This year, HiVelocity created a new category called the Elite Local category for Great Eastern Women’s Run. I am very honoured and privileged to be invited by HiVelocity to join this new category. (embarrassed to be called an elite though, cos my time wasn’t really that fantastic compared to the rest of top runners). No doubt competition is going to be stiffer due to the strong pool of athletes, but what draws me to join the category is that I got a chance to race alongside with the overseas and other local elite runners. Though I probably be outclass by most of them, I was hoping that the bit of competition could push me to do a personal best for half marathon. As always, prizes for GE run winners are attractive. In addition to the top three cash prizes for Elite Local category, we can also compete for a top 10 finish in the Elite Open category. There are altogether 17 athletes (5 overseas runners and 12 locals runners).
The day before the race, we were invited to a briefing held at Ritz Carlton hotel. We get to sign on a huge red balloon and race kits were presented to us one-by-one. It was nice catching up with the runners, many of whom are friends. We had a nice time mingling and enjoyed the light snacks and coffee provided. Thereafter, some of us went along with the crew to check out the race site and took some photos.
9 November 2014 – Race Day
It was still drizzling when Rachel, Zhiliei, Jasmine and I entered the race pen. Shortly after, Yvonne, Kaifen, Baoying entered the pen too. Then along came Anne, Ying Rong and all the overseas elite runners who also joined us at the start line for some photo-taking before the start of the race. I was shivering in cold and couldn’t wait for the race to start and get warm.
We were flagged off at exactly 5.30am. The elites from overseas shot off. I started running alongside with Yvonne who is doing her debut, first half marathon in Singapore. As we turned out of the Singapore Flyer towards Nicoll Highway, I could see the pack of runners ahead breaking out into smaller groups. Three overseas elites were running together in the first pack way ahead of the rest of runners. The second pack consists of Anne, Rachel and another overseas runner. Not far behind were Ying Rong and another overseas runner clad in red top.
My race plan is to start at 4:20″/km and increase my pace to 4:15″/km once I got into momentum. First km went smoothly as planned. I was trying to keep Ying Rong in sight so I went a bit faster after the first km to close up the gap. It was still drizzling and the crew has shifted the drink station from the road to the grass. So we need to step up to the curb to get our drinks. 3km past and I was still feeling good. Two African runners from the open category ran past us. I felt Yvonne dropping back after about 4 km. I continued running, determined to maintain the 4:15″/km pace for as long as I can. There was a hairpin turn, and I received plenty of cheers from the ladies behind, Kaifen, Jasmine, Zhilei as well as ladies from the 2nd wave. Jenny, who was leading her category looking fresh and all smiley, follow by Sue and Peyling seems to be holding well too.
5km came and went in a flash. Suddenly, Ying Rong increased her pace and began pulling away from the overseas elite runner whom she was running together with for the first 5km. It happened so fast that she was out of sight immediately after a left turn. I dare not increase my pace as my current pace was already hovering below 4:15″/km. I focused on closing the gap between myself and the overseas runner, who seems to be slowing down. I was relieved to finally caught her after the 7km mark and we ran alongside for a while. As we entered into a park, I was surprised to see Anne just slightly ahead. She was still running fast, but was slowing down. A cyclist clad with a vest that reads “3rd place female” were leading her. Realizing I actually stand a chance for a podium finish, I quickened my pace to give chase and finally overtook Anne at 8km mark. From then onwards, it was a pretty lonely run. Without anyone ahead to chase, I slowed down a lot to about 4:25″/km pace. I was so worried that someone would catch up with me that I kept glancing back to see if any of the runners behind. Vanja who belongs to the general open category ran past me, she was third for her individual open category (behind the two Kenyan or Ethiopia runners who ran past early in the race). She seems to be taking it easy after she pulled away from the 4th place runner who were hot on her heels previously. Ran past Sports Hub for the first time and I thought the place looks quite amazing. I was glad to have the cyclist leading the way, otherwise I would certainly be lost with all the twists and turns.
It was getting brighter and I could see more runners (from the 2nd wave) on the other side of the road. Renuka shouted and cheered for me when she saw me. (She was supposed to join us at the elite local category, but had decided to do an easy run that day). Her encouragement got me going again and I tried to speed up.
Soon, I arrived at the Marina Bay golf range. It was a long lonely stretch all the way to Marina Barrage. I realised I was losing the motivation to even try for a 4:20″/km pace. Spotted three guys running in the opposite direction towards me. Recognize one of them for Raviin (Yvonne’s bf and fellow asics team mate) who cheered for me when he ran past.
It was close to 16km. And I was finally approaching Marina Barrage. Upon reaching the barrage, I saw the cyclist waiting for me at the start of a ramp leading to the top. It was only then I realised we had to run up the ramp, the same route we did for sundown ultra relay. Vanja who was still within sight, picked up her speed right after she finished this loop and never look back. I increased my pace too after exiting Marina Barrage. 4km more km to go, surely I could finish it.
There were a lot more supporters and photographers stationed outside MBS. I try to smile at all the cameras I saw. Arrived at the last water point along Marina Boulevard and I saw Vanja again ahead. I pressed on. No chance for a 1hr 30min half marathon anymore, not even a PB. I could only hope to do a time that betters my KL half marathon’s time.
It was the same route to the finishing line as last year. Up the Esplanade bridge and a sharp right turn before running towards The Float@Marina Bay. The ground was still wet. I was thankful that my pair of tartherzeal provides quite a good grip to save me from slipping. I relaxed a little when I saw the finishing line just ahead. Finished in a net time of 1:31:32, matching the time I did for KL half marathon, yes, right to the second.
I was disappointed that I did not manage to do a personal best despite the perfectly cool weather. Still, it was my best time for a local half marathon so I guess I am contented. The unexpected and surprise podium finish make up for the disappointment too. I finished 3rd for the Elite Local category, behind the champion, Ying Rong and 1st runner up, Rachel The three of us were 5th, 6th and 7th for the Elite Open category. =)
Not a bad race after all.