On a hot and humid Saturday in July, Singapore welcomed another entry to the trail running calendar; the MSIG Singapore Action Asia 50. A new addition to the already established Action Asia series, the Singapore edition looks to add another flavour to the booming trail running scene here in South East Asia.
This post wasn’t intended to be a race review, but rather a race summary as an event spectator/supporter or simply, a fan of the sport that I have come to adopt and love.
I had considered signing up for the race when it was first announced by Jeri. But my lack of fitness and the uncertainty of my schedule due to reservist, meant that I would end up disappointing myself should I falter in the race. As I wanted to train properly for The North Face Singapore 50k as a training race to Hong Kong 100 (hoping for a successful ballot later this year) I decided it was best that I gave this race a miss.
Thankfully a change in the reservist system this year meant that my weekends were now free and I was able to attend this inaugural race, albeit as spectator. But there were many good reasons to attend it; many trail running friends were taking part, Tailwind Nutrition was making its local debut and the best names in trail running were in town.
I had a rough idea of where the race venue was. Queens Crescent was a heavy vehicle car-park near Queensway that was undergoing renovation and was 10-15 mins away from Queensway Shopping Centre. I had always known that there was a semi-forested area just behind it, but I didn’t know that it turned out to be a cozy site for hosting a race.
The first few runners that I spotted were Kim Hong and Hairul from Salomon who ran the 21km race. I had a quick chat with them before they went to rest. Not too long later, my Taiwanese friends came along and they finished their 21km race as well.
The bright and humid day out at Queens Crescent proved to be the greatest obstacle for the runners were still running out on the course. As for the runners who had finished and the supporters and friends who were waiting, the tents and the tree canopies provided much relief and shade away from the sun.
A familiar face to many trail runners in Singapore, Paviter (LiveFit Asia/Redbull) finished in a solid time of 05:48:48. He did well despite running with a niggling hip injury and still insufficiently rested from his feat at The North Face Laverado race.
While waiting for the rest of my friends to return, I popped by the Tailwind booth to have a chat with John Ellis, a regular face in the trail running scene in Hong Kong and also the Director for Gone Running, a Hong Kong based trail running store. Jeri was on hand too to give support to the runners around the race village. As one of the early adopters of Tailwind (alongside Ian, Wei Chong and Bucky), it was great to hear positive feedback from fellow runners about the effectiveness of Tailwind for their race.
Ian (Compressport/Nuke Optics) was the first of my friends to cross the finish line, putting in a solid effort in preparation of the UTMF STY race in September.
Wei Chong (Compressport/Nuke Optics) soon followed, crossing the finishing line in a steady pace. All smiles for the cameras but visibly weary afterwards with the heat taking its toll. He too will be running the UTMF STY race in September.
And finally at the height of the mid-day heat, Bucky made his way to the finish line. It was a struggle to make up for lost time but he finished it all smiles blazing.
I caught up with the rest of my Nuke Optics team mates after the race, where they too caught up with a friend they’ve made from racing the Sahara desert. Jordanian Salameh Al-Aqra, veteran desert runner and winner of the 2012 Marathon des Sables.
Cheekily enough, I managed to get a photo with the man himself, another legend in the ultra-running scene.
In short, it was a tiring but fruitful day out watching friends and fellow trail runners cross the finish line at the inaugural MSIG Singapore Action Asia 50. Trail races are indeed special; unpretentious, community driven with a sense of camaraderie, brotherhood and respect among all runners. Being a supporter goes beyond just waiting for them at the finish line. It was a time to soak in the race atmosphere, catch up with other runners, talk to sponsors and of course, capture your friends moments as they cross the line.
I’m definitely starting to enjoy sending and picking up friends for races than the actual racing itself. It’s akin to the video that Salomon recently made about Bill Dooper.