1 August 2015
I was feeling quite excited about the race as ASICS is the title sponsor for this running event in Singapore. Adding to the fun element, it’s gotta to be a team event across all categories. However, unlike Sundown team event, Asics City Relay is an Ekiden format whereby team members take turns to run 10.5km one after another to make up the full marathon distance. Representing ASICS Running Club, Rachel volunteered to be our first runner as she prefers to run when it’s still bright. Claire opted to be the 2nd runner and Brittany chose to be the 3rd runner. And that leaves me to be the last runner for the team. We called ourselves Team Asics Charlie Angels. =D
By 5.45pm, all the first runners of each team were already ushered into the race pen. There was a short briefing of the race route and a run through of the change over. At 6pm, the horn sounded and the race was on.
There was a tracking board available on the event’s website which shows the time of the runners when they crossed 5.2km mark, which is the u-turn after Gardens By The Bay. It also shows the time when they returned to stadium for the changeover. Rachel ran an impressive first 5km in under 19 mins. By the time she returned to the stadium for change over, her time which was sub 41 mins put us in the lead by more than 3 mins from the 2nd women team.
Claire took over the wrist band and set off looking strong and focused. I looked out for Jackie, who is running the 2nd leg for his team and then went around taking pictures with friends, at the same time find out more about the race route and learn from the experience from the first runners who has returned.
I was feeling hungry having had my last meal at 1pm. Was still contemplating if I should get some food when Wong offered me a small piece of hotdog bun which was enough to fill my stomach. Maintaining our first position, Claire returned in about 48 mins and off Brittany went. I was feeling more jittery by the minute and decided that it was time to get myself a cup of coffee to calm my nerves. Sat down to enjoy the cup of coffee while I listened to Claire as she shared her race experience. It’s gotta be quite messy, she said as the running path is narrow and shared by runners running to and fro. She reminded me to turn left after I see the overhead bridge as she made the mistake of going straight towards marina barrage, only to backtrack after she realised it was not the correct route. Claire also warned me to look out for cyclists and park-goers too.
I finished my cup of coffee and got ready to warm up. At close to 8pm, I proceed to the changeover pen to wait for Brittany’s return. I estimate her to be coming back at around 8:20pm. I was feeling nervous by the minute as I saw more and more runners returning and still no sight of Brittany. While waiting, I spotted speedy Yvonne Lin, 3rd runner from Team Trackstar running past and heading towards the next changeover pen. It was then I realised we have fell to 2nd place. There was nothing to worry about though as Trackstar was under Running Club category which means Team Asics Charlie Angels still remains first under Women Open’s category.
3 more minutes past and I was happy to see Brittany running towards me, her arm reaching out to pass me the wrist band. Grabbed the wrist band and flicked it across my wrist and off I went. I do not have high hopes of catching up the last runner of the Trackstar but was hoping at least I could close up the gap. Spotted Rachel and her husband, Zili both already showered cheering for me as I exited the stadium.
I focused on following the runners ahead of me and gradually overtaking them one by one. Switched on the LED light of the wrist band and it shone brightly in the night. At about 2km mark, I arrived at Tanjong Rhu Park Connector. It was the path whereby the already narrow path was further divided into two to cater for runners returning to the stadium. Spent some effort weaving in and out of the crowd. Also saw Gen, who was the fourth runner for team Flying Doctors flying past me, on his return route to the stadium to finish the race. He and his team mates, Baoying, Joshua and Derek would later went on to win the top position under the corporate category.
I continued running and was glad to catch sight of the overhead bridge, which means water point is near. Turned left and grabbed a cup of water for a sip and pour the rest over my head to cool myself.
It wasn’t difficult to figure out where to turn as I have many runners (mostly runners running the 3rd leg) ahead to follow. Crossed the road and I continued running on the park connector (which leads to ECP). That’s when it got messy and dangerous as this time we also have to look out for cyclists who were sharing the same running route as all runners.
I have yet to reach the u-turn and I managed to catch a glimpse of a female runner running past me on the other side of the route. Her race bib indicated that she’s the fourth runner and I sort of guess she was the anchor runner from team trackstar.
Soon, I reached the u-turn point as well. Time check: 21:31 mins for the first 5.2km. I pressed on, hoping to catch sight of the girl from team trackstar ahead. It took me a while, but I eventually catch up with her after a few hundred meters. She quickened her pace the moment she sensed that I was running alongside her. I pushed the pace, and took the lead shortly after. We continued pushing the pace and got a scare when an oncoming cyclist ride towards us. I let out a scream before I swerved to the left to avoid the cyclist. Thankfully, no one was hurt. With no time to lose, I continued running, hoping to pull away from the girl who was still hot on my heels. But she was quite determined to keep up and I could hear her breathing hard behind me. She was already pushing hard and I knew if I can sustain the pace, I can definitely pull away from her.
Alex Tiong from Safra Tampines came flying past me. Motivated, I tried to chase after him. But he soon disappeared and was out of sight in a flash. By 8km, I could no longer hear footsteps behind me and knew the trackstar girl has dropped behind. I pressed on, not daring to take any chances, in case she sneaked up from behind at the last minute.
The last 2.5km back to the stadium was tough. I was getting tired and my pace dropped back to 4:15″/km. There was more twists and turns as we ran around sports hub before we were eventually directed into the stadium. I sped up again at the last 1km upon seeing that the end point was near.
Made a right turn for the finishing line as I entered the stadium. There were many cheers from the crowd as the emcee announced that the first women’s team has returned. Elated and feeling super high, I crossed the finishing line, and lift the finishing tape up high. Yeah! Team Asics Charlie Angels did it! We won not just the Women Open’s category, but we were the overall winner for the female category too.
Time for my 10.5km was around 44:43mins. Combining all the time taken, we finished the “marathon” in a total time of 3:08:19.
Super proud of my team mates who have given their all for the race. All in all, we had a great race and truly enjoyed ourselves. It was so much more fun and meaningful to win this as team. =)
Looking forward to the next series of Asics City Relay!