Running 15 km in Singapore

After participating in some runs in Rome, I was curious to find out how it would be to run in Singapore. Can you believe that I haven’t?

So I looked through this very useful website that lists the running events in Singapore. At that point of time, it was fasting month then so I didn’t want to exert myself so I didn’t go running regularly. Nevertheless, I was rather ambitious and chose the 15k CSC Run by the bay.

For some inexplicable reason, I decided to wait till the last day to register, thinking confidently that I would be able to sign up before midnight, SG Time. Technically, it is not wrong after all but to my horror, I found the sign up page closed!

So to console ourselves, my best friend Juli and I decided to sign up for the ’10k Love your heart run’ instead. To be honest, I am not so keen on supporting Nestlè, which is the main sponsor. But this is a dominating brand in Singapore, so it’s hard to avoid it. Moreover quite a generous amount of money ($1 SGD each KM ran) will be donated to the Singapore Heart Foundation.

The funny bit is, a day later I received an email from the organizers for the CSC Run allowing me to participate using a special code. I wrote to them a couple of days prior, asking if there was anything that I could have done, not expecting that they would reply to me.

So what the heck, why not? I joined that one too. Two races in consecutive weekends!

By the way Juli was surprised to see that the registration fee was about $40 SGD. But for me, after participating in events in Rome, I think the amount is actually quite reasonable considering that you don’t need to go through extra steps like getting a specialist medical certificate which costs a lot of money, and being a member of a sports association, which costs a bit too.

(At this point of time, I’m still considering if I want to participate in the Maratona di Roma or the likes next year. While I’m interested, for sure it’s going to cost at least another 100 euro and I’m balking at the thought of that)

A week before the race, as I still have not arrived in Singapore yet, Juli picked the race pack up for me. It was surprisingly heavy!

There is a t-shirt, some cereal, powdered milk, a pack of milo, a mini cetaphil facial set and some pertinent information regarding the race.

It came in a cute exercise bag that I’d be happy to use out.

One touch that I really liked was that the race bibs came individually packed with 4 safety pins. I find it extremely thoughtful as I’d usually be scrambling to find safety pins before a race so it’s nice to see it already packed for me.

The moment I reached Singapore, I didn’t waste time and did some running on my own to start my engines going again at the beautiful Lakeside. I did a video about it here, but loads has changed since.

One day prior to the race, Juli and I made plans to meet at the MRT interchange at 5.30am. But she got sick on the day itself and couldn’t risk even going out of the house. Poor thing! 🙁

Thus I went ahead on my own, and eventually reached the Raffles Place MRT station and saw a conglomeration of people wearing the same kind of t-shirt as I did. Which was a good sign, as I didn’t really know the path to the start point, so basically I just followed the crowd. But it would be bad if we were all following a clueless person.

The sun was just about to rise when I left the MRT station. It’s so beautiful to see the light breaking over the tall buildings in Marina Bay. The three tower with the ship looking thing on top is fast becoming an icon in Singapore.

I managed to reach the starting point in time, with about 10 minutes extra as they did a mass warm up. From where I was, I couldn’t see the host, so it was hard to understand his instructions.

There were about 2 thousand of us participating, all raring to go. Looking around, I saw a modest amount of international participants. After a short speech by the guest of honour, we were off!

The scenery looked quite pretty, running through the bay and the park, seeing all the new sights that I’ve never seen before, with the sun just starting to rise over the water and through the buildings.

To be honest, the run went rather leisurely. Except  the one part where we had to run up a steep ramp which was tiring.

There was a strange man who was running with us, and brought with him a portable radio and blasted Britney Spears songs and tried to cajole us into singing with him. Such an eccentric character.

I admired the shoes of some of the participants – one in particular, when he lifts his feet up, the sole looked sort of like monster paw print. If I’m not wrong, I think they are Newton Shoes. The soles look pretty cool.

