Held in a "kampong style" friendly atmosphere, the MacRitchie Runners25 (MR25) Ultra Marathon has been organised by MR25 as a non-profit event for 30 years, and has gained in stature to become a must-attend event for ultra marathoners in the region.
It’s mental. If you weren’t a participant of the MR25 Ultra Marathon, try imagining yourself running to a clock instead of a fixed distance mapped out; a different type of race requiring a different type of strategy.
Let’s take the recent Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore for example. Before flag-off, you’d have specific time milestones to reach at various checkpoints leading up to the final “burst” near the FINISH line. Not so with the MR25 Ultra Marathon.
Think of it as a sumptuous buffet spread. You look at all that food initially and immediately fall prey to an inner strain of overconfidence, thinking you’ve got a bottomless pit to fill. Then as you go on feasting, you find that “pleasure” meter succumbing to the pulls of gravity. (By now, you’d already be able to draw some parallels to the race.) You get fired up at the START line with ambitious targets – say 10 laps times 10.2 kilometres in 12 hours. Fatigue sets in halfway, you begin to doubt yourself, and the temptation of lowering those personal standards seems all too enticing. And that’s not even taking into account the thunderous monsoon showers pouring from mid-day till four to five in the late afternoon.
“Look man, the race was great. Everyone had a lot of heart cheering for each other, even when the elites were passing them, both parties constantly encouraged each other,” says Ford Lim, 24, Teacher. “I came in 10th for the 50km, if not for the brilliant atmosphere, it’d have been boring doing laps.”
There were some who chose to complete the minimum five laps to qualify for the 2XU finisher vest and certificate while others stuck it out till the end for the entire 12-hour stretch. All were winners in our opinion, having to brave the rough undulating trails and unforgiving rain surrounded by chilly vegetation.
Another encouraging sight was the presence of a few first timers seeking challenge.
“First time, just to break my limit of the 42 (marathon). Minimum five loops but I’m targeting around seven loops which is 70km.” shares Max Yeong, 28, IT Engineer.
Tan Kheng Leong, a Manager, also had this to say when asked whether it was his first MR25 Ultra Marathon “Yup for this event, yes. Just to test my endurance. I try to complete five laps. I took part in marathons for around 22 times already. This is the 23rd. This is the third one (ultra marathon). Previously, I did it in the year 2008 and 2009 under The North Face 100. Last year I didn’t ‘cos my buddy’s not available.”
Of the 300 runners who participated, RunSociety would like to congratulate Stuart Mclay and Quek Ai Ling, respective winners of the Men’s and Women’s category. Mclay did ten laps in a time of 11hrs 28min 20sec. Quek, on the other hand, finished eight laps in 10hrs 55min 58sec.
Well, that’s it for the 2011 race calendar. 2012 awaits...
- Stuart McLay - 10 laps - 11hrs 28min 20sec
- Sia Chuan Han - 9 laps - 10hrs 44min 58sec
- Henry Yang Yee Meng - 9 laps - 11hrs 09min 20sec
- Shamshul Bin Eman - 9 laps - 11hrs 14min 24sec
- Dmitry Lysenko - 9 laps - 11hrs 15min 55sec
- Yong Yuen Cheng - 9 laps - 11hrs 26min 32sec
- Freddy Yeoh - 8 laps - 10hrs 13min 26sec
- Swee Hsien Ming - 8 laps - 10hrs 15min 27sec
- David Loader - 8 laps - 10hrs 19min 26sec
- Chan Kwang Mien - 8 laps - 11hrs 05min 18sec
- Quek Ai Ling - 8 laps - 10hrs 55min 58sec
- Neo Lay Peng - 8 laps - 11hrs 54min 07sec
- Mika Kume - 7 laps - 10hrs 12min 15sec
- Jacqueline Tan - 7 laps - 10hrs 26min 26sec
- Aileen Ho - 7 laps - 10hrs 28min 08sec
- Jasmine Goh Mei Ling - 7 laps - 10hrs 53min 59sec
- Janelle Seet - 7 laps - 11hrs 04min 35sec
- Chen Mingming - 7 laps - 11hrs 24min 30sec
- Wong Mee Yoong - 6 laps - 11hrs 42min 40sec
- Marie Leautey - 5 laps - 06hrs 43min 00sec