Why does it not surprise me to read of all the complaints on social media about the Gold Label Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore? For a country that prides itself on doing things well and setting the standards for its neighbours, this race is the biggest blemish in Singapore’s reputation and a laughing stock of the marathon world.
And the number of complaints on the SCMS’s Facebook page. Much has been said about that and I will not go into that except that I think the whole fiasco boils down the desire to make more money by cutting cost and not being concerned about the runner’s experience.
The latest blow up is complaints by volunteers about not being given food and drinks, being yelled at and being paid a miserable $20 for volunteering from 11 am the night before to up to 3 pm on Sunday. You can read all about that here. I will talk about this in a later blog post.
But of course my pet subject is always about people cutting the course. And this year is no different. Very early in the race, I could see FM runners coming in. Looking at the way they running, I know they have not done 40 km in such short time between 3 to 4 hours. Not impossible but there are not that many local runners that are capable of doing sub 4. So as usual, I did a result search of a few random runners are here are their results:
Sure enough my gut feeling was not wrong and all these runners are marked as DNF (Did not finish). But the interesting thing is that all of them missed the checkpoints from the 10 km onward until 38.5 km. This year because of the late start due to the baggage problem, the cut off time was extended to 9 hours and so I believe no runners were officially “diverted” which means these runners either ran the wrong route by mistake or deliberately cut the course. I could like to give these people the benefit of the doubt that they ran wrongly but if one had trained hard enough for the FM, they will realise that their timing was not possible and the route was too short especially after they see the distance markers. The more likely reason is that these runners ran the HM route while signed up for the FM. In any case, still the organiser fault. Did they deploy enough marshal to direct the runners onto the correct route? Was there any physical barriers to prevent runners from cutting the course?
The Singapore Marathon will never improve if it continue to priorities profitability. It has the ambition of becoming a World Marathon Majors. But until it buck up and go humbly to learn from the Japanese or Taiwanese, the WMM will just be a pipe dream.. But having said that, they might just be able to buy that rights with the money they make from this race. Like what they did to get the Gold Label status.