There were four animal teams for runners to choose from for the Safari Zoo Run 2017, each representing an endangered species. Team Ah Meng, Team Canola, Team Chawang, and Team Sunny support Sumateran orangutans, endangered turtles in SE Asia, Sumateran elephants and Helmeted Hornbills respectively.
There were 3 race distances to choose from: 2.5 km Kids Dash / Family Dash (for kids and adults), 5.5 km Family Run (for kids and adults), and 10 km Challenge (for 16 years old and above). I participated in the 10 km Challenge and chose to support Team Ah Meng.
The 10 km Challenge
The 10 km category was flagged off at 7:00 a.m. I dropped off from my bus at 7.05 a.m. and made a sprint to baggage deposit, which was thankfully not congested. From baggage deposit, in a panic state, I dashed around to find the start pen but couldn’t find it. After asking one of the marshals, I was directed to the start pen entrance which was behind the furthest baggage deposit counter. That was a good way to warm up prior to the race!
I crossed the start line at around 7:17 a.m., way behind the majority of the runners. Running at the back of the pack certainly has its own advantages. The pros include laid-back running atmosphere as if it was a leisure morning run in the rural areas, no congestion or bottlenecks, and no pressure to keep up with faster runners.
Running early morning in this year’s Safari Zoo Run has been a precious experience for me and my husband because we got to witness zoo animals savouring their breakfast! As the park was not yet open to the public and the flag off for 2.5 km and 5.5 km was at 8:00 a.m., the zoo was quiet prior to 8:00 a.m. and it felt like we had the zoo to ourselves.
There were many exhibits located along the running route, so we spent a lot of time watching the behaviour of the animals and taking photos of them. My favourite moment was when a group of otters stood on a tree log, looked at us and posed for my camera.
Other animal exhibits that are not along the race routes were blocked with safety cones, but runners could visit them after the run. The routes were generally well-marked and marshals were easily spotted almost everywhere.
Plenty of water stations ensured that runners were well-hydrated throughout the run. Certain water stations provided cold isotonic drinks too. The helpful volunteers shouted, “Isotonic drinks!” in case runners were not aware of their availability.
Along the way, there were signboards with messages urging participants to care for the environment and support sustainable practices, to minimise habitat loss that would threaten the extinction of endangered animals.
Safari Zoo Run offered such a variety of after-race perks. At the finish line, finishers were handed a cute medal featuring Ah Meng, Canola, Chawang and Sunny. A few metres afterwards, Kai Kai and Jia Jia mascots were greeting finishers with smile and posing for photos with them.
We weren’t aware of finisher’s entitlements initially, thankfully marshals at the carpark were shouting, “Finisher’s entitlement, here!” We proceeded to collect our entitlements of banana and isotonic drink (a can of Aquarius).
The race bib of Safari Zoo Run allowed participants free entry into Singapore Zoo after the run, and River Safari after 12:30 p.m on the race day. It was really a steal!
Feeling sticky after a run and wanting to shower before exploring the Zoo and River Safari? Grohe provided free shower trucks for participants to clean up after the race. Unfortunately, we arrived at Grohe containers at 10:30 a.m. which they were closed and due for pick up, so we ended up taking a shower at the Zoo’s toilet.
We really enjoyed the Safari Zoo Run and would strongly recommend it to family and friends. After all, who wouldn’t be happy seeing the animals and spending time with loved ones while supporting wildlife conservation?
- The run offered runners a rare experience of watching animal behaviour in the morning before the zoo was open to public
- The race had great perks, such as event T-shirt, finisher’s medal, free entry to Zoo and River Safari on race day, discounted ticket price for Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park
- Baggage deposit counters and water stations were well-handled, routes were well-marked, marshals were cheerful and helpful
- For future Safari Zoo runners, don’t forget to bring mosquito repellents