Monday, December 04, 2006

StanChart Singapore Marathon 2006 report

1 to 2 Dec, 2006

Its started on Dec 1 when Eugene and myself took a midnite bus from KL-Singapore. Was a very smooth ride since we are on an executive coach, very spacious and comfortable (you get what you pay). It took us only slightly more that 4.5hrs to reach Tuas checkpoint, and by the time we cleared the immigration of both countries, the bus reaches its destination at Copthorne Orchid Hotel at around 5.30am.

Have a quick washup and decided to wait till 6am (no midnite charge) to board a taxi to Peninsula Hotel where we are putting up a nite. After reaching Peninsula Hotel, went to the reception and try to check-in (which I think is too early but just trying our luck). Bumped into KC and his group who also boarded a bus from KL that leaves at midnite to Singapore. Told us we can only check-into our room earliest by 11am of the day. Being kiasu a bit, I went ahead to the reception just to make sure my name is on the booking list.

At that moment, Eugene received a call from his colleague saying that he will pick us up for breakfast and then drive us around the full marathon route. While waiting for him to show up, I have a chat with KC and group. We talk about the past years race in Singapore and then about one more person that was supposed to join their group. Last minute this person could not find her passport and don’t even remember where she placed it. Eventually time ran out on her and they left without her coming along.

Gerry (Eugene’s colleague) arrived and we went for breakfast. After that we reckee the marathon route to give a good perspective of how it looks like. Then we are back to hotel and walked to Marina Mandarin to collect our bibs and goodies bad. After that, walk around the area, and its time to check-in. Managed to check-in and got ourselves clean up. Took a nap and its time for our lunch. The rest of the day was just to ensure we have enuf rest. Lights off at 10:30pm.

3 Dec, 2006

Morning call came in at 4am sharp and we are getting up to ROCK Singapore marathon. Took a shower, do the morning business, dress up and I am ready to go. Fook was suppose to come by and put his barang-barang, so that he can take his bath after the race at our hotel room. Went down to the lobby at 5:10am, and Fook is already waiting there. While we was about to leave for the starting point, Fook heard Grace voice, and actually she is staying with her group of frens next to our room.

We (Eugene, Fook and Grace) then adjourned to the start point. At the hotel lobby, Fook bumped into a group of his frens which he introduced them to me. If I remembered correctly they are Chong Wah and Wan Lin.

As we reached the staring chute, there are seas of people waiting for the start of the race. We went to the area that were allocated for marathoners clocking within 5hrs and waited there. The atmosphere was great and with so many people standing shoulder to shoulder, waiting for the race to be gun off. The MC was pumping out all the encouragements that he can think of thru the loudspeakers, and eventually he did a countdown.

Its 6am sharp and off we go, and due the number of people, I actually took 2.5mins before reaching the starting point to begin the race. Heck, no big deal ~ I am here to enjoy the race, my timing is secondary although my aim is to clock a slow sub5. Fook and Grace was running together with me. The starting of the route took us into the CBD area of Singapore where we ran thru the business district. Sometimes we have to run in zigzag formation to avoid knocking onto those slower runners that blocking our way and while overtaking. This continues a good 15k and at this moment we saw the elite runners forming the front runner pack coming back the opposite side. The pack consists of all Africans, and the only Caucasian that was following closely was at least 50m-80m away. We are required to run a loop in this Marina Garden area and by the time we get out it’s the 20k mark. Water and 100Plus were widely available with no shortage of supply. I just keep drinking in smaller quantity at almost every station to avoid dehydration.

At the 21k mark, we are required to run into East Coast Park where the jogging/running trail are. At this stage I have lost track of Fook and Grace. This route will take us from 22k all the way to the 35k mark. We are required to run this loop and we also can get to see the faster runners on their way out (on the opposite side) after the completion of the loop. To me this is the most boring stretch where you keep on running along the beach to/fro. I heard a callout of my name out of a sudden, and it was Pelle ~ Swedish guy whom I met during the Putrajaya race. (We were supposed to start together but he got my SMS late) He told me his fitness is not too good and will not be able to do a sub5 today. And at this stage at the 26k mark I start to encounter a slight muscle pull/cramp on my thigh. Oh no, I told myself ~ so early in the race and I am getting this. I know it will hit me badly eventually, so therefore I slow down a bit and take it easily. Along this route, I helped up a runner that fell flat of the trail suffering severe cramp on both his legs. A few other runners join in to give aid (and I must said, runners are a bunch of helpful human beings), and in a short period he is back on his feet and asked us to go ahead.

I pressed on, the tireness and fatigue starts to come in. I have started to apply Deep Heat that was provided at certain sections of the route to ease of the pain and cramp on my right leg. I reached the end of the route which requires all runners to do the loop back and get out of the park. Here I saw Grace in front of me, and I asked her how she is feeling. She said she is suffering from a slight muscle pull/cramp but is OK to run ahead. I was trailing her for a while and we are about 5m apart. She stops once or twice to ease of the pain from the pull but eventually she race ahead and no way to be seen. At this point my cramp was getting worst, I have to keep applying Deep Heat in big quantity on both my legs now to numb the pain and massage the affected area to loosen up the muscle.

