An Austrian Marathon Collector’s Experience: Running A Trail Marathon in Singapore

He expected to see monkeys – and he got his wish granted last Saturday.

As the guest of honour at last Saturday’s 100 Marathon Club – Austria Invitational Marathon held in MacRitchie Reservoir, he was taking part in the run – organized by the F1 Runners Team in Singapore.

I caught up with 60-year-old marathoner, Dr. Anton Reiter, who has completed 180 marathons so far. In this post, the chairman of the 100 Marathon Club Austria talks about his maiden running experience in Asia in an interview I had with him.

Anton at the MacRitchie Reservoir trails, doing his marathon in Singapore.

Anton at the MacRitchie Reservoir trails, doing his marathon in Singapore

Anton, what is the experience of running a marathon in Singapore, compared to Europe or the USA?

In Singapore, it is very hot and humid. For example, on the morning of the run, the temperature was between 26 to 33 degrees C and the humidity was between 70 to 89 per cent. Your body has to get used to that and you have to drink more, so that you don’t dehydrate. The Invitational Marathon at MacRitchie Reservoir was very challenging because the route had a mixture of road, trail, gravel, clay and stone tracks. So I could not run a personal best here but the fact that I finished a marathon in Singapore is something very special and makes me happy.

And the marathon runners are off...!

And the marathon runners are off…!

What was your timing for this race and did this meet your initial target?

My goal was to finish between 4:30 and 4:45 hours, depending on the conditions of the route, elevation and other factors. Running a marathon with partly trail sequences means that the expected time would be a bit behind my expectations. So I was happy with my timing of 4 hours 43 minutes and 21 seconds.

And what were your tactics like, for this race?

I did not start running too fast and tried to reserve my energy for the second half. The human body becomes very fatigued after a distance of 35 km, and most people lose quite a lot of time during the last seven kilometres. So a marathon collector like me does not waste energy during the earlier parts of the race – to conserve my energy reserves until the end.

One of the MacRitchie monkeys that Anton so desperately wanted to see.

One of the MacRitchie monkeys that Anton so desperately wanted to see.

What was your most memorable part of running the Invitational Marathon?

I had no idea how the MacRitchie Reservoir looked like, so the area was a very special place to do running. I saw a couple of monkeys swinging on the trees – and one on the gravel track beside me. During a marathon, a runner often forgets to observe the surroundings but I tried to notice the beauty of the landscape. I took a number of photos during the run so that I could remember the route. MacRitchie Reservoir really has a beautiful natural landscape.

What were some of the biggest challenges of running the race?

For a start, I thought the route was very tough, especially the second half. It went up and down, it was hilly and it had stones, gravel and sand tracks. So that was very challenging.

Today was also humid and hot, so the weather was a real challenge for me as well. I needed to drink lots of water and I didn’t know the way too – so I was totally dependent on one of the other runners.

Success! Anton stands tall and proud after finishing his maiden Singapore marathon.

Success! Anton stands tall and proud after finishing his maiden Singapore marathon.

I understand that you have visited Singapore before. When was this?

We came on a world cruise in February 1995.

How do you feel that Singapore has changed, since you last came here?

Many new buildings seemed to have been constructed – which did not exist in 1995. My impression is that the city has become more vivid and grown a lot as far as the population and the new skyscrapers are concerned. I think new land has also been reclaimed from the sea and my impression is that this city is still pretty clean.

Would you come back to Singapore to run another marathon?

Singapore will celebrate its 50th anniversary of independence from Malaysia next year. This would be a reason for me to come back and run the Standard Chartered Marathon in December 2015. I think a special medal to the finishers to commemorate the occasion, will be given out – so this will be a big attraction.

What are your tips in running a marathon?

A fun group photo after the race.

A fun group photo after the race.

Go easy on the running, if you are a marathon collector like me who is more interested in adding to the collection of marathons done – rather than on the finishing time. Run at a moderate speed such as 6:30 minutes per kilometre and you won’t be tired after five hours. And if you are doing a number of marathons together (like me), don’t expect a fast time. For example, on six occasions last year, I ran two marathons on two consecutive days, where I had to drive several hundred kilometres between one race and the next. Under these circumstances, I wasn’t expecting a personal best. But if a good timing is your objective, go slower in the first half, then faster in the second.

And what are your tips in choosing a marathon to run in?

The marathon collector is interested in new places to race. So I will run in cities where I have not yet raced in – such in Copenhagen, St. Petersburg and Helsinki. I also recommend doing both the big city marathons as well as off-road runs such as on trail routes. Doing trail running is now popular in marathons and other distance races in Europe.

More Posts on Dr Anton Reiter

  • Click here to read an article on the invitational marathon.
  • Click Here to read about a marathon that Anton ran… on a cruise ship.
  • Click Here to read about Anton and his 180+ marathons.
  • Click Here for more about Anton Reiter’s world cruise holiday.

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