Last Sunday, 7 May 2017, my friend and I took part in Run Free 2017. Run Free is new race concept which allows runners to take part in a race at no cost. They can buy optional merchandise if they want, but it’s not compulsory. Considering that most of the races in Singapore cost at least 50 bucks, Run Free is absolutely a great choice for budget-conscious runners who don’t need singlets and medals, but just want to participate in a race.
I registered for 10km Run Free Package Deal, which included an Alpha Romeo event singlet, Alpha Romeo event T-shirt, race bib with timing chip, finisher’s medal, baggage deposit and drawstring bag. Meanwhile, my friend registered for 5km Run Free Package Deal which has same entitlements as mine.
Race Entry Pack Collection
All participants, regardless of whether they purchased a package deal or not, were required to collect the race pack or race bib at Velocity @ Novena Square. My friend who collected the race pack on my behalf said that the queue was not long, however, it took her 20 minutes to get the race pack despite the short queue.
The race pack didn’t include any sponsors’ products. It was truly a no-frills race pack. But we totally love our singlets and shirts.
The race started quite early in the morning. The start line was located at Gardens by the Bay (East), exactly beside Passion Wave @ Marina Bay. Organiser announced that free shuttle buses would be provided to transport runners from Stadium MRT to the start line. It was a nice gesture from the organiser to provide the free shuttle bus, considering that it is a free run. But since the frequency of the shuttle bus is 20 to 30 minutes, I was prepared to run from Stadium MRT to the start line.
I arrived at Stadium MRT at 7:05 a.m. and the flag off was scheduled at 7:15 a.m. for the 10km run. As I came out from Exit B, I was pleasantly surprised to find not one, not two, but three shuttle buses. I quickly ran to the first bus, which dropped us off at Costa Rhu at 7:15 a.m. From Costa Rhu, it was another 5-minute walk to the start line.
As usual, I had a late flag off at around 7:22 a.m. The crowd has thinned when I crossed the start line. There were a few photographers at the start line who took photos of participants flagging off.
It was a beautiful morning with cool weather. The crowd was not thick, it was easy to move around. The running route wasn’t entirely closed for public, so we had to share the path with other cyclists and casual runners.
The first hydration point was located at Marina Barrage, where I grabbed a cup of cold Pocari Sweat which felt very refreshing.
The route continued to Gardens by the Bay, which was still quiet. At Satay by the Bay, there was a sign indicating the U-turn point for 5km runners. There weren’t too many distance markers in the race. The first distance marker that I encountered was the 3km distance marker at Gardens by the Bay.
Afterwards, we ran along Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade, passing by Marina Bay Sands. The second hydration point was located on the promenade, near Marina Bay City Gallery. From there, the route turned left and continued towards The Promontory.
The U-turn point for 10km runners was near One Marina Boulevard building (the building with NTUC logo). After making the U-turn, we ran around The Promontory and were greeted with 5km distance marker.
On the way back to the finish line, I increased my pace. I aimed to arrive at the finish line at around 8:30 to 8:35 a.m. because that would be the time my friend finish her 5km race. I dashed through Waterfront Promenade and skipped the hydration station at the promenade.
As I ran through Gardens by the Bay, I saw plenty of Star Wars Run distance markers from the previous night that haven’t been removed yet. The 7km distance marker was placed just before the Flower Dome.
I found my friend running the opposite direction as me, after Satay by the Bay. I slowed down and continued running the final stretch along Gardens by the Bay (East), where there were many cyclists using the same route as us.
Eventually, I crossed the finish line at around 8:35 a.m. and my watch showed that I only ran 9.4km, but it didn’t matter. I met my friend not long after that.
I was a little bit surprised because there were no volunteers handing out medals to us at the finish line. There was a hydration station where we could grab as many bottles of Pocari Sweat as we wanted. After asking around, we found out that we had to queue to collect the finisher’s medal. Fortunately, the queue moved fast and we received our awesome Run Free medals.
There was a photo booth set up by Pocari Sweat where we could take our photo with our estimate timing. The queue wasn’t long so we went for it.
- Run Free offers 2 categories: 5km and 10km. Participants may register as a free runner or runner with a package deal.
- There is a free shuttle bus to transport runners from Stadium MRT to start line.
- There are 2 hydration points for the 10km category and 1 hydration point for the 5km category. Since it is a U-turn route, 10km runners get to drink 4 times, and 5km runners 2 times.
- Optional merchandise can be purchased from the website as well as race village.
If you like what the organiser X-Change Republic is doing with Run Free, do check out their next upcoming events – The first Runners League in Singapore, Leg 01 on 10 June 2017, Meiji Run on 20 May 2017 and DreamWorks Run on 24 June 2017.