9 March 2014: This year’s road relay was hosted and organised by Toa Payoh Safra Running Club. After registration and some photo-taking, we jogged from Toa Payoh Clubhouse to Bidadari Park where the road relay was held. Shortly after reaching the park, volunteers from Toa Payoh safra running club led the rest of the runners to familiarize with the 1.6km race (hilly) route. I took the chance to quickly use the toilet near an MRT station before joining back to the group, hence did not have a chance to check out the 2nd half of the route, only know there was a steep slope somewhere at the back.
The sequence of the runners is 3 men open, 1 women open, 1 women veteran (35 years & above), 1 men master senior veteran (50 years & above), 1 men senior veteran (45 years & above) and 3 men veteran (40 years & above).
Response from Jurong running club was overwhelming! We sent in a total of three teams. As there were limited slots for female runners, some who expressed interest were not able to race. It was very heartwarming to know that despite not being able to run, many of the guys and girls still came down to support us. =)
I was in Team C. Our first runner is Yiyang, the youngest runner in our club I believe. (he’s only 14!) The race started and 13 young men dashed off with Gen from MF Safra Team A right ahead, setting the pace. As expected, Gen came running in first (in abt 4:50min!) and passed on his baton to Joshua. Not too far behind Gen, was a new runner, triathlete from Tampines Safra Team A. 3rd team leading was MF Team B.
Our Yiyang did well too! He came running in at 4th position with a time of 5:34min and passed his baton to our 2nd runner, Wei Sian. Wei Sian maintained the 4th position and so did Siva, our 3rd runner. By then there was a big margin between the first team, MF Safra Team A and the rest.
Jackie, being the third runner from the leading team even had ample time to pass me his shades when he returned. So Zhilei who represent MF Safra Team A, was ahead from the rest of us for quite a fair bit that we could not even see her throughout the run. 2nd in lead was Claire from Tampines Safra, followed by Heather from MF Safra. I was 4th to run off after receiving the baton from Siva.
Set off to chase after the two ladies who were ahead but still in sight. I was careful not to shot off too fast, but to gradually increase my pace after the first right turn. Managed to catch up with Heather from MF Safra Team B after the next turn. Claire who represent Tampines Team A was still a distance away. I pressed on, determined to close up the gap and catch her before we complete the entire 1.6km route. We ran on and were soon approaching a steep hill. Claire seemed to be slowing down. I took the chance to speed up and eventually overtook her. Afraid that she would give chase, I ran up the slope as fast as my legs could carry me. It was very encouraging to see and hear Jiahui and a few other supporters from Jurong Safra cheering for me. It was a painful run up the slope and I was glad it was over soon enough. From the top of the hill, I spotted Zhilei far away turning at a bend and running towards the end point. My thighs and calves were screaming in pain after conquering the slope. I was panting and gasping for air. But knowing that my team was waiting for me and the end point was near, I gave my all at the final stretch.
I passed the baton to Joyce who set off steadily. Finally completed the mile run in about 6:03 mins. Our team was now in 2nd place. A couple of ladies chased after Joyce and even overtook her not too long into the race. Joyce, being an experienced runner remained calm and continued at her own pace. She went on to overtake them again and even caught up with the leading lady. By the time she returned with the baton, Jurong Team C was leading! That got all of us pretty excited and we all cheered enthusiastically. Tampines Safra was close behind though and this time it was the battle among the men master veteran, Jurong’s Vincent and Tampines’ Gary Goh.
Gary Goh, a very experienced and strong runner managed to catch up with Vincent and Tampines Team A took the lead this time. Chia, our men senior veteran representative was the next to run for our team. He ran in lightning speed and helped to close the gap between the lead and widen the margin between us and the third team. Jeff, Freddy and Chris went on to finish the remaining three legs of the road relay with impressive timing too. Tampines with 3 very strong veterans runners, Alex and his buddies as expected secured the champion title. Jurong Team C put up a good fight and we came in 2nd, slightly more than a minute behind Tampines. 3rd place went to Toa Payoh Team A while MF Safra Team A and B took 4th & 5th positions respectively.
We all enjoyed the run and it was lovely to catch up and mingle with all safra runners!
Through this road relay, I really feel that Jurong Safra Running Club has bonded and gotten even closer than before. It doesn’t matter that we are not the fastest team. What matters is that we have so many runners willingly coming together to run for the club. And the fact that many specially came down to support already speak volume of this club which I am very proud to belong to. Quite an achievement for only a 4 year old club I think, when we first started with barely 20 regular runners coming down for training to this:-