Red was the color of Marina’s F1 pit building as 18,000 people gathered for the Nike We Run 2013. This year’s race saw an upheaval of concept, as Nike took the suggestions of runners and conceived an interactive and unique race for the individual; giving them the liberty to choose which path to take at different points of the race. The concept emphasizing the journey to completion rather than reaching the finish mark was refreshing, and I was in for a treat.

An appearance by American athlete and Olympian Allyson Felix at the starting line roused the crowd to their feet and her encouraging words of “just do it” was enough to flag off horde after horde of enthusiastic runners.

It was my first time running in a race in Singapore and I did not expect myself to luxuriate in the thrill of running 10 kilometers in the early morning. At the first split point however, I was met with a choice; “Follow the pack” or “Go off the beaten path”. Feeling a little adventurous, I chose the latter and embarked on a grassy run with nature. At the 4km mark, I was met with familiar faces that chose to take the pavements and we were presented with another decision.

I chose to “Own the park” instead of “Rule the city” and continued my affair with Mother Nature – running by the river with the others and enjoying the peaceful music playing in the background.

The final choice was between “Dance to the Finish” or “Rock your run”, where runners chose to finish the race to the tune of their music tastes. I took to the dance floor and the route was abundant in catchy dance tunes. Volunteers were stationed at the sides of the route, giving us high-fives and urging us to push on and complete the final lap.

It was no easy feat to facilitate the run with the momentous turnout but the execution of the event by the organizers was laudable. The baggage points were well organized with zones arranged in alphabetical order for the runner’s convenience. Refresher stations were aplenty as runners were met with thirst-quenchers after passing every two-kilometer mark, and the huge 100PLUS cooler fans were a surprising boost for my tired body.

Although the celebration at the end of the race was apparent, the race was met with dismay as there were no finisher medals awarded to the runners. However, the drinks, bananas and even a white Nike We Run shirt were handed to me, and I did feel a sense of satisfaction.

The freedom to choose your own path and to make the race “your own”, accompanied by the ardor from the organizers made Nike We Run 2013 a success – and runners can envision next year’s run to be yet another spectacular experience.

Kiat Tan

Aspiring photojournalist, runner, lover of nature and a die-hard Liverpool fan on the weekends.

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