Eventually I  finished my run in 1 hr 8 mins, and found out that I’m top 100 in the women’s category! But it’s not so impressive considering that there were only about 400 female participants that day :p

I got my medal, got some refreshments and then contemplated on taking a long, scenic bus ride home. I was perspiring profusely though and it felt wrong for me to pollute a bus like that.

But on hindsight, I should have. It’s not like I am back in Singapore that frequently.

For the next run, I collected my race pack at the Civil Service Club. Within just a few minutes of exploring the place, I was floored at how beautiful and lush the place looked. I think there were 5 floors, fully fixed with different sports facilities – there is a gym, a pool, bowling … A SPA! Part of me wishes that I was in the civil force if I can get to enjoy perks like these.

While collecting my race pack, I really liked how professional and organized it was. Unlike in Rome where you were forced to walk through an insane amount of booths, I just walked up to the counter which was just a few steps from the entrance and they passed me my race pack. No fuss. I didn’t feel hounded to see any organizer’s display booth.

By chance there was a booth showcasing a physiotherapy company where I stopped by and learnt a lot of interesting things. I think that I’ll blog about that in the future as I think it’s a useful thing to know for runners.

I forgot to take a picture of my race pack, so here is my bib instead :p

Just like for my previous run, I really liked how it was thoughtfully packed complete with the safety pins inside. Behind, there is a timing chip, made of soft plastic that you can keep after the race.

For our race packs, we each got a Mizuno singlet, a bodyfoam and facial wash, and a muscle rub. Not as much freebies as my previous runs, but oh well. Less baggage to carry back to Rome.

On the day itself, I woke up really early.  As public busses are very irregular and because the MRT starts its run only at 5.30am, I walked all the way to the MRT startion. Nevertheless, I knew I wouldn’t be in time anyway as it takes a good amount of time to reach Marina Bay.

In the end, I reached there about 15 minutes late and searched for the start point and ran off immediately! Luckily I try to always travel light when I run so there will be no need to deposit my bag and whatnots.

We ran around Marina Bay Sands. It was more or less the same route as my previous run, but with the addition of a park path and a bit of the roadside.

I was a little nervous doing this rather long run quite a short time after my month of fasting.  Moreover, I just changed to my new minimus shoes that week. But at the back of my mind, I knew I can do it.

The amazing thing in all my duration of running while in Singapore, I didn’t encounter any pain whatsoever. I expected sore thighs I usually get after going long distances. But the next day itself, I flew off to Langkawi like nothing happened.

It was only when I tried to do the same when I came back to Rome, the knee acted up again. What on earth did I do differently?!

Something interesting I observed about the runners during the run. While we were at the water stations, a lot of them kept holding the cups even when it was empty. They seemed afraid to throw them on the floor and continued running that way, till they found a bin or a big plastic bag. I was so amused. Is this a Singaporean trait? I just threw mine on the ground.

Even though I arrived at the starting point late, I was happy to find out that I finished with a good amount of people behind me. I don’t really care about timings, just as long as I’m not the last.

While it was 5km longer,  it wasn’t as bad as I thought what could happen. The only small discomfort was that it started to get quite uncomfortably hot as 9 am approached. I was completely soaked by the time I reached the finishing line.

And here is my medal!

I’ve got quite a few medals now. I was telling Cartcart that if I get enough of them, I could hang them as a decoration on a tree or something.

Something odd that I thought, was that when we finished our run, instead of having our medals put on us, it was just handed to us instead, wrapped in plastic. No handshake, no pats. It’s not a big deal, but it seems kind of colder somewhat. But that’s to be expected with our reserved Asian culture I suppose.

After lounging around with fellow runners, I headed back home, utterly sweaty and disgusting but happy and contented with the runner’s high. @ CSC Run by the bay, Singapore

All in all I really did quite enjoy my experience in both races and I don’t mind participating in one again if I am back in Singapore.

Perhaps a halfie … or even a full marathon if I’m feeling ambitious enough!

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