Sundown Singapore 2013 Race Review
Sundown Marathon 2013
This year’s Sundown Marathon attracted about 30,000 participants and I believe that it still continues to draw a good crowd being the only night marathon race in Singapore. The race was held over 2 days at the F1 pit.
Moving the race from Changi Exhibition Centre where the race was traditionally held was a good decision as F1 pit was definitely more accessible. There were ample inexpensive night parking facilities in the nearby offices and hotels.
I joined the half marathon race as a lead up to my next race – a marathon in Phuket in a week’s time.
About the race
The half marathon was scheduled to start at 11.30pm and I arrived at the venue at quarter to 11.00pm. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t have to jostle with a crowd to enter the race site. The bag checks were quick and marshals were efficient in directing people to the right entry gates.
There were 2 waves for the half marathon distance and most people started to stream into the pen 30 – 45 minutes prior to race start. I joined the 2nd wave which flagged off approximately 8.5mins after the earlier wave went off. Although it was the later wave, we still had the same amount of cheering from the strong crowd of supporters. That was really very motivating and it was delightful to see excited faces around me.
Video of the 42k Flag off *note to lower your volume as the Air Horn could blow off your speakers*
It was great at the flag off and there was no jostling for space as everyone raced into the night. The route started to get congested as we turned into Stadium Boulevard as only a portion of the road was cordoned off for the event. A majority of runners including myself started to deviate onto the pavement which had very poor or little lighting. There were also congestions throughout the entire length at Tanjong Rhu and Geylang Park Connector which was made worse by the congregation at the hydration stations.
As we headed towards Marina Bay Golf Range, the congestion eased off but soon enough it was shoulder to shoulder again as we entered Gardens by the East. This section of the Gardens is new to me and it looked like it is undergoing development. Although I felt bored running through here, I was appreciative that there were no potholes and lighting was sufficient. We had to run a loop, u turn then head out towards Marina Barrage. After the u turn, we saw the pack of 10km runners on the other side so the course was congested throughout.
The path leading to Marina Barrage was wide but lighting was bad and at certain parts it was dark so much so that I landed squarely in a big puddle of water! We finally crossed the bridge into the Barrage and I felt so relieved to finally see proper lighting and a hydration station where volunteers handed out gels and bananas.
The rest of the course was an all familiar route – passing through Bayfront Ave, Collyer Quay, Fullerton Road, Esplande Drive and finally turning into Raffles Avenue where the finishing line was. I was delighted to see beaming faces of friends and supporters. This area was well managed as there was no congestion or long queues for medals.
Other commendable areas include sufficient and well spaced out hydration points. Majority of the stations had water all ready and there was minimal scrambling. The marshals were energetic, enthusiastic and very encouraging. I attribute this to the organiser having done a brilliant job in briefing the volunteers. I believe that this is the best in the recent series of local half marathon races I have participated in.
Areas of improvement
One of the few drawbacks of the race is that the race being held over 2 days is an increase in road closure and logistic costs which translates to a higher participation fee. A majority of runners I spoke with felt complained about the dramatic increase.
The course needs to be redesigned to minimize congestion but I believe routes are always subjected to approval by LTA. Perhaps one of the ways to resolve this is to have the 10km race starting much later.
Organiser might also want to consider making muscle rubs available at the hydration stations. Alternatively,
Last but not least (though not wanting to sound like a broken record), organiser should remind runners about race etiquettes particularly the ‘keep left’ rule. A bullet in the athletes’ handbook does get overlooked so it may be very useful to have the emcee could consciously mention about it before the flag off.
Despite the few drawbacks, it was still a very well organised race and I am pleased that the organiser made a few changes to provide participants a different experience. I applaud the organiser for the efforts and will strongly encourage anyone keen to experience a night race to do Sundown.
All in all, it was a good race in my opinion and will continue to make it to my next year’s list of to do races. See you next year guys