Last Sunday morning, I participated in the ST Run at the Hub 18.45km race! It was a great run. Well-organized and amazing weather; I thoroughly enjoyed it! The organizers did a good job with this race. The race route was well thought out, the goodie bag was stocked with a wide variety of seemingly random goodies like Panasonic batteries, travel-sized eco-friendly washing detergents and Bamboo tissues. But the best part of the race: ample water! I don’t think I have seen so much water available for runners at a race, ever. Here is a recap of the race and my thoughts. (Caution: I got emo… read at your risk.)
First things first, it was a relieved to run the race. As we all know and experienced, days before the race, the haze was pretty bad. If the unpredictable haze came back and the PSI increased to hazardous levels, the whole event would be cancelled. The uncertainty was annoying as the key question on Saturday before the race: to carb-load or not? But I had a plan of action. To prevent wasted carb-loading, I held back on the indiscriminate loading by simply taking the bulk of carbs in the morning: Clinton Street. After the heavy breakfast, I held back on food until the early evening. When PSI kept to below 100 throughout the day, I was sure the race would go as planned. So I took in a bowl of noodles before heading to bed at 7pm. What a successful plan of action! When my alarm clock rang at 3am, I saw an SMS from the race organizers stating the carnival would continue. Woohoo, Game On! Full of glucose, I sprang from bed, had two slices of toast w Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter spread, and headed out the door.
The ST Run at the Hub race this year was especially meaningful. The unique distance of 18.45km was a celebratory route to mark the 170th anniversary of the Straits Times, founded in 1845. At the same time I was lured by the finishing line under the National Stadium’s iconic domed roof. The flag-off time for the 18.45km segment was at 5am. I reached the Kallang Leisure Park open-air car park at 4am. This was one of three car parks recommended by the organizers and to my utter delight, free parking before 7am. This motivated me even more to finish the race within two hours.
Before walking to the start pen, I took note of the pre-race features. This long table of Hydration Station was especially impressive!
A tent for late pickup of race packs. Should have known! I would not have gone down to Sports Hub during the race park collection period.
Also seen, two long lines of portable toilets. The queues were long but ample toilets made the waiting time short.
By 4.30am, I reached the Start pen and it was crowded! Us runners can be too eager sometimes. Before we began, there were two sources of entertainment provided to us. A highly energetic Samba band then a short warm up session by True Fitness.
At 5am on the dot, without a countdown, the horn sounded and we were off! One of the unique feature of this race was the different zones signifying different eras along the way. To be honest, this was the most disappointing aspect of the race. I expected a lot of music throughout the route. But no, it was just a small stage at certain sporadic sections with a live band. Like the first one at the 5km mark.
There wasn’t much photographs of the entertainment as it was pitch-black and all my photos looked unclear.
The air was so unbelievably crisp that morning it was hard to imagine just days before it was densed with poisonous particles. The race route was mostly flat with some expected inclines and a rather strenuous climb up the bridge at the end to the Sports Hub. The middle part of the race took us by the Singapore River where the breeze was unbelievably refreshing. From the 6km to 14km mark, we ran past One Fullerton to MBFC, MBS, Marina Barrage, and Gardens by the Bay East. All familiar grounds. I felt strong then. I remembered enjoying every bit. But at the 14km mark, fatigue set in. My legs were getting heavy. I know those last 4km killed me. At some point, I saw on my watch my pace registered 6:16 min/km; poor considering the first 14km was a strong 5:45-6:05 min/km. And strangely, the distance markers that were accurate and frequent at the start were noticeably missing or inaccurate towards the end. When my Garmin GPS watch registered 18.45km, we were still running the last bit around the Sports Hub. At the end of the race, my watch registered 18.8km.
On a personal note, I was terribly surprised and disappointed to find fatigue setting in at the 14-6km mark. I have ran much longer distances before. The lack of training has affected my running standards. One more month to a full marathon. I need to buck up.
At the same time, throughout the race, a lot of emotions ran through me. At the beginning, I only felt happiness. How free-ing running made me felt. I felt so lucky to exist. To be present, running, and loving my legs and body. But when I was fatigued, I really really missed my bed. I thought about rolling around the sheets. Super bizarre. I always assumed my greedy self would mean I would be dreaming of food. But no, I always dream of comfort and my bed. Then I thought about my parents and how badly I craved a hug from them. Running makes me emotional in a very embarassing way…
Anyway at the end, we ran into the Sports Hub and it was the best finish ever!!! Because the Hub was air-conditioned with huge fans lining the track blowing at us. THANK YOU ORGANIZERS. I finished at 1hr 53 mins (unofficial). My head was spinning when I ran past the finishing line. I was so giddy and needed to hold on to the side barriers for support. This led to the officials approaching me if I needed help. Thank you so much.
When I walked into the pen to pick up my finisher medal and shirt, I was handed a can of iced-cold 100 Plus. I will never forget how good the cold can felt or the rush of cold 100 Plus down my throat. Bliss. We were also handed a Banana and a bottle of water too. Seriously, us runners were utterly spoilt. Walking into the finishing pen and Carnival, I saw to my utter surprise ANOTHER table of water provided! No excuses for dehydration.
At the finishing pen, I saw the sun was rising and the Hub was strangely quiet. It felt surreal.
There were some booths for us runners to claim freebies and sample products. I spanned a wheel at the Panasonic booth and scored a pack of double A batteries. This matched the triple A batteries from my goodie bag. WONDERFUL! Plus a bag from Great Eastern. Always a sucker for free stuff!
The retractable roof of the Sports Hub was lit up with the ST Run at the Hub logo. If not for the bright skies, it would have been clearer.
When I saw my watch registered 7am, I thought of my car without the coupon and bolted for the exit. There was an uphill climb…
Our beautiful Sports Hub. Love finishing at the Hub!
The Finisher Medal. Normally indifferent about medals, I liked this one. It was heavy and the huge 1845 engraved across was stunning. Glad this race happened and I ran in it. What a fantastic experience! Thank you The Straits Times.