On Sunday morning, 8 April 2018, I joined 2XU Compression Run 2018 at F1 Pit Building. Even though it is the event’s third edition, it is my first 2XU Compression Run. There were 3 categories: 21.1km Half Marathon, 10km and 5km. I signed up for 21.1km Half Marathon. This race marks my first Half Marathon of the year.
Race Entry Pack Collection
The Race Entry Pack Collection (REPC) was held over two weekends, one from 23 to 25 April 2018 and the other one from 6 to 7 April 2018. I collected my race pack on Friday of the first weekend at Marina Square. I found the collection procedure to be really awesome and efficient.
Instead of going straight to the counter, I had to scan my NRIC first to get the collection slip. Then, I presented the slip to the person at the counter. Not long afterwards, I was given my race pack. Even though there were 2 steps involved in this REPC, the whole process was quite fast as it took only about 10 minutes or less.
Inside race pack were race bib, timing chip, event singlet and several brochures and products. It was quite a minimalist race pack and I didn’t mind at all.
I decided to take the shuttle bus to the race village because the departure timing wasn’t too early. The scheduled departure timing for my pick-up point was 3:25 a.m. while the flag off for 21.1km was scheduled at 4:30 a.m. Even though there were quite many runners at the pick-up point when I arrived, there were many buses as well. I boarded probably the fourth bus which departed around 3:28 a.m.
The journey to the event was pretty smooth. I arrived at about 3:45 a.m. After exploring the race village for a while with my running buddies, we went to the start pen and waited for the flag off. The time passed quite fast as we chatted while waiting for the 4:30 a.m. flag off. However, the time passed slowly between 4:30 a.m. and our wave’s flag off. We didn’t know when exactly we would be flagged off so we were a little bit anxious.
We knew the interval between waves was 10 minutes because it was stated in the race guide, but we didn’t know we were in which wave. The air didn’t help either; we felt hot standing amongst other anxious runners. Eventually, we were flagged off at 4:50 a.m. which meant that we were part of the third wave.
As we spent quite some time in the start pen, I started to feel thirsty and was looking forward to the first hydration station. Luckily, the first hydration station was located just after the 1km mark. On the way to 1km, we spotted a number of male runners lining up in the bushes, doing their business! They probably couldn’t afford to lose time queueing for the one portable toilet near the bushes. Perhaps organiser could consider providing more portable toilets at the first kilometre of the race.
The route from the start line to Sports Hub was pretty spacious. There wasn’t any major bottleneck along this portion. However, as we entered into Tanjung Rhu, our pace was reduced due to narrow running paths, muddy surfaces, and insufficient lighting. Thankfully, that didn’t last long.
Soon, we found ourselves at Marina Bay Golf Course where the route was spacious, yet lack scenery. From 10km to 14km, it was tough to be motivated to keep running. Majority of the runners were running in silence. It was so easy to give up along this portion. Thankfully, I was running with my friend and we kept talking in order to kill time.
Eventually, we reached the fuel station at 14km where bananas and energy gels were distributed along with water. After eating a banana, I felt recharged and ready to go. Not long after that, we were running along Gardens by the Bay East and were captivated by the view of Singapore’s skyline during the blue hour. It was really peaceful; it felt as if the world was still sleeping.
As we ran in the dark for the most part of the race, I found hydration stations to be too dimly lit at times. I couldn’t tell which cup was empty and which was full. There was one time when I stood there waiting for volunteers to refill the cups thinking that they were empty. I asked one of them, “Which cup can I take?” And he answered, “You can take any one.” Oops, I was embarrassed. I also noticed that several volunteers at hydration stations were wearing a mask. This hygienic practice could be an example for other big races.
There were a couple of steps that runners had to run through, just before the Art Science Museum. There was a huge signage to warn participants about the steps. It didn’t slow me down tremendously but I’d really love to have no steps at all.
Marina Bay waterfront area was still quiet when we ran past around 7 a.m. There wasn’t a single tourist at the Merlion. The uphill at Jubilee Bridge was challenging, however, as we reached the middle of the bridge, we were rewarded with the sight of 20km distance marker at the end of the bridge. We sprinted down the bridge, passed the 20km distance marker and motivated each other to the finish line. I thought the weather would be hot around the end of the race, but thankfully, we didn’t see the sun at all during our run.
We crossed the finish line at about 3:03:00 gun time, which translated to 2:43:00 net time. I checked my watch and it showed only 20.5km. I wasn’t sure whether the tracking was affected by the poor GPS signal around the town area. Nevertheless, I was so glad to have completed the race.
After the finish line, we received finisher’s medal, finisher’s shirt, banana, Pocari Sweat isotonic drinks and cold towel. We took a rest, exchanged stories with each other about how our race went and took some photos before exploring the race village.
The race village was very lively and happening. There were many activities going on at the same time. A lot of runners queued at photo booths. Some joined the Yoga class. Others were resting and having a good time.
The race results for the 2XU Compression Run 2018 are out. Check them out to see how do you fare.
- Hydration points were well-managed and well-scattered.
- Lighting at hydration stations could be enhanced.
- Distance markers were present at every kilometre.
- The interval between waves was 10 mins. I wish it could be 5 mins instead.