This year’s Star Wars Run Singapore was held on 5th May 2018, and it was held at the F1 Pit Building. There were a total of 3 categories; 10KM Competitive run, 5.4KM Non-competitive run, and a 540m dash for young children (4 – 9 years old). These categories were further split up into the “Light Side” and the “Dark Side”. Personally, I and my friends had signed up for the 10KM Competitive run on the “Dark Side”.
Run Pack Collection
The Run Pack collection was held at City Square Mall, from the 20th to 22nd May and it consisted of the event tee, tote bag, picnic mat and a personal race bib; all Star Wars themed. Overall, the collection procedure was extremely quick and efficient, and there was sufficient manpower present to ensure smooth collection for customers.
Even though my friends and I came to collect our run packs during the peak timing right after lunch, there was almost no queue; no doubt testament to the competent staff that were on hand to assist. After collecting our run packs, we were directed to try on the different sizes of shirts so that we could swap our shirts for another size if the need arose. We made the necessary adjustments and left, and from start, to finish, the whole collection process only took about 10 minutes.
I and my friends made my way to the race venue at about 4.30pm and even though there were many runners present it never really seemed too crowded before the race started. The handling of baggage and personal effects was also accomplished efficiently. I and my friends were initially worried that the baggage drop-off area would be crowded with people trying to turn in their belongings for safekeeping; however, this was not the case and within the span of 5 minutes, all of us had dropped off our belongings with the competent staff that assisted us.
There were several sponsor booths that were set up within the F1 Building area, selling merchandise and distributing refreshments as well. There were also a lot of photo taking zones for fans to capture down their memorable moments.
The flag off was scheduled at 5 pm for the 10KM run; however, the actual flag off actually started a little later at around 5.15pm. We were unaware of any delays because no announcements were made so we were understandably anxious. I felt that the start of the run could have been managed better because there were too many people running on the “dark side” and the start pen became incredibly congested.
In addition to this, the weather was sweltering, so having to wait without any knowledge of the reason for delays was almost unbearable. This problem could have been mitigated if the runners were split into waves of runners to stagger the volume of people running through the tight start point. Eventually, we were flagged off and all of us started the race in earnest.
Owing to the fact that we spent quite an extended period of time within the start pen, I needed the restroom as soon as the race started, unfortunately, it was only at the 2KM mark when I finally found a restroom. I eventually spotted one portable toilet along the running route, but that’s about it.
The organiser should have set up more portable toilets along the running route to prevent this from happening. Furthermore, due to the scorching hot weather, most runners were visibly dehydrated and thirsty. Luckily, the first hydration station; serving coconut water and plain water was located just after the 2KM mark. However, the hydration stations were few and far between; and for a run in such hot weather, there should have been more hydration stations set up as well.
With regards to the running route, there were many chokepoints and bottlenecked areas where people were squeezing to get past. Route demarcation was unclear at times as well, leading to confusion as to which direction the runners should be running. A common complaint I overheard from fellow runners was that they were sharing the same route with returning runners which only added to the confusion of which way they had to run. Thankfully, this problem was offset somewhat by an adequate number of ushers stationed throughout the run route to direct us when we were unsure of where to go.
At the start, there were various people dressed up in Star Wars themed costumes cheering the runners on; however, later in the run, there was pretty much no Star Wars “atmosphere” to speak of. It felt like a generic run without anything much to see. The only Star Wars “atmosphere” was the one some of the runners made for themselves (bringing lightsabers, cosplays etc.)
I crossed the finishing line at about 1:25:00 gun time, translating into 1:21:00 nett time and I was satisfied having completed my first ever 10KM run! Crossing the finishing line, we received a finisher’s medal and shirt and a packet of ice cold coconut water. I was relieved upon receiving the packet of coconut water, as I was parched with thirst after completing the run. I immediately gulped down the drink with much relish.
By this time, it was around 7.30 pm and the 5.4KM run seemed to start with much more fanfare, with staff dressed as iconic Star Wars characters such as Darth Vader, R2D2 and Emperor Palpatine. There were fireworks as well! I later found out it was actually the Pyrotechnics Display for the 5.4KM run. It seemed a bit of a pity that the 10KM runners who started earlier didn’t get to see this before they started their run, and only got to see it as they were leaving after finishing their run.
Overall, the event was fairly well organised with room for improvement. I look forward to coming again next year. Hopefully, the main concerns about the running route and engagement could be addressed and improved upon for subsequent Star Wars Runs.
- More water points can be placed at shorter distances in between them
- Runners could have been flagged off in waves to prevent bottlenecks and chokepoints
- Efficient staff (eg. change of shirt size, baggage drop)