Australia Diaries – Running – Blue Mountains

We drove straight from Sydney airport to the Blue Mountains but by the time we had our lunch and checked in, it was rather late in the evening. But since we were staying at Echo Point itself, we had to check out the place and then we the trails leading down from the lookout. And I knew I have to run – notwithstanding the cold and that it was going to get dark in barely 45 minutes.

Changed to a long sleeve top and short and off we went. We had no inkling where to run – got trail just run. There were actually 2 – one towards Leura and one towards Scenic World. We figured with our limited time to play safe and just ran to the right and u-turn when we feel that it was too dark to go on.

The trail was a fairly nice cemented path initially but gradually it became just a dirt trails with many steps going up and down.

Along the way, there were many “lookout point” where the Park authorities had conveniently put in barricades to stop people from falling over the cliff while admiring the valley down below.

We stopped too often to take photographs and by the time we reached Katoomba Falls Creek, it was getting dark.

Not willing to be caught in an unknown places in the dark and cold, we turned back reluctantly. We had only ran about 1.5 km making a total of 3 km return. Still it was a nice run made beautiful by the gorgeous view and the setting sun.

So beautiful that it make me want to come back and do the Ultra Trail Australia ……….

Australia Diaries – Running – South Bank Parklands

Another of the thing on the top of my list to do in a foreign country is to do a short run – to burn away the excess calories from consuming all the good food during the trip and to explore the city on foot in as short a time as possible. For Brisbane though, the schedule was so packed that we couldn’t find much time to do a decent run. In the end, because we stayed in the city near to South Bank, we decided rather than tour the area like a tourist, we will do our run there.

South Bank strike me a lot like our Singapore River not just because it is alongside the Brisbane River but there are many historical bridges over it and the ever present giant Ferris Wheel. Singapore has its Singapore Flyer and Brisbane has it Wheel of Brisbane. There are also many eateries at South Bank just like at Boat Quay and Clark Quay back in Singapore. And of course there is a dedicated space for cyclists and runners. Just like our park connector.

We started our run at Victoria Bridge on the other side of Brisbane River where the casino is. Such a pity that such a beautiful building has been converted into a casino. Continue Reading →

Running @ Leisure Farm Resort

Whenever I go away, I try to get in a short run and it was no exception when 2 weeks ago, we stayed over at a friend’s place at the posh Leisure Farm in Malaysia. The place is big – real big. It sits on 1765 acres of land spread over 7 gated compound and 4 strata plots and comes with facilities like club house, swimming pool, orchard and f&b outlets.

Just to get an idea of how big the place is, we stayed in a bungalow in one of the gated compound and managed to do a complete loop of 10 km within that compound alone!

It was a cool morning when we started our run. It fact it was threatening to rain but thank goodness the weather held and we had an enjoyable time exploring the place.

The place was built apparently on an old forest converted to palm tree plantation to now residential and it is very hilly.

Beside the slopes, there are many many empty plot of lands waiting for some rich landowner to built their own bungalow.

We came upon a beautiful little stream and we could run alongside it for a short distance before we went back on the road.

On the road, there were many big bungalows, some typical European design with big driveway, porches and arches. Then there were the modern type with big glass facade. And there is this futuristic house

There is a little canal or creek as they called it.

The highlight was when we came to this place.

A dead end but a very tempting looking place. Good for trail running and birding! But since we were guests, we didn’t enter the area and choose to continue running on the road. That was when we heard some rustling up in the trees. My immediate thought was macaque but it turned out to be this:

A big band of Dusky Leaf Langur! What a nice surprise and a nice way to wrap up the run.


Virtual Racing

Time has really changed with the onset of what economists called disruptive economy. Taxi companies, hotels, travel agencies, bicycle rental are all being affected by this new way of doing business. But I never thought that running in a race, which is a very personal and physical thing can be affected as well.

Typically, when one sign up for a race, he pays a registration fee which entitles him to run in the race, a goodie bag with some freebies, an event tee and after the race, a medal, a certificate and perhaps a finisher tee. During the race, there will be some sort of support, drinks station, road marshal and medical aid. There may also be a carnival area for the runners to enjoy after the race. Above all, one gets to run together with friends and compete with peers on a public course that is partially closed to traffic. And that is what a typical road race is like. 

But now it seems the disruptive economy has reached into the ambit of road racing. Now a person can register, pay a small sum of money and run a virtual race ie he runs alone according to the race or challenge as determined by the app. There is no fixed route, no support and no finisher tee. Some will have a medal and nothing else. And you run alone.

