It was Yishun Safra Running Club’s turn to host and organise the annual inter-club road relay. The road relay was held at Yishun Park, just a stone’s throw away from the Yishun Safra Clubhouse.
We went for a warm up jog to familiarize ourselves with the 1.6km race route. It was a challenging route, hilly and undulating. Go out too fast right from the start, and you will find yourself huffing and puffing up the slopes towards the end.
Same as last year, each team consist of 10 members. However, the formation of the team was somewhat different this year. The first two runners were the Men’s Masters Seniors (50 years & above), followed by two Men’s Senior Veterans (45 years & above), one Woman Veteran (35 years & above), one Male Veteran (40 years & above), two Women’s Open (below 35 years) and lastly two Men’s Open (below 35 years).
Jurong Safra sent it three teams altogether. As we have too many runners under the Men’s Open category, many of them were not able to participate. Still, it was heartening to see them travelling all the way to Yishun just to be our cheerleaders.
It was rather exciting when we flagged off the veterans runners, starting with the Masters Senior category. The uncles could fly! I thought our veterans, Vincent Yang and Chris Chang were fast for their age, but the seniors from the other clubs, especially Tampines were even faster! With a couple of them finishing the hilly mile run in under 6 mins! Our team was ranked 6th when Freddy passed the baton to Ping. Ping did not disappoint us, she caught up with a couple of female runners and our position was pushed up to 4th when she passed the baton to Siva, our representative for Male Veteran.
Then, Siva overtook one runner ahead and finished his run in about 6:01 min. We were getting more excited as we were now third in position. Tampines was currently 1st with a couple of minutes lead ahead. It gotta be tough to catch up with them. In 2nd place was team Toa Payoh.
Pey Ling shot off after she got the baton from Siva. I waited nervously near the start line. Tampines was still leading by a good margin when their first female runner for Women’s Open returned. They have a well-balanced and strong mix of veterans, males and females’ runners. Then Ezann (representing Toa Payoh’s Women’s Open) got her baton too and started her run not long after. Less than a minute later, I could see Peyling running down the slope from afar and I quickly went onto the transition area. She has closed up the gap with Toa Payoh by a bit and and it seemed possible to catch up with them to fight for a 2nd place.
My target was a sub 6 min run for the 1 mile. However, the moment I started running, all was forgotten about the time, but to chase and catch up with Ezann. At first, I thought she was quite far ahead since I could not see her at all. But after a bend, it was a straight path, and there she was! I got really excited. Adrenaline pumping, I tried to speed up a bit to close the gap.
Knowing that there were a couple of hills to tackle in the middle portion, I controlled my pace, to gradually closed the gap bit by bit. Then came the longest and steepest incline. Ezann seemed to be slowing down. She was a bit lost too, not knowing exactly which path to take. I pressed on, determined to catch her before the end of the race.
As I huffed and puffed up the hill, I heard Stella cheering for me. I trudged on, and was welcome with plenty of cheers from Jurong Safra friends. Ezann was just a few metres ahead of me now. I pushed some more to overtake her just before reaching the top of the hill.
It was the last stretch home, with plenty of down slopes. Heart pumping wildly, I ran as fast as my legs could carry me, hoping to shave as many seconds as I could for the team. Made a sharp right turn and I could see the transition area just ahead, where Jackie was waiting for my baton. We fumbled once or twice, and glad he managed to grab the baton from me without dropping it. And off he went in lightning speed.
Checked the time the moment I stopped. Yay! A sub 6mins mile run achieved. 5:54 min in fact according to the time keeper. =D
Jackie was fast, finishing in 5:39 min maintaining our 2nd placing. Yiyang our anchor runner finished off the run nicely in 5:15 min. Jurong Safra was 2nd overall, with a total time of 1:01:06, just a minute behind the champions, Tampines Safra, who clocked an impressive 1:00:10. This was also the third consecutive year they have won and they get to keep the plaque. Toa Payoh Safra was third in 1:01:45.
After some photo-taking, chit-chatting, we headed back to the clubhouse for shower and the prize presentation. A lovely Sunday morning, spent with nice and friendly group of runners. Love Sundays like this.