Trail Running in Singapore: 5 Trails to Get You Started
There is a unique and deeply interesting quality to trail running. The feeling of exerting yourself and running through nature, with nothing but the sounds of the trails and your breathing, is an almost meditative experience.
If you want to be closer to nature on your runs but don't know where to start, read on to find out the 3 trails to get you hooked onto trail running.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Home to Singapore’s tallest hill at 163 metres, the Bukit Timah Hill is Singapore’s largest surviving primary rainforest.
Along this trail, you will be able to experience some beautiful sights and sounds, from observing the long-tailed macaques up close, to hearing the distinctive call of the Asian Fairy Bluebird.
The simplest no-frills main route to the summit is 1.2km long, and takes you along the direct route to the summit. Looping back down to the Visitor Centre gives you a total distance of over 2km, but do practice caution and safety on the steep slopes.
How To Get There:
By Bus: 67, 75, 170, 173, 184, 852 and 961, alight at Upper Bukit Timah Road, opposite Bukit Timah Shopping Centre. 10 minute walk.
By Car: Carpark at the Visitor Centre is open from 6am to 7pm daily. Alternate parking is available at Bukit Timah Shopping Centre.
MacRitchie Reservoir Park Trail
With a large selection of buses that stop nearby, the MacRitchie Reservoir Park trail is definitely one of the more accessible running trails you can try. With lots of such as toilets, lockers and even showering facilities, you don’t have to sacrifice convenience for trail running.
Do keep to the markings or you might risk getting lost. This run can bring you around 10km in a loop. Here’s an official NParks map of the MacRitchie Reservoir trail (the route we’re referring to is Route 4, in yellow).
How To Get There:
By Bus: 52, 74, 130, 132, 162, 163, 165, 166, 167, 852, 855, 980, alight at Saint Theresa’s Home. 3 minute walk.
By Car: Carpark is located at the entrance of MacRitchie Reservoir Park, at MacRitchie Viaduct.
One of the most interesting spots to take up trail running is the Green Corridor.
Formally a little known area, the Green Corridor has seen an increase of hikers and trail runners looking for a little adventure, especially after the success of the Green Corridor Run last year.
The whole path is over 10km in length, starting at Kranji Road (next to Kranji Nature Reserve at its northernmost tip) cutting through central Singapore to its southern-most access point at Silat Walk.
The Green Corridor is not maintained by any official body, but has volunteers monitoring sections of the corridor instead. For this reason, there is great potential to experience the trail, but also the highest potential risk.
If you are going, it is encouraged to go in a group, as well as to bring along a handphone.
How to Get There:
There is no official starting or ending point to the Green Corridor. Web-savvy trailseekers have a regularly updated Google Map resource detailing the various access points along the entire stretch of the Green Corridor.
Nature-lover Paul Wonnacott has also compiled a comprehensive guide to the access way points into the Green Corridor, including GPS waypoints and bus routes.
Use these resources to plan your own trail run along the Green Corridor!
Tampines Eco Green
75 species of birds here in this wonderland park. This eco-friendly park has a ‘no lights after dark’ rule to preserve the eco-systems of the place. It is a beautiful park for you to go during the weekend, afternoon or early in the morning.
The distance is about 2.14KM, so it would not be difficult for beginner to walk in the trail. You can give it a try to get some of the fresh air to refresh your mind for the day.
How to Get There:
You can get there by MRT - A 20-minute walk from Tampines MRT station via Sun Plaza Park
Lower Peirce and Upper Peirce Reservoir Park
Lower Peirce Reservoir is like an image you see in Instagram with clear waters that stretch out towards the horizon, stepping stone rocks gathered near the shore, and trees swaying in the evening breeze.
The distance is about 2 km walk, so it is a great way to start your trail training in a small step.
As for Upper Peirce Reservoir it will be slightly challenging as it will take you away from any worries from the stressful life. The steep incline of the trails makes for get you to work more, which is a good burn for your body.
How to Get There:
You can get there by bus - Services 163, 167, 169, 855, 980. Alight at the bus stop near to Sembawang Hill Food Court and walk along Old Upper Thomson Road for about 5 minutes.
5 Things To Take Note Before Trail Running
1. Trails contain uneven terrain, which can be challenging for the first time trail runner, and may also be poorly lit at night. Make sure you run in the daytime and wear proper footwear in order to minimise the chance of injuries. Rainy weather will also cause mud and puddles. So do note the weather before you embark on the trails. Trash cans tend to be few in number along trail runs (if there are any to be found at all), so pack light and don’t litter!
2. Slow down is important if you are a beginner. It is tempting to run fast at the beginner, but it is best to start with a slower pace to prevent injury. As rocks, roots, trees, leaves, they all cause changes in your stride that effect your pace.
3. Hilly road. Road that is steep is a challenging one for trail running, especially for beginner. So it better to walk your way up and walking doesn’t mean you’re weak or slow, and it’s often a more efficient way of making your way up the trail.
4. Keep learning. Every sports have their own etiquettes. Don't afraid to ask questions and learn from your sport, such as learn how to share the trail, pack out what you take in, and be mindful of other trail users.
5. Take safety precautions. Safety is the first concern for all trail runners. The fear of getting lost, experiencing treacherous weather, or encountering bad animals (or humans) will keep some people from ever going out on their own in the trail. So, if you are going to for trail running, be sure to tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. Also, do search up out and about of the place, so that you will know what to bring and what to prepare.
The Magic Of Trail Running
If planned properly, trail running can be greatly rewarding for you!
Don't be afraid to share your favourite trail runs with fellow runners!