Income Eco Run 2017 Race Review: An Eco-Friendly Run for a Sustainable Future
Previously known as NTUC Income Run 350, this year Income Eco Run returned with more eco-friendly initiatives to move towards a greener future.
Held on the morning of 30 April 2017, Income Eco Run 2017 is an eco-friendly race that aims to raise awareness and cultivate a green way of living amongst the people in Singapore. The categories in this race are 21.1km Half Marathon, 10km Competitive Race, 10km Team Category and 800m Kids Dash.
For the first time, Income Eco Run introduces a Zero Waste Runner category where runners forgo Finisher Medals and Finisher’s T-shirts to cut down on production waste. In addition to race singlet, race bib and race pack, they receive a handheld water bottle which they’ll use during the race to minimise the use of disposable cups.
During registration, participants of Income Eco Run were given options to register either as an Eco Runner or Zero Waste Runner. I participated in 21.1km Half Marathon as an Eco Runner.
Getting to the Race
Income Eco Run encouraged its runners to minimise carbon footprint by using shuttle bus, bicycle, public transport, carpool or GrabHitch to get to the starting line at F1 Pit Building.
My running buddies and I booked a GrabHitch because public transportations were not in operation yet during the wee-hours, and shuttle bus timing was too early for us. Unfortunately, there were no responses from GrabHitch drivers. In the end, we shared an Uber to get to the race.
The 21.1km Half Marathon flagged off at 5:00 a.m. My running buddies and I belonged to the second wave, which flagged off around 5:10 a.m. It was a smooth flag off with plenty of room for manoeuvre.
The first bottleneck came about after 2km, at the entry point to Kallang Riverside Park North. The path was narrow, most participants including me had to jog instead of running.
Less than 1km later, we were met with the second, more severe bottleneck when exiting the park to Kallang Road. The crowd slowed down and almost came to a halt. We were packed like sardines, sweaty sardines.
After Kallang Riverside Park North, there were some parts of the route that were only a 1-lane road. It was not too spacious, but enough for me to slow down and speed up without adversely affecting other runners. Thereafter, the route got wider and running became more enjoyable.
After 9km, the route brought us to Tanjong Rhu, where we were faced with congestion again. Thankfully the narrow path involved only a short stretch.
When I passed 13km, the sky started to lighten up. It was a peaceful arrival of the morning. I picked up my pace and was glad to catch up with 2:45 pacer at 14km marker. Doing a quick mental calculation, I realised that if I stick with 2:45 pacer, I would finish the race with the timing of 2:35. It meant I had a PB within my reach. I was excited yet anxious about possible hindrances that could happen later in the race.
I pushed myself harder and overtook 2:45 pacer. I had slight discomfort and felt like visiting the loo, but my mind told me to hold whatever discomfort I was feeling and keep pressing on. I felt fortunate to run through Marina Barrage and Gardens by the Bay in the early hours of the morning before the heat became unbearable.
There were a few signs in Gardens by the Bay alerting visitors about otters crossing the roads. I was not lucky enough to meet the otters, I wish I was! While running past Marina Bay Sands and The Promontory, my mind was focused only on keeping a steady pace.
I grabbed a cup of water at the final hydration station at Marina Bay Sands, gathered the last pieces of strength that were left in me, and attempted to speed up. The 1:00 pacer of the 10km race overtook me at the Bayfront Bridge. The uphill run at Bayfront Bridge felt so tough. My heart rate soared to above 180bpm. Finally, I could see the finish line. I sprinted and finished the race in 2:29.
I collected a medal, finisher T-shirt, banana and a can of 100plus at the finish line. By then, the temperature has risen. I walked around the race village and noticed a recycling area which had different zones for drink cans, banana peels and paper cups. There were volunteers standing there to guide participants to throw trash at the correct designation. This is such a good practice and I hope more race organisers will adopt this practice in the future.
There was also a free sports massage from Tiger Balm. The queue was about 20 to 30 minutes.
There were many photo opportunities at the race village, such as Mobot photo booth, Income Social Media photo booth, Eco Run structure and Income Eco Run signboard.
- It’s an eco-friendly run with a great cause: a greener future.
- It has many eco initiatives, such as: recycling the trash (drink cans, banana peels, paper cups, race bib and its safety pins), reduce (zero waste runners forgoing medal and finisher T-shirts) and reuse (using refillable bottle rather than disposable cups).
- The route had a couple of bottlenecks but overall the race was not overly crowded.
- The route was well-marked with safety cones, signage and distance markers. Volunteers were helpful in directing participants and cheerful when the going got tough.
- Hydration stations were well-stocked. Energy gels and Tiger Balms were available at 14km.