty landmarks, together with the breezy and haze-free early morning weather, had given me the motivation that I had needed to continue running and completing this race.

THE NATIONAL STADIUM

The most depressing part of the run though, had been towards the end, when we were practically running the last few kilometres round the National Stadium. For a while, it had felt as though this would go on forever.

Completed the 18.45km race.

I have completed the 18.45km race.

But eventually, after what felt like eternity, I finally saw the entrance to the National Stadium. Though this was not my first time entering the National Stadium (I had recently done it at the OCBC Cycle 2015 last month), the feeling was still pretty shiok. And it still gave me the chills, as I was imagining myself as an elite athlete representing Singapore.

Land Rover, the official car of the ST Run 2015.

Land Rover, the official car of the ST Run 2015.

The finishing line was up ahead, after about 50m of running on the stadium track. While doing an entire 400m loop of the track would have been more amazing, this was still good enough, though. I crossed the finishing line feeling both excited and relieved, and then I headed off to collect my finisher medal and tee, before catching up again with my friends at the post-race carnival, where plenty of fun awaited us all.

ST Run 18.45km Finisher.

ST Run 18.45km Finisher.

Yes, it had certainly been a good morning workout indeed – which I had not been able to do properly, ever since the onslaught of the Singapore Haze.

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