Returning for its third edition, runners clad in the distinctive blue and white of the Pocari Sweat Run welcomed no less than 9,000 participants to Nicoll Highway last Sunday. Conditions were warm and the air was still. Put this together with a wide, flat course and on offering were almost perfect conditions for participants in the 10km competitive to aim for that personal best.
For those in the 5km competitive, there was the opportunity to pick up the sport knowing they would be well looked after with a title sponsor that knows the importance of hydration.
Enjoying the Still, Quiet Morning Air
I arrived at 5.30am, which was enough time to avoid the crowds, make use of the well supplied toilet facilities and deposit kit in the baggage storage. It also gave early bird access to the starting pen to secure the all-important flag off position for the 10km competitive at 6.30am.
Commencing on Nicoll Highway, it was a quieter than usual build up in the starting pen with nothing in the way of music to hype up runners before flag off. The leading motorcycles maneuvering their way through the assembled crowd just before flag off seemed a little bizarre, but this was all forgotten once the Japanese Taiko drums started beating, hailing us all to shuffle forward towards the starting line.
The wide dual carriage Nicoll Highway allowed a swift start which then followed a refreshingly different route direction to many races in the area (albeit covering the same sights!) After crossing the Kallang River and looping back to the city along Crawford Street, the route then hugged the Marina Bay, passing the flyer and then back to the Nicoll highway to the finish. Despite a few hairpin turns this was an easy course to follow, well marshaled and not too busy. The three rehydration stops were well stocked with Pocari Sweat but improvements could be made with more provision for water.
After crossing the finishing line, although congested in parts, the arena had an atmosphere that encouraged participants to mingle with fellow runners and celebrate their achievements with friends.
Su Leng Ho, paced by her brother Terence Ho, was competing in her 4th 10km run this year.
"I chose this race because I heard from my brother that it is a well organized event and my brother said he would pace me. I found that the well-placed hydration stations made this a great run for us both. We crossed the line in in 1 hour 11 minutes!"
A Refreshing Break from the Norm
It was good to see a break from the normal T-shirt with a more practical finishing pack consisting of a medal, a sweat finisher towel and a useful runners pouch.
Post-race day entertainment was a mix of award presentations, a lucky draw to win a trip to Japan but most interesting of all was the sharing session on stage with Dr Jason Chia, a senior consultant and head of Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Sports Medicine & Surgery Clinic), Mr. Chan Meng Hui (an 84 year old veteran runner of 98 marathons who started running only when he was 54), a talk show with elite runner Dr Mok Ying Ren and a few words from the charity Tan Tock Seng Community Charity Fund.
All these on-stage events brought a real human element to the race and it was really interesting to hear the stories of all of those who took part, their tips for runners of all abilities and hearing about the important charity element to this race, an organisation that does important work to support those who may not receive help from traditional charities. Pocari Sweat Singapore's Brand Ambassador, Dr Mok Ying Ren not only shared his valuable tips on running but, just a week after breaking the Singapore half-marathon record in the Christchurch half marathon, took out the 10km Competitive men's category winner.
I can see why the Pocari Sweat Run has grown over the last 3 years. The course is accessible, the organisation slick and with the extra touches at the end, this is a race that appealed to many levels of runners.
- Race course was wide in most areas and despite a few hairpin turns it has the potential for some fast times.
- With no music, the start lacked the usual pre-race atmosphere.
- Better provision for plain water alongside Pocari Sweat both on the course and at the end.
- A well-thought out finish pack for all runners.
- A great line up of interesting talks that engaged participants after the race.