TIME: 5h:29m:15s (gun) / 5h:25m:51s (net)
It was a wonderful experience to run my 2nd full marathon, and my first here in Singapore. I reached Singapore in the morning of Dec 01, the flight was delayed by an hour and I managed to reach the Race Entry Pack Collection counter at the Suntec City Convention Center only by 12:30 pm. By that time, the running group from Chennai (about 10-12 runners) had left, and whom I was expecting to meet there at 12:00.
After the BIB collection, I went to my place of stay, a small and cozy place called Sleepy Sam’s, located in the Arab road area near the Bugis MRT station. The place was full of backpackers from all around the world, and here I got to meet 4 runners also doing the marathon, 2 from Chennai (Shumit and Vidyuth), one from Malaysia (Subbramaniam), and there was one more guy from UK. I spent the rest of the day just resting and lazing around the nearby areas around Sam’s.
The morning of the run, we had to get up at 3:30 am since the race starts early at 5:30 am. It was still dark when we left by a taxi for the starting point, and where I got to meet the rest of the gang from Chennai. I was really amazed to see the way these guys organize the marathon there, with clockwork precision and efficiency. Everything was just perfect. It was not as colourful as we get to see here in Indian marathons where a lot of runners come out to have a party with all those flags and banners and costumes and stuff. In Singapore, it was more serious stuff, with events like 10K, 21K, 42K. The 10K was also probably about serious runners, it is a distance which needs more dedication than that required and shown by most of the 5K/6K runners here in India who come out to have a social outing and maybe some fitness walking instead of running.
The runners were organized at the starting line in batches with different target times. 6 hour runners were at the back, and ahead of them were the 5 hour, 4 hour runners, etc, all in different groups. This ensured that there was not too much of chaos at the start with people trying to overtake the slow runners ahead.
The race started in really good weather conditions, though it was humid. The first 30KM were really straightforward to run, I tried to maintain a pace of around 6:30 per km, and it worked well. However, the problems always come after the 30K mark, and thats when the running becomes difficult and thats when you have to run with your mind. By 33-34KM, my legs had done all the running they could do on this day, and then it was my mind which had to intervene on how to cover the remaining distance. I tried walking and then trying to run again. After some time, even this became a tough ask. I had to then stop, stretch a bit, lie down and get some sense back, and then run. This took me a few more kilometers. After this, even normal running became difficult and I went into an almost walking run, which was still giving me a pace of about 7:30/KM. Later, it became difficult to even continue with this, and as a last strategy, I started an ultra-fast walk and then some run sequence. This gave me a 8:30-9:00/KM pace. After reaching the 41KM mark, I gathered all the energy I had and ran the last 1.195KM to complete the run in a time of 5 hours 25 minutes.
The route throughout the race was fantastic. No flyovers, very beautiful all the way, through the business district, along the Singapore river, and along the various parks situated on the Singapore coastline. There was amazing crowd support, and support groups were there all through the way, even after 5 hours of race start. There were people ready with sprays and deep heat lotions at a lot of points, and I myself tried it a couple of times. Since it was not a loop course, we came to see the top runners in action, gliding through the air. In the latter part of the race, it did get a bit hot, but still nothing compared to what I have felt in Mumbai, the only other full marathon that I have run.
At the finishing line, I again met folks from Chennai. The medal collection was as smooth as anything else in Singapore, you just go and pick it, thats it. The finishers T-shirt is something to cherish, and the runner’s T-shirt which I got at BIB collection was also great, all Adidas. The medal was also a piece of art.
I am sure I will keep returning to this wonderful event year after year. It was fun.