King of the Trails 2018 Leg 1 – High Flyer Race Review: A Friendly Introduction to Trail Running
On 11 March 2018, high flyers blazed the trail at Coney Island (Pulau Serangoon) on a sunny Sunday.
The High Flyer, the first leg of the inaugural King of the Trails 2018 took part on Sunday morning, 11 March 2018, at Pasir Ris Farmway. The first event of the 4-leg trail series comprises of 30-percent trail and 70-percent road.
As someone who runs on pavement most of the time but has a soft spot for trails, I find the concept of King of the Trails very interesting. There’s only one distance and category for each leg. Leg 1’s distance is 10km and the flag off is scheduled at 7:30 a.m.
Race Pack Collection
The race pack collection is held from 3 to 4 March 2018, at Velocity @ Novena. The collection process was really smooth. Inside the drawstring bag, there were race bib, timing chips, race tee and sponsors’ products. There was also a Compressport booth where we purchased our socks.
Getting to Pasir Ris Farmway
The race village is located at 4 Pasir Ris Farmway 2. Since the race village is not very accessible by MRT and bus, the organiser provided a free shuttle bus service from Tampines MRT station to race village before flag off, and from race village back to Tampines MRT after the race.
I find the race guide on their website to be very helpful. Inside the guide, the organiser reminded participants that the East-West Line MRT will start operation only from 8 a.m. onwards on that day, so participants are encouraged to take Downtown Line to Tampines MRT.
On the race day, my running buddy and I took Downtown Line MRT to Tampines, and then boarded the shuttle bus at 7:22 a.m. The bus left Tampines at 7:35 a.m. By the time we reached race village, it was already 7:45 a.m. and we have missed the flag off, but the start pen was still open. We quickly went to hydration station to fill up our water bottle. There, there were gallons of mineral water with taps as well as bottles of Aquarius isotonic drinks. The kind crew helped me fill my collapsible bottle with Aquarius.
The 10km Race
When I crossed the start line at 7:50 a.m., we saw only a couple of runners in front of us, and no other runners behind. I guess we were really at the back of the pack; we wondered if we were the last runners to cross the start line.
The terrain for the first 1.5km was basically concrete pedestrian walkway along Pasir Ris Farmway 3 and Pasir Ris Drive 12. There were not many vehicles along this route, except at the junctions of Pasir Ris Coast Industrial Park 2 and 6, where road marshals were doing a great job controlling the traffic and making sure runners were safe. I parted with my running buddy as he needed to go to the toilet at Lorong Halus Wetland Centre.
At the end of Pasir Ris Dr 12, I was met with Lorong Halus Bridge, followed by a climb over the Sunrise Bridge where a breath-taking view awaited us. By that time, the sun has risen and the temperature started to increase.
The next stretch of the race route from Sunrise Bridge to Coney Island’s west entrance was largely unsheltered. Thus, it really tested runner’s endurance. I kept a slow, yet constant pace, and was able to overtake two runners in front of me. There were many cyclists along this stretch because the route is not closed to the public, but it was still manageable.
Reaching the hydration point felt victorious. Finally, I’m halfway through the race, I thought. I quickly refilled my bottle with the mineral water and made my way to Coney Island. I saw a couple of cups on the table, but I didn’t use the cups as I have my own water bottle.
About 25-percent trail portion of this race is confined in Coney Island. The terrain was flat, dry and not too rugged. The majority portion of the route in Coney Island was sheltered by the tall trees. I really enjoyed running in this secluded island. At times, bike marshals cycled past me and encouraged me to keep going.
After exiting Coney Island through the East entrance, I ran towards Lorong Halus Wetland and started to see more runners. The 8km distance marker was located along this stretch.
At the final stretch along Pasir Ris Dr 12 and Pasir Ris Farmway 3, I was heartened to hear encouraging cheers from fellow runners. Eventually, I crossed the finish line 80 minutes after I started.
I received a finisher’s medal and a bottle of mineral water after the finish line. Then, I headed to the fruit booth where I took the last banana and an apple. There were also guavas. We spent some time taking photos with the KOTT signboard before boarding the shuttle bus back to Tampines MRT.
- A good introduction to trail run due to its easy terrain.
- Distance markers were present every 2 kilometres.
- Traffic cones and direction signs were sufficient.
- The atmosphere of the race was friendly.
- Dogs and monkey were sighted along the race.
The second leg of King of the Trails, the Rugged Seeker, will be held on 1 July 2018 at MacRitchie Reservoir. Meanwhile, Leg 3 and Leg 4 will be held in the later part of the year. You can still purchase the Leg 3 and Leg 4 bundle and save up to S$20 of race fees.