At 4.15 am on Sunday, I found myself at the start line of the 2017 Income Eco Run at the F1 race track. It has been a long time since I joined a local race and being at the start line filled with the stank of sweat and heat rub at such an ungodly time for a half marathon simply reminded me why I have not signed up for more races in recent years. Running Shots got some complimentary slots from the event organiser and I thought since I have not been doing much running recently, to take up 1 slot just as an excuse to get fitter. So here I am $%^&*(# feeling damn sleepy and smelling in that awful stench of sweat and deep heat! Why in the world do people put deep heat before running?
Back to the race. Because we came early, we managed to get quite upfront maybe 30 metres before the start line. The race was started off right on the dot which is a good thing. From the F1 track, we ran towards Republic Boulevard. It was fairly dark but the route was fully closed or so I thought, until we hit the road when it narrowed down to 2 lanes width. :(….. And it got worse. 2 lanes to 1 lane and then back to 2 lanes and then 1 lane again. You get the picture? Luckily for me, since I managed to snag an early start, there wasn’t that many runners and despite the narrow route, I was able to run quite comfortably but I can imagine the frustration of the main bulk of the runners having to constantly merge in and out. There is one particular bad area coming out of Kallang Riverside Park onto Kallang Road where at the top of the staircase was an opening that leads to a small pavement that everybody has to squeeze through before going onto Kallang Road.
Believe it or not, despite the many races being held in the area in the past, this was actually my first race where 90% of the route was ran in the core Marina Bay and Kallang area and I was certainly not used to it. There were too many turns. U turn at Crawford Road; U turn at Republic Ave to Nicoll Highway; U turn at Stadium Drive; U turn at East Coast Park; turn at Marina East Drive; U turn at Garden by the Bay East, U turn at Marina Promontory; turn up Bayfront Ave; turn at Youth Olympic Park…….So many turnings and then having to run through the deserted Sports Hub area. Actually, the whole route was deserted. What do you expect? Starting at 5 am! Who will be crazy enough to come out to give support?
So anyway I started at what I thought was a fairly comfortable pace. I have no hard target. Just a prayer that I won’t finish slower than 2 hours 15 minutes. So when I saw the 2.15 pacers in front of me at the start, I was tempted to follow them. But around the 2 km mark, I actually overtook them. I was still feeling good and decided to continue on rather than slow down. I have no doubt they will overtake me somewhere later when I get tired. M had started with me but I saw here ran ahead soon after and I didn’t see her until we reached East Coast Park. And surprise surprise, she was behind me! Haha I thought, maybe this time I can be faster than her. She caught up with me at the Marina East Drive. The first word she said to me was “No more energy liao. You go ahead”. And then guess what – she ran ahead leaving me eating her dust! I think she was trying to “suan” me 🙁
Along the way, I met a few known faces. Some I overtook, some overtook me and some played catching with me. Every now and then I look behind me to see where the 2.15 pacers were but they seem to be a fair distance from me. At the 15 km point I had more or less decided that I should try to not let them catch up and that was my motivation to keep pushing onward. When we passed the 9 km signage for the 10 km, I was like (E#_&%#%#(. So near and yet so far! We had to continue to run down pass Marina Bay Sands to Marina Promontory and make an u-turn back to MBS before going up that little incline on Bayfront Avenue.
I saw Sotong, my fellow photographer from Running Shots there, busy shooting away and with only less than 500 metres to go, I know I was home free and well ahead of the 2.15 pacers. Not a personal best not a really good timing but hey with the limited mileage, I take that anytime. But no more 5 am race anymore.
Looking back now on my performance with the official results out now, I surprised myself. With no major races to train for the past years, the weekly mileage averages around 30 km and yet my timing at this event was closed to the 2015 Sundown Marathon’s HM time and that was achieved on the back of part of a built up to an ultra! So I haven’t really deteriorated that much hahaha.