Are You Brave Enough to Run Singapore’s North Face 100?
If you’ve decided to stop talking about it and participate in one of Singapore’s premier ultras, you’re urged to read this so you’re fully prepared for the mega-challenge awaiting you.
The year 2008 was beset with newsworthy events: Violence in Kenya, the latest Middle East unrest, governments dissolving and reforming and the first African-American man became the president of the United States in a tight November election.
At around the same time, everyone on the planet was beset by a monetary recession, and according to HistorySG, Singapore had the dubious honour of becoming the first East Asian nation to experience that recession first hand.
Amid this global downward turn, Singapore focused on making the best of things until the international monetary debacle was resolved, and one of the ways the running community showed its mettle was by hosting the nation's first North Face 100 ultra-marathon. This sponsored event was already a favourite on the Southeast Asia athletic calendar; it's been called “the most well-received and anticipated distance trail running series” of all time.
No small feat to accomplish, Singapore organisers vowed to make the inaugural North Face 100 (TNF100) one of the most outstanding events the nation had ever staged - and they succeeded! It's been eight years, and this signature race has got bigger, better and more prominent, which is why you won't want to miss out on being part of the 26th November 2016 blowout!
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Themes may change from year-to-year, but the genuine spirit of exploration that distinguishes the 100 from other marathons remains strong. The Singapore ultra has often out-shone Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Korea, Japan and the Philippines' North Face events.
If you're familiar with the 2016 terrain, you know that the route is daunting, spanning trails around the MacRitchie Reservoir, the Dairy Farm area and Mandai. Runners eager to get coveted early bird discounts and slots are urged to take advantage of the short time frame by signing up before the 30th September deadline.
Challenge Yourself to Surpass Your Expectations
Being able to say that you took on the TNF100 is guaranteed to earn you respect in the Singapore running community and beyond our shores because the race is known for attracting the best of the best. That means the best seasoned runners and the best beginners are up for the challenge so there are multiple entry categories to suit men and women of all skill levels.
Choose from the 100km duo; 50km solo; 25km solo and 13km solo categories. If you've already mastered one of these distances, you're urged to push yourself forward into uncharted waters, but even novices will find that the 13km offers plenty of excitement.
What Separates the TNF100 From Other Ultras?
You'll need guts, keen resolve, stamina and will to dominate the course once you've nailed your slot, registered, picked up your materials and set your sights on the dazzling array of sponsored product prizes awaiting first finishers in every category.
Preparation is everything because this is a minimum support, self-sustaining race, which means you won't find volunteers handing out water or other sustenance as often as you may be used to (stations are at 7 to 10km intervals). This is no time to skimp on training and conditioning either.
In addition to preparing for your energy and hydration needs, a rigorous schedule of preparation heads off some of the most common reasons runners fail to succeed - despite being motivated and eager.
How to Survive The North Face 100
Leading UK runner Marco Consani is just one of the experts publishing advice to help new and veteran ultra runners finish their races and if you'd like to be one of them at The North Face 100, you may wish to adopt some of his tried-and-tested strategies:
- Plan for every contingency from your pre-event meal to the supplies in your kit. Double check just in case!
- Don't blitz-fuel your body with calorie-rich carbs in the mistaken belief that you'll get an edge. You won't.
- Consani believes race gear is critical to finishing; he suggests training in the gear you plan to wear.
- Rein in your nervousness. Start moderately to conserve energy for that critical last leg of the ultra.
- Don't be heroic if you are injured during the race. Seek medical attention so you don't compound the injury.
- Resist the urge to cheat or take short cuts. It's not worth being caught.
- Anticipate a longer post-event recovery time. This isn't an ordinary marathon. Your body will take a beating.
5 Things You Will Learn About Yourself if You Participate
- You don't have to let fear of failure stop you from undertaking this life-changing event. You're braver than you think.
- It's okay to rely upon your support network for encouragement and assistance. They want to help. Let them.
- There's nothing wrong with being selfish when you train for so huge a challenge. Prioritise your desire to avoid injury over cutting back on your training.
- It's better to say, "I tried" than to keep promising yourself "Next year."
- You can inspire others with a kind word; a smile; a nod - even as you agonise over the last leg of this formidable event!
If the old adage is true — that deciding to try something that scares you is the best way to overcome fear — are you ready to try the North Face 100?
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