28 Oct 2012, Sunday
It was my first time participating in Newton 30k. Thought it would be a good lead-up run to Standard Chartered Marathon so decided to signed up for this race with Jackie. As the race started very early at 5.30am, we reached East Coast Park at 4am in order to get a parking lot at B1 car park.
After changing into our shoes, we visited the toilets before walking over to Big Splash with Ronnie and Andy (from MF). They have arrived at B1 car park to park their cars too. It was still early when we reached the race site so we hung around inside the race pen and chatted among ourselves. Few minutes later, we could see more familiar faces, Andy Neo, Alex Ong, Charles, Cecilia, Chris, Roger, Richard, Alice, Stella, Zhilei, Weisian etc. Mok Ying Ren, Singapore’s favourite and top athlete was back racing again.
At about 5.30 am, we were flagged off. Jackie slowly disappeared into the darkness with the faster runners. I found myself running alongside with Stella and Sumiko, as we hovered at about the same pace of 4:50″/km for the first 3km. Initially, I was wondering if I would be able to sustain this pace as I was breathing a little hard. Fortunately, breathing got easier after 5km and I soon found myself going slightly faster and was able to keep up with Stella.
At about 6km mark, we spotted Chia (Jurong Safra’s Vice Chairman) running not too far ahead. Motivated, we sped up a little and followed him. 10km was completed in abt 47min 30 secs. Took my gel and some water at the drink station. Feeling energised after taking the gel, I pressed on to keep up with Chia. On the return leg to the starting point, I saw the speedy runners on the other side of the road. Cheered for Alex Ong, followed by Andy Neo when I saw them running past. Both looking very focused. Spotted the first female runner after a few more guys ran past. I kept a lookout for Jackie knowing that he should be running past any moment now. True enough, he appeared and we cheered for each other. I completed the first loop with Chia. Stella was not too far behind me.
After the u-turn point at Area D, Chia seemed to increase his speed. I decided to hold back a little and ran alongside with two other runners. Along the way, I received cheers from Roger and Alice who were running together. Charles and Cecilia shouted for me and I cheered for them as well. It was very motivating to hear words of encouragement and that urged me on to try to close the gap between myself and Chia. As I ran towards the hawker centre, I spotted someone clad in MF Safra top. It was Chris! Ran alongside and chatted briefly with him for a while. We caught up with Chia shortly. However, both Chia and I lost Chris when he suddenly picked up his speed and ran ahead of us.
I continued to follow Chia, happy that I was still sustaining my target pace and still feeling not-too-bad. As we turned left to head towards NSRCC, many of the speedy runners and 18km runners were running out. Once again, I spotted Alex and Andy, still looking strong and focused. Then I saw the top female runner again. I was wondering where was Jackie when I spotted him from a distance. He said he was led the wrong way. Before I could even register what he said and talked to him, he ran off.
Finally, I arrived at the u-turn point. Chia stopped here for a while, due to some pain on his hips. I shouted to him to press on as I continued with my run, hoping he would be able to catch up soon. Not long after, I spotted Stella and Joe on the other side. Spotted Zhilei, Weixing and Weisian shortly one after another too.
With about 7 to 8km left to reach the finishing line, I told myself to hang on to the pace till at least 25km. I could also sense Chia slowly catching up with me from behind. There were more 18km runners now. Picking up water from the stations were no longer as smooth as before.
The sun was also out and I could feel some heat on my back. Sipped some Pocari and poured some water over my shoulders. Ran and ran and I was now at the lagoon. Surely I could still hang on for the last 5km, I thought to myself. As I ran past the area where McDonalds used to be, I spotted Chris again a few hundred meters ahead. He seemed to be slowing down. I was still maintaining my pace at abt 4:45″/km so it took me some time to finally close up the gap and caught up with him. By then, we were probably less than 1km away from the finishing line. Chris literally fly when we got sight of the finishing line. It’s now or never so I gave chase. Saw the clock flashed 2hr 20min 54sec a few meters away and I got very excited and ran a bit faster, hoping to complete the race in under 2hr 21min.
It was then I noticed the crew at both sides holding up the finishing tape for me to break through. Yet, there seemed to be some confusion as there were a few 18km runners ahead of me and they could not decide whether to hold the tape up or down. Oh no! What should I do? Slow down to tackle the tape? Or just dashed through? My mind whirled.
Few steps to the tape, it was too late to slow down. Before I knew it, the tape caught me at the most awkward moment, smacked my head and my cap was flung off. It was most upsetting, to end my race this way and I could hardly smile after that. The crew was very apologetic though. They apologised to me immediately after the race. And looked for me the second time to offer apology again. A nice gesture I must say. I don’t blame them frankly, after all it was truly chaotic with so many runners running in at the same time. And their intention was good – to capture me breaking the tape. Just my luck that I was caught in this awkward situation. =p
On a happier note, I finished 2nd in the women’s 30 km category with a net time of 2hr 20min 57 sec. *grins* Just under 2hr 21min! I’m glad I made that last dash.