This year’s event was spread over two days. 31 May, Friday night was the 10km and 21km races while 1 June, Saturday night was solely for the full marathoners.
Jackie and I arrived early on Saturday night so we got ample time to deposit our baggage, take some photos and enter the race pen early.
There was no pressure to do a personal best, as we have decided to treat this race as lead-up run to the KL marathon in end June. Still, I was hoping I could better the time, 3hrs 42mins which I clocked at last year’s Sundown.
The full marathoners were flagged off promptly at 11.30pm. Not long after I started running, Gen who probably started behind me caught up and we chatted a bit. He has offered to pace me but knowing he is much faster than I am, I asked him to run with Jackie who was already further ahead.
Not long after he left, I saw Baoying and we also chatted and ran for a while together. It was then I realised that I was running about 10 seconds faster than my target pace of 5min”/km. However, as I was feeling comfortable, I decided to stick to the pace and see how far I could last.
The race was pretty uneventful for most part of the route. It was a humid night and I started pouring water over myself after a few hydration stations. There were still many runners ahead and running alongside with me so I wasn’t feeling too lonely.
10 km was over in a flash. As I continued running towards Garden By the Bay East, I overtook a female Caucasian runner clad in a green top. By then, the runners have more or less staggered and I found myself running alone at some stretch, with just a few others in front or behind me.
As I entered ECP, I thought I caught a glimpse of Jackie and Gen. But as quickly as I saw them, I lost them again, leaving me wondering if I have imagined or mistaken some other runners for them. I continued running, unconsciously slowing down. Not long after saw Stella with her daughter, Ella at the side of the running path. They were cheering for me loudly and their cheers were so contagious that the rest of the supporters standing at the side started shouting for me too even though they do not know me. I waved to Stella and Ella and continued my run, feeling a bit more energised.
A few more km later, I saw Edwin and Gis at the Tampines Safra’s support station taking photos of the runners. I was delighted to see them and showed them two thumbs-up signs. The race atmosphere was much livelier (as compared to last year) with so many supporters and photographers around.
As I ran around the lagoon and towards the skate park, I was pleasantly surprised to see John and Joyce at the next car park cheering for me! They were very excited to see me and even ran a few steps with me before wishing me all the best. They even said they would cheer for me again after the u-turn. It was really heart-warming to see them and their presence certainly boosted my morale.
Did my u-turn at the 24 km mark and I saw many familiar faces on the other side of the running route. Baoying was not far behind me and I cheered for her. Spotted Kenneth and also Joe who shouted to me that I’m in the 4th position. However, by then, I could feel the fatigue setting in and my pace has dropped. I pressed on and tried my best to keep up with some runners ahead of me. Spotted Joyce again. True enough, she was once again standing by the side cheering me on. I must have spaced out after that as I only realised that I was approaching the Tampines Safra support station again when I saw Edwin taking a photo of me.
I could feel my energy depleting. Pace has dropped drastically to more than 5min/km. I tried my best to keep up with some runners ahead of me. Suddenly, I saw a familiar back view a distance away. It was Trevor from MF Safra! I caught up with him and asked him to run together. However, Trevor said he was having cramps and was just happy maintaining the current pace. I wanted to offer him my electrolytes to relieve his cramps but he said he was feeling too full to take anymore stuff. I ran with him for a while, and eventually ran ahead.
Spotted a few more familiar faces on the opposite side and we cheered for one another. I finally exited ECP after the 32km mark. By then, there was just a few runners in sight and I tried to take the runner ahead of me as target. At the next bend along Gardens By the Bay East, I spotted Poon ZL who was clad in Captain America’s costume. He said I was the 4th lady and encouraged me to chase after the 3rd lady. I did not think it was possible then as I could not even see the 2nd runner up at all. But, “Captain America” told me to go for it. If I could catch her, good. If not, I got nothing to lose too.
With about 7-8 km more to finish the race, I was feeling more motivated and attempted to run a bit faster. Soon, I arrived at Marina Barrage and was crossing the bridge when I saw and hear Rachel (Mrs Captain America) cheering for me. Like her husband, she also encouraged me to try to catch the 3rd place lady. I told her that her husband was not far behind and should be reaching soon.
As I ran past the drink station and towards MBS, I caught sight of a runner at a distance. At first I could not be sure if the runner is male or female as it was a bit dark and the runner has short hair. As I got closer to the runner, it was then I noticed the cyclist who was with her was wearing a vest that says “3rd female”. It then dawned on me that was the 3rd lady!
I ran past the 39km mark. Should I try to follow her closely and take my chance at a later stage? Or should I try to overtake her now and pull away? My mind raced. I decided on the latter as she was slowing down and I might have a chance to pull away from her. Sensing me from behind, the third lady tried to speed up too. Eventually, I caught up and we were running side by side. I could hear the cyclist talking on the walkie talkie, informing the officials of our bid numbers as we approached the 40km mark.
2 more km to go only! Can my legs and lungs bring me through? I finally pulled away from the 3rd lady after the 40km mark. I dare not look back, instead remained focused on my run. It was then I noticed the 2nd place female runner, Kaifen was just right ahead! I picked up my pace. She turned back, saw me and picked up her pace too. The chase has began! Her cadence was super fast! Adrenaline rushing, I sped up, hoping to close up the gap between us. The cyclist who was with me was very nice and kept on encouraging me. Ran past Esplanade and less than 1 km to go only! I pressed on, closing onto her bit by bit.
There was a sharp right turn just before the traffic light junction. I turned in and immediately felt a cramp creeping in on my left calf. Oh no, not wise to increase my speed now. Not wanting to aggravate the cramp, I slowed down at the next abrupt turn. By then, kaifen was further away. I waited for the cramp to subside a little before I continued my chase.
In the end, I crossed the finishing line in a net time of 3hrs 30mins 35sec. Managed to take some nice finishing photos too as I remembered to raise my arms and crossed the finishing line with a smile this time.
Though I did not manage to catch up with Kaifen, the 1st runner up in the end, I was overall quite pleased with my performance that night. Glad that I did not falter and had given my all especially towards the last 3km of the race. The third placing was unexpected and a bonus as I was all along holding onto 4th position till the 40km mark.
Had enjoyed the last part of the chase especially! Definitely one of the most exciting race ever!
And through this marathon, I made a new friend, Kaifen too! =)