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Review: SCMS 2014

running, Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014, #SCMS2014, Singapore, travel, marathon, airasia, 3Sixty,

running, Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014, #SCMS2014, Singapore, travel, marathon, airasia, 3Sixty,
SCMS2014 is my second race in Singapore this year. Much has been shared online by different runners from different categories. With my own experience of running the full marathon this year, I conclude that hiccups happens in every race and with that I am making the decision to return to Singapore next year for SCMS2015.


Flew in to Singapore on Saturday night at 930pm with a slight delay of my Tokyo flight to Kuala Lumpur. A tad nervous since I only had a 2.5 hours gap for my AirAsia flight to Singapore from KLIA2. The moment I reached Kuala Lumpur, I had a glimpse of the weather to expect for Singapore. Transition from my 2°C to 33°C was not fun especially when one is running a flu and cough too. The whole heart was ready to pop out from my body with my 'kancheongness'. 

Thankfully the flight to Singapore was a smooth one with an attentive steward who noted the moment that I boarded the aircraft that my right hand was bandaged. Its a simple gesture but it helped tremendously to calm me down and also knowing that I don't have to struggle with my hand carry etc. Kudos AirAsia, you have a gem in that steward that made my flight a fabulous one. Relaxed throughout the flight with a good read as well.
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Settled down and tried to sleep. A short 2 hours sleep and I am up by 3am to get ready for my brekkie. Nothing fancy but the usual works that I love before a long run - bread with Nutella, Milo and coffee. A new addition this time was Panadol Cold that did wonders to quell the runny nose and cough for almost 4 hours. 

At this point, I also knew that I had to change my game play. All I wanted to do was to run and end my race under 6 hours. Silly me thought that the cut off was 6 hours and this sotong ball only knew it was 8 hours a few days later. LOL. So its bye bye 4:40 target.

Arrived at Orchard Road at 415am. There are quite many runners doing their warm ups. Coupled with the Christmas decors, it was a nice warm and fuzzy feel. Corny as it may sound, I think I was quite warmed up without the need to do any warm up. The humidity of course contributed to that 'warm' feeling. 

The volunteers must have been there nice and early. Water station was ready for last minute hydration before we were ushered into our starting pens. No issues for them as they recognised us from our bibs - elites, sub 5 and others. If at all anything that could be improved at the starting point, it will be the last 10 minutes leading up to the race. It felt boring and honestly, it didn't even feel like we were flagged off except for a short few seconds of the air horn that flagged off the elites and some colourful 'UFOs' flying in the air. I basically started running because everyone else ran.
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running, Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014, #SCMS2014, Singapore, travel, marathon, airasia, 3Sixty,
I crossed the start line at 5:04am. Nice and dark, its humid but still bearable since the sun has yet to show itself. Its a nice cool cruise at my usual LSD training speed. The water stations were well organised with a nice ratio of water and isotonic. They kept me fuelled well since I do not gel as a general rule unless I wanted a burp and fart run. 

Thought it would be possible to stay the same till the last kilometre. Dang, I was so terribly wrong. By KM34 the body was complaining. Its also this point that all I had was sun, sun, sun and more sun. Gosh where's the water station when one needs it? Actually, I just passed the water station not too long but I was thirsting and obviously overheating. I must have spoken aloud because a fellow runner said "Its OK, you can have my water". I forgot your bib number, but thank you my fellow runner for your kind heart and offer. You kept me going on till the next water station at KM36.

By now, I was quite obviously going into the verge of heat stroke. The sun was very unforgiving and seriously strutting her stuff. I was getting roasted and was beginning to talk to myself to keep myself going. My hottest race ever and I must say that I should have worn a 2 bottle hydration belt as a back up. Lesson learnt is that I will not opt for a tropical race without my own backup hydration in future. There was adequate water at the stops but i reckoned I needed more.

It was a blessing that local running also set up their own stations with all sorts of goodies. My fave had to be having some Coca Cola and watermelon. It was really nice that they offered it to just about any runners rather than limiting it to their club members. Thank you!!!

