Once again, it’s that time of the year for the annual Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2011 (SCMS), formerly known as Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, (SCSM), the last inception being in 2009, when I participated in my first half-marathon event, setting my one and only personal best in the category.
Funnily enough, my first full marathon for SCMS in 2010, also happens to be my fastest. This year? Pretty slow, but I survived, and this probably has to be my most memorable SCMS to date.
I shall narrate this entry by starting off early in the morning. I woke up at about 2am, and left the house just shy of 3am. It must be my good luck that the overnight train service came within 2 minutes of my arrival at the platform. The train quickly got full as the stops went by, and most of the runners alighted at Raffles Place to take the subsequent train to Orchard.
Met Billy there, chilled for a while, and moved on to the baggage deposit. I’m not sure how the both of us managed to deposit our bags slightly faster than the everyone else, because the queue as we walked by after exiting the baggage area was a total nightmare. Initially scrounged around for a toilet, but we figured there wasn’t much time, so we proceeded to the race line.
One thing that peeved me early on was how the Sub-6hr runners had to go all the way around to join the starting pen, despite the signboard saying that category could enter from the front, it was just strange really.
Anyway, started the run about 10 minutes after the initial flag off. The starting route till the 8k mark was congested, and I stopped to take a toilet break at one of the portable toilets. Ran quite uncomfortably till the 18k mark (felt like taking a dump), and so stopped at the toilet to ascertain that hunch, which thankfully, I didn’t have to.
I snapped myself back into gear, and I comfortably ran until my quads started getting really sore at the 30k mark, by 33km, I was adopting the run-walk-stretch strategy to keep myself from falling apart. The bridge leading past Marina Bay was challenging to say the least. I nearly pulled a muscle by accident while doing some stretches on the bridge.
Towards the end, 2 runners wearing TeamNUS shirts tagged me along to run with them. I thought it was a nice gesture to run together to the end; despite being complete strangers, the 3 of us did have something in common, and that we were wearing the TeamNUS shirt. We eventually split up as fatigue did catch up, and we took to our own pacing to last the final stretch of the race. I also bumped into Barry. I was surprised he walking the last stages the journey, considering I caught up to him, it meant he was already running much faster than me before fatigue set in and he walked for a considerable distance for me to catch up.
Something else happened at the end of the race, just before the turn towards the Padang, there was a photographer sitting down takings pictures. He then popped his head out, to which I glanced, and I was pleasantly surprised to see it was Jonathan Loh, a friend from Deviantart, and a great photographer. It was great to see him! I also ran into my ESS classmate, Rafi, who was working for the event organizer.
Made my way through the muddy walkway to the shirt and medal collection point. Hesitated for a while, but I took XXS this time around, and thankfully, it was a much better fit for me than the XS shirt I took last year. Rested at a corner somewhere near the memorial statue while I waited for Billy, and we both hobbled to collect our bags.
Overall, the logistics of the event was far from perfect. The initial few Km’s of the race was quite congested, making some runners take the empty road on the left of the barricade, which was meant for traffic, much to the ire of the drivers who trying to pass through. Water points were a little far off, especially towards the end of the race from Marina Barrage on. But, I guess it’s an individual’s experience really. While this race wasn’t an ideal one for me, it was interesting to note I met a lot of interesting runners, as well as friends who were there to run, or participate in the event.
Till next year!