The inaugural edition of the Garang Warrior Ultra took place yesterday at MacRitchie Reservoir Park from 7am to 7pm.
Organised by Running Guild, participants in this event had 12 hours to clock as many 5km loops as possible. Each loop comprised of about 2.5km through the MacRitchie trails and another 2.5km to the starting point back via Lornie Road.
A great opportunity to catch up with friends
To many of the runners taking part, this race provided a great opportunity for them to have a leisurely long run and to chill out with friends – similar to many of the other events by Running Guild.
Said David Wong, 53 and managing his own diving business, “To me this was a run without any pressure and making my own timing targets. I was aiming to complete 10 Laps (50km) in less than 7 hours, which I had achieved.”
He added “At the same time it had been great to meet old friends and run and chat with them along the route. This was my favourite part of the event – as I had not seen some friends in a while. But the best part was to complete the race…and have a beer!”
Unofficial aid station with beer
The beer that Wong was talking abut was not an “official” part of the race – it was from an “unofficial” aid station that some runners had kindly contributed in order to boost the morale of the runners participating in the event.
Apart from the beer and isotonic drinks, other items available at this station had included pasta, sandwiches, chocolate cake and an assortment of delicious fruits.
This station had been well received by many runners. Said Yeow Lai Boon, 51, a sales representative, “Though there was already an official aid station, I thought it was nice that some runners, whom I didn’t know, had set up an unofficial station for the Garang warriors – how everyone tries to help each other out in the running community is quite meaningful.”
The official aid station had comprised of a generous spread of food items too though, including bananas and watermelons, potato chips and sandwiches.
The weather was hot
Yeow, who ran 12 Laps (60km), also added that he too, had enjoyed the race yesterday despite the hot weather. He said “Everything went smoothly as usual – the race organisers were good and the baggage counter and drink stations were great.”
Added Yeow, “Initially when we started though, it was not very hot but from 9am onwards i could really feel the heat – so I started to get slower and slower and with the constant uphill and downhill route, I had to walk more to conserve my energy.”
Also struggling with the heat was Mary Loehr, 49, a stay at home mum. Said Mary, who completed 12 Laps (60km) by the end of the race, “This race was really tough. It was only a 5km loop but the first half was uphill and all trails, and then after that it was all on Lornie Road and it got so humid that I found myself really struggling. This was a lot harder than the Twilight Ultra, and the slopes are really challenging.”
She added “I enjoy the challenge, but with the continuous looping, it really plays with your mind. The first 30km was still ok but after that, it got really tough for me.”
Jason Cheong, 52, a Director at SMRT, also mentioned that it had been a rather hot day. Said Cheong, who did 11 Laps (55km) in just over eight hours, “It was very hot today – though there was still time, my body could not take the heat any more.”
Great race atmosphere
He added “But I think that I completed a good distance today – it is neither too long nor too short, and is still an ultra distance. The race was really fun as well, and the atmosphere made it feel like so much more than just a run – though the ultra running community in Singapore is not huge, it’s good to see familiar faces when we are running. This helps to break the monotony of the looping and it feels like a family gathering.”
Also loving the friendship and camaraderie was Max Woon, 36 and in-between jobs. He said, “Like with all of Running Guild’s events, it was good to see familiar faces again, and stopping to take pictures both before and after the race. It’s also a nice way to meet up with your fellow Singaporean runners and at the same time, clock mileage to train for other overseas ultra races that are on the cards.”
Woon had completed 10 Laps (50km) at the Garang Warrior Ultra. He said “The 5km loop was very mental and many runners, me included, go in with a mindset to just complete 50km because that is an ultra distance to most of us.”
He added “Also, 50km is a distance that is not too difficult for the body to recover from, as the body typically cannot take more than 35km – without undergoing prolonged recovery period. So this is definitely easy compared to pushing oneself to complete 80km or 100km.”
Pleased with her race
Banker Patsy Lim also completed 10 Laps (50km) yesterday – and it was her first-ever ultra. Said Lim, “I am quite pleased with how my run went. This was my first ultra and i managed to do 50km in 8 hours and 13 minutes, thanks to my three friends who paced me from the very start of the race. Without them, I would probably have given up by the sixth loop. Overall it was a good race too.”
Also pleased with her race had been Faith Tan, who works in Help Desk Support in the Banking sector. Tan, who had emerged as the champion of the Women’s category, with 17 Loops (85km) in 11 hours and 11 minutes, said, “I couldn’t believe that I am the champion because I actually had a sharp pain on my knee.”
She added “But my friends, Jonathan and Esmond, had encouraged me to keep on going and without them, I may not have been able to do it. If others can believe in me, then I should not give up on myself.”