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Monday, September 22, 2014

SAFRA Singapore Bay Run - 31 August 2014 - 10K

I must admit that I was initially intimidated by the fact that this race was jointly organized by the Singapore Armed Forces and SAFRA - which meant that it would be filled with tens of thousands of their able-bodied, testosterone-filled enlisted and reservist soldiers.  Now, it's not like I harboured any grand illusions that I was going to sprint miles ahead of them, but dear God, I didn't want to be dead last either - staggering to the finish line only to find everyone long gone including the volunteers and ubiquitous road sweepers.

It turned out, however, to be so nothing like that.  In fact, it was one of those rare races where the majority of participants walked almost the entire way, and at selected points, even took shortcuts as if they were not in a race at all.  Heck, I even finished ahead of more than 1000 racers...a pretty good result especially considering I'm used to being routinely overtaken by septuagenarians (Okinawa was an especially humbling experience in this regard.) But of all this I had no idea when I got to the starting point on the Esplanade bridge at the crack of dawn (with my visiting parents in tow as cheerleaders.)


I did, however, have an inkling that things were going to be little off, even before the start time of 7 a.m.  For the very first time in my short racing history, we were flagged off about 10 minutes after our designated time because of the startling fact that the local politician who was to do the honours, was tardy.  Yes, he was late.  As in, not on time.  This is especially galling since we're talking about Singapore here; I mean, not once in the other races in which I've participated have had this happen before.  And this was not just some neighbourhood fun run either; this race was organized by the nation's army and SAFRA.  And the guy flagging us off had an issue with punctuality. 

More waiting

And we're off!

This is the scene just after our 1km mark which was where I saw several groups of young National Service (NS) men taking their first shortcut through the Lau Pa Sat food centre.  Or rather, they tried to, but one of the exits was blocked and they had to do the run of shame back to where they'd cut in.  Unbelievable.

At the 3km mark just in front of Marina Bay Sands looking back at the city skyline bathed in the morning rays.

Slowing down the pace

The route was not ideal as there was a whole lot of bottlenecking going on at various points.  The first was at the steps to the east of Marina Bay Sands heading towards Helix Bridge, and again, under the Nicoll Highway bridge.

The only interesting part of the course was to get to run on part of the same track allocated to the F1 Grand Prix which would be held three weeks later.

This was the section where I saw dozens of young men (and a few young women) blithely shaving off almost two kilometers by cutting across the grass "divider" to join the crowd running back towards the finishing point.  Dishonest, much?

Medics on standby

Glad my jet-lagged parents were there to see Charles and me off at dawn, and to cheer us at the finish line.

The only thing that was above and beyond my other races was the post-event comprehensive stats on how I did in my run - see below pictures.  It's neat to know where I stood in relation to the other segmented runners, and even where I was when the winner was declared (not surprisingly, I was only a third way of the way through when that happened.)  But overall, I gotta say that the race was a bit of a disappointing dud.  A late start combined with severe chokepoints and downright cheating unfortunately made this Singapore Bay Run definitely not one to be recommended or repeated.


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