The only reason why I decided to sign up for this race was the cost. For the individual category, the Early Bird price was $37 and the Normal rate was $42. Definitely costly. Until National Day arrived, whereby the organisers offered 50 registrations at 50% off! $21 for a unique (route wise) 4+km run - that was acceptable by my standards ~
Fort Canning Park was a relatively convenient location to access - complemented by the fact that the flag-off wasn't particularly early - this meant that I could easily catch the MRT (and not even the first train). Though the briefing for the Men's Open was scheduled for 7.15am, it wasn't till about 7.30am till it happened - and my wave (the 1st wave of about 8 of us) was flagged off at 7.40am. I was a little disappointed as having noticed the various participants at the Lee Kong Chian School of Business (Assembly point), there were definitely strong runners around. I was keen to run alongside a couple of strong runners in order that we could drag each other long. Alas, it wasn't to be as my wave only had 1 strong runner, a Gurkha (whom I later found out was called Bijay) who was well beyond my reach.
Right from the horn, Bijay bolted away and was quickly out of sight. A few participants with clearly mispaced efforts (judging from their audible breathing and exponential slowing after a few hundred metres) were around me at first, though it wasn't long till I found myself running alone. The route was certainly challenging and I was somewhat prepared for that - having had a brief chat with Chester while waiting for the pre-race briefing. I deliberately made sure my breathing was controlled, consequently running a relatively slow first lap in 6:27 (glance at the results below to see how it compares with other participants). I was a little concerned about my unfamiliarity of the route, particularly without anyone in front of me that was within sight... I wouldn't consider all the directions of greatest clarity, but marshals were placed at most points of ambiguity. One of the many descents included intermittent steps as well - I took care to avoid any injuries. Last but not least, being in the first wave, I ran through an area that seemed to be densely filled with hanging spider webs, definitely not the most pleasant sensation. (Thankfully, subsequent rounds were clear - presumably due to the other waves of runners.)
|Steep descent...Round 1. Credit to Running Shots.|
|Finishing the first round. Credit to Sentient Moments.|
As I approached the start (and finish) point, the third wave had just started, hence I was faced with a sizeable crowd (15+?). That necessitated some weaving, though it also provided some company. This wave was much more similar to my abilities (in contrast to Bijay who was simply out of reach or even sight), hence I was definitely appreciative of this. I gradually overtook a few runners, though immensely thankful for the company they provided in comparison to the first round. The second round passed pretty uneventfully and I soon began my final round. (Multiple rounds remind me of...ward rounds, pre-rounds...)
|Round 2. Credit to Running Shots.|
I started to feel the fatigue setting in. It was psychologically draining to figure out how to pace myself. I quite certainly erred on the side of caution, evidence of that being the comfortably strong finish of my third round, after which I remained pretty mobile (a clear sign of having too much left in the tank). Thereafter, I had a chat with Bijay (that was when I got to know his name) and we realised we had seen each other previously at Serangoon Stadium (where I had done one of my last workouts before the Pocari Sweat Run 2015). He had completed his run in about 17-flat and I was absolutely certain he was going to be the champion. I was actually wrong.
|Round 3. Looking so similar to the previous photo. Credit to Running Shots.|
|Not so comfortable by now. Credit to Running Shots.|
Post-race, due to the unspent energy, I proceeded with a jog around the vicinity before spontaneously deciding to perform a few hill repeats. (I must have passed the Running-Shots photographer stationed along the hill about...8 times). Thereafter, a jog back to the finish line and a friendly conversation with Bijay as we headed back to the LKCSB. As part of the Gurkha Police Force, he has spent about 5 years in Singapore. We're both running next week's Straits Time's Run 2015 (10km) as well - though he is looking to finish in the 33-34min range, definitely a contender for the podium!
Thereafter, I spent some time at the LKCSB, during which I had the chance to briefly catch up with Desmond and grab a photo with Bijay (and grab ice cream as well). Only lingering long enough for the Men's Open prize presentation, it was then that I got to find out Bijay was the runner-up to Liu Yuan Chow, who is Singapore's U15 Boys 1500m record holder with a time of 4:15.81 - and he's run 4:09.4 in January this year. He is a runner in quite a league of his own for his age. It was then time to head off, proceed with a short strength workout and then attend service ~
|Results out within a few hours! :) Corrected ranking of 11 after factoring the Team category.|