Over 1,800 runner took part in the 2014 edition of the much loved Salomon X-Trail at its new home in Punggol on Saturday evening. The race is part of the regional Salomon X-Trail series created to introduce the marvels of trail running to runners in the region.[expand title=”click for more of the press release”]
Nimesh Gurung won first place in the 10k Men’s Open category finishing in 36 minutes and 17 seconds while Vanja Cnops won first place in the Women’s Open category 10k completing in 41 minutes and 20 seconds.
Participants can log onto www.salomonsg.com for their results and pictures from 24 November.
Update: Race results are out! Click here to view yours.
2014 marks my 3rd participation in the Salomon X-Trail event, my first being in 2010. Back then I took part in the 5 km non-competitive event with a friend to have a feel of the off-terrain race. I wasn’t too serious about trail running in 2010, thus when I came around and rejoined the race a few years later, it seemed that I had missed out a lot.
Over the years the course has shifted its venue quite a bit. In 2010 it was at Macritchie Reservoir, in 2013 it was at the Tampines Bike Trail. This year it had relocated to its present site at Punggol.
Reception to this race was rather lukewarm, at least on social media and more evidently on the SGRunners forum. The most prominent complaint was the very late release of the race route and that of the race route itself. The route was about 7 km of park connectors with about 2 to 3 km of trails.
The race pack included a 30% off Salomon items, a Salomon branded towel and some promotional leaflets. I will be very generous say that the event t-shirt this year was a big improvement over the previous editions.
The venue for the event would be at 313B Sumang Link in Punggol, which was also near the Punggol Promenade Nature Walk. The course started on the grassy area of the park before quickly moving into a short trail section. The momentum of running this trail would be momentary as we had to stop to crawl under a locked gate, thereby exiting the trail. This would lead runners to about 6 to 7 km of gravel and tarmac road of the park connectors. Running on the gravel path instead of the tarmac and with a few bridges interspersed along the course sort of the made up for the lack of trails on a majority of the course.
On the last 2 to 3 km, the trail section took many runners by surprise; 2 majors climbs and a forest trail which were quite damp and technical. It quickly reminded me of my adventure in Sabah and the many hills I had to climb there, but I pushed through so as not to create a bottleneck for the other runners behind me. The course ended up with short climb followed by a quick descent to reach the finish line. [expand title=”Click here to check out the course profile on Strava.” trigclass=”noarrow”][/expand] I finished with an official time of 0:51:18 in 39th place for the mens open.
In summary, the event organizers managed to overcome the perceived negativity of the race route. Sure, the race venue was a little further than usual and some runners would still be grumbling about the route. But give and take, the race atmosphere was good, the volunteers and photographers were cheery and supportive and it was a great place for the Singaporea trail running community, be it first timers to seasoned runners, to come and interact each other. I think that’s what matters most.
Also, a quick shout to the photographers who came to take pictures of the runners! Click on one of the links below to view the event gallery taken by them.