The New Balance real run 2007 had just ended and this puts one more race this year being held in the East (and so to the dismay of my people living in the west but to the joy for those in the east). It’s so given the usual centralised Realrun event venue (gateway carpark in Sentosa) being permanently closed for redevelopment by Genting Resorts World, so technically speaking we are looking at a whole new place to run and possibility areas where the organizers can afford to mess up, how do they fair in this year’s race?
Pre-race management & Transport Options
First off, Having an event in such a remote part of Singapore requires some serious thought into getting the horde over, that was well planned with multiple direct shuttle bus locations all around the island (AMK, Jurong, Kallang, Outram, Tanah Merah & Woodlands) for a modest fee of $3, similar to that used by SCM as well. There was ample parking space for those who drive, with a whole aviation carpark worth of space, only that you have to be in by 7am or you have to park at the nearby Changi Beach carpark and make your way to the start line by foot.
There was free direct shuttle bus service from pasir-ris MRT itself for those who prefer to commute themselves and forgo the $3 direct shuttle. The interesting and commendable thing was that shuttle services was even extended to 7am, contrary to the last bus at 6.45am, which came very much as a welcome and relief who thought they “missed the last bus” and had to take public transport. Similarly for those who drove in late, the drawback for shuttle buses arriving after 6.45am was the need for the runners to make their way 3km towards the startline due to the roads already being closed at 7, further making them late and missing the start. Buses can’t go in either for safety reasons, despite them being all clear and being serviced by SCDP trucks as well.
Recognized was the organisers effort was for this category, but they would score top marks for transport if they could take up one lane for last minute service buses, so runners do not need to rush their way to the start in order to begin the race.
Other noticeable pre-race events would include the usual preludes and race pack collection were on for runners. Which all served their purpose and went on well.
The Route View Lonely Runner’s GPS Route Map
The route started with runners all set to conquer the long runway stretch. To my disbelief we actually had 6 full running lanes which was really spectacular for a flag off, though the obvious bulk and horde of runners, space was very adequate and there was plenty of room for overtaking. The runway kept on for slightly above 2km to space and distribute the crowd up to take on the bottleneck into a one way tarmac pavement on the first left bend along Changi Coast Road, which many transition in quite smoothly only that overtaking became more of a feat and space greatly reduced.
The return trip after the U-turn along Changi Coast road was sufficiently big and open again, very good running route with good shelter from the rising sun. Most of the trail area was covered and shady as well, except for some areas around the sand route where it gets really seawater musty and hot. But that will not beat the last 2km runway stretch being the ultimate runner’s mental test back to the finishing line without any shelter at all.
The organisers took effort into ensuring that the race route was fully understood by runners with maps and information besides the training run, with distinctively marked start and finish gantries so there won’t be last minutes shocks and changes to the route like the Mizuno wave run this year.
The relief is generally all flat throughout, except for some minor gradient visible on the runway straights, all other parts of the course are perfectly flat, even the beach had some flat sandy areas on the bank tops where all the runners ended up running along too. With the exception of weather, the Sentosa course was very much more difficult to run than at Changi, especially being faced with hillys ups and down, not to mention large open beaches on the sand part- the Changi route was simply much more “soft” to be called an “ultimate cross terrain challenge”.
The post race was excellent, the whole changi exhibition center was booked for the event and air-conditioning was turned on all round – a perfect and open place for all runners to cool down after the scorching finish. There were lots of outdoor shelters and 100-plus umbrellas for those who wanted to acclimatise for awhile after finishing before entering the air-conditioned environment.
All the race carnivals and race booths are all situated in the exhibition center itself, with ample space for crowds without any congestion, and was space not an issue here – with the total floor area of few aircraft hangers, need more space and head to the back of the center where you will be greeted by a long big empty air-conditioned space to your hearts delight. No nearby food hawkers? Hungry? everything is cater for, all you need to do is to show the greens.
The lucky draw was held a the the central stage and 91.3 DJS Suzanne walker and Joe from the Morning show were there to keep the crowd chirpy and entertained, though being DJs they tend to talk more than what they usually should do, but that didn’t stop the crowd from staying till the end of the lucky draw with all prizes drawn out on the day itself to the crowd content, contrary to the rather disappointing “single draw or direct donation to charity if no takers” during the 2005 event. Glad they didn’t do this this year.
I finally came to understand why the 10km start time is pushed to 7.30am instead of 7.45am – having the 15km at 7.30am and the 10km 7.45am as opposed previously will only add to the congestion at the finish and possible large surge in crowds for the 2 events possibly converging and finishing together, (since only with a lag time of only about 10-15mins for the top runners). Having the 10km starting safely earlier will ensure all these runners clearing their league of the race first so there won’t be bottlenecks at the finishing line and bag collection points, and since that 15km runners will definitely come later than their 10km counterparts, everything will be clear and ready for the next 15km wave to be accommodated when they arrive.
I personally did not deposit any baggage, but heard baggage collection was fast and breezy having the need to pay $1 to deposit your bag, so it’s very much like having an ERP charge which definitely kept the numbers of bags down.
Goodie bag collection was a great breeze too and just like every year there were no long queues at all, it’s like dash and go, no matter when you finish. Maybe Mizuno waverun can learn a thing or two from the Realrun too, also given the fact that this is a new venue with lots of opportunities for things to go wrong