Post SCMS 2015

Ok I said I not going to write anything about the race. And to play it safe, I covered the 10 km race instead of the full or half where there may be more controversy.

So what do I see that has earned my ire this round? I was at around the 6.5 km distance just at the secondary entrance of Nicholl Highway MRT station. That is slightly just after the half way mark and should be manageable for most of the participants right? Well, unfortunately no.

The runners were supposed to run straight down on the road and turn right somewhere about 50 metres after the MRT station but look what happened:1-SCM_0996 2-SCM_0997

Almost 1 out of 3  of the back of the pack decided to give themselves an unofficial detour/short cut or in SCMS official speak – a “diversion” through the MRT station thus saving about 200 metres.  200 metres isn’t much but that is still ………..’

Seriously why bother to sign up for the race and do this sort of thing?

The other thing is – where are the marshals? The lack of marshals along this particular section of the route was particularly appalling since there were various turns. In fact, the lead 10 km runner from Kenya did not run down that stretch of road and went straight to Republic Boulevard. We shouted at her but I guess she was too far to hear us. The 2nd runner behind her heard us though and went the right way. But I wondered whether that cost her the winner placing? Perhaps she could have caught up with the front runner but that mistaken turn surely mean she cannot be caught? Not too sure whether the first runner was disqualified  in the end though since no marshal or lead cyclists was there. Unfortunately she was too far off and her back was facing us and so we couldn’t get a clear photo of her.

That all for my observation from the 10 km perspective. Anybody got any things to add for the other 2 categories?

SCMS 2015

Last year after the marathon I wrote a rather controversial post that garner my previous blog hundred of thousand of hits. At one stage the hit counter was moving like crazy. I have never seen something like that before.  That was rather good for the ego but not so good for the pocket no thanks to some journalist from SPH without principal who disclose my personal contacts to a lawyer for one of the “victims”.

This year unfortunately for my “fans” but probably good for me, there won’t be anything controversial from me. I will still be there taking photographs cause that is my passion and no threat is going to stop me but I promised to seal my lips even if I do see anything “interesting”.

Anyway for those who are running the full or even half marathon for the first time, good for you. But I do hope that you have taken the effort to train reasonably for it. By train, I do not mean like last minute cramming for exams where you put on your running shoes for the first time in months this week and go out and do a 20 minutes run and think you are ready. Don’t laugh. During my time as a run leader in Running Lab, I have encountered such people who turn up for the night run the week before the marathon with the hope that we can transform them to marathon finisher in just that one session!

Sure, many people argue that it is no less a feat to complete a marathon in 6 – 7 hours and I agree. It is tough to have to walk so many hours in our hot humid weather and anybody who can do it, well I think that is very admirable  but wouldn’t it be better if you can run at least half of it? After all, this is a running race and not a walk. One of the advantage of being one of the fastest lot? You got to partake of the bananas, the gels and the cold drinks. I heard that without fail they ran out of this  years after years towards the latter part of the race. And of course it always nice to brag that you earn that finisher tee in a decent time than to have to admit that you walk the main part of it.

Anyway, all the best to everyone taking part. Prepare your race kit in advance. I have a friend who went for an oversea race, rode his motor cycle to the race start only to realise his bib was still in the hotel room! And I heard countless stories of chips coming loose. So make sure these are probably secured. Cut your toe nail. Too long toe nail may cut a hole in your socks. Sleep early and have a good fun race.

Happy racing!

An Apology – Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014

In my previous post, I made a claim that some people were taking a shorter route during the SCMS and included in the post were photographs of some individuals and their timing results. That post has attracted a lot of attention including calls from reporter and even a lawyer purporting to act for one of the individual in the post.
Since then, it has came to light that these individuals may have been diverted by the race organiser to take the shorter route. Below is the full statement from the SCMS. The link can be found here.

