Whether you are a running professional or fanatic, or someone who just started to set aspiring goals with a pair of newly bought running shoes, embracing hard-hat antics, the Straits Times Run becomes a celebrated event, congregating all like-minded people.
Over the course of 3 years since its “run in the park”, it has progressed to interweaving with the city landscape.
Despite the downpours in the wee hours of the morning, the rain did not dampen the moods of many; perhaps the hopeful cooler weather would help most in the run. Good tele-updates on the weather condition notified all participants, showing the organizers’ thoughtfulness. Upon reaching the F1 pit building an hour before the race commenced, slight drizzle still did not deter many to turn up in “blues” [well, I am not referring to moods].
Booths and food trucks settled and preparing hearty meals and bites; piping hot latte and of course hydrating booth to quench thirsty runners. The seas of blues soon flowed towards the start point as the start pen opened up. While myself, with some other runners, warmed up, most were immersed in the fun of congregation, taking photos and selfies to commemorate their meaningful morning.
The 10km, which I participated in, flagged off 5 minutes earlier than scheduled.
Sprinted off with the first group of runners, the gaps slowly widen among each other. Heartwarming as it seems, not only runners encourage each other along the race, a mini concert stand, with live bands in place, to provide mid-route entertainment to cheer on with the pace.
As dawn settled in the morning, with some slight drizzle, the landscape around me changed subtly, weaving through the atrium hardscape of the Sport Hub; into the gardens by the bay. While I realised that there were ongoing improvement works and hoarding that has interrupted the coastal route, organizers had made adjustments to allow diversion of the route in-land. In which I totally understand the constraints faced but good enough for allowing to enjoy the lush greens along the route.
The last kilometre mark saw many ascending up the Bay front bridge, down to the Olympic park, most still in high spirits, knowing they are closing into the finish line.
Bottleneck routes were inevitable in most local races, especially along the CBD and Marina Bay area. However, that did not bother me a lot as deployed marshals executed the crowd management with tact and patience. Even if it may be confusing to have 2 categories of runners [10km and 18.45km] route merged and split at the start of Marina Bay Sands, the number of marshals gave better guidance in identifying and segregating the 2 category runners.
Having managed my run in less than 55 minutes, I was greeted by friendly staff giving out ice-cold electrolytes and bottled water to hydrate fully. Bananas were distributed and yes of course, the finisher medal and apparels rewarded all participants.
By then, the race villages spurned to life, transforming an under-utilized public space into a mini bustling hub, with entertaining post running activities and more food prepared for the hungry stomachs. What was perhaps interesting as an observation was this mist hydrating point stationed at the end of the exit points, cooling down runners.
I would applaud the organizing committee for effective hydration and I do hope similar treatment as these to appear in future races.
Some 12,000 participants braved the rain to conquer the respective run categories with utmost enthusiasm, and giving a sleepy Sunday a new meaning to embrace in and with the city beats. It was no longer perceived as a race, rather an event that congregates like-minded people in excitement, pacing the race within the cityscape.
In my second year of participating in the ST run, it just gets better. I am also sure most will look forward to another exciting 2017 ST race.