Sundown Marathon 2012

Sundown Marathon 2012


When I took up running in 2009, it didn’t occur to me how soon I was able to run a full marathon (about 5 months after i ran my first half marathon). And at that time, I didn’t think I would be involved with people running/promoting the event, the science of the it, and my continued interest in the growing sport of running.

The Sundown Marathon 2012 that was held this past Saturday and Sunday would be my 3rd for this event, and my 5th full marathon.

Having not trained as consistently due to school commitments and a sudden injury onset, I was certain I wasn’t able to make it for the race. But if I guess, if I didn’t go for it, there wouldn’t be any stories to tell right? On a side note, I was supposed to deliver Sergeys’ (a friend from work) half-marathon race bib as he was overseas and had just returned the previous day, so that was partly another reason to take part the event.

This edition of the Sundown Marathon starts off from Nicoll Highway, a departure from the previous 2 years which saw the race being flagged-off from Changi Exhibition Center. It made the travel from home easier, as all I needed to do was board the train to Buona Vista MRT before transferring to the Circle Line. I would have thought I was the only other runner on the train when I first boarded, but more and more runners started appearing on the train eventually.

I went looking for Sergey upon leaving the train, which wasn’t hard because he is the easily the tallest person in the crowd (standing in at 1.8-9m). We both exited the train and found a corner for ourselves to put on our race bibs and check whatever things we wanted to bring along during the run before we checked-in our bags.

I bumped into Haslinda (a running blogger, full list here), which made it official. I have yet to meet other running bloggers that I have listed on this blog or even on my RSS reader. I hope the day will come tho. After checking-in our bags, we detoured shortly for a trip to one of the portable loos, before heading off to find the VIP tent. Miscommunications aside (thanks to inefficient cellular network at the event venue), I finally managed to hook up with Merliza and her pr team.

The last time I came into contact with these ladies, I had a pretty awesome time hanging out with Anton Krupicka when he was visiting Singapore. This time, I spent a pretty awesome pre-race in a neat booth just out of reach for most people, and getting to toe-off at the start line with the rest of the elite athletes.

Enough said tho, here’s the team. Thanks once again for the opportunity to be included as part of the media for the event!

With Merliza, Adele, and the mega-awesome pr folks.

With Merliza, Adele, and the mega-awesome pr folks.

It was quite soon after that Sergey, myself, and the rest of the runners in the media tent were ferried off to the start line. It amazed me to see so many people lined up for the event, especially when the 21KM and the 42KM runners were starting together. As a runner who has always been “part of queue“, it was refreshing to see it from say, a spectators point of view, and perhaps even better from the view up front.

After being hurried in, with just a minute or two to spare, the race was on. I stayed cleared to the left for fear of getting run over by the faster, elite runners. A few meters into the race, I realized that the soft flask (which was empty) that I had brought into the race had already dropped out of my pocket. Knowing that it was too late to back track, I carried on. Like I said, running in the very first wave and watching tens and thousands of runners waiting in the pens for their turn to start … is a refreshing experience.

Having brought my own pace band (which you too can create from here), I decided to approach this run with more caution with regards to how my body was feeling (I had a pulled calf just the day before, which I’m still experiencing now, and a possible inflamed tendon). I also kept pace by checking periodically if i had more than enough time to stop and rest before I meet my target pace as indicated on the pace band.

I took my first power gel at the 10KM mark, to compensate for the mental grit I had to endure during the turn into the 42KM route that was designated. I knew from earlier runs that the ECP route was the most mentally challenging, so I took adequate steps to make sure I was straight headed, and kept my pace on. To my surprise, I did well for that lap of the run.

Of course, things took an interesting turn when it started to rain heavily. I can’t exactly remember at which lap of the run I was in, but it could have possibly been after the u-turn at the 25KM mark. It definitely made it more challenging as there was quite a lot of surface drag which runners had to overcome. I personally enjoyed the rain, as it meant I was able to cool my body down and push it a little harder than I normally would.

I kept going and going, and after coming out of ECP after the 35KM mark, I was relieved. Looking at my watch, I knew I was capable of achieving the Sub-5Hr that had been eluding me. Towards the last 4-5KM stretch to the finish line, my quads were quite burnt out, and I was really starting to wear down psychologically. About 2KM before the finish line, as I stopped momentarily, a caucasian runner called out to me to keep going; I gave him the thumbs up, and I kept running.

I knew I made it when I reached the finishing line, and I saw the clock going at 4:50:00. It didn’t matter whether the seconds went on by, I knew I had done it, rain and all; my first Sub-5Hr marathon.

I was overjoyed, at the moment, the shirt and the medal didn’t seem to matter. I knew I had done something I physically thought, at that moment, I wasn’t able to do. But I did.

A couple of pointers from this race for myself.

  • Drank the MaxiFuel hydration packet before the race, 2 bars of Uncle Toby’s Muesli Bars, 2 small bananas, and noodles prior to the race
  • One MaxiFuel gel during the run at the 10KM mark, no other gels used after.
  • Wore my Salomon shorts over my tights, which made carrying gels way easier than a belt (so much so I had to pack the belt mid way during the run)
  • Didn’t experience stomach discomfort or cramps at all, which was a first for me for such an endurance event. I’ve experienced at least one cramp for every run that’s longer than 18KM.

Overall, race wise, it was great. Can’t help but once again thank CROWD (Merliza, Adele, Dixie) for giving me another chance to see the race from a different and unique perspective, and of course, Sergey (he’s in the photos below) for coming down and participating as well. Also meeting fellow runners, Haslinda, and some classmates from my university course.

With whatever information that’s available now, here’s our scores. Sergey did a fantastic job of reaching rank #41 for the Mens 21KM open!

Rank
Bib No.
Name
Gun Time
Chip Time
10.5KM
21KM
32KM
40KM
615 E0268 AZLAN ITHNIN 04:50:05.39 04:49:55.22 01:01:24.82 02:18:25.32 03:36:35.40 04:34:08.86

 

Rank
Bib No.
Name
Gun Time
Chip Time
10.5KM
41 C4219 SERGEY KUSHNAREV 01:37:58.73 01:37:52.26 00:47:13.80

Also, here’s my race log from the event, was well as comparisons over the last 3 years of the Sundown Marathon event.

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