By now, I see the medics offering more than just a smile to urge us on. They were quick in handing out Tiger Balm at all stations and what touched me was they were ready to offer their own water to the runners. Thank you so much medics and volunteers for those precious water. I can't recall which mark it was but perhaps around KM38 and KM39, but I recall vaguely someone offering me mentos and mentioned that Missyblurkit does not take gel. And it was at that stop too that the medic or volunteer gave me her own water to pour over my head, cap and even held my iPod out of the water. Thank you. Its all vague in my head but you guys basically had me recovering and picking myself to complete the remaining distance. Slow but it was a joy to be able to continue running.

If at all any complains at any water stations, it would have been the last water station at KM40. I apologise that I lashed out at the volunteers manning the first 2 tables but you must understand the horror of seeing empty paper cups while you guys were trying to open the water bottle caps. Thankfully things were fine at the following table and at the isotonic tables. 

2 more kilometres and as much as I wished to speed up for a negative split, things didn't quite happen the way I wanted. Not too sure whether the body was willing but the mind said no or vice versa. Either way, its definitely my slowest finish clocking 7:51 for the KM40, 7:44 for KM41 and 7:17 for KM43 (the 0.195km). If its a consolation, its a negative split but a far cry from previous finishes of under 5.5kmh from my training sessions.

The finish was definitely well organised. I could see where my finish lane was. Crossed the finished line at 5:16:14 and a nett time of 5:12:12. Not the best timing but I did finish and not end up doing a DNF or hobble to the finish line. The legs were happy no discomfort of any sort. Collected my finisher tee (Yippee... they still had XS) and the medal. Hmmmm... no bananas and water? I was only given 2 cans of 100 plus but was ushered to the medics tent by a volunteer. Nothing happened except I was told to finish my drink before they could discharge me. I must have looked really roasted and wilted?

Done with medic and with a phone that went flat somewhere half way during my run, I wondered around looking for familiar faces or even someone I could loan a power bank from. None unfortunately until a volunteer at the Information Counter offered me his power bank. Thank you Devan (I hope I got your name right).

After running it myself coupled with reading and hearing the complaints, my final thoughts are:
(1) You can't blame the organisers for a hot and sunny race that left many of us thirsting and heated up. Maybe those of us who have less tolerance for heat can bring along a one bottle or two bottle hydration belt. Speaking for myself, I know I will be doing that the next time I marathon in Malaysia or Singapore. 
(2) Many complained about the lack or non existent gel. Well, I saw them at KM36 (after we cleared Marina Barage). Not much left at my time between 9-930am but I wasn't surprised because some runners were basically grabbing 3 to 5 packets each! Pure greed if I could say because at that distance, one gel would be sufficient unless they wanted to run another marathon after the finish line?
(3) No bananas (I saw none at KM29 and the finish line) though there was allocations for it, maybe the organisers could prepare more? Or were the bananas missing because of selfish runners like the gel scene above?
(4) Its not easy to be stationed at water stations especially when one has to open water bottles. After 20 bottles, one's hand is bound to blister. Volunteers, you might want to consider bring your own gloves (like I normally do when I volunteer at water stations). Since gloves really don't cost that much, maybe the race organisers can supply them to volunteers. Another option is perhaps to follow Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon that prepares water in big containers (similar to how the isotonic is stored at SCMS) and volunteers will use a jug to pour into the cups.
(5) Lot of hoohah about runners who were diverted and claimed the finishing tees and/or medal. Its a bit of a technical chicken and egg story. My humble thoughts is that the full marathon is not a fun run. Runners need to train and be ready for the whole works. A marathon isn't quite a walking matter unless you are speed walking. Diverting the runners was a safety issue as well but perhaps SCMS could have marked their bibs to avoid the finishing tee or medal issue. Or following many overseas races that if one fails to clear a certain check point by certain cut off time, they will be swept off to board the sweeper buses.
(6) For those who came in late and there was no more medals or tees even though you are within the qualifying time, do take note that the terms and conditions did mention "while stocks last". So enough of whining.
(7) I wondered around the Padang looking for friends and also a charge point. Could not help but notice there was not much tents or shaded area for runners after the run. Even the meet up point was under the hot sun (or rain had the skies decided to pour). Hopefully next year, there will be more shaded areas? 
(8) Perhaps next year we could have a tent for runners to recharge their handphones? Hahaha, am speaking for myself and also a few runners that I noted who had the same issue as I did i.e. our phones mysteriously died on us during the race. Call it runners welfare tent? Seriously I think the Telcos would be lovely sponsors for it:P
(9) I reckon that there were many full marathon virgins who either did not train enough or were thinking that 42.195km is a walking distance. Well, with every race, one has to respect the distance. The organisers had set up a series of training clinics and in fact the SCMS app also had a training programme in it. If one has not train for it, my honest and humble suggestion is that one opts for a shorter distance and build up gradually for longer races. I personally took 9 months to train for a full marathon even though I have had quite a few half marathons in my pocket.

