On Sunday morning at 1am, I abandoned my comfortable bed and raced in my first ever Sundown Marathon!!!
I prepared for this race by sleeping a lot during the day on Saturday. Having slept enough, I was so ready for this race. At the same time, thought due to the lack of unbearable heat, this race was going to be less tough. I was quite wrong. Running at 1am through to 6am was no joke. The entire time I was fighting sleepiness. As I discovered, my body clock automatically shuts down at midnight.
From the race route, one can see a large part of the run was in East Coast Park. The Park was dark and quiet. This meant me constantly finding ways to distract myself. If not, I would naturally close my eyes and drift off. However the wonderful sea breeze and sounds of waves were so calming and more then made up for it.
As this was my second marathon, there was much to compare with my first, Standard Chartered in December 2014. I have no pictures from this race as I did not bring my phone. It’s new and still precious. But here is a quick recap from Sunday’s race.
- One steep hill at the start of the race (Republic Avenue, 3km mark) – anyone who has ran Stand Chart knows at the 37km mark, the Benjamin Sheares bridge is the most tedious! That climb alone will make or break your target time. So this hill at the start was godsent! After climbing it, the route was mostly flat or downhill. Woohoo!
- Ample Gu Gels and Bananas!!!! <– This was my first time refueling mid-run with Bananas and I am so happy to note, provides as much as energy as gels.
- Iced-cold 100 Plus at every Hydration station <– Thank you Organizers, you guys are the best!!!
- Ample Hydration Stations – It felt as if, they were everywhere!
- Distance markers at every km <– So grateful! No checking of watches necessary.
- Mostly flat/ downhill <– No hill surprises. My legs were very grateful!
- Ample cheer-ers. There were so many “cheerleaders” along the route <– Thank you, Organizers!
- Wide routes – no banging or shoulder rubbing with other runners; ACE!
- Dark! The Hydration Stations were poorly lit (can’t blame the organizers.. but at times, I did not realised the stations were there until it was directly in front of me.)
- 1am start <– Thought of my lovely bed the entire race.
- More than one loop <– Loops will test your willpower… you run one side knowing the U-turn is somewhere in front and in the meantime on the other side of the barrier, you know fellow runners have “turned”. You will feel both desperation to turn and longing to be on the other side – very dark feelings… There were two loops during the race. One in East Coast Park and other at Gardens by the Bay East. Both were long and painful.
Toilet tip: if there is anything I learnt from Stand Chart and Sundown is: make sure to use the ample toilets in East Coast Park before you leave. The route after ECP is long and toilets can be hard to come by. I assure you, once you use the toilets in the Park, you will leave feeling refreshed. The run afterwards will be less arduous.
The best part of Sundown was definitely the organization of the race. The race organisers did a splendid job! Hands down, beat Stand Chart! Having said that, I don’t foresee running this race again. The midnight run was just too difficult. I don’t love running enough to leave my bed.
Final timing, a sub-5. Yeesss!