Yesterday, I joined in the Straits Times Run in the Park at Punggol. This was the inaugural run organised by the Straits Times and there were three categories for the run – the five, 10 and 15 kilometre ones.
I took part in the 15-kilometre category, in order to give myself a bit of a challenge.
Why I selected this race
The lovely Punggol location was one of the reasons why I had chosen to take part in this particular race. I had thought that it was a refreshing change from the majority of running events in Singapore, which are usually staged in the city centre and at East Coast Park.
The goodie bag provided was also quite attractive too. The items we received included a free pass to the Resorts World Sentosa aquarium (usually worth $33).
How did the inaugural Straits Times Run in the Park go, then? Here are my reflections on the event.
The Beautiful Location
I think the Punggol Waterway Park was a really scenic venue for the run. It may not have been a central location, but when I was running along the route, I thought the scenery was really beautiful.
Some of the pretty attractions include the scenic ornamental-looking Adventure and Kelong Bridges
as well as the crystal-clear reservoir sandwiched in between the running track. Even though these are all man-made, they were nevertheless a sight to behold.
Running through the park as the sun rose also felt quite amazing and I found myself marvelling at the beautiful sky with its lovely hue of brilliant reddy-orangey colours.
During my scenic run, the interesting sight of a fellow runner dressed up as the well-known comic book and movie character Zorro made me stop dead in my tracks and glance twice at him. Like me, many of my fellow runners also couldn’t resist taking glances and cheering him on. I wondered though, how he could have run comfortably, with the costume on.
Because of the early morning start, the weather was rather cool and breezy. I could feel the breeze blowing against me and it felt really good. As a result, I was able to sustain a good pace throughout the entire 15-kilometre distance and I clocked a timing of about one hour and 34 minutes.
Baggage deposit very far from the starting point
This was one of the biggest gripes that I had about this race. The baggage deposit was about 800 metres away from the race carnival and starting point.
The location suited those who took the train to Punggol station, because the baggage deposit would have been right in front of them. But not everyone had made their way to the Punggol Waterway Park by train, so a lot of runners had to backtrack to deposit their bags – thus wasting precious time getting hot and flustered before our race even began.
Once we had finished running, we also had a bit of a problem picking up our bags. Perhaps shuttle bus services to transport the 12,000 runners from the baggage area to the race carnival (and return) could have been arranged.
Long queues for goodie bags and medals
I must also comment that the queue for the goodie bags and medals were insane. Some runners had to wait up to an hour or even two hours to receive these – which may even have been longer than the time that they took to actually run the race!
For me, I was pretty fortunate though, because I had managed to beat the bulk of the crowd – by finishing ahead of many of the runners. So I probably waited roughly about half an hour to collect mine. But I saw the long, snaking queues when I was done with collecting my own – and I was really shocked by exactly how long they were!
The medals for runners too, could have been handed out when we filtered in straight after completing the race. As for the goodie bag, it could have been given out during the collection of race packs – and not on the day of the race itself, to minimise such queuing.