The ASICS City Relay Race was 42 km in total, whereby each of the team members had to finish a distance of 10.5 km to complete the race. The inaugural race took place on 1 August 2015 and saw a total of 672 teams taking part. Out of this number, there were 361 mixed-teams, 250 all-male teams and 61 all-female teams. My team, SuperF.I.T came in at number 9!
It was a refreshing experience taking part in this race. Most of the races in Singapore revolve around the iconic Gardens by the Bay and East Coast Park. Though we covered part of the run at Gardens By the Bay, the start of the course going around and about the newly renovated Indoor stadium gave our run a fresh feel. A chance at burning calories, taking in the sights and bonding with fellow runners made the experience a good one.
We were flagged off at 6:00 p.m. sharp and so it began!
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Good: As we ran across the meadows near Tanjong Rhu where families were having picnics and flying kites, it was nice hearing words of encouragements and soft cheers from the mothers.
The Bad: There were a couple of bottlenecks around the hub area and at the Gardens By the Bay area when the already narrow lane was divided into three portions- one for runners, two for cyclists/runners heading back to the hub. Though I did not experience it myself, I overheard a couple of runners say they collided into not one but two oncoming cyclists! There was even an elderly gentlemen who was mad at runners running into him and his bicycle. It felt like I was part of an obstacle race when I had to stay in the middle of a one lane path and side step whenever a runner in front of me suddenly braked midway of the run.
The Ugly: Being cursed and sworn at by non-runners who had intended to be there for a quiet evening were instead swarmed by puffing, sweaty runners.
Advice for Future Runners
The sun was still bright and up when we started so future ACR runners must remember to hydrate well the few hours before the race. Dehydration works against you when you’re racing for time. I’ve learned too that race logistics vary and that runners need to be prepared for points in time when the signages or marshals are not readily available to show the way to kingdom come. My team’s last runner got lost momentarily. Good thing she didn’t panic and quickly snapped back into the groove of things.
The challenging part was running with the sun in my face. Till the sun went down, I was practically running with my eyes half shut and hoping at the same time I would not collide into anyone in front of me. Shades are a must.
Food for Thought for the Organiser
Now I put on my big hat and think in the shoes of the organiser about what I would do differently. For one, I would use the big screen to disseminate useful information regarding the race – switching on the slap band, announcing the ongoing National Day Parade happening not far away, showing ‘live’ tracking of the leading teams. That would be very exciting to watch.
It seems cool to drink a beer after running in the sweltering heat after a hard run or have a massage to sooth the screaming legs. But where’s the food?
There should be a clearer explanation of how transition is done. I was the first runner so when I was waiting for flag off, I took a picture of the transition waiting area and sent it to my team mates. Being Singaporeans, my team mates were anxious to know how it was going to be. We had to be sure the fate of the team was going to be in good hands. We had to make sure we got it right.
The weather at that time was a killer to the first runners. Heat from the ground almost fried my lungs. It was great relief when gentle breezes came at around the water areas. We need more hydration points besides relief from nature.
This is my first experience using the slap band as a ‘baton’. The slap band is a great innovative tool for use. It is easy to carry around, light weight and made me feel like the Terminator when I ran. The only thing was, I didn’t know I was supposed to switch it on so my teammates could only track me whenever I passed by the time mats!
Though I already had more races on my plate than I had planned for 2015, this was a race I was not about to miss. So, when I was asked if I had wanted to join an all-women’s team, my answer was yes! There was just something about running in a team, something alongside the line of good stress of not letting the team down and femme power, which made it really exciting!
Knowing I would be tracked ‘live’ brought out the competitive egomaniac in me. My butt was hurting, the sun was scorching and my knees were screaming “Bring us back alive please!” but my heart and soul wanted to soar so I gritted my teeth and pressed on. I loved the challenge. It made me feel alive.
The Final Word
Overall, this is a good race for both newbie and experienced runners. For the newbies, 10.5km is a good distance to gauge one’s racing ability, and being in a team kept spirits and motivation high when the tough got going. For the experienced runners, this was a good testing ground to see how far you have come since you started running.
Despite it all, the organising committee should be commended for organising, in my humble opinion, a successful race. It isn’t easy to organise a race. The large scale logistics, I can imagine, are hellish. Dealing with the after race verbal bashing is disheartening. Kudos to the organising team. My team mates and I and everyone around us enjoyed the race and I survived to tell it!
I am all in to be part of this again and hopefully, knowing what to expect, do better. The feel of running into the stadium looking for your team mate was one of excitement and exhilaration. I was thinking, where is my second runner? Where is my second runner? When I saw her, I was really so happy I almost wanted to jump for joy. I was like a kid opening a gift on Christmas.
If I were to describe the race in one sentence, it would be, “This race will make you realise you are part of everyone you run with.“