4,500 challengers gathered at Big Splash @ East Coast Park last Sunday morning, ready for the Newton Challenge 2014!
With 2 distances of 18km and 32km, the Newton Challenge is a sort of running “litmus test”; newcomers can try these distances to see if they are up for the half or full marathon challenge, while seasoned runners count this race for mileage and add some final training adjustments before their final races of the year.
Having previously covered the Newton Challenge in 2013, I heard plenty of positive feedback, and decided to try the 18km distance this year. As I only started training 2 months before this race, I was a little nervous. But once the flag-off sounded at 5.45am sharp, I swallowed my trepidation, put some music on and off I went!
Lush Greenery Along Singapore’s East Coast
Newton Challenge’s race route was simple and straightforward. Utilising the long stretches of East Coast Park, runners started from Big Splash, running past East Coat Lagoon and heading all the way to the National Sailing Centre where we would turn around at the halfway mark. 32km runners would run an additional loop, merging with the 18km runners to finish back at the starting point.
Having frequented this park for my own leisure runs, I was no stranger to the beautiful open spaces of the East Coast. The race route took place entirely on pavement, but we were surrounded by natural greenery throughout.
After passing Bedok Jetty and Sunset Bay, the route opened up to a boulevard of sorts along East Coast Park Service Road, with tall green trees lined up on the left side, and as the sun slowly rose, I was also treated to a view of the sea on the right. Definitely a wonderful sight for sore eyes!
I caught sight of a few running talents like Jenny Huang, Mok Ying Ren, and Ah Siao (Gerrard, yet again living up to his name by dragging a tyre for the entire length of the race). Mok and Gerrard deserved extra kudos for their commitment, as they both ran despite still recovering from recent injuries. Vanja Cnops and frequent contributor Carol Cunningham were also present and were absolutely killing it too!
The Second Wind is Real!
If the presence of these tenacious personalities didn’t inspire me to run just a little faster, the hydration points (Pocari Sweat and plain water) certainly helped. Gulping down an ice cold cup of fluid while you’re 90 minutes into a race is like swallowing a wonderful cup of life-giving ambrosia!
Thankfully, I did not experience any congestion, thanks to the relatively straightforward race route at East Coast Park. Credit also went to race organisers, who ensured clear signage boards and well-positioned race marshals, giving runners the chance to concentrate fully on giving the race their very best shot.
While I was definitely feeling winded after the halfway mark, I somehow found a second burst of energy in me, so I dug my heels in and crossed the finish line (hopefully without wheezing too much)!
After the race, I was rewarded with a snazzy finisher medal, a chilled bottle of Pocari Sweat, and a towel doused in ice-cold water. 32km finishers had an additional finisher’s polo tee as a prize too.
After-Race Delights and Thoughts
Having collected my prizes, I explored the rest of the race village. There were free fruits, drinks and even ice cream available for runners who were feeling a little peckish, and local musical duo ShiLi & Adi crooned some enjoyable tunes to add to the laid-back mood.
Overall, the Newton Challenge was definitely a positive experience. The only thing that runners might find disappointing was the “same old boring” race route at East Coat Park. But for me, that was a plus. No bottlenecks, plenty of hydration points and a free pair of Newton socks too? Sign me up for next year’s Newton Challenge!
- 18km & 32km distances were good distances for runners to “test” out their fitness levels in preparation for end-year races.
- Well-stationed hydration stations manned by quick and efficient volunteers.
- A free pair of Newton running socks was included in the race pack, adding just a little more value to the race entitlements.
- Clear signage boards and no race congestions encountered.
- Race route exclusively along East Coast Park may be deemed too monotonous for some.