Into its ninth edition, the annual OSIM Sundown Marathon remains a mainstay in Singapore’s running calendar despite an ever-increasing list of marathons and races.
Runners clearly relish the unique night race experience Sundown has to offer. It was a sea of teal, salmon and blue as some 27,000 runners took to the roads across the 5km, 10km, 21km and 42km categories through the night.
With Sundown being my first full marathon, it was certainly an exciting night to remember.
Running the full 42.195km marathon, the route took us along some iconic landmarks in Singapore’s skyline – Sheares Bridge, East Coast Park, Gardens by the Bay and the Helix Bridge. The bulk of the route was concentrated in the East Coast Park, a long stretch of at least 20km.
However, some aspects of the race route could have been more well thought out from the runner’s point of view. Certain segments of the route, within East Coast Park, were far too narrow to accommodate the huge volume of runners throughout the night. Some portions of the route were rather cramped and congested.
Splitting a single walking path into two narrow lanes, each lane was barely wide enough for two people to walk side-by-side. Many were walking during the 20km mark and the narrow lanes made it difficult to overtake. One had to cut into the lane going the opposite direction to overtake.
With the large volume of runners in both lanes, it was difficult to do so. Perhaps this aspect of the race could be worked on in future editions.
Limitless Energy Levels
Perhaps one of the liveliest bunch of motivators, the seemingly limitless energy of the crew and volunteers was also a highlight for me.
The lively cheering of volunteers and crew members along the race route certainly provided added motivation for runners like me. From the start of the route along the Kallang Basin, through East Coast Park, all the way to Gardens by the Bay and the Esplanade, the enthusiasm and energy of the volunteers could be felt.
Cheering from the sides, assisting in handing out liquid at the hydration stations and offering their hands for supportive high-fives was really an encouraging sight. Along the way I tried to high-five the volunteers the best I could! This simple action went a long way in cheering on.
It was a truly commendable effort of the volunteer crew in helping shape a positive experience for the runners!
Limitless – Running Transcends Age
The motivation for running for everyone comes differently. Some run to de-stress, some run to challenge themselves. But to me, one thing stays the same – that running is for everyone who’s willing to push themselves.
It was a heartwarming sight to see runners of all ages pushing and challenging themselves to complete a marathon. Throughout the long night, I saw myself run alongside people of all ages, with a singular goal of finishing the race strong. Seeing others pushing alongside me gave me a sense of motivation to continue as well.
Between being overtaken by middle-aged ladies, to overtaking fellow youths, to finishing my run at the same time by a grandfather (his family was waiting along the finishing line), it was a humbling reminder that we should strive to push our limits beyond our comfort zones.
Awaiting the next edition
Running a marathon is never easy, but the entire is experience definitely more uplifting with a great atmosphere. Having friends start the race together, and end the run in celebration definitely contributed to a positive race experience. The rather expansive race village in the F1 pit building area allowed for supporters and runners to share and relive their entire race experiences with each other as well.
Soaking in the atmosphere at the end, sharing and laughing around with my friends certainly was a good end to the long night. Fortunately, the rain that started in the morning around 6.30am was short-lived and cleared up fast. Otherwise, there would be a lack of shelter within the race village to accommodate the large throngs of runners to rest post-race.
I certainly enjoyed my Sundown marathon experience this year. While there were aspects that could have been improved on, the overall experience was indeed more than enjoyable.
Sundown’s success over the years – sustaining its nine-year streak – clearly shows that others too echo my sentiments. Looking forward to what the Sundown Marathon has installed for us in its next edition!