The enormous inflated balloons of SpongeBob and Patrick; the cardboard cut-outs of characters such as SpongeBob, Patrick, Gary the Snail, Mr Krabs, Squidward and Sandy Cheeks; the instant photo booth with SpongeBob props; all of these kept us so busy and excited before and after the first ever SpongeBob run held in Singapore, last Saturday, 6 August 2016.
There were so many photo opportunities, that my phone storage was full and I had to delete some apps to make space for more photos. Energy was high throughout the event. It was truly an afternoon dedicated to families and friendships.
I made my way to Sentosa on foot, through the boardwalk, with my friend. We hadn’t collected our race bibs beforehand, so we couldn’t enjoy the complimentary Sentosa Express from Vivocity.
At Waterfront Station, we joined the long queue for the monorail to go to Beach Station. Thankfully the queue moved fast and we arrived at Beach Station not long after.
From Beach Station, it was approximately a 1 km walk along Siloso Beach Walk to the event’s carnival area, which is located near Siloso Point Cable Car Station.
At the carnival area, we went to the Information tent to collect our race entitlements. As we were from the media, we were not entitled to the yellow SpongeBob race T-shirts. We were each given a drawstring bag, plush toy, media tag and race bib. The Information tent was also a place for participants to collect race packs if they hadn’t done so during the Race Pack Collection Event the week before at Novena.
Done with collection, we deposited our belongings at the Baggage Deposit tent. There were 3 short lines at Baggage Deposit, we probably waited for less than 3 minutes. When we were done with baggage deposit, the time was already 4.25pm. As mentioned on the website, the event was supposed to start at 4pm and finish at 8pm.
We thought that we had missed the flag off for our 5 km run. Then we saw a board stating the flag off time for the 5 km run at 5pm. We felt relieved. Personally, I felt that the website didn’t contain enough information and the Facebook page was where all the information was broadcast.
Knowing that we still had 30 minutes left before the flag off, we spoiled ourselves by taking many photos with the giant balloons of SpongeBob and Patrick, as well as cardboard cutouts of other characters. There were queues for almost all the photo-taking spots, but it was so worth queuing for.
There were many other tents at the carnival area. The drink counter sold soft drinks and water, the prices were: 1 for $2 and 3 for $5. The popcorn, cotton candy, ice balls and glitter tattoo required participants to purchase an $8 coupon first prior to redeeming these items.
The photo booth was the hottest tent, which had the longest queue, as it provided props for participants, took their photos with a DSLR camera, provided instant printouts of the photo, and uploaded the photos on Facebook.
The stage had programs such as SpongeBob screening, characters appearance, and lucky draw. In addition, the portable toilets were quite clean and the queues were pretty short.
As the time showed 4.55pm, we proceeded to the race pen at Siloso Beach Walk. During flag off, a drone flew by, and participants were told to wave to the drone. It was a slow walk before and after start point, it was nearly impossible to run.
About 400m into the race, the crowd slightly thinned, enthusiastic runners started running through available gaps. Some impatient runners jumped over the barricade and ran on the other lane.
As we were approaching the 1 km mark, the smell of McDonald’s and Marrybrown started to tease. After the 1 km mark, the route turned left, passing through Beach Station and Kidzania. The route continued towards Palawan Beach. Raindrops started falling. The opposite lane slowly filled with people who had U-turned. Fortunately, the raindrops were light and hardly noticeable.
The 2km mark was located just after the entry point to the Palawan Beach. Not that far ahead was the water point. Despite congestion, service was fast. A few meters later, it was the U-turn point. As I was making my U-turn, I noticed black clouds hanging above, and I kept wishing it would not rain heavily, and I was glad it didn’t rain at all. We were given a chance to finish the race without rain.
It was my first time running on sand. My shoes were filled with lots of sand. It was not easy, yet it was a great experience. It definitely trained the muscles in a different way than pavements do. I was excited to run along the beach. And I missed spotting the 3 km mark.
All I noticed was people queuing for a photo opportunity with a treasure chest cardboard cut-out. Thereafter, the route was back on pavement again.
The 4km mark was located after Beach Station. Shortly after that, we entered another sand area at Siloso Beach. This beach was the final km of the race. The finish point was on the beach as well. We received a glass of water and a medal after the finish point.
After the race, we indulged in photo hunting again before the sky got dark. At 6.45pm, SpongeBob and Patrick made an appearance on the stage. We left at about 7pm. It was a fun event for us. The photo opportunities far exceeded our expectations.
There is still room for improvement though, such as: longer race routes, more information on the website, and better race entitlements.