Date: 8 July 2012
Venue: Jurong Lake / Chinese Gardens / Japanese Gardens, Jurong, Singapore
Distance: 10km (Garmin: 9.55km)
Timing: 46:53 (Gun); 46:40 (Chip); 46:42 (Garmin)
Pace: 4:53 min/km (Garmin)
Result: 6th (Women International); 126th (Overall) (results here) [not too sure if overall = women only or all]
Last year’s recap here.
After last year’s crowded start (believed I used the word “nightmare” – this is where blog search comes back to haunt you!), I wasn’t sure if I was up to doing this again. So glad I did. Even extra glad I made it out there on Sunday – had misgivings of heading to another rain aborted run after the previous day’s experience (SGR 2012). Thumbs up for Taman Jurong Community Sports Club for this successful event.
It was a bigger event this year with the same categories (10km and 6km) but the start was moved to closer to JCube (forgive me if I get the locations and roads wrong – I’m from out of town!) with the same finish at the gardens. Think it was somewhat a reverse of last year’s run or at least some portions of the route was?
It was drizzling up to 5-10 minutes before the scheduled flag off; I was less worried about the rain since the clouds more or less cleared up when we were walking towards the start point. Flag off was delayed to the late arrival of the guests of honour (they don't learn, do they?).
Yay to new start point and entire road closure. Plenty of space before the crowd thins out. Don’t get me wrong, the first km was congested – rechecked the Garmin and found out that I was running a 5:15 min/km pace. Yeah I do need some crowd to STOP myself from going out too fast and blowing up (I’ve zero sense of pacing). First hydration station around km2.
Running into the gardens and from this point onwards, narrower path (usual jogging track and it’s relative to the previous section’s road). The lakeside was beautiful. There was also another hydration station in this portion but the most awesome and memorable feature was the band umpping things up. You could hear them from a few hundred meters away. Great confidence booster!
Ran out of the garden to the Japanese side (?) – probably the only significant “hills” of the route: up the Japanese-inspired bridge and the slope after that. Somehow reversing the route (I’m assuming here!) or maybe I’ve more hill training in the pocket this year, made this more “do-able”. Another hydration station here.
Waned on this section – it was a long long long stretch with visuals of just the jogging track and trees on both sides. Don’t get me wrong, this can be therapeutic but I was bordering of sagging energy and boredom. This distance markers were a lot off the Garmin and I was nervous about the course being long.
Received another boost when the volunteers/marshals at the turnoff shouted “only 2km to go” (although the Garmin was probably showing 8.5km). Up to now, I was trailing a guy in black compression wear (top-to-toe, I kid you not) with some trading of places when he stopped at the hydration stations. Thanks so much for letting me tailgate; would not have done as well as I did without your help!
Km9 to the finish was along the main road; again a long stretch of nothingness but knowing I was about to be done, tried to increase the pace. Turned right to head into the gardens and you could hear cheers and clapping – best ever crowd support! – before the finishing chute.
a) Superbly organized event and will probably set the standards for future Singapore events.
b) Distance markers – I may have missed a few but I do remember seeing 1, 2, 3 etc – although the distances in between were off the Garmin (maybe 300-500m?).
c) Plentiful of hydration stations enroute – about 4-5? and the end, you get a bottle of water and chilled can of 100Plus.
d) Shout out to the organizers and especially one of their volunteers who arranged to collect the race pack and then delivered it to me. Thanks so much! I wish some of the other organizers were this helpful for overseas runners.
e) Road closure – especially the first 2km where the entire road was closed – typically the start is choke point, definitely a fantastic improvement from last year.
f) Enthusiastic and cheerful volunteers along the route and at the finishing point. Plus the band perking things up on the first half of the route.
g) Great view of the lake and Chinese and Japanese Gardens.
h) Fantastic post-run carnival although I didn’t stay for long.
i) Ross, the emcee, as always was cheerful and animated.
k) Weekly training runs leading up to the event – could not take advantage of this since I’m out of town. Nonetheless, a good initiative.
a) I didn’t experience this but apparently, there was a huge queue and wait time to collect the finisher’s medal and tee. This was compounded by the fact that the collection point was too close to the finishing chute.
b) And some passer-bys/visitors to the gardens helping themselves to the tees; hence they ran out of some of the sizes. I think a more organized way around (a) and (b) is to have all the items handed out at the finishing packed in bags rather than having runners move from one “mini station” to another (although it was along the same line). I had some problem holding them (frozen hands after run – my issue) and asked one of the volunteers at the baggage area for a plastic bag.
c) More and/or larger signages for exiting the gardens. This is probably confined to me since I’m from KL (and the few locals who don’t patronize the place that often) and have zero clue on getting to the nearest train station. Not much of a problem since one of the bike marshals directed me when I asked.
d) While it didn’t affect me, some portions within the gardens were a bit narrow and I saw runners having to dodge slower runners and visitors when I was leaving. Not sure if anything can be done about this since the garden/lake is the garden/lake.
e) Late start due to un-punctual (yes, that’s a word! In my dictionary at least) of the guests of honour (same issue for the SGR 2012). When will they ever learn? And really, do we need them for such a perfunctory act? Open to comments.