YourSingapore: What Overseas Runners Should Know to Make their Singapore Runs Amazing
Is Singapore obsessed with running? It seems so. Dig deep to find a culture dedicated to using this activity to promote the health and well-being of all Singaporeans; the national pride that surrounds this activity runs deep too. Singapore has become a Mecca for running events. Run calendars are packed with so many event dates that keeping track of them all can be a full-time job. Want to know how enthusiastic Singaporeans are about running?
In 2013 the Standard Chartered Marathon recruited 7,000 volunteers to staff the race and hand out 11,520 bananas and 228,244 liters of water! Other nations might consider their marathons successful if 7,000 people show up to run; clearly 7,000 volunteers shows how invested citizens of Singapore have become in the sport. Whether you're a casual runner or you live for marathons, Singapore runs can be richer and more rewarding experiences if you follow some basic advice.
1. Run in Some of the Most Unique Scenic Spots on the Planet
You can search the globe and not find trails more beautiful than those in Singapore. The country may only be 700-square kilometers in size, but it has unique running venues. Runners can train on scenic routes like the MacRitchie Reservoir Loop, the Southern Ridges Trail, Fort Canning Park, Sentosa beaches, East Coast Park, Kallang Riverside Park, Changi Beach Park and more!
2. Stay Indoors if You Like
If you prefer to skip the great outdoors to build stamina and tone, you won't lack for interior running venues in Singapore. Take advantage of skyscrapers and landmarks that poke into city skies for the ultimate indoor training experience—particularly if you're seeking to build calf muscles for ultras. Most have car parks for easy commuting access. Stairwells within these towering buildings offer a wealth of enclosed training areas: Overseas Union Bank Centre, Capital Tower, The Pinnacle at Duxton, Toa Payoh Central, Republic Plaza, and the United Overseas Bank Plaza One. Not interested in lofty heights? There are numerous fitness centres, indoor gyms and stadiums that welcome runners of all levels.
3. Locate a Perfect Event
You might not believe your eyes when you read a typical Singapore running events calendar. In 2014 alone, the nation hosted more than 70 different events with a variety of concepts and distances - and that only accounts for the runs! Whether you hope to win cash prizes, participate in a run that benefits a deserving charity, or you simply have something to prove to yourself, check out RunSociety running events Calendar to learn what's on deck for the remainder of this year.
4. Use Runs as a Springboard to a Fuller Life
Put on your running shoes and you're sure to encounter like-minded souls as you travel the nation and meet others who are just as smitten with the national running craze as you. Age, lifestyle, economic strata and religion are of no importance when running in this culturally and ethnically diverse nation. You'll encounter children trotting alongside parents, seniors enhancing their lives by taking healthy laps through parks, and busy executives alleviating stress from high-pressure jobs in this thriving metropolis. Make new friends. Become reacquainted with neighbours you've been too busy to see lately. Running in Singapore can best be compared to gambling in Las Vegas: It's the pastime everyone enjoys, but your body will wind up healthier if you adopt Singapore's favourite sport rather than sitting at slot machines!
5. Soak Up the Hospitality
Cultural obstructions? Physical obstructions? Weather problems? Forget all of these. Singapore literally lays out the welcome mat for runners; it works hard to eliminate barriers to training, running and auxiliary needs. Streets, parks and complexes offer plenty of running opportunities. Wear whatever running outfits you prefer (nothing too reminiscent of Rhianna's wardrobe, if you please!), and feel free to make other runners your allies; Singaporeans are open, friendly and helpful. Most speak English and are happy to assist visitors, so you won't need translation programs on your smartphone to communicate and get recommendations for the best running venues and marathons. Need more encouragement? Join a running club before you arrive!
6. The Weather Won't Deter You
All it takes is a little planning to literally run around Singapore weather and stay healthy. Arrive in top physical shape, and get applicable shots to avoid select regional illnesses. Dress for hot and humid weather. Even when temperatures are the most comfortable during the Northeast monsoon—November through February—it will be humid because you're on the equator. Acclimate your dress to the time of the day you like to run; daytime temperatures average 30 degree Celsius while Singapore nights can drop below 23 degree Celsius. Humidity is fairly persistent, and pollution and haze add to atmospheric challenges from June to September when strong winds may alter your running tempo.
7. Indulge in Singaporean Culture
Plan your Singapore visit to coincide with a holiday to double your fun and running enjoyment. Marathons, runs, and even ultras are regularly scheduled to coincide with holidays, so match the event that suits your running style with national celebrations like New Year's Day, Thaipusam, Chinese New Year's Day, International Women's Day, Easter Sunday, Vesak Day, the Dragon Boat Festival, Racial Harmony Day, Hari Raya Puasa, Mid-Autumn Festival, Hari Raya Haii, Diwali-Deepavali and Christmas. Notice the cultural diversity? You should—that's what makes Singapore such a racially and culturally welcoming society.
8. Low Crime Doesn't Mean No Crime at All
Singapore has the lowest crime rate of any nation in the world. Does this mean thieves don't snatch purses, crimes don't happen, or that citizens and tourists are perfectly safe at all times? Of course not. But Singapore's police force is remarkably well-trained, enthusiastically supports national running activities, and looks out for visitors participating in marathons and running events. That stated, use common sense: Don't flash money around or ignore your surroundings because you're busy texting or making phone calls; be doubly cautious at night. If you plan to run alone at night, take appropriate safety precautions.
9. Explore Singapore's Parks
The National Parks Department of the Singapore government isn't content to offer runners some of the best parks to train. The forward-thinking agency prioritizes perpetual upgrades and improvements to its vast park network by supporting initiatives, adding to existing green space, and setting aside space for runners. The parks department recommends getting acquainted with exercise stations installed throughout parks to give you the opportunity to tone your muscles when you take a running break. Our favourite? Use the pebbles along foot reflexology paths for free foot massages so your feet stay as toned as your calves and thighs!
Running is always more fun with friends. You may have at least one friend who is as enamoured with running as you are—the sort of person who requires no notice to drop everything and join you for an impromptu run. But how about recruiting someone who has yet to discover the magic of running—someone who could use encouragement? Expose someone to Singapore's running culture; you just might learn a thing or two about your own capacity for sharing your passion with someone who might not otherwise find a healthy lifestyle were it not for your initiative!
Enjoy Running in Singapore
Are you willing to introduce someone to your favourite activity—to share your enthusiasm and encouragement with someone whose life could be radically changed by getting into this sport? Singapore is fast becoming known for its healthy living initiatives, so why not use your influence to spread the word by becoming a de facto running ambassador? No credentials are required to undertake this important job, by the way!