As I get out of the park, this stage was the 35k mark and 7km to finishing. The strain on the muscle pull on both my legs is slowing me down miserably and I just have to control my speed without aggravating it and making it worse. Slowly I ran, telling myself to focus on the distance, and telling myself 7km is just running 3 loops in my housing area where I live that I run every morning. Kilometer by kilometer passed and I tell you time passes so slowly here. It took ages to complete 1km from this point onwards. 36k, then 37k, then 38k, and I need to run under a tunnel up the slope to reach the 39k mark (I walk up the slope and so are a lot of runners at that point) Both my legs are feeling better from 36k to 39k. At this juncture I caught up with this guy who was motivating himself to continue running and crossing the finishing line. He was whispering loudly repeating to himself with words like “COME ON, YOU CAN DO IT” ; “DON’T GIVE OUT”, “ITS 2KM AWAY”; “I CAN DO A SUB5”……. I joined in to motivate myself too since I am also fighting for time to cross the line with a sub5 timing. At the 40k mark, the last 2km requires the runners to detour from the main road and run on a path facing the sea. The scenery around this area was beautiful but this is not the time to admire it. The most important thing on my mind now is to complete the race under 5 hours. I looked at my watch I know I can make it with the PIA SPIRIT. No stopping from now on but keep running. I surged ahead leaving that guy behind and the crowd was supporting the runners along this path saying its 600m away from finishing.

I passed thru the tunnel, this is the area where I did my warm up in the morning. Runners are required to run under it, pass the tunnel and out on the road. Had a slight left turn and straight on I saw the finishing arch. The official clock shows 4:57:47 from a far distance as I approaches the straight road. The MC was announcing that this group of runners coming in will make the sub5 mark and dashes thru I did, pumping my right fist up on the air 3 times, acknowledging to myself that I make it under 5 hours. As I crossed the finishing line, the official clock shows 4h58min28sec.

Took a rest at the runners finishing area and then went on to return the champion chip, collect my medal and finisher Tee. Have some refreshment before heading back to the hotel. At this moment it was drizzling and I am feeling a bit cold. Reached my room and I saw Pelle sitting in front of his room. Apparently his access card had some problem and his wife went down to the reception to change the card. We have a quick conversation asking each other how we did. He clocked 5h09min which is not too bad taken into consideration the little training that he had. Then I quickily get into my room and had a hot shower.

Later Grace called upon us at the room. At this time Fook is already back having his shower. Fook had cramps starting from the 18k mark onwards and he was badly affected by it. Grace happily told us that she did 4h49min, it was a good run for her and I am happy that she is able to pull it through although she did suffer cramps at one stage of the race. A lady runner to watch out for in the future. Fook finished the race in 5h35min, and I personally felt that both did very well in their maiden marathon and the experience both gained in running a marathon. I am very sure, they will be more prepared and able to clock a better time in their next marathon. All the best to both of you.

Eugene came back much later, and he clocked 6h30min, something that I must salute him for his mental strength in completing the race. Running the first 20k in 2h20min and walking for the rest of 21k in 4h10min.

I was satisfied on the timing although I was aiming for a faster time like 4h40min. I know the muscle pull that hits me from 26k onwards was too early in the race and slowed me down tremendously. Anyway I have completed my second marathon this year after running for the past 1 year (in a 15 years absence).

Now I am back in KL, waiting to go for my vacation in Vietnam. Hurray, Hurray it’s a Holi Holi Day !!!!!

Split timing (hh:min:sec)

10k - 1:04
20k - 2:08
30k - 3:22
40k - 4:44
42.195k – 4:58:28


Tey said...


It is good run too show u determination in training sure will slowly improve in future,take care and enjoy vacation in Vietnam..nice place !!

C-CUBE said...

tey: yes i am happy with the achievement although a faster sub5 is always a bonus. maybe in the next race, no time pressure for me since i really enjoy the race. the ppl atmosphere was an experience although a different route to separate runners from running bi-directional will be better so that it doesnt look so congested especially with so many runners in all the diff categories.

RunWitMe said...

Wah! Great finishing photo....! You looked very should be. Congratulations!!

C-CUBE said...

RWM: Yes feel good dipping below 5hrs. cramps hit me badly in very early stage of the race ~ 26k. suffer all the way till 35k, then get better and pia all the way.....

fook said...

congratulate on the SG full marathon, thanks for run during all the training and in Sg full marathon, looking forward to KLIM.

Kenny said...

Tq for the comment at my blog . Hope you will be able to Run 3: 30 again .It is possible !! I want to achieve that one day .

Carboman said...

well done man! exhibiting the typical spirit of pia! let's rock penang!

lifemou said...

gaya betul.... congratulation lah..

C-CUBE said...

lifemou: thx, timing is almost similar to PBIM (4:57), gunoff time is 4:58 but chip time is 4:55. nothing to shout about but am glad i finish the race and met the target.

Raymond Hee said...

well done man!

C-CUBE said...

carboman, i will ROCK Penang together with you. Deal....

Dinesh said...

ccube well done man! i don't know how to muster the strength to train for another marathon now. yesterday trailing geraldine towards the end i wanted to give up already haha. maybe its just all those hills at hartamas. anyway i should be at the starting line of klim.