Its perhaps my longest post ever but these were my thoughts of #SCMS2014. No regrets running it and I am definitely looking forward to running it. For the organisers, good job on the race as a whole and looking forward to see the kinks this year being ironed out. To the volunteers, medic,fellow runners, running clubs and photographers, thank you for the support that you guys have rendered to all runners!

And now...picture time. Not much pics from my own mobile phone. So photo credits goes to:
• Shah (a fellow runner from Malaysia who helped snapped my pics and whatsapp them to me even though it was our first time meeting). I hope to see you soon in Malaysia for a run, bro!
• Sunny Chong 
running, Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014, #SCMS2014, Singapore, travel, marathon, airasia, 3Sixty,
Nice egg yolk and that only means a hot day to come.
running, Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014, #SCMS2014, Singapore, travel, marathon, airasia, 3Sixty,
East Coast Park is nice green, quite shaded but unfortunately too flat for my personal liking.
running, Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014, #SCMS2014, Singapore, travel, marathon, airasia, 3Sixty,
So near yet so far. Definitely so sunny too.
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Withered, hot and talking aloud that its only a few more clicks.
running, Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014, #SCMS2014, Singapore, travel, marathon, airasia, 3Sixty,
Its nice and shaded at MBS
running, Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014, #SCMS2014, Singapore, travel, marathon, airasia, 3Sixty,
Hot, sunny and I think more tents and shade will be nice.
running, Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014, #SCMS2014, Singapore, travel, marathon, airasia, 3Sixty,
Elated because its the U Turn and its shaded as I head towards my last 2 km. Lots of self talking too as I counted towards ending the race.
running, Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014, #SCMS2014, Singapore, travel, marathon, airasia, 3Sixty, running, Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014, #SCMS2014, Singapore, travel, marathon, airasia, 3Sixty,
running, Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014, #SCMS2014, Singapore, travel, marathon, airasia, 3Sixty,
Do you know that smiling or laughing makes running easier even on a hot sunny route? So remember to smile at everyone especially the photographers if you want nice pics:P
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Just a few more steps....weeeeeeee
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And I cross the finish line
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Takepicha then go walkies to look for familiar faces and a charge point for my dead mobile phone. THANX Shah for the pics ya!
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Official results. OKlah...it was a good run for me with no injuries or aches. In fact I had my short recovery run the next day.
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Another cert for the wall.
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Medal and tee to the collection. 

Did my touristy stuff in Sentosa on Tuesday. To the rude / insulting Mister who spoke loudly at the ice cream parlour whether I truly ran the race...I am not sorry that I answered you loudly that "YES, I ran the whole full marathon and 42.195km of it. So I am wearing my finisher with pride because I did it". 
running, Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014, #SCMS2014, Singapore, travel, marathon, airasia, 3Sixty,

For more information on SCMS, do visit http://www.marathonsingapore.com/

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