OSIM Sundown Marathon 2018 Race Review: Sleep is Worth the Wait
This year’s Sundown Marathon has seen huge improvement compared to last year’s event.
The OSIM Sundown Marathon 2018 was held over the night from Saturday, 19 May 2018 to Sunday, 20 May 2018 at F1 Pit Building. I participated in 21.1km Half Marathon which was flagged off on Saturday evening at 11:45 p.m.
Race Entry Pack Collection
The Race Entry Pack Collection (REPC) was held over two weekends. The first one was held from 10 to 13 May 2018 (Thursday to Sunday) at Suntec City. Meanwhile, the second one was held from 18 to 19 May 2018 (Friday to Saturday) at F1 Pit Building. Not wanting to be a late collector, I collected my race pack during the first REPC.
This year’s collection system was indeed interesting. There were 3 steps involved in the REPC, each located at different parts of Suntec City. Step 1, the race bib collection, was held near Pasarbella. Step 2, the goodie bag collection, was held at the North Wing. Meanwhile, Step 3, the Sponsors & Exhibitor Booths were located at West, North and East Atriums.
The collection process for both Step 1 and Step 2 was a breeze. There was hardly any queue when I collected on Sunday afternoon. Inside the goodie bag were a race singlet, a running magazine, a couple of sponsors vouchers and Salonpas patches.
Through the REPC, I learned that there were shuttle buses to and from race village for Half and Full Marathon runners. Since HM starts at 11:45 p.m., I can take MRT to race village on Saturday, so I decided to purchase only the return shuttle bus ticket. The return shuttle bus would depart race village at 3 a.m. for HM runners; I thought it wasn’t a big issue since I usually complete my HM slightly under 3 hours. The one-way ticket costs $6, it can be purchased by cash at REPC or through Share Transport app. The price increases to $8 on the event day.
Before the Race
On Saturday evening, I took MRT to Promenade and walked to the lively race village. The village was crowded and happening when I arrived. Movie screening was ongoing. There were plenty of food and drink booths, as well as hydration booth. I spent some time exploring the race village before entering the start pen.
Perhaps I was bad at directions, it took me some time to find the entrance to start pen. In a panic state, I asked a runner for direction to start pen. She calmly pointed me to the right direction and I quickly dashed to the start pen entrance. At 11:43 p.m., I entered the “mini start pen” and was confused why we weren’t allowed to enter the real start pen. Three minutes later, we were finally allowed to enter the real start pen. I’m not sure what the purpose of the “mini start pen” is though.
I waited for a good 15 minutes until my wave was eventually flagged off at 11:58 p.m. During those 15 minutes, I was so worried that I would be flagged off after 12 a.m. If that happens, I won’t be able to cross the finish line before 3 a.m. and thus, I won’t be able to catch my return shuttle bus. I think that the shuttle bus departure timing was too early for Half Marathon runners.
21.1km Half Marathon
The route for 21.1KM passes through various iconic landmarks in Singapore, such as Singapore Flyer, Golden Mile Complex, Old Kallang Airport, Singapore Sports Hub, Gardens by the Bay (East), Marina Barrage, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands, and Esplanade.
Throughout the entire 21.1km, I faced only 1 bottleneck, which is at the first kilometre of the race. After the first kilometre, the density of runners was manageable. The race route varies between 3-lane, 2-lane, 1.5-lane, and 1-lane. This year’s route is so much better than last year’s route, except for the number of turns. I don’t really mind making a lot of turns, as long as I don’t get trapped in bottlenecks.
Hydration stations were really crowded and busy. However, I would like to give a shout-out to the volunteers for working so hard to refill the cups as fast as they could. Despite the crowd, I was able to get my cup in less than 10 seconds. I also noticed that there were about 2 bins (sometimes more) after each hydration stations, I hope the number of bins can be increased in the future to avoid congestion at bin areas.
I managed to grab a banana from the banana station located after 9km. There were only a few bananas left on the table when I arrived. I consumed it right away while running at the same time. When I finished the banana, I realised that we were heading to the expressway and there wasn’t any bin nearby! I had no choice but to carry the banana skin all the way to Singapore Sports Hub before disposing it.
The energy gel was supposed to be present at the hydration station after 11km, however, I didn’t notice it and totally forgotten about it. Fortunately, I brought my own energy gel from home. Muscle sprays were present at several hydration stations.
From Singapore Sports Hub, the race route brought us to Tanjung Rhu and then Gardens by the Bay (East). The 2km run along Bay East felt like an eternity. The Marina Barrage at the end of Bay East looked so near, yet so far. At the bridge that connects Bay East and Marina Barrage, a group of men and women were riding scooters amongst runners. I was shocked that some of them even sounded the horn to runners. Perhaps the organiser can figure out the best way to minimise interference from members of the public for future events.
After passing Flower Dome in Gardens by the Bay, at the 16km junction, instead of running straight to Marina Bay Sands, we had to turn left and run along Dragonfly Lake, make a U-Turn, come back to the same junction, and finally run towards MBS. If I had to pick my least favourite part of the race, it had to be this detour.
Distance markers play an important role for me in every running event. They allow me to make a mental calculation and estimate my finishing time. Through the calculation, I could decide when I should push myself and when to slow down. In this race, distance markers were present for each kilometre together with motivational quotes. I noticed that some quotes are repeated, though.
After seeing the 18km distance marker in front of MBS, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment because I could see that the finish line is within my grasp. Throughout the race, I was constantly worried about whether I could finish the race before 3 a.m. Reaching 18km at 2:25 a.m. made me feel confident that I can catch the 3 a.m. shuttle bus. Eventually, I crossed the finish line at 2:52 a.m.
After the Race
From finish line, we had to do a short walk to the finisher’s entitlement area and medal collection area. After collecting a can of Pocari Sweat, a bottle of Ice Mountain mineral water, a green banana, and a shiny gold medal, I rushed to the Information counter to ask about the location of shuttle bus pickup. I didn’t have time to take a photo of my entitlements or a selfie, let alone enjoy the free massage. All I wanted was to catch that bus.
I made it. I arrived at the shuttle bus at 3 a.m. sharp. The bus didn’t leave until 3:20 a.m. and I was totally okay with that. I arrived home at 4 a.m. and had a really sound sleep afterwards. The best sleep is the one after a good run! Do you agree?
- REPC was very well-managed.
- All four categories were flagged off at different timings to avoid congestion.
- The race route was manageable and not overly congested. I met only 1 bottleneck throughout my Half Marathon.
- Hydration stations were well-managed. Distance markers were present at each kilometre.
- The return shuttle bus timing was too early for HM runners.
You can check your Sundown Marathon 2018 race results here.