This year, Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) has unveiled a new model for race registrations.
The biggest change is that instead of having a fixed period for early-bird sign-ups, there are now limited slots available in three separate registration phases – called the Priority+, Priority and Normal phases. There is no longer a specific date to register by, to get early-bird discounts – which will instead, be capped on a first-come, first-served basis.
Once the sign-up quota has been met for each phase, the discounted registration fee will move on to the next phase.
As well, there are 100 $1 race slots up for grabs on a first-come, first-served basis – and these are available at the launch event itself on 16 July.
This year’s SCMS will cater to some 58,300 participants with around 20,000 likely to get discounted rates.
New model is gimmicky and confusing
Some runners, who are thinking of taking part in this year’s SCMS, feel that these new registration initiatives are confusing – and also a bit gimmicky.
Said 34-year-old salesman Jerry Lam, “The organisers are using these gimmicks to create an urgency to sign up. Unless there’s a (number) counter, no one can determine which price range they will pay – at the point of signing up.”
Agreed Ethan Teo, a 36-year-old account manager, “It’s quite confusing. Runners would be second-guessing at the price to pay.”
Will Benefit the SCMS
Other runners feel that the new model is basically put into place to benefit the SCMS, financially.
Said 55-year-old Jeffrey Leong, a production supervisor, “I think this model is going to increase their coffers too, because they cap the number of participants at the (lowest) $65 pricing (for the 42km category). Previously, I think more runners were able to go in – at the cheaper pricing.”
This is because last year, there were set dates for registration at certain prices and as long as runners registered by these dates, they would be guaranteed of a slot under that particular price range. However this year, there are no guarantees, because of the caps. So participants wouldn’t know how many have signed up already, when they are doing so, themselves.
But this year, there are runners who are happy to register early. Said 51-year-old William Muk, who works in information technology, “Yes I’ll sign up quickly for the SCMS so that I can benefit from the lower pricing.
Not keen on queuing for the $1 slots
Muk added that he is definitely keen on the $1 race slots too. “But I won’t be queuing for it,” he said. Instead, he is aiming for the next best option, the 42km Priority+ rates – the $65 slot.
Leong also agreed that the time spent waiting in line for the $1 slots would not be worth it. He said, “I’d rather save the queuing time for fruitful activities like running.”
35-year-old educator, Ling Wong, also frowned on the idea of queuing for the $1 race slots. Said Ling, “These perks are not a motivation for serious runners. Perhaps they should do a lucky draw for the $1 race slot instead of queuing for it.
“It doesn’t make sense to sacrifice working time to queue. It becomes just like the Hello Kitty craze at McDonalds. It’s rather nonsensical,” she added.
Troublesome to register for SCMS
Jeffrey Teo, a 49-year-old sales executive said, “It’s very troublesome to register if everyone is rushing for the race slots. That’s just not my style. They need to lower the price for everyone instead of wasting people’s time by all trying to register for a race slot at the same time (and not being able to do so).”
Other runners won’t even consider taking part in the SCMS. Said 35-year-old assistant manager Max Woon, “I would choose to go for overseas races instead. The weather’s much cooler (in non-tropical countries). So SCMS is the last option for me.”
Not too enthusiastic about new Ekiden entry rules
Besides the caps on the race slots, another change in the SCMS registration is the requirement that Ekiden teams must commit to raising $500 in donations – otherwise their entry would be forfeited.
The Ekiden, a hugely popular event at the SCMS marathon, comprises of six relay runners who complete a Full Marathon together.
Faith Fong, who had been hoping to compete in the Ekiden category again this year, doesn’t feel too enthusiastic about the donation ruling. Said the 32-year-old clinic assistant, “I’m deeply disappointed with SCMS!” Her main concern was about being able to raise the $500 in order to qualify to run.
She said, “What if we’re unable to raise $500? I’ll now think twice before signing up.” To Faith, overseas SCM races are now more attractive.
44-year-old Assistant Financial Controller, Lee Kok Wee, also thought the donation requirement for Ekiden runners may backfire. He said, “I’m personally very keen to know the response on the donation requirement for the Ekiden sign up. I think it’s a bold step and might backfire, but I guess it’s worth a try for a good cause.” But he is more keen on running the 42km Full Marathon – rather than the Ekiden category.