The Singapore 2XU Marathon Race Report : Deo
My 25th full marathon was done safely in the recent 2XU Compression Run in Singapore. It was also my first race in Singapore since MR25 Ultramarathon in December 2012. I dreaded to race in any Singapore marathon mainly because in whatever marathon held in the island, name it whatever you want, half of the distance will be held inside the East Coast Park (ECP). And ECP is notorious for its long, never ending stretch and the hardness of the cement surface. But there is one thing about me that I recently realized - I like to sign up for first-time races (or the inaugurals) provided that the organizer is trustworthy and experienced ones. Although 2XU Compression Run was not held for the first time, the full marathon was a new category. And hearing good feedback from previous editions, I decided to return back to Singapore to run a race there.
On board the early AirAsia flight to Singapore, there were other familiar faces, all taking part in the race. After breakfast at Changi Airport we made our ways to Changi City Point Mall, which is located just two MRT stations from Changi Airport, for the race pack collection and expo. It was held at the small foyer of the mall and got really crowded by noon with runners queuing for the race pack as well as those shopping for merchandise from Key Power International. Nevertheless, it was a hassle-free race pack collection. The rest of the day was followed by eating and hydrating and napping and eating and prepping for the race and finally early lights off around 10pm.
With some of the Malaysian runners we bumped into at the race pack collection and expo site
[photo by Leena See]
Woke up at 1.45am and headed out from hostel an hour later. Walked for some 2km to the start point with some one hour to spare before the start of the race. It was a peaceful morning, not crowded like in SCMS. Short queues for porta-loos as well as for the bag drops. Bumped into some Malaysian runners. Made ourselves into the race pen some 15 minutes before the race. The morning weather was really nice, not the usual very humid Singapore weather. And I can feel wind blowing at times making it a near perfect condition to run.
As I said earlier, the weather was nearly in perfect condition to race (for tropical climate like in Malaysia and Singapore). From a glance at other runners' bibs and a look at the crowd lining up in front and behind me, I sensed that there were not more than 3,000 full marathoners that morning so I guessed there won't be any bottleneck anywhere along the route (there were actually 3,420 total finishers for full marathon). The start point of the race was on Republic Avenue, parallel to Nicoll Highway and next to Geylang River (I think). The view at that 4am was quite stunning as we could see the sight of the lighted-up Singapore Flyer at the other side of the river.
|The race route, includes the dreaded 21km inside ECP|
In terms of gears used, I am being lucky to be under 2ndSkin Athletes Program whereby almost everything that I put on were sponsored. For this race, from top to toe, I wore TeamSpyder Tank shades (although it remained on my head throughout the race), 2ndSkinAsia's team t-shirt in Vaporskin technology, Kraftfit men's long compression bottom, Garmin 910XT watch, Skechers GOrun Ultra shoes, and self-provided Nathan's waist pouch and Wrightsock's socks.
|Morning before the race - lacing up my Skechers GOrun Ultra|
As usual, I always have sets of target, i.e. to run under four hours, to do better than my previous race, or to run with a PR timing. What it means is that I will re-evaluate my target finishing time as the race progresses especially how I fared in the first 10km or in the first half of the race. I am lucky to have the capability to calculate my pace and expected finishing time in my head while running so I would be able to dictate my body on how fast my pace should be to meet the targeted timing or how long of break I could enjoy but still able to meet my target, and so on.
|The start of the marathon race. I was there behind the guy in red|
|The dreaded face as I moved closer to the entrance of ECP|
I was so relieved when I arrived at the u-turn point at the opposite end of ECP (KM25.5) and I could now see more runners on the other side of the road on the opposite direction of the park. It lifted my spirit a little knowing that my suffering (of running inside ECP) is nearing the end but theirs just about to begin. Nevertheless, I could not run any faster like in the first 17km but I was happy enough to be able to maintain sub 5:30-minute pace by that time. With the pace I was doing, I knew sub 4-hour timing is well within grasp but to do a PR would be quite challenging. I stopped for the first time at KM27 to refill my water bottle as well as to take a loo. And as a result, my average pace has gone up to above 5-minute. There onwards, I stopped for a couple more walk breaks in ECP (KM32 and KM35) as I was so tired and just felt like walking for a while. Before I decided to walk again at KM37, I reached the exit gate of the ECP and my spirit soared that I kept running.
|Happy after surviving the ECP. I told my friends that the two thumbs up are for the well-organized race and another one for my PR|
I told myself that there is no point of motivating them so, let's just continue pursuing my goal. I knew that if I keep running and the race would not go over distance, I would finish the race with a PR timing. The last three kilometers were not fast but was good enough to bring me home with a PR of 3 hours 40 minutes and 11 seconds (official nett time), two minutes faster than my previous PR set in Auckland in November last year. Average pace was 5:14-minute per km. And the timing puts me in 46th position out of 2,884 male marathoners. Although I missed the 3:3x mark by just 11 seconds, I am still very satisfied with the way I ran this marathon - knowing what I am capable of.
|It's always nice to run a marathon PR and everytime it feels different!|
In terms of the overall organization of the event, personally, I think that the event has been well-managed from the safety aspect (as I mentioned earlier), the support (volunteers and marshaling), race information was easily available from the website, half of the route was nice while the other half was in ECP (you know what this means), water stations were located 2km apart - this is aplenty! and the isotonic were served cold even for back runners, the start/finish venue were reasonable for that size of crowd, finisher medal was nice, event vest and finisher t-shirt were ok. My overall rating for the event would be GOOD!
And that wrapped up the story of my 25th marathon.