MacRitchie Reservoir is one of the most popular running spots in Singapore. A nature reserve in the heart of Singapore’s Central Catchment Area, it is home to plenty of wildlife and is the most accessible trail running spot in Singapore.

Recently, the Population White paper was published and one of the development plans was to build an MRT line across MacRitchie. As an avid runner and nature lover, I decided to write this piece to call for more awareness of how precious this 2 square kilometers of nature left in Singapore is, and why it should be left undisturbed.

Reasons Why Runners Love MacRitchie

1. Food For The Mind And Soul

In a concrete jungle with ever quickening pace, MacRitchie is one of the trails left in Singapore that offers runners relaxation for the mind when running. Running the trails is one of those hard-to-come-by experiences in the fast-paced Singapore lifestyle where you can easily feel some distance from the buzzling of the city; like you are embarking on a mini adventure, even if you have ran the same path multiple times.

Each footstep in the trail is always different, and you have to always focus on your next step to prevent yourself from accidentally tripping. The exhilaration from trail runs and massive release of stress, though simple, is hard to replace and cannot be found in road running.

Photo credit: 123rf

Surrounded by nature, MacRitchie is also food for the soul, and a place where people experience an intimate spiritual connection with Mother Earth. Running in MacRitchie makes the whole simplistic, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other exercise an even rawer and purer experience, bringing each runner back to his/her roots through the energy of the forest.

2. Beautiful Scenery And Wildlife

MacRitchie is also home to a great hiking trail called the TreeTop Walk, where you can see one of the most beautiful sunsets in Singapore. Personally, I find the experience of going into the forest for a run and then coming out of it, exhausted, and to a magnificent sunset, an extremely rewarding one.

Photo credit: Liz

When not running, one can also enjoy the company of wildlife, if you have eyes sharp enough to spot them. Unknown to many, MacRitchie is actually home to some of the world’s rarest animals, including the Sumatran flying lemurs, slow lorises, grey headed fish eagle, blue eared kingfishers, and many more.

3. A Great Training Ground

MacRitchie, one of the few trails left in Singapore, is also a great training ground. Trail running has also been proven to minimize injuries as the running surfaces are much softer than asphalt or concrete, and hence minimizes the impact on knees and lower legs. At the same time, the soft terrain strengthens the muscles usually not activated during road running and stabilizes the core and the lower leg.

Photo credit: 123rf

Another great thing about trail running is that it also alters your gait and forces you to take shorter strides at a faster turnover, mainly due to the undulating path. Over time, this results in a less energy taxing and more efficient running form.

Another reason why runners flock to MacRitchie is that it caters to the many different needs of my training. With options of 5km, 8km, 10km and 11km routes to choose from, one can easily mix and match to get routes of other distances as well.

4. Friendly Smiles From Fellow Runners

Lastly, what makes MacRitchie Reservoir really special is its people. Located at the central, it is a common gathering point for runners and nature lovers.

Unless you’re running in the middle of the day, where you will get to enjoy the tranquillity of the forest by yourself, you are bound to bump into like-minded trail lovers, often so energized by the forest they will greet you when you smile at them.

The Trails Are Alive With The Sound Of Nature

MacRitchie, for many reasons, is a hot spot amongst runners. Being one of the few trails left in Singapore, it is a place where many come to enjoy their workout and serenity of Mother Nature.

It is also a place where runners experience meeting wild animals that adds excitement to the run, and also uneven trails that heightens the running experience.

With the many reasons why it is a great workout place for runners, I hope that MacRitchie will continue to be appreciated so that more people can enjoy its wonders.

Chua Jing Zhi

Jing Zhi is a vegan ultramarathoner/triathlete who is passionate about mind/body wellness. He hopes to make the world a better place through sports, writing, and charity.

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