Let me account an experience worth sharing and I hope will also be inspiring particularly to those dreaming to finish their first marathon. I never imagined that joining 42.195K race abroad will be this fulfilling and memorable. I actually felt the anxiety and nervousness weeks before the race although I tried to ignore it considering that this will be my fourth full marathon.
But now, let me share my recollection of the recently concluded SCMS 2011:
1. I never felt alone running in foreign land. There was no instance I was running by myself. There was always someone by my side, whether a man or woman, whether Singaporean, Chinese, Malaysian, Australian, Indian, American, Filipino, or whatever race, whether young or old, whether tall or short, whether with fair or dark skin. The road was always crowded and full of runners. There were 20,000 registered runners for the full marathon category and of this number 15,727 finished within the cut-off. I am the 11,648th finisher, with 4,079 runners behind me.
2. The cut-off time was not restrictive. Therefore, non-elite, intermediate runners and first time marathoners can join and still enjoy the run. I felt no pressure but enjoyment and satisfaction all through out the race. I was able to enjoy the scenic coastline of East Coast Park by foot.
3. They provided runner-friendly pre-race arrangements. The registration, release of race packets and even provision of MRT for the runners were considered and thought of very well. Upon receipt of the race packets, teenage girls with laptops were lined-up along the exit path to encourage runners to check and validate if the tags in the race bibs are working and accurate. I never experienced this in any of the races I joined before.
4. The race started on the dot at 5am but with the volume of runners, I crossed the starting line after walking for eight minutes after gun start. If my opinion will be asked, I think it will be better if the race started at 4am considering the weather in Singapore.
5. They assigned marshals who are all young, energetic, playful and jolly. These marshals also served as our cheerers. Their lively spirits touched and inspired us. They even volunteered to provide massage cream at any runner’s request. They seemed to enjoy their tasks at hand. Despite their age, they showed they are capable and really knowledgeable of what they are doing.
6. The drink stations located every 2km were provided with overflowing Ice Mountain water and 100 Plus sports drink. No one will be dehydrated as long as he/she would take a sip in every station. The supply was more than enough.
7. The Active Tiger Balm muscle rub cream were plenty and provided liberally to any runner. It was offered to all runners. I can no longer recall how many times I took this to relieve my sore legs.
8. Shotz Energy Gel of varied flavors were distributed freely. No restriction or limit per runner. This is the counterpart of GU here in the Philippines.
9. Fresh big bananas were allocated and runners can take at their hearts’ desire. The boxes of bananas were stacked along the road but non-runners did not take advantage of them.
10. As I crossed the finish line, emcees greeted and congratulated each one us. They reinforced and reaffirmed the achievement of each finisher.
11. The booths for the finisher’s tshirts and medals were sorted per category and per Tshirt size, thus, distribution was fast and orderly.
12. There were post race provisions such as free drinks, towels and massage in the big tent. There were also several photo booths to avoid snail queues of those availing of souvenir shots.
I have here some photos taken by my husband while waiting to meet us. And, before I forget, there were several meeting points for the families to stay and wait for the runners.
Post race pictures of my family: