Storming off to a great start, rain stopped falling just in time for the race to begin! With a nip in the air, the 10km race started at 5:30pm and the 21km race at 7:30pm sharp. Just off Riviera LRT station, the race was very well organised. There was ample space and logistics for runners to perform their pre-race routines.
Irony ruled the day as runners ran towards a Kentucky Fried Chicken drive-through sitting just metres away from the start point. With floodlights in the background, air horns blaring, music blasting and the faces of utter determination, the first pack of the 21km race category was flagged off. Breaking the 1188 strong crowd into two, the second half kicked off ten minutes after the first.
The first leg of the race had runners cutting through a stone-filled path with towers of light in the shrubbery. The merit of staggering runners was immediately felt as six hundred odd racers snaked through a wet and muddy path the size of one vehicular lane. It was quite the squeeze. Well placed, the tall illuminations shone the way out of the extremely uneven path to the main leg of the race – the running track joining Punggol Promenade & Punggol Waterway.
Almost like a nightmare had lifted, landing onto the beautifully even track, runners were greeted by enthusiastic cheering marshals pointing them in the right direction. Glee from the volunteer marshals of St Hilda’s Secondary School was infectious! Runners were beaming through and through.
With a wide grin, steady breathing and wider strides, the real race had begun. On the right stood a still river exalting the gigantic trees on the opposite bank. They seemed to go on forever, resting only in the depth of the night. The light breeze and the amber tinted clouds had runners believe they were but a flock of fleeting feet in a dream.
A solid path of woodworked inspired bridges, gravel and cheer, the Punggol Park connector is truly stunning! Entrants were not the only ones dreaming the Punggol dream. There were camping anglers casting lines and lit sinkers into the calm reflection of sky. Children bouncing off the walls of the whimsical rock themed playgrounds. Nearby, rested workers against slabs of tall concrete accentuating texture details of the evening escape.
Past the 6km mark, a gorgeous ramp bridge inspired quick steps and flung gazes to the cloud cover that blanketed the sky. It shifted soft amber to hot sahara as deep orange beacons emanated tirelessly from the industrial yard across the bank. The dream began to lift for some as the running pack started to stretch out along the track. Reaching the 8km mark, runners caught sight of yachts docked in the nearby country club. There dined people who already live the dream.
Pressing on through the singular lane, runners came to the rough halfway point of 10km. The ever-merry marshals handed out more nourishment than water and H2O could bring. It was here that the first contingent passed the second. Separated friends started shouting choruses of encouragement when reunited. The gaiety sprung observers from the adjacent sports complex to ring their bike bells and spur the runners on with great words of support! It was brilliant!
The race continued in this fashion of marvellous sights and cheer. As the Punggol Park Connector is relatively new, it was smooth sailing all the way. There were no hurdles or blockages of people that hindered the race. The track had a string of surprises – some natural, most man-made sensations of waterfront living. The only critique was that the H2O cups were not distinct from the water, so volunteers repeated “Water, water, water…” to sound out the difference. Eager to please, they did so with great gusto!
The Marina 21K @ Punggol was a great race with a spectacular turn out of international runners and supporters, hailing from Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Italy, USA, Mexico, and more. It has the potential to rival the great marathons of Singapore!
10KM MEN’S OPEN
- Ruben Galen Demetrius- 37min 02sec
- Tilak Bahadur Magar- 37min 20sec
- Gomes Darin Christopher- 43min 20sec
10KM WOMEN’S OPEN
- Sue Ling Wong- 49min 03sec
- Leong Yuen Lin- 51min 40sec
- Connie Liang Gaik Hooi- 55min 30sec
21KM MEN’S OPEN
- Samson Kiplagat Tenai- 1hr 10min 45sec
- Ang Chee Yong- 1hr 16min 45sec
- Masashi Masashi- 1hr 25min 27sec
21KM WOMEN’S OPEN
- Joanna Johnson- 1hr 20min 26sec
- Susan Jemutai- 1hr 30min 36sec
- Mok Ying Rong- 1hr 30min 59sec
21KM MEN’S VETERAN
- Franco Scoca- 1hr 23min 14sec
- Hirase Shigeto- 1hr 23min 43sec
- Sia Cheng Ho- 1hr 27min 14sec
21KM WOMEN’S VETERAN
- Stella Lee Yien Ping- 1hr 33min 57sec
- Sue Corser- 1hr 35min 07sec
- Yukino Tamai- 1hr 45min 32sec
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