Known as one of the biggest running events in Singapore, the SAFRA Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon 2013 didn’t disappoint this year. Over 46,000 registered runners turned up for the experience, drawing 18,000 active servicemen to run. Not to be outdone, 17,000 NSmen and 4000 of their immediate family members also came down for the run, which was a remarkable 74 percent increase in participation amongst NSMen!
The weather was mercifully cool during the flag off timings of 5.15am for the 21km route, and 7am for the 10km route, giving runners a refreshing experience with the Singapore cityscape.
Mok Ying Ren pulled through, winning the 21km AHM Men’s category with a timing of 1 hour, 10 minutes and 13 seconds.
By 8am, the morning sun was bright and strong, giving the 5km route runners an added sunny challenge. The participants of the Dads for Life 800m Father & Child Challenge also braved the hot sunny weather, and actually set a new record in the Singapore Book of Records! Each father and child pair had to remain connected throughout the challenge by holding onto a SAFRA clapper together, and a total of 671 pairs qualified for the new record at this year’s challenge, surpassing the previous record set in 2011 for the “Largest Father & Child Race”.
Even though there were so many participants, there wasn’t a thirsty runner in sight. The race organisers have listened to feedback from the public, increasing the amount of water stations for all routes, which ensured that participants remained hydrated throughout their race.
Scattered throughout the various routes were entertaining street side performances by fire twirlers, cheerleaders and belly dancers, providing runners that little extra boost and entertainment.
For the nostalgic, familiar Amy songs such as ‘Purple Light’ and ‘Training to Be Soldiers’ were played along Marina Barrage, St Andrew’s Bridge and at several other water points along the running route to further motivate and excite runners to cross that finish line.
After ending the race at the Padang, runners were treated to a host of on-stage activities and performances, with appearances by the cast of Ah Boys to Men, as well as musical and dance entertainment. Participants were also able get up close to displays of army machinery such as the Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicle.
Salonpas aid stations were also on hand to provide much needed relief, giving muscle rub-down services to runners and their burning legs.
Unfortunately, something that could not ignored were the few “human bottlenecks” that occurred during the race, with the most serious one being the 7KM mark of the 21KM route.
When we enquired, the SSBR & AHM 2013 organisers representatives shared that “we had the opportunity to speak with many of the participants about their experience at the event. Their feedback will help us to plan a better race next year.”
Setting that aside, there was organisation that only the Army could provide. Medical coverage was stellar, and runners could rest assured they could push toward their limits. A total of 7 medical buggies were on standby ready to evacuate any 4 medical posts to provide medical aid. A further 8 ambulance posts were scattered throughout the running routes.
Despite the route congestion hijinks, they did listen to feedback, and even managed to provide increased hydration and medical coverage for the 46,000 participants. SAFRA and the Army provided ample amounts of manpower to ensure that the event went as smoothly as possible!
At the end of the day, the SSBR & AHM 2013 proved to be a great and entertaining Sunday morning for everyone involved!