Monday, December 05, 2005

Singapore Marathon 2005

Smooth drive

My wife and I picked up Lim at 3pm. Traffic was fine all the way to Johor. We stopped at City Square for dinner and also managed to pick up some items from the Watsons store. By the time we left City Sqaure, it was almost 9pm.

We cleared both immigrations quite quickly, and stopped over at the Autopass office to purchase the card. I was very impressed with the efficiency of the staff and how quickly everything was processed.

Getting lost

Now we hadn’t picked up a map before arriving into Singapore. Both Lim and I were ‘wrongfully’ confident that it could not be that difficult for us to find the way into the city and oh boy, were we proven wrong.

After driving for 2 hours, we still had not found River Valley Road, where the apartment was located. No matter how many people we asked for directions, everyone seemed to have their own idea of where the street was located.

After driving all over Singapore and even reaching the airport, we managed to get ourselves into the city. With River Valley Road nowhere in sight, Lim hopped into a taxi and I followed the driver. Thankfully the apartment was just 5 minutes from where we had picked up the taxi. By the time we reached the apartment it was almost midnight.


Saturday morning came too quickly. From the dissected city map I had managed to get from the Internet before I left, Lim and I managed to find our way to City Hall. We were quite happy when we realized that the apartment was just 5 minutes away from the race site and also Peninsula hotel where our friends were staying.

After meeting Wong (Pacesetter member from Klang) and collecting Lim’s bib, we went back to the apartment to pick up Chiew Chin. We had our breakfast in a nearby Hainanese restaurant and headed back into the city. Raffles City mall was a strategic place to park the car since it is walking distance from the Marathon expo.

We headed to the expo where I collected my bib, vest and goodie bag. My wife and I left Lim at the expo and headed back to Raffles mall for some shopping. On the way back we met Jamie (pm5) who had just arrived in Singapore and was heading to the expo.

We drove back to the apartment around 4.30pm to rest before meeting Jamie and some other friends for dinner near their hotel. Lim came back an hour later and decided not to join us. He wanted to rest for the big day ahead.

Later we caught a bus and managed to get to ‘PastaMania’ at 7pm. Almost everyone was already there. Jamie introduced me to some of the others. I met Jason Lim, Kelvin and Rohaizad for the first time. I also met Justin and his wife (they arrived later) for the first time. It was a quick dinner, since everyone had plans for the evening… but nevertheless it was still good to meet more of the gang finally.

My wife and I took the MRT to Orchard Road for more window-shopping. We were pleasantly surprised to see that the Christmas decorations were already up and the street was beautiful! Needless to say it was crowded as well, and traffic on the road was at a standstill.

After picking up some toys for Nick and just strolling down the street, we decided to head back. With the long taxi queues and heavy traffic, we hopped onto the MRT to Sommerset station and walked back to the apartment from there. It took us 30 minutes to walk back, and I realized later that all the walking I had done for the day was probably not going to do me any good for the race!

Wife and I enjoying our first view of the beautiful Orchard Road decorations

I should be in bed by now...but I can't leave just yet!

The tallest and most lit Christmas tree on Orchard Road

Race day

Lim woke me up at 4.15, and I was really reluctant to get up having slept at only 1am. We managed to get ready and drove out by 4.50am. I had decided to park the car at Raffles City since the charges was only $2 for the first 4 hours. On the way there we met Ms. Leong and her husband John at one of the traffic lights.

After parking the car, we followed the crowd to the padang for Lim to deposit his bag. I had left mine in the car since I would be going back after my race. Toilet visits were made and we then headed to the starting point. Soon after we arrived, the full marathoners were asked to get into the pen. I wished Lim luck and moved to the front of the starting line to get a better view of how such a big race would be managed.

I spend the next hour just sitting around and observing different groups of people get ready for their race. I really did not want to figure out at that point how such a big crowd was going to run together. Once the half marathoners had mostly left, the 10k runners started moving into the pen. I followed suit and positioned myself right in front, just 3 feet from the starting arch. I did not want to have to battle with the other 9000 runners in the 10k right from the beginning.

A slow race

We were allowed to start at exactly 7am. The first 5k were pretty uneventful and I was running at quite a decent race pace. While running I realized that the distance markers were very accurate. What surprised me was the first water station which was located so early at the 3km mark. I grabbed a bottle and took a few gulps of water while still running.

A few minutes later I heard someone calling out my name and saw Lim running with John on the opposite side of the road. I waved back and cheered them on. Later someone else called out my name, and this time it was Kenneth (pm20). At the 5k mark I made the u-turn and almost immediately had to slow down since we now had merged with the other thousands of runners who were running the full and half marathons.

When I had passed the 5k marker, my watch showed 26m27s. I was happy with this timing as it meant that if I pushed a little harder I could still achieve a PR. However this was not meant to be, as with the new crowd we had now joined after making the u-turn, I had to slow down quite a bit to avoid any collision.

I ran the rest of the race at a comfortable pace, pushing forward whenever I saw any open space. I skipped the next two water stations, and in the last two kilometers I was starting to feel really thirsty. The sun had come up and was already starting to heat things up. I wondered at that point how the full marathoners were going to cope with the heat that day.

After passing the 9km marker, instead of pushing harder as per my race plan, I felt lazy and just maintained a steady pace. I did a little sprint at the last 100m and crossed the finish line with the clock showing 54m13s. I just checked the official results online today and it showed me the following statistics.

Gun time: 54m:17s

Chip time: 54m:11s

Placing in the entire field: 315th place with 6531 finishers behind. About 5% of finishers ahead

Placing in Gender (Male): 260th place with 3465 finishers behind. About 7% of finishers ahead

Placing in Division (Men from Malaysia): 12th place with 253 finishers behind. About 4% of finishers ahead

The Veteran

The Novice

Race Summary

I did not stay back after completing the race. I was just too tired, so I went straight back to the apartment and slept for a few hours to refresh myself for the drive back. Lim called me later and he had completed in 6h28m. I was happy for him, since his target was just to finish the race because he had not completed the KLIM this year.

Overall I think this event was extremely well organized, considering the number of participants it had. I am not sure if I will go back again next year as I do not really enjoy running in large crowds. The medal is a nice medal. I would however like to note that the organizer should not have given a poorer quality vest for 10k runners since the registration fee is the same as the other race categories.

On my personal performance, I feel the need to strengthen my legs with more speedwork and hill training. I don’t have any high personal targets set for me to achieve, since I would like to enjoy my running and not make it into a medal hunt like I’ve seen some runners do. However it wouldn’t do me justice to sit back and be complacent either. Next race…Mizuno 10k!

1 comment:

kienboon said...

Try get use to running in crowd mah.. Resonant of a thousand deodorant explicit.. Too bad u had sold ur Ipaq else can borrow u the gps.. very good the gps map in sg. Congrats dude..