Sometimes I am very lucky and I can combine a business trip with a running experience.
This time a trip to Hong Kong and Singapore gave me the opportunity to run a half marathon in Singapore. I facilitated a leadership training in Singapore on Thursday/Friday and extended my stay over the weekend to run the half marathon of the Newton Challenge.
My wife accompanied me during this trip and we wanted to run together – something we rarely do together.
Coming from South Africa we know how it feels to run in heat. But we almost never experience any humidity in our home town. Singapore is different. Apart from the fact that it never seems to get cooler than 25°C, the humidity ranges between 75% and 95%. Even at 5am.
Running in a steam room
My wife and I both did a morning run during the week leading to the race – and felt like we are the most unfit people on this planet. Imagine going into a steam room at a spa and run there. The humidity and heat during an easy training run are hectic. Therefore, there is no such thing as an „easy“ run in Singapore ?
Anyway, we had signed up for the race on Sunday morning at 5:30am, and so we ran it.
We stayed at The Westin Singapore, a wonderful new hotel in the financial district. The day before the race we took it easy, spend a couple of hours at the pool reading. The pre-race dinner was as usual: Pizza.
Pre-race German Weissbier in Singapore
Pizza in Singapore with South African salt & pepper
Our race-breakfast: Soaked chia seeds (soaked in water/strawberry-jam mix) + banana and a Nespresso coffee.
The start was 3 km away from our hotel and we decided to walk there. During this walk we already felt the heat (29°C) and humidity, even if it was not yet as bad as the days before. But still…
When we arrived at the start area (Marina Barrage, in the Gardens by the Bay, next to the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel) we were quite surprised to find neither a single trash bag nor a port-a-loo at the start. If you know how clean Singapore is, this did not make any sense to us. The result were lots of water bottles and trash lying next to the start line. Not really well organised…
Leaving the hotel
Almost at the start
The start area
Hot morning 29°C
The crowd at the start is not very engaged, neither is the MC, but anyway, we were there for the run and fun. This just made us aware of how well races are organised in South Africa and we missed the voices of Sean Robson or Paul Kaye!
The race commenced at 5:30am and the first some 10 km lead you through the East Cost Park, a greenbelt next to the sea. Quite nice and green and it was not yet too hot and no wind at all.
The water tables were approx 2-3 km apart from each other, and that was really good. The trash situation on the other had was hilarious. In some cases there was one single bin 5 m behind the table – and for the next 200 m you found the cups lying in the grass. Even the smallest races in Cape Town with 1,000 runners are better organised when it comes to collecting the trash.
To be improved: Collecting the trash at the water tables
Port-a-loos? Negative. Only at one single water table you could find two of them. That’s not acceptable, especially if you know that there was also a 10 km and a 32 km run taking place (they started earlier / later than we).
After 10km or so the heat started rolling in and the humidity took its toll. My wife and I wanted to run and finish together, and that’s what we did. She really had to fight hard and dig deep, and she did really well.
Although I wasn’t too exhausted, my running gear has never been as wet as after this race – all due to the humidity.
We left the East Coast Park eventually, ran through a more industrial section and returned to the Gardens by the Bay.
As you can tell from the sign, there are some interesting encounters one can make in Singapore ? We actually did see a massive group of otters running next to us – I was just too slow to take a picture.
Eventually we made it to the Marina Bay Sands hotel with 3 km to go. My wife Silke focused on getting through the race and we were really happy when we reached the finish.
After crossing the finish line we received our finisher shirt and took a few pictures. On our way back to our hotel we noticed an Italian bakery/restaurant busy opening its doors – and we rewarded ourselves with tasty cappuccinos and an excellent almond croissant. While we enjoyed our treat we watched the other runners fighting for the last 3 km.
Coffee & almond croissant after the race
My wife digging deep and still smiling
At the finish of the Newton Challenge Singapore
Would we run this race again? Well, it’s always nice running races abroad, so I trust we would if we’d be in the area. It’s not the most beautiful race from start to finish, but there are lots of stunning views of the marina, skyscrapers and gardens making it a nice race.
At the end of the day, combining our walk to/from the race, the race itself and our walk to/back from our restaurant for dinner we ran and walked 35 km in total.