Dear2 and I had always had a special place for Jurong Lake Run. Why? Because it is near to our house and our parents’ house. So it is convenient for us to drop off the kids at our parents’ house while we attended the run. That is exactly what happened this year.
The night run this year suited us particularly well. Instead of having to wake up the kids up early to drop them off, this year, they woke up normally after their afternoon naps and off we went to my parents’ house. They will have their dinner there while we went for our first run of the year.
We started training probably 2 months earlier. With our tight schedule daily, it was really difficult to squeeze out any time for exercise. However, we found a solution. On weekends, Dear2 would wake up early at about 6 am and she would go for her run. At around 7 am, she would have returned and I would go for my run. All these while the kids were still asleep. So, by the time of Jurong Lake Run, we were not entirely unprepared.
Due to multiple road closures around the running route this year, we decided to take a bus to the starting point. However, also due to road closures, we had to alight 2 bus stops earlier and walk to the starting line. It was indeed a long walk but luckily the weather was good.
Near the starting point, we thought there were glow-in-the-dark tattoos. The tagline was to Light up the Night, right? We struggled to get the tattoos to stick to our skin. It didn’t turn out well, so we took it off instead. Later during the run, we would find out that these tattoos do not glow in the dark at all. Slightly disappointed.
The run started fairly well for us as both Dear2 and I felt good. The first leg of the run along Boon Lay Way was great. There was ample space and the evening glow was wonderful. At around the 5 km mark, we started to slow down. After a short walk, we decided to press on and keep running.
Once the run entered the Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden area, the old problems started surfacing. The running path was as narrow as before. It seemed like the organizers did not learn from their lesson. Either they have to find a better, wider running route, or limit the number of runners. I would have preferred the former.
The sky turned dark as Dear2 and I exited Japanese Garden. Quite frankly, with a tagline like Light up the Night, the least I had expected was lit running routes. But no, Japanese Garden was poorly lit and we were running in dim light. Well, it got worse. Once we entered the park area around the old Tang Dynasty, we were practically running in the darkness. It was so hard to see the running path and the drains beside. Not to mention, the crowd of runners was just as dense as before, the path were just as narrow. It wasn’t a good running experience.
Dear2 and I were getting really tired as we hit the 9 km mark. We persevered and finally crossed the finish line at 1 hr 22 mins. To us, it was a great result. It was even a little faster than many years ago when we were actively running. We queued up for our finisher entitlements, only to be greeted by another horror.
We were stuck in queue for the next 30 mins, packed like sardines with other hot sweaty tired panting runners, and with no place to sit or rest. I overheard some runners saying it was the same situation the previous year and nothing had improved. Dear2 and I were irritated. With so many years of experience behind them, how can this happen?!! We challenged ourselves, pushed ourselves, crossed the finish line with delight and get stuck in human traffic?!! Utterly disappointed. Just for this alone, Jurong Lake Run 2014 gets a 1/10 from me for organization.
Eventually, we got through the queue. We hurried off to pick up our kids. However, due to road closure, the nearest bus stop was very far away. I estimated that we must have walked for as least 20 mins before we reached an operational bus stop. Overall, it was a terrible event. The only saving grace was that we achieved a good running time and we stayed nearby so we got home rather quickly.
Epilogue: Dear2 and I fell sick the following day. It was a major illness for us, including running several days of fever. We agreed that we most likely had caught the bug during the human congestion at the finish line where the ventilation was so bad and we could feel other runner breathing hard and catching their breath all around us.