Public announcement about SCMS 2014 results

Spectrum Worldwide is aware of the online article referencing marathon (42.195km) runners who were photographed at Gardens By The Bay East during Sunday’s Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore.

To clarify, a number of diversion points were positioned along the marathon route. If any runners had not passed a diversion point by a specified time, they were diverted on to a shorter route towards the finish line. The diversion points were planned with the safety of runners in mind, as the closed roads had to be re-opened at a specific time in accordance with the requests of the authorities.

One of these diversion points was located at approximately the 13km mark of the marathon. From 7.30am, all marathon runners who had not crossed this point were diverted (removing the entire stretch of East Coast Park) and had their race distance reduced by approximately 17km. This diversion allowed them to comfortably reach Marina Barrage (35km) by about 8.15am where some may have been photographed in the referenced online article.

As highlighted on the official event website and handbook prior to the event, all participants who were diverted are still entitled to receive the Finisher’s T-shirt and Finisher’s Medal upon crossing the finish line. However, they will not receive the Finisher’s Certificate and their official race timings will not be recorded.

One of the reason why I wrote the earlier post is that as a regular runner in the local running scene, it irk me a lot to see runners who are totally not prepared attempting the full marathon. And everywhere there will be many people who do so just for the finisher tee and medal like the infamous incident last year. My intention was to highlight these incidents and hope that the running community as a whole can come together to condemn such behaviour and build a better running environment and community. In penning the post, never in my wildest dream would I ever think that the SCMS itself, the organiser of a Gold Label race will actually ask participants to take a “shorter” route. The correct practice adopted internationally I believe, is for participants who failed to meet the cut off to board the sweeper bus and not be allowed to take a shorter route to the finish line! I will address this again in a separate more detailed post in due course.
In any event, it appears that because of this, I have jumped to the wrong conclusion and wrongly accused these people. I know no words can take back what has been done but still I would like to offer my sincere apologies if the post has caused any one of these individuals any embarrassment. Nevertheless I have decided that the original post shall remain but with some amendments and the deletion of the photos and names. Hopefully, the post will generate more discussion on this issue and if it serves as a wake up call to running community at large to tackle this problem, the post will not be in vain.

Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014

Note: When I penned the below post last night, it was without the knowledge that the organiser of the SCMS had actually asked runners who failed to meet certain unspecified time at unannounced designated points, to be diverted to run a “shorter route”. Since the publication of my post and following media queries,  the organiser has made a public announcement on this here.

I would therefore like to offer my sincere apologies to the individuals who were included in the post below for any embarrassment that I have caused to them. While I have decided to keep the post, I have deleted the photos and any references to the identity of the individuals. I know no apologies or words can right whatever that has been done but once again I would like to tender my apology.

Well I was at the Garden by the Bay East on Sunday taking photos of the runners doing the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore. (SCMS). This was roughly at the 35 km part of the race. The first runners came by around 7 am roughly 2 hours after the flag off. Those were the elites. A rough back of the envelope calculation – the average 4 hours runners will reach this area around 8.20 am and indeed the 4 hours pacers came pass me at 8.19 am.
But way before that I had already noticed a very unique hi usual thing. As a regular runner and active photographer for the past years, I can recognise a fair number of the local runners who can do sub-4 and there aren’t really a lot of them here in Singapore. And even if I don’t recognise them, I can tell by the way they run that they are seasoned runners and used to that type of timing. But what was interesting this time was that I could see many unfamiliar faces and people who pardoned my saying so, do not look like runners who are capable of doing this type of timing. Now I know looks can be deceiving but it is kinda difficult to believe that these following people can run sub 4 marathon.

And more over as I came to find out later, runner with orange bib are self declared sub 5 hours runner and starts in a much later wave. So they couldn’t have been so fast to reach 35 km in just over 3 hours!

And true enough, my instinct was right. A quick search at the event site and these are their race splits. Looks like all of them skipped the distance between the 10 km checkpoint and the 30 km checkpoint slashing a cool 20 km off the total distance. 

