Here is my race report for the final two races of 2016. For both races, I delayed the decision to register as late as possible, but still not late enough. In hindsight, given events immediately before each of these two races, I would not have registered for any of them.
Standard Chartered Marathon - 21 km
Unlike past years, this year the organizers were not able to get trains running before the race, so they arranged for shuttle buses instead. For the typical race, one single private hire bus is provided per pick-up location. However, due to the sheer scale of this race, each pick-up location actually required several SBS Transit double-decker buses. This sight is amazing. However, the buses deposited the runners at Orchard Road more than one hour ahead of the flag-off time, so I still prefer having train service if it is available.
This is the first time I started a race at Orchard Road. Previously, half marathons for Standard Chartered Marathon started at Sentosa. Also, instead of starting at 6:30 am, this year the organizers flagged off the half marathon and the full marathon together from 4:30 am onwards. I was in Pen D and we started at 4:45 am. Race wise, I thought I ran reasonably okay in the first 11 km, but subsequently fizzled out. At 18 km, one helpful volunteer informed that "the balloons are coming up behind you" and indeed they are right behind me. Then I pushed as hard as I can towards the finishing line, but still got overtaken by quite a number of people. Overall, I feel I ran a okay race, but not a very strong race.
In the weeks leading to the race, I was already fairly exhausted from work. And then right in the week before the race, but after I have registered for the race, I was asked to rush some last-minute work, so I was not able to get sufficient rest before the race. While registering, I had a hard time deciding whether to register for Pen C (less than 02:00) or Pen D (less than 02:30), as I anticipated two hours plus or minus due to the less than ideal body condition. Although I eventually ran less than two hours, which meant that I should have registered for Pen C, but it turned out that it was a good idea to register for Pen D, since the two hour pacers are located right at the start of Pen D, and for this particular race the pacers are extremely helpful in allowing me to get a timing of less than two hours.
This race is the most expensive race I have taken part in, but it is pretty well organized. There are sufficient hydration points along the way, and the route is sufficiently wide enough for the most part. One interesting aspect of the race is that the half marathon runners are segregated from the full marathon runners from after East Coast Park where the full marathon route rejoins the half marathon route. Another nice touch is in the area just before East Coast Park, very prominent signage is provided to inform full marathoners that their route will split from the half marathoners over a very long distance of several hundred meters long, and on top of the signs the information is actually painted on the road itself. However, part of the route in the Gardens by the Bay East is very dark with insufficient lighting given.
Net time: 01:58:54 (Overall: 501/9313, Category: 172/2415, Gender: 446/6409)
Gun time: 02:12:23 (Overall: 632/9313, Category: 212/2415, Gender: 550/6409)
Split 1 (5km): 00:27:12
Split 2 (10km): 00:29:03
Split 3 (13.2km): 00:21:52
Split 4 (18.9km): 00:29:09
Split 5 (21.1km): 00:11:36
It appears that half marathons in Standard Chartered Marathon have their actual distances greater than the stated distance. The result is not a personal best, but as this one seems to be a few hundred metres more than 21.1 km, so this seems like a reasonable sub two hour timing.
The Performance Series, Race 5 - 10 km
On the morning of 2016 December 18, two reece troopers had a little run down the memory lane of Exercise Long Walk that they participated in 16 or 17 years ago. This event is the 5th and final race in The Performance Series, a 10 km run in the Neo Tiew area from Sungei Buloh and up to and including Lim Chu Kang Road opposite Bahtera track. This area is very close to the end point of our particular Exercise Long Walk.
The race start was delayed from 6:30 am to 7:05 am due to rain. But the effect is good, because the race took part in totally bright yet cool conditions. The race itself went through beautiful and very open rural locations where we typically very rarely visit; my last visit to this part of Neo Tiew was exactly 16 or 17 years ago during the Long Walk. The parts of the route along Neo Tiew Road was incredibly narrow with only one vehicular lane available for the run, but the modulus operandi of The Performance Series appears to be sacrificing things like route width for experience in exotic locations. The theme of this race is Farm, which I find a slight overstatement as we did not enter any farms at all.
My phone battery went flat halfway through the race, most probably because I took too many photos before and during the run. I have no personal timing, but I saw a net time of less than 1 hour 2 minute. For this race was positioned at the back of the wave, I did not push myself very hard, and it is good enough given that I was on MC for two days in the preceding week - my recovery was faster than anticipated.
After the race, I lingered around in Gardenasia, the event site for the race. Had a meal at the bistro in Gardenasia in a beautiful setting, although I don't consider the breakfast set value for money for the food and service level rendered. Instead of joining the extremely long queue for the shuttle buses back to Kranji, I chose to do a fairly quick stroll in most of Sungei Buloh and departed the area around noon time near the Kranji dam, to end a satisfying morning.
* Exercise Long Walk was one of the most grueling aspect of my entire national service. For our batch, we walked in full battle order in team level for perhaps about 40 kilometers as one of the highlights of the reece trooper course - this distance was already considered a watered down version when we did it in the 1990s. I no longer remember where we started - most probably Mandai - but I do recall that walking alongside the KTM tracks up to Sungei Kudat, cross the Kranji dam, going through the Neo Tiew area and finally ending at Jalan Bahtera. Figuratively, we almost died from the very long walk. These days, I heard that the Long Walk is held entirely within the Lim Chu Kang training area. The distance is shorter but probably also incredibly boring.
Net time: 00:59:04 (355/1520)
Gun time: 01:01:37 (322/1520)
Split 1 (3.4 km): 00:20:06
Split 2 (7.3 km): 00:22:39
Net time wise, this is my slowest 10 km race for 2016.