There are two races worth mentioning reminding myself of so that I won’t sign up for them again. One of them is the 2008’s Nike Human Race which caused a lot of hype for its publicity and which my gfs and I queued up for 4 hours just to get the race pack. The race course was super narrow and it’s not a pleasure running at all. The other is yesterday’s Sundown Marathon whose planning was really altrocious.
When one signed up for an event such as this, one of the reasons was to gauge how well he has trained for the past few months and to assess where he was in terms of timing and to see if he could set a new PB. Of course, the participant could have organised his own run but in a real race, he gets a taste of having to weave in and out of fellow runners and running with the drink in hand, among others. All these require training. And we pay a premium fee for all these logistics and a race experience.
My experience yesterday was really terok. What was meant to be an enjoyable run with my gfs turned out to be a nighmare. We were an hour earlier to take the shuttle bus to the race site. By the time we got there, there was a long snakey queue. The bus didn’t come as often as stated in the race booklet and we had to wait for half an hour before we could hop onto the bus, leaving behind a longer queue of disgruntled participants. The ride to Changi Exhibition Centre was not without trouble. There were jams along the way and particularly near the turning point to the entrance. By then, our category had started.
The start point was ghostly. You wouldn’t have the mood to race anymore. So it’s us, threesome and I had made up my mind to enjoy the run with them. 2.24km into the course, Sha and Boon urged me to go ahead which I eventually obliged. Speeding up, I overtook runners and wondered to myself how I would have really fared if I had started running from the beginning. The pace was good, the legs were light. There was much space which allowed me to overtake with ease. Along the way, you saw volunteers cheering the runners and some of them obviously having their own amusement by making fun of the female runners.
I have something to say about volunteers. I mean, I wouldn’t expect much from them. They were volunteers after all, freeing up their time to help out. But seriously, if they were in charge of the drinks station or first aid, they should really be more professional and seek to do their best. Maybe they were not runners and have not participated in a run such as this before and couldn’t understand the frustrations runners have during a race. If they wanted to play and have a jolly good time with their peers, joking and monkeying around with one another, then for goodness’ sake, don’t come into the race and volunteer! Go back home!
Anyway, I came in in bad timing, the worst of all runs. I wasn’t dampened in mood by the timing because I have resolved that this run was a fun run for my gfs and I. I was distressed by all the waiting and big boo-boo of the race. Following the run, to get back to civilisation aka Pasir Ris Town, we had to wait about 1.5 hours for the shuttle buses. The roads were closed for the first 2 half marathoners to come in and in return, the organiser felt that participants could wait for the buses to come in their thirsty, hungry and exhausted state? What a joke! I later found out that even if you were driving, you couldn’t do much because the roads were closed anyway. The drivers had to shut their engines and WAIT!
Oh my! Oh my! We reached Pasir Ris MRT station at 11.30pm and the last train was gone. Our saving grace would be the taxis. By the time we reached home, it was past midnight.
For a 10km run which takes about an hour, we had to play the waiting game for 5 hours.
I wish I could say that I empathise with the organiser and to think that they were working around constraints, trying to improve the races every year. But I couldn’t. It was really bad organisation this year and I have to be upfront about it. The planning committee, I don’t know what you were thinking of actually. Are you a novice in this area?
Such a letdown. Period.
I think Ken was a poor victim. He was with us the whole time and he was infuriated from the start and at the end of the trauma, he was all black-faced. I’m sorry that he had to go through this experience. Last I know, he was typing furiously on the keyboard. I think, a complaint letter has gone up.
Sigh! Why in the world did I sign up for this?
You should have read the fan page for the sundown marathon on facebook. It will make your blood boil even more.