Come 3 & 4 December, runners taking part in the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) – now into its 15th anniversary this year – can look forward to plenty of new and exciting initiatives.
These new initiatives had been announced to members of the media and other invited guests at this morning’s roadshow cum launch event for the SCMS, which had been held at The Cathay Atrium.
At the event, Geoff Meyer, Managing Director of SCMS event organiser, Ironman Asia, said, “SCMS is the nation’s largest running event in Singaporean history and culture, and we are delighted to have the chance to enhance the event to commemorate this special year.”
Kids Dash and Half Marathon to be brought to Orchard Road
So one of the key initiatives includes bringing both the Kids Dash and the Half Marathon to Orchard Road. Typically Singapore’s premium shopping street is the flag-off point for only the Full marathon.
The Kids Dash, in line with last year, will take place on Saturday 3 December. But instead of it being a morning race as per previous editions, this will also be brought to the evening, flagging off at 6.00pm outside Ngee Ann City. So come 3 December, more than 5,000 kids will be donning Santa hats and running amidst the iconic Orchard Road christmas lights.
The Full marathon will then flag off on Sunday 4 December in the morning and this will be followed later on, by the Half marathon at the same starting location. And to prevent congestion, there will be multiple waves of runners flagging off – based on their estimated finishing time.
Said Meyer, “Enhancing the SCMS route is one of our 2016 priorities. We want to improve the overall running experience and alleviate start line congestion with multiple wave starts.”
Getting the running experience right
He added, “While Sentosa had been a fantastic location to flag off the half marathon, there had been plenty of negative feedback about both the heat fumes in the narrow tunnel and the long highway strip which had exposed runners directly to the merciless Singapore heat. And we felt these had outweighed the positives that Sentosa had been offering in terms of the runner experience.”
Quek EeMeng, an avid runner who has taken part in all 15 editions of the SCMS and will be doing the full marathon this year, had also mentioned the heat at the 21.1km race.
Said Quek, who is one of this year’s 15 SCMS ambassadors, “There is no shade at all for the second part of the half marathon – the route is quite unique, because you run past an iconic tourist resort for the first 10km and then for the second 10km, it is hot.”
So to Meyer, the 15th anniversary year of SCMS thus presents the opportunity for Ironman to make improvements to the SCMS race, based on runners’ feedback from the previous years, and introduce new initiatives to deepen family and community ties.
Said Meyer, “We strongly believe that if we get the runner experience right, then everything else will follow accordingly. We want to take our runners on a journey – all the way from registration to event-day and running the race, building community engagement at the same time. There is a lot of work to be done and we are aware it won’t happen overnight; we have bold plans but first and foremost, what is most pivotal is the athlete experience.”
Tapping on their extensive network and database
And according to Ironman Asia CEO Andrew Messick, the new SCMS organiser has the ability to do just that, by tapping on their extensive network and database. Said Messick, “We hope to develop and create SCMS into a race that has enhanced appeal for both local and international athletes and a must-do race for many Singaporeans.”
Messick added, “With more than 250 events held in 50 countries, Ironman Asia is the largest organiser of races globally and we believe that we have the ability to bring to SCMS runners, a great running experience and a fabulous relationship with them.”
Looking forward to having a fabulous running experience at the SCMS is Wille Loo, a national triathlete and an SCMS 2016 ambassador who will be taking part in the 21.1km event.
Said Loo, who had been at the launch event with his wife and young child, “I am looking forward to the opportunity to race against high quality runners who specialise purely in the sport and I am hoping to go under 1 hour 20 mins for the 21.1km race.”
Renewed partnership with Community Chest
Another initiative announced by SCMS at the launch is that they have renewed their partnership with Community Chest – inking a three year deal to profile Sharity the elephant as their event charity ambassador.
Sharity, the iconic mascot of the Community Chest, advocates a “caring and sharing” philosophy and at the same time, raising empathy among the young to care for the less privileged and disadvantaged in our community.
Said Judy Hsu, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Singapore, “Our bank has been a title sponsor of the Singapore Marathon since 2002 and this is an event that our Bank and staff are proud of. We are also into championing causes of volunteerism and corporate giving, so it makes sense to integrate these into SCMS.”
At the roadshow, which is taking place from now till Sunday at the Cathay Atrium, runners can expect to take a walk down memory lane at the marathon’s throwback exhibition. This will showcase memorabilia from the past 14 years of the SCMS, including contributions from race ambassadors and loyal runners, as well as running stories from past and present editions of SCMS.
As well, runners will stand a chance to walk away with 100 free entry slots and 1,000 limited-edition anniversary tees, which will be given away on-site through lucky draws and other activities.
Runners can also get a free baseline test to gauge their fitness levels and thus begin their training journey – courtesy of Ben Pulham, founder of boutique fitness company Coached.
At the launch event, Minister for Social and Family Development Mr Tan Chuan-Jin as well as SCMS 2016 ambassador and celebrity mum, Jaime Teo, both subjected themselves to this test – and they were surprised by the results.
Registrations have opened
Registration for SCMS 2016 opened at 10am today, on the race website www.marathonsingapore.com and fees have remained the same as last year’s.
Standard Chartered cardholders can also enjoy 15 per cent off their race fees, across all of the categories.