Now into its eighth edition this year, the Banana Relay, organised by Running Guild, is aimed at promoting friendships, teamwork and bonding amongst the local running community.
Runners are grouped in teams of three
The rules of this race are quite simple. Runners are grouped together in teams of three, and each runner takes turns to run a 2km loop until the team has successfully completed a total of 24km. This means that each runner completed 4 loops, with each one being placed into a team either randomly by the organisers or the runner may choose to register as a team with their friends.
But there’s a catch – it is compulsory for runners to use a banana as a baton, which can get quite tricky. After running and being exposed to the heat, the banana gets quite soft and mushy. So you’re left with something in your hands that doesn’t resemble a baton anymore.
I guess the trick here was to figure out how to hold the banana, so that it will still resemble the real fruit by the end of the relay run!
2015 race took place at the Kallang Riverside Park
The 2015 edition took place at the Kallang Riverside Park and I was part of a team with two of my friends, Jovel and Constantine. This had been my first time running in this unusual event.
As a whole, I would say that the race was pretty fun and engaging. With the 7.30am flag-off time, it was not too hot at the beginning, but unfortunately about an hour later, the heat was more uncomfortable.
But fortunately though, each loop was quite short at 2km, so the heat was still bearable. And it was good to catch my breath in between the loops and give myself some time to recover. And for the stronger and fitter participants, I guess it would be a good opportunity for them to do some interval training – during each loop.
The running route, which was by the riverside, was pretty scenic and it had included a small amount of hill running as well.
A fun and lively affair
The race was quite a fun and lively affair, with runners greeting each other and urging one another to keep going – as we crossed paths along the way. At the same time, I realised that this was also a good way to keep track of our team’s position, by taking note of which runner from other teams was on the course at the same time.
In between loops, there was plenty of water, isotonic drink and watermelons to munch on, in case we got hungry. Of course there was a never-ending supply of bananas too, available for us to snack on. And I think there was still plenty left over after the race!
The Banana Batons
Constantine had brought along a protective plastic banana casing – so we didn’t get our hands sticky with bananas, at least during the first loop.
Unfortunately though, as we continued running, the banana inside the casing was sliding and oozing out of it! This made the baton very slippery and I could barely hold onto it as I started my third loop. But fortunately there was a toilet nearby for cleaning my hands, after the loop was finished.
The post-race festivities
After the race, there was a post-race buffet comprising of plenty of dim-sum snacks including siew mais, har gows, samosas and sweet potato fitters. As well, coffee and tea was available for those who needed to perk themselves up a bit.
Following the morning snack, there was also a lucky draw with prizes such as shoelaces, chocolates and sports bottles, but I think the draw may have gone smoother though, if, instead of putting each bib number into the pot three times to represent each runner in the team, individual names of the registered runners could instead have been placed into the pot – as this would have reduced perhaps “fighting” for the prize, when a team’s number gets called out!
But overall though, this is definitely a fun and innovative run. I admit that prior to hearing about this run, I would probably never have thought about literally using bananas as batons for running!