And everyone seems to be doing it. Not just the not so athletic looking people but the young folks like this guy

And foreigners as well

And even the very athletic looking guys are doing it. The type that looks perfectly capable of doing this sort of timing but look at the splits

And there are more, too many for me to list them all here.

Looking at the splits, almost all of them turn off after the 10 km checkpoint which is somewhere around the  Sports Hub. I believe after coming out from that area, instead of going towards Fort Road and East Coast Park, they simply turned right on Tanjong Rhu to Garden by the Bay East and continue on from there. I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt that they got lost but I really really doubt it is the case. 
And again I like to think that the weather was too hot for them and they decided not to continue on but turned back. But they should then do the right thing and not cross the finish line but in all cases they did which leaves me with only one conclusion – they just want the finisher tee, medal and the bragging rights that come along with it and are not interested at all in completing the distance!
Me think it is high time race organiser takes steps to weed out these sort of behaviour. It is not good for a “gold class” event and a waste of resources and hinder the genuine runners. For starter, I think event organiser should stop giving away finisher tees at the finish line like  what many overseas races do. I am very sure that the event won’t be so attractive to the non-runners if there is no finisher tee for them to wear around town to show off. Race organiser should also ensure strict compliance of race rules and barriers and marshals should be deployed at vulnerable junctions and points along the routes to reduce such inAnd last but not least, get the timing system working properly so that their status is stated as DSQ and not “Finished”.

SCSM 2009 Pictures Memories

A little bit late but here are some memories of the SCSM 2009
Never let some silly little excuses stop you
Weight – no problem
Obese – no big deal
Leg pain. Get a walking stick
Wheel chair also can
Age? It’s all in the mind
Cannot see? Get a helper
How about this 2? Is one of them blind too?

This guy says it all

Please don’t cry

But if you must cry, a towel to dry your tears will be helpful

All in the family:

Ah Kong and Ah Ma?

Father and child

Husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend?
Hmm how did they do it?
1 FM and 1 HM and yet the twain met?
Some dancing to take the mind off the race

Thank God no armpit hair!

Ice cream on the mind?

No ice cream, shirt also can

Some air for the tummy

Unzip for the breast, umph sorry chest
Better still. Take it all off and cover the head as well
The ‘first’ local lady to cross the FM finish line!
Her time? Gun Time: 3:05:38 but unfortunately no prize for her
She DNQ big time

My apologies if anybody featured here is offended.

More photos here.

SCSM 2009

It was a cool, cloudy breezy morning. As I sat there, perched on a railing on Esplanade Bridge watching the initial runners come in, there was a small twinge of regret that I was not out there running in such nice weather. But then the human jam came and mayhem broke out not just for the runners especially the poor FM runners but even for us supporters as we tried valiantly to look out for known faces. It was frustrating trying to spot familiar faces and I can imagine even more so for the weary runners trying to weave in and out especially as they attempt to breach that last 200metres and hopefully get a PB or achieve the target.

So I was reminded again of why I choose to sit this out (aside from my laziness to train) and was contended enough to just soak in the atmosphere and take some pictures.

M who had originally also decided to sit this out with her loving hubby (ahem) was roped in as a last minute replacement for a friend who gave up on the HM. So poor loving hubby had to wake up early after all and go down early (original plan was to reach the padang at 7am). Found myself a good spot to watch the runners steaming in and sat there for 5 hours holding in the pee. Actually was quite tempted to just let go on some of the walkers below me ha ha but that would means I will end up having free lunch and possibly dinner so no choice but to tahan until most of friends have passed (if I could spot them in the first place).

Anyway, to all those who completed the race, whether it is 10k, HM or FM, whether you plod or run, your heart will thank you for it. Not too sure what your legs will said though but well done. Get a nice rest and see you next race.

Photos will be up by Wednesday (hopefully). Check back here.