63rd SAA Cross Country Championships

It has been a long time since I did a 5km cross-country race. So when Pam asked if I’m keen to form a female team with her, I decided to go for it. 5km is not exactly my forte, but I wanted to take this chance to do a time trial and see how I would fare for a 5km race among other shorter distance runners. Plus, it would be fun running with the girls too! And so, Team Firefly consisting of Pam, Zhilei, Angela and myself was formed.

18 January 2014.

Jackie and I picked up Zhilei and Angela near my place and we set off to Bedok Reservoir where the race was held. We were early so lucky me got a parking lot in the car park.

We met up with Pam, who brought along Yenny from Brunei. She has roped her in at the last minute as Angela was injured. A fast and friendly runner, we all got to know each other in no time. Saw many familiar faces like Thow Wee, Andy, Raviin etc who were there for the race too. There were a few more friends Yvonne, Renuka etc who were just there to support and do their own runs.

Team Firefly!

Team Firefly! (From left to right: Zhilei, me, Pam, Angela and Yenny)


We did a slow jog to warm up and soon it was time to start the race. The race route for this year was a 2.5km on the gravel, u-turn and another 2.5km on the running pavement to the finishing line. Spotted Vivian Tang and Michele Tan who were present for the race too. The veteran, open, and junior female were all flagging off at the same time.

At the start line. Off we go!

At the start line. Off we go!

The horn sounded and off we went. I could see two young Caucasian girls, Vanja and Jenny running ahead at breakneck speed. (They eventually came in 1st and 2nd for the open category in 18:22″ and 18:52″ respectively! Amazingly fast!). A few girls were running not far behind, including Michele and Yenny. Adrenaline rushing, I found myself trying to keep up with this pack too. Vivian, surprisingly did not shot off right from the start. She took her time to ease into the pace and less than 1km later, she overtook and pulled away from us.

Time check at 1 km, 3:51 min. Too fast, I thought to myself as my target was 4min/km. By then, the pack has broken up. I overtook Yenny and kept close to two junior girls from RJ. Vivian was far ahead, and Michele was running hard and few metres ahead too. There was another girl clad in NUS running vest behind Michele.

At 2nd km, my split reads 4:04″/km. A bit too slow now, and I tried to overtake the two junior girls who were running side by side. They seemed to have sense I was behind and every time I increased my pace a little to cut them from the right, they will speed up to “block” me from doing so. Took me some effort but they eventually got tired and I managed to run ahead and pulled away from them. The next target was chase the NUS girl in front of me.

At 2.5 km, we stepped onto the pavement and was greeted by a steep slope ahead. Saw Michele running strongly up the slope. The slope was steep but short, I tried to pick up my pace again after conquering the slope. At 3km, my split reads 4:14″/km. I was feeling tired and my pace dropped a little. Shortly after, a female runner from behind overtook me and ran ahead. I tried my best to chase her but she seemed to be running faster than before and got further away from me.

Running my heart and lungs out.

Running my heart and lungs out.

At 4km, the 1 km split reads 4:03″/km. With only one more km to finishing point. I told myself to keep the girl ahead in sight and dig deep to make up for the seconds lost. There were more supporters standing at the side cheering for the runners over the last stretch. I was really happy when I finally saw the finishing line ahead. Completed the 5km race in 20:16 min. No doubt 16 seconds off my target, I am still satisfied with this time as this is a lot faster than 22 mins I did some yrs back on track. 

Not long after I finished, Pam came running in too, finishing in 20:40 min. Yenny did well too, finishing just two positions behind Pam with a time of 20:50 min. . It was a close fight between Zhilei and Zhiyun (who represented Swift team). Zhilei eventually came in 11th in 21:14 min and Zhiyun 10th, just two seconds ahead of Zhilei.

Group pic with TW and Andy.

Group pic with TW and Andy.

Team firefly emerged 2nd overall for the team category. The results were based on a point system where the top 3 runners of each team were given a point based on their individual positions. We earned a total of 22 points. 6th (me), 7th (Pam) and 9th (Yenny). The champion team goes to Swift Team A with 17 points and third position goes to Swift Team B with 24 points.

Prize presentation. First runner up for team Women's Open category!

Prize presentation. First runner up for team Women’s Open category!


A fast and furious Saturday run, not to mention, fun and enjoyable too! A real eye opener to see how Cross-Country races were conducted. I still got so much to learn about pacing myself for shorter distance runs.

And thank you bf for coming down to support and be our photographer for the day!

And thank you bf for coming down to support and be our photographer for the day!



One thought on “63rd SAA Cross Country Championships

  1. Congratulations team Firefly! Hey your 5km time still faster than my 5k PB. I only managed a 20:22 in a race last year. I hate the 5 and 10k. they are miserable to run.

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