This is the part I don’t understand. Why pay good money to other people and then run alone without getting any support or for that matter any real challenge with other runners. It just doesn’t make economic sense to me. Couldn’t it be cheaper to just do one’s own run. Why need to pay other people for that right? Some may argue that in some cases, the participant can get a medal but we all know what we do with the countless medals that we already have from real races. Mostly they just get chucked into a cupboard to be forgotten. Some may argue that these app create special race challenges like a virtual parallel race with the KL Marathon for instance, or a distance challenge. But companies like Nike and Garmin and many other apps already has peer challenge programs which requires no payment. So why pay to run your own race?

Can somebody tell me what is the attraction of doing virtual race?


End of an era – CBD Runners

Running groups come and go. Some are a bit more resilient and stays a few years. Some die barely a few months after they start. In today time where things come and go at super speed, the CBD weekly Tuesday night run was a constant. But like all good movies, all good things has to come to an end and finally after 10 years, the CBD run has shut down.02-DSC07129

The CBD run was started by Little Tigger and Tiwazz and a few others back in 2006 when mass running in Singapore was just starting to take off.  The CBD run was a spin off from the now largely defunct SGRunners. Back then, there was corresponding regional group run like the Eastside Run, Westside Run and even a Northside Run! Interestingly, not all the founder of the CBD run work in the CBD yet they initiated it in the CBD for the benefit of us folks working there.

In its early years, the number of runners at each session was easily more than 20, a record for group run in those days. This is a picture of the runners at its first anniversary run in 2007.


Photo credit: Tiwazz

The runners meet every Tuesday evening at the open area on top of the Tanjong Pagar MRT and ran to places such as Marina South, Fort Canning and even Mt Faber. With the redevelopment of Marina South, the run there was curtailed and looking for new routes became more challenging.

The CBD run was especially memorable as it managed to play matchmakers and spanned a few couples some of which gone on to get hitched.

The construction of Tanjong Pagar Centre on top of the MRT took away the little space for the runners to gather and that I think was the start of the death knell for the Tuesday night run.

By then, many other running groups had started in the area – from the still going strong Running Lab Funan Thursday Night Run to the HPB I-run twice weekly run at the UOB Plaza. There was also the Athletics Circle Thursday run and the Newton Wednesday Run both of which have since went the way of the dodo bird. Some of the runners moved to these new groups which were nearly or more accessible to their workplace. I myself went over to the Running Lab Funan Thursday Night Run although I tried to join them once in a blue moon like during their anniversary!

After 10 years, the CBD run has finally decided to bow out. In its last year, the number of runners have dropped to a handful of regulars, not helped by the lack of activity in the SGRunners forum where all the original members came off.

Anyway 10 years is a long time thanks to the dedication of Little Tigger, Tiwazz, Suanjing and Charlotte. Thanks for the time and the memories!

Craze Ultra Fam Run 3

I joined the Craze Ultra Familiarisation Run 1 a few weeks ago. That run took us from MacRitchie Reservoir to Admiralty MRT station covering a total distance of 26 km. I crashed big time after about 14 km as the heat took its toil and took almost 4 hours to complete walking most of the last 13 km.

I didn’t go for Fam Run 2 which was from Admiralty MRT to Sengkang. Not that it matter since I wasn’t running that far on the actual day  anyway.

But just so that I have no excuse not to run, I joined Fam Run 3 which is the last stretch of the entire Craze Ultra 100 miles route. This starts from the Sengkang Recreation Centre and ends at Bedok Reservoir with a total of 24 km.

But of course me, the sidekick and our buddy running couple, RSM and her hubby had no intention of doing the entire distance. We had decided that since the route will runs into Pasir Ris where we put up, we will stop there which should give us a decent distance of about 16 km.

This is the group that set off from Sengkang Recreation Centre


Photo Credit: Ben Swee

The route brought us through the park connector to Buangkok, Punggol Park, Punggol Promenade, Lorong Halus and Pasir Ris Dr 3.

At Lorong Halus, the group took a long long break to wait for everybody to reach. At this point after the group photo, we decided to do a little recce and left the group and headed towards Coney Island. Our mission – to see whether the place is now open and/or accessible. Unfortunately, what we saw was this sign – all 3 of them too!


Photo Credit: Jancy Yap

Oh well, got to wait some more then. We took a slow easy run back to Pasir Ris and eventually did 17 km in slightly over 2 hours which was pretty decent considering the many time we stopped to take photos or wait for each other.