When I signed up for Sundown, I paid to the idea believing it is an ‘evening’ run, flagged off around 6-7pm (after all, that’s when the sun goes down, right?) and running pleasantly towards midnight. A couple of months leading to the race, to my horror, the race will start at almost midnight – 11.30pm to be exact!
Training wasn’t that meticulous since I just completed my first ever full marathon during the Borneo International Marathon earlier in the month and I didn’t set to break my personal best, but still made a target to complete in less than 6-hours.
The trip itself was planned way back in late 2013. Since it was in Singapore, the family decided to tag along. Full story of the trip can be read
here. (*Will be updated soon).
A misinformation of the late race pack collection meant I have to collect my race pack on the race day itself thus threw out my plan to rest on that day. (Not that it matters anyways since I, together with family & Josie went to Merlion Park in the morning and I gleefully went to Novena City Mall hours before the collection time to check out the several sports stores there – Oops!). So me and Pammie planned our meet for the collection an hour before the slated time and went for a walk-about around the event area. Not surprisingly, Mohan was there to lend a helping hand to the organisers. It was quite a number of ‘overseas’ runners queuing to get their race pack and once we got ours, we headed back to get ready and me, to catch up with some much needed rest – though once I reached the hotel, I had less then half an hour before I need to prep myself for the race! That was the “shortest” rest I’ve ever had – just a quick snuggle in the covers after taking my shower and off I went to suit up a couple of minutes later.
As planned earlier, Pammie, Massy & myself planned to meet up at MRT station at around 9:15pm – I started walking from my hotel slightly after 9 and reached the designated meeting place around 9:30pm and the place was already swarmed with runners! We headed towards the F1 Pit Building and loiter for a while before dropping our bags at section “X”, since Pammie said, “X-Men, its easier to remember” (and boy she was right.. I was a bit knackered after the race – her X impression was the only thing I remembered!!).
Pammie especially will never cease pressing the capture button UNTIL I pull off a mind-boggling stunt like so. Here we finally decided to sit on the concrete floor like everybody else whilst waiting for our call. Photo credit: Pammie
At about 10:00 pm, the first batch – 10km runners was released. Next will be the full marathoners. As we were herded towards the starting pen, I started feeling the heat. I know its going to be warm, I didn’t expect its going to be THAT warm! As the clock ticks down, we bundled ourselves to the front half of the group so not to be too far behind once the race started.
And thank God we did – because as soon as the clock hits 11:30pm, we were flagged off and I found myself jogging (mostly on the spot) for a few seconds as the crowd in front of us started to ease their way off the starting block. Should we stood further back, it would take ages for us to pass the Starting gate. So off we went. The first few hundred meters were sheer traffic. Me & Massy planned to run at 7:30min pace for the first 10km whilst Pammie started off slower than that.
The first 13km was hot & humid as hot & humid can get! There was hardly any breeze and I find myself sweating bucket loads even before I reached the 10km mark and mind you, a ‘warm’ Accelerade isn’t as pleasant to drink compared when its crispy cold. The route itself isn’t helping since on occasion we have to negotiate narrow, uneven and dark stretches. By kilometer 13, I felt a bit breezy and saw lightning from afar. Never before I get enthused at the sight of a lightning! And then the rain came. Loads of it. We were soaking wet – clothes, shoes, the whole lot. It started to get gusty. Very much so the point where it was an added challenge to run against the wind whilst still negotiation the crowd, the rain & route.
Now, allow me to say this – the East Coast Park stretch covers approximately 21km and is the longest stretch I’ve ever ran in a park and the only reason I survived it was solely because I wanted to get out of it as quickly as I can! Despite the rain I made a decision to stop at almost every water station to get hydrated and drenched myself with water to cool off. By the 21km mark the route we finally reached the U-turn and me & Massy started to rely on my Salonpas spray (kiss Salonpas spray can) as twitching started to occur and our shoulder & neck started to feel stiff. We were already started run-walk to cover the distance and by the 28km mark, Massy decided to feel hungry and of all the food, she wanted bananas – probably that was the only decent food on display and so we decided to grab a piece despite my reluctance in the beginning. As I gobbled up my banana, Massy seems to be taking her time to enjoy hers – and then it happened, her tummy turned on her! That was when we decided to walk it off until kilometer 30 with continuous spraying along the way.
We started running until we reached the 33km-mark when Massy appeared to be unable to keep on running. I took my water & refill my bottle and went on without her. Haven’t had any real bout of cramp yet and my fear was that it may show up if I started walking continuously. I headed towards the ECP-flyover with the Singapore Flyer towering on the left, which seems to be an easy ascend but in truth, when you are already gasping for air, tired, sleepy, hungry, thirsty became the most ridiculous climb ever! Once on top, the route appeared to be strait forward – go towards Marina Bay Sands and its all going to be over. Another 8km or so. Or so I thought. The infamous ‘twist & turn’ from the first 10km was back! As I made my way to the final stretch, I started picking runners to overtake. (some if not most, overtook me back). I started picking target at a distant to reach and walk and run again. I kept on doing it again and again and again until I saw a stretch with number above it. I was too tired to work it out at first, then I realised, it was the race timer – 5:50:03. Still less than 6-hours. It was game on. A hundred meter dash. I ran. It wasn’t pretty. But I ran – even had time to pose for the photographers – right to the finish line. I did it. I had 2 Full Marathons under my belt now.
After HasuTassu, I’ll be off competitive running for the year. I’ll see what I can signed up for 2015 but most probably aiming to go abroad in 2016. AUSF.
And finally, the result. Despite my request for a full list of FM male participants, the Organiser claimed they are unable to provide such info but instead furnished me their ‘estimated’ number of FM runners only (Male – 7600, Female – 1400) – weird since I can’t gauge my ‘performance’ amongst my fellow participants.
Oh well, I would still consider running this crazy race again anyways..