It’s called 'The Ultimate X-Terrain Challenge', and we suppose it's because the race covers four different types of ground. Perhaps three if you ask us, 'cos the road and runway can be pretty much classified as hard flat surfaces. The other two consist of sand and rough-hewn trails.
This year’s New Balance REAL Run has upped the ante in terms of distance; now a half marathon (21 kilometres) as compared with 2010’s 15 kilometres. Well, all we can say is that it isn’t your usual half marathon that stretches out on a monotonous road terrain. From experience, the trail’s going to pose a sizeable challenge but it’s the sand segment that’s the 'killer'. Newton’s law of an equal opposed reaction with every action wouldn’t really apply on sand because it absorbs the force instead of returning the much desired propulsion to runners – just making sense of the situation.
Out of the 10,000 sign-ups, it’s heartening to know that close to a third will be attempting the half marathon distance while the rest, a less intensive 10-kilometre route. Times have changed. 10 kilometres is now a ‘recreational’ distance. Side-tracking a little, runners are comparatively fitter nowadays aren’t they?
Moving on, we come down to the much talked about route. If you have a look at the map below, it starts and ends at the Changi Exhibition Centre (CEC). Half marathoners will make their way around CEC to Aviation Park Road, making a detour before hitting the long stretch along Changi Coast Road, after which they’ll reach the beach and make their way back, coming one full circle. Frankly, if you ask us, the sand and trail portion at the latter stages would do runners some good, joint and muscle wise. Yes, runners will inevitably come to a slow but the shock absorption provided by “soft” ground could help avert possible knee or foot injuries. Nevertheless, those headed for a podium finish would probably find the sand and trail a surmountable obstacle – with all that lactic acid build-up toward the end of the race.
New Balance REAL Run 21km/10km Route
So, flag-off time is at 6:30am for 21 kilometres and 7am for 10 kilometres. The RunSociety team is looking forward to what seems a first for a half marathon race in Singapore. We’ll talk to the runners on race day and see what they say.
FYI: The REAL (Regular Exercise, Active Lifestyle) Run started in 1996 with the aim of promoting a healthy lifestyle amongst Home Team NSmen. Over the years, it has attracted local and international running enthusiasts from more than 55 countries.