ASICS Relay Singapore 2017 has been successfully held on Saturday, 4 November 2017, at Old Kallang Airport, despite the rain. Over 3,600 runners from more than 900 teams participated in ASICS Relay Singapore, which is the third leg of the ASICS Relay. The first and second legs have concluded in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, while the final leg will be held in Bangkok on 2 December 2017.
There were 2 distance categories: Full Marathon and Half Marathon; each has 3 sub-categories: Male, Female and Mixed Category. I participated in the Full Marathon Mixed Category with the same team members who ran the Mizuno Ekiden 2017 in August this year.
ASICS Sound Mind, Sound Body (SMSB)
Established earlier this year in 2017, SMSB is a global community of creative and sports enthusiasts which aims to inspire people to come together and adopt a healthy, balanced lifestyle based on four key pillars: movement, community, social purpose and creativity.
In conjunction with ASICS campaign, I MOVE ME, which encourages people to be healthy and happy through movement, four SMSB teams from Seoul, London, Paris and Tokyo took part in the ASICS Relay.
Two days before the race, on 2 November 2017, RunSociety joined ASICS SMSB crews for a refreshing Sound City Walk around the iconic sights and sounds of Singapore that encapsulate the rich heritage of Singapore. The walk was led by Paris-based photographer, Jerémy Esteve and Singapore photographer Jeryl Teo.
Race Entry Pack Collection
The Race Entry Pack Collection was held a week prior to the race, from 27 to 29 November 2017, at NEX. Only one team member is required to collect on behalf of the team. My friend who collected for me said that the collection was smooth with no queue at all.
Inside the race pack were race bib with chip timing, ASICS race tee, and sponsor’s voucher in an ASICS drawstring bag. The relay token wasn’t distributed during REPC, instead, it was given out on the race day.
The race village at Old Kallang Airport is easily accessible by public transportations. We took a bus and alighted at opposite National Stadium bus stop. We arrived at the race village at around 5.10 p.m. to soak in the race atmosphere.
The weather was hot prior to the race. The flag-off for the first runner was scheduled at 6 p.m. At about 5.40 p.m., the start pen was open. As the first runner of the team, I entered the start pen and collected the relay token in the form of a waist bag from the organiser. I wore the token around my waist.
First Leg of 42.195km Relay
The race was flagged off at 6 p.m. sharp. The race route is 5.25km long. Half-marathoners only need to run a lap, while full-marathoners have to run 2 laps. From Old Kallang Airport, runners ran along Old Terminal Lane to Geylang Road, continued west across Kallang River and entered Kallang Riverside Park (North). Then, runners ran along Kallang River, crossed Rochor Link to Kallang Riverside Park (West) and made a U-Turn near Nicoll Highway Station.
The first hydration station was located just before the U-Turn. There were 2 drink options: Pocari Sweat and water. A few metres after the hydration station, a group of enthusiastic supporters cheered for runners, “Let’s go, runners, let’s go!” The mantra was very uplifting and motivated me to pick up my pace.
After the U-Turn, we ran along Republic Ave, Crawford Street, Kallang Road, Geylang Road, and back to Old Kallang Airport. The route along these roads mainly consisted of one lane of the road that was cordoned off from traffic with safety water barriers.
Due to the restricted width, the official lead bikes often shouted to runners to keep left in order to let the elite runners run without obstructions. At the end of my first lap, I was handed a green slap band by the volunteers. The second hydration station was located at the end of the first lap, as a proof that I’ve completed one lap.
During my second lap, the sky was getting dark. When I reached the U-Turn, it was drizzling. Thankfully I brought the race bib’s plastic bag to protect my phone. At the final kilometre, I texted my team member to let them know I was coming back to the transition area.
The transition area was pretty crowded when I arrived and I couldn’t find my teammate. The MC looked at my bib number and made an announcement for my team’s second runner. Less than a minute later, my teammate emerged from the crowd and I passed the token to her. At the exit, I was given a bottle of cold Pocari Sweat, which was a great relief for my tired body.
The rain and drizzle were on and off throughout the night. All four members in our team had a chance of running in the rain, neither of us escaped the rain. For me, the drizzle came in the middle of my second lap. Meanwhile, our second runner ran in the rain during the entire first lap.
Our third runner endured running in the rain during the second lap. Our fourth runner, however, ran in the rain almost the entire leg. Despite being soaked, we didn’t give up. We survived the rain!
Escorted by Bikes
This race was so special for our fourth runner, because he was escorted by a bike and a motorbike during his second lap. Nope, they weren’t the lead bikes who escort elite runners. Neither were they sweep bikes who sweep slow runners that don’t meet the cut off timing of 6 hours.
When our fourth runner asked the cyclist whether he was the last runner on the race course, the cyclist said, “Yes.” And that put a huge pressure on him. He managed to finish the race with a Personal Best of 65 minutes, and collected 4 medals as well as 4 boxes of Bengay pain relieving patch.
Our team’s race result is 05:18:38.5. Even though we are the last team to cross the finish line according to the race result, at least we finished the race 🙂 Have you checked your team’s result?
While waiting for the second, third and final runner to finish their race, we wandered around the Race Village. There were plenty of portable toilets with almost no queue. There were 2 Grohe shower trucks, each for female and male. There was a Pocari Sweat booth where we could hydrate ourselves whenever we felt thirsty.
During the rain, the majority of the participants gathered at the sheltered walkway near the start pen. Participants who were hungry could purchase food from several food trucks at the race village.
There were 2 sessions of lucky draw. Prior to the draws, a group of volunteers walked around the race village holding a box. We tore our lucky draw numbers from the bibs and passed them to the volunteers. Unfortunately, we were not lucky enough to win anything yet.
We also enjoyed watching stage performances while waiting for our teammate. At some point during the performance, my teammate spotted Soh Rui Yong in the crowd. We approached him and had a chit-chat with him. Star-struck, I requested him to take a photo with me and he readily agreed!
- The rain added an extra layer of challenge to the race.
- The race course is mostly flat with slight uphill slopes at certain locations.
- The race has almost no bottleneck except right after the flag off.
- Ample hydration along the race course as well as at the race village.