The last local race I did was the Puma 10km night run at Sentosa in November last year. Prior to that, the last half marathon I did was the disastrous Army Half Marathon in 2013. I don’t really have any desire to race locally considering that bad experience and more so after last year fiasco at the SCMS which just proved that the race directors do not have the interest of runners at heart.
So what the hell am I doing at the start line of this year Sundown Marathon? Let’s just say in a moment of madness I got carried away. 4 July happens to be the 21st birthday of one of my niece and her dear mother, my sister somehow managed to “con”-vinced her to sign up for the half marathon to mark the occasion, sort of as a passing of age thing. We promptly decided to show our support by signing up with her. The intention was of course to pace her but as it turns out, because the sweet young thing, after signing up, naturally regretted the moment of folly and did not train for it. So to avoid stressing her unduly, we ended up running our own race which kinda defeat the purpose of joining this to show support for her.
Anyway, the weather was pretty good and it was actually a great night to run. Firstly the crowd wasn’t that big so there was ample space to run. And surprisingly, there was properly demarcated start pens for the different timing and although it was voluntary, most people as far as I could see were humble enough to stick to their own respective time pen. Of course there were a few either blind or illiterate runners who can’t read because these few people were walking barely 1 km into the race. :(….
Compared to the 2013 Army Half Marathon or even the last Sundown Half Marathon that I did way back in 2011, this one was very very well organised. The start pens and the different wave time start was one thing. The organiser appeared to have taken feedback of all the complaints and the route was well thought out with adequate lighting all over. There were plenty of directional signboards even where the route seems pretty obvious. Hydration was adequate with plain water and isotonic drink every few km. There was also a banana and gel station which was quite surprising as usually these are reserved for the Full Marathon people.
The route was an interesting one – not very good for PB with many u-turns and a challenging run by the Sheares Bridge which was a pleasant surprise. That came early in the race just after 2 km. The last time that particular route was used in a race was the 2010 Army Half Marathon when it was still called Sheares Bridge Run, if I am not wrong.
Back to the race, I managed to make my way to the first pen which was for runners 2 hours and below. Somehow I have this crazy notion that I am still good for a sub 2 and that despite the fact that the last time I ran a sub 2 half marathon was at the Macau Marathon in 2010 and in recent years I have not been training hard or trying to be race fit. In fact since my last race in September last year, the mileage has been hovering around 30 km per week with most run at pace of 6.30 km per hour or slower, So where did this crazy notion that I can do a sub 2 came about? Ok I thought I can try following the 2 hours pacer but barely 500 metres after flag off, the pacers zoomed past. One of them whom I know had told me to do sub 2 I need to hit at most 56 mins for 10 km. So I tried. 5 km in and after the steep climb, I was still feeling pretty good and doing a 5.40 pace. At 5 km, it was 28 mins so I was more on less still hanging on. And hanging on was the word. By the time I hit 8 km, I was a spent forced. 10 km and the watch shows 58 minutes +. So that’s it. I knew there was no way I can do the next 11 km in under 1 hour. So I relaxed a bit and start to enjoy the race. Still I tried to do a decent pace averaging about 6 minutes. The route from ECP all the way to the end was pretty clear of runners and I had plenty of space to run. At the u-turn section at Garden by the Bay East, I could see the 2 hours pacers on the other side about 1 km ahead. I had this grand thought that I might catch up but soon gave up the fantasy. Somewhere after I made my u-turn, I saw M on the other side about 1 km behind. I contemplated slowing down for her to catch up but selfish me dropped that idea almost as soon as it pops up. What if she catches up and finished ahead of me? lol.
In the end, I crossed the finished line at 2 hours 10 minutes but not after suffering the ignominy of a calf cramp when I ran up one of those teeny weeny wooden board that the organiszer had thoughtfully put in place at the part below the Helix Bridge and FI track and I had to walk a few metres to ease off the cramp before resuming running the last little 100 metres to complete the race. And guess what, as I feared, M actually completed in a much faster time than me. Sighed…………………