We made two stops, one for coffee (mandatory for me
as the careful driver) and the second for lunch at Kentucky
Fried Chicken, just before we reached the immigration
point. We met Teresa Goh, our 65 years senior veteran
from PACM and her family there. She ran the full marathon
at Bangkok the week earlier. She told us she may not
run the next morning but just treat the trip as a holiday…….incredible
lady. I have high respect for her as I have for Uncle
Hooi Siew Weng, our 70 years old senior veteran who
also ran the Bangkok Marathon last Sunday.
After lunch and some fruits shopping (bananas a compulsory
item), we left for Singapore. It was a smooth drive
all the way from the custom checkpoint, Ayer Rajah Expressway,
and East Coast Park Expressway and finally turning into
the City Center using the Rochor Road. I appeared like
a regular Singapore visitor and got into Mandarin Marina
without missing a single turn. This speaks volume for
the clarity of signage in the Singapore Road System.
Going to Singapore once a year always gives me a sense
to feel about what to expect in a first world country
standards in everything we experience. I suppose this
is one way we could improve, always expose to higher
standards and emulate them.
After checking into the hotel, Clara and I went for
a walk to look for the church, the Cathedral of the
Good Shepherd at Victoria Street to check out the service
time on Sunday. As a devoted Catholic, Clara seldom
misses church even during holidays. Across the church
is a charming eating and drinking joint, the Chijmes.
The place was previously a school operated by the Cathedral
of the Good Shepherd. It is now a prized piece of rented
property and has retained most of the cathedral charm.
I think I should make an effort to eat there the next
time I visit Singapore.
Weng Moon, Chua Keng Huat & Wan Yew Leong
posing in front of the winners' rostrum the eve
of the run
Yew Leong and Clara at the eve of the run at the
As Chai and Chua want some hawkers fare at the Esplanade,
we went for an early dinner after checking out the race
venue. I was trying to imagine, what would go through
my mind on the eve of the big race if I am the Race
Director of a 31,000 runner event! I recall even as
the race Director for the 1,500 runner New Balance Pacesetters
15km 2006 got me all worked up. I am so glad I am competing
and not managing.
I had never done well at the Standard Chartered Singapore
Marathon after 3 outings since 2003. I have always found
it a challenge to run in a large crowd as I got boxed
in by the slower runners in previous years. Well! I
am not fast but in Singapore, I am considered quite
fast as I achieved 21 percentile in the 2005 run. A
caveat here is that most of the better runners went
for the full marathon and left the half marathon to
the novices. I have a game plan this year, I shall un-shamefully
stand as close to the start line as permitted to avoid
getting boxed in again. Chua, Chai and I are all doing
the half marathon while Clara did the 10km. We met Dr
Liew and Uncle Hooi at the start line after the 9,000
plus marathon runners went off. I must say, this is
the biggest run event I have ever taken part in (31,000
registered runners), much larger than the Sydney Marathon
I did in 2004. It is probably the largest run event
in the region, probably surpassed the Hongkong Marathon.
This year the organizer made a slight change to the
starting time for the 10km run, 7.00am for the men and
7.30am for the women.
|It was a good decision
as the 4 packs are quite evenly spread out; 9,000
plus marathon runners, 6,000 plus half marathon
runners, 5,000 each for the men and women 10km.
About one km after the start I had good space to
run, quite unlike last year when I was boxed in
for most of the race. Running the half marathon
has a distinct advantage, we get to run in opposite
direction with the leading pack at one stage of
the race. It is such a pleasure to see how effortless
these world class runners run. To save time, I decided
I would only drink at the stations with 100PLUS,
every 4km from the 6km onwards. At every km I checked
my time and I was running slightly below 6mins per
km. At the 10km mark, it was 58 mins…..good, a fair
chance to run under 2hrs 6mins. I had never done
negative split time in recent years and I tend to
slow down after 15km. The run went well till we
met the 10km runners when they did their U-turn.
The next 3km towards Esplande was more difficult
with more runners sharing the road. I was so glad
when we reached the Esplande when the 10km runners
went a different way to finish. Now I need to focus
to complete the balance 6km and see if I could run
my best time in Singapore.
Wan just before unleashing his finishing kick
As I got closer to the finish line I was more optimistic.
The weather was beautiful, cloudy and cooling with some
wind; almost perfect conditions. When I saw the bridge,
I knew it was within one km to go, I did what a seasoned
runner would do, went all out to beat the 2hr 6mins
mark. I crossed the line, clocking 2 hrs 5 mins 41secs
(unofficial time). I was overjoyed and I have still
not erased the time from my watch after nearly 3 weeks.
My Race Observations – Great Atmosphere
I have preplanned my post race schedule as I was very
confident of my timing. I told Clara to meet me at the
hotel at 9.00am if she does not see me at the finish
area as I should finish my run by 8.40am. Indeed we
kept to our time. She did 1hr 18mins ie she came back
by 8.50am but I could not spot her due to the large
crowd of 5,000 women 10km runners. We reached our hotel
at 9.00am, minutes apart. A good warm shower and some
clean comfortable clothing and we have a hearty breakfast
at the nearby food court. At 10.00am, she was off to
the church and I returned to the finish area to watch
the PACM members completing the full marathon. It was
4 hours from their start at 6.00am and they should be
trotting in over the next 2 hours.
The atmosphere was not different from when I left the
area at 9.00am. The two professional DJs were happily
commenting on the event with one at the control area
with a laptop while another one by the name of Ross
at the last 50m urging the runners to move on to finish.
On some occasions he even paced them to the finish line.
Shortly after 10.00am, the Seven Eleven Kids Dash (800m)
took off with the kids and their parents running towards
the finish line. It was quite a lovely sight and I captured
a few shots that I post in the web. It is a great idea
to have this side event and 10.00am is ideal as the
parent who did their 10km or 21km are usually back by
then to accompany the kids. Otherwise they ran with
their parents who did not compete in the main event.
I hope our KL International Marathon could incorporate
this kids event to bring in some family participation.
The kids having a whale of a
time in the Seven Eleven Kids Dash
This year I notice the cheering teams were missing
along the 21km route. However, upon checking the pictures
taken by other cameramen of PACM, I saw a few teams
but fewer than previous years. In overseas races this
is an important feature to bring the community to support
the event. Some even have marching bands performing
at different stages of the race.
The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon has got closer
to world standard with 31,000 registrations (New York
has 37,000 but all full marathon). There would be little
room to make it much bigger, perhaps a cap of 35,000
would be appropriate. This year with 26,000 actually
ran, the support services (especially the drinks stations)
were able to coop.
I am W, What are you?
Casino Royale, the highly acclaimed James Bond movie
is raking good tickets sale and for the Bond movie’s
followers, you will remember M, the gadget expert. Having
done a personal best on the Singapore route after 4
attempts and the best timing for the year, I look forward
to the update on the website to confirm my timing that
I recorded on my watch of 2hrs 5mins 41secs. By Tuesday,
5th December 2006, the results were loaded on. Competitor
11939 completed with a chip time of 2hrs 5mins 44secs
is a Malaysian Male with the name of W. I was quite
upset and immediate emailed the organizer for a correction.
A Mr. Kelvin replied and after 3 exchanges of email,
he finally understood what I needed. However, at the
time of writing this article, it still has not been
rectified. Well! At the moment I only have my bib and
a picture of me at the finish line at www.marathon-photo.com
, if my friends query my finishing time. However, credit
must be given to the organizer whereby each runner’s
performance was analyzed, a 3 pages print out. I recorded
a 15 percentile, my highest ever in an event. Again
I must stress here that most of the better runners opted
for the 42km event.
This year I completed 3 Half Marathons, the other two
were the Kuala Lumpur International Marathon and the
Putra Jaya International Marathon, I have achieved consistency
with the fastest and slowest time within a band of 50
seconds. I look forward to 2007 with better consistency,
although realistically I should expect a slower time.
2007 Running Calendar
We have got the second edition of the running calendar
issued by FTAAA which Jamie has updated
to the website. My next event is the Great Eastern
Pacesetters 30km 2007 on 21st January 2007 that I am
doing the 20km. In the meantime, I look forward to the
11 days leave I am going to enjoy from tomorrow. There
will be plenty of merry making with family / friends
and Christmas Caroling. I shall share this experience
in another article that is brewing in my mind…….something
about exploring life outside your mainstream activity.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.