Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sundown Marathon 2012 – 10km

Date: 26 May 2012
Venue: Nicoll Highway, Singapore
Distance: 10km (Garmin: 9.85km)
Timing: 48:27 (Gun); 48:22 (Chip); 48:24 (Garmin)
Pace: 4:54 min/km (Garmin)
Result: 13th (Women Open) (results here) (all results here)

Wow it’s been 4 years already?!?!?!?! Previous years’ edition here, here and here.

This event will go down as the most rain-soaked and drenched event ever for the 21km-ers and 42km-ers and quite possibly Singapore as well. It was a relentless downpour from 2+ am (2 hours after flag off) to 6 am.

New this year: running in the city instead of Changi/Airport roads. The flag off for the 10km was at 10:30pm from the open field at Nicoll Highway with the other 2 categories 2 hours later. Yeah, I do have friends who were running both the 10km and 42km! Amazing feat, eh? Ok, back to the route: loop starting and finishing at Nicoll Highway with a few switchbacks along the highway and through Kallang PCN and Geylang area.

Can I say extremely crowded at the start pen? There were some 9,000 runners for the 10km and I had trouble “weaving” myself to the front or close to the front but since there was a full road closure on both sides of the highway, the crowd more or less dispersed once the air horn went off. Down Nicoll Highway and by km1.5 (or earlier?), the race leaders were on the return side. Now this is probably the first boo-boo for the event. They were on the same side of the road as incoming runners – apparently the bike marshals made a mistake and I heard that these runners had to jump the barricade to get over to the other side. First switchback along the highway and before km2, a hydration station.

Along Nicoll Highway to the next switchback and constant reminders to myself: hold back, don’t push it yet, let’s get to km8 or km9 and then go, you don’t wanna blow up. After the switchback, it was back to the event point and naturally, you can’t look like death! Well, even if you feel like death, hold it off…you can’t have the crowd seeing you at your worst…especially your family, friends etc. Plus, they were cheering and clapping.

Let out my first words and no, it wasn’t a swear (thank you very much). More like “OMG” which the guy next to me heard. Why? Because we were lead into the Kallang PCN. If you’ve been hanging around here long enough, you know I don’t dig Kallang’s running path – the path is rock hard (feels that way to me) and I can’t get any response from my soles. Now if I can’t even manage this in broad daylight, what makes you think I could do it in moonlight (or the lack thereof)? Guess what I did: used Monica’s cue from her Ragnar race. Yeah, I was scared even with runners and volunteers abound. Oh BTW, I think us runners also killed whatever passions couples taking an evening stroll had for that night! LOL!

Yay! Back to asphalt! This was probably the most scenic stretch: Geylang/Kallang area shops, restaurants etc vs the previous sections of highway, highway, highway and dark park.

Back onto Nicoll Highway for the homecoming. Minor bump at Merdeka Bridge and then it’s a cruise downhill to the finishing chute with the announcer hollering your name as you run in.

a) Pretty ok-ish organized event for this size and which event is without hiccups.

b) Plenty of hydration stations – every 1.5-2 km and at the start/finish area. I was pleasantly surprised that at one of the stations, the volunteers giving calling out that their station is without 100Plus – good for those who intended on having it and instead of searching for it, they could skip that station.

c) Distance markers at every km although they ran off by about 50m (and increasing every km) with my Garmin. No issue with this since Garmin is not known to be accurate.

d) Full road closure thus minimal congestion especially at the start/Nicoll Highway. The later start was due to the approval for a later closure to minimize disruption to businesses/community etc.

e) Easy access with the Nicoll Highway MRT just 2 steps away although I did miss the last connecting train after the race.

f) Announcers calling out your name and nationality as you come in.

g) Preliminary results by Sunday afternoon and RunPix results on Monday, less than 24 hours after Saturday’s flag off.

a) Lack of directions – to the start point and after the event. I had to ask around for directions to the station.

b) Extremely crowded start pen and the walkway to that – miss a step and you could be off the curb and sprain your ankle.

c) Dark pathways along Kallang PCN – I was so afraid of breaking my foot. Before you say anything – this was the same area I injured my foot 2 years ago.

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