Oh, Real Run was on 19 Oct, that’s almost 2 months ago. Can’t believe I forgot to write about it.
We had wanted to join the Real Run last year, but becos of some business trip, we couldn’t participate. Luckily for us, the timing for this year’s run is just right. We’ve never ran on trail or sand before so it’s going to be quite a different experience for us.
After collecting our race pack but before the actual day, we realized that we forgot to purchase the bus tickets from the organizers, and the run was going to be held in some ulu ulu Changi region. I called in to the organizers and they assure me that there will be extra buses at the morning pickup point and tickets will be sold there as well.
Fast forward to actual day morning, we were at Jurong East MRT station to purchase our bus tickets. To our delight, the bus pickup service was very well organized. There were 3 volunteers in-charge and they had with them alot of details such as signage, bus schedules, contact numbers, bus plate numbers, quota of passengers, etc. For ppl who were purchasing tickets, they had a waiting list where we can indicate our names and contact number and the IC will call us when there are available seats. Overall very well organised. I couldn’t understand why the annual Stanchart Marathon couldn’t provide this level of organization.
We arrived early and check in our bags. Everything was indoors and air-conditioned. Service counters were numerous and there was no queue at all. I suppose this was the advantage of having the race at such a ulu ulu place where space is not a constrain.
The race started with a mass warm up session by some gym trainers. No bad, quite fun, just like the great Singapore workout. Haha… The horn sounded and off we went. The 10km run started with the trail section. Basically, it meant running on dirt path with stones, gravels and pebbles, uneven ground and lots of dust. Yikes, it was more difficult and strenuous than we imagined. The dirt path doesn’t respond well to kicking unlike tarmac roads, hence using more energy to maintain the same kind of speed and posture. Also, the uneven floors made us spend more energy keeping our balance and also skipping left and right to avoid uneven landings. The small stones on the floor reduced the friction between the soles of our shoes and the ground, causing some slipping at the contacts and hence required us to dig deeper into the ground for more grip. Plainly, it was tiring.
Once on the road, everything was back to normal. But by now, the sun was up and we had to endure the heat. Somehow, in this ulu ulu part of Singapore where there were no visible buildings in sight, the sun was especially hot. We made sure to stop at every drink station and hydrate ourselves.
Very soon, we reached the sandy beach. Running in the sand was no joke. We sank into the sand with every step and had to drag our feet up with every step. Our toes became very tired becos we had to use a lot of toe muscles to kick ourselves along the sandy route. However, we quickly discovered a cheat and exploited it fully. The part of the beach nearest to the water line where the waves constantly washes up tend to make the sand more compact. These wet sand areas were more solid and hence required less energy to run on. The drawback was that the occasional big wave will soak our shoes a bit. But that can be avoided by keeping an eye on the waves and escaping up beach when any potential large wave approaches. Overall, we find the sand run slightly easily than the trail run after applying our wet sand exploit. :D
After exiting the beach area, it’s back to the tarmac and towards the finish line. We tried to pick up the pace a little but the sun was super scorching. We continued at a steady pace and drank lots of water. With about 1km to go, we pick up the pace and had a great time overtaking the walkers and slow runners in front of us. I suppose every overtake gave an endorphin boost that helps us forget our tiredness and just keep on running. We crossed the finish line in roughly 1.5hrs, not a fantastic time, but we completed the Real Run together.
After the run, we collected our bags, no queues again. We collected our goodie bags, no queues too. The Real Run t-shirt is made of a very nice material too and its my favourite t-shirt now. Everything was indoors and air-conditioned. Again, all these thanks to the ulu ulu venue of this race. There was ample space to sit on the vast floor area. Ample bananas going around and ample Nature bars (iirc).
The return shuttle bus to Pasir Ris MRT was a little slow. There were lots of buses queueing up to pick up the runners but there was only 5 parking lots available as pick up point and this made the passenger queue run rather long. This was a little glitch that I think the organizers can work to improve on the next time.
Overall, a very nice run, nice atmosphere, nice organization. The venue was a bit ulu, but resulted in many other benefits in return, such as queue-less baggage and goodie bag, spacious indoors and air-con. Maybe the run could have started a bit earlier to avoid the hot morning sun. It’ll be even better if only they gave out running singlets too. Looking forward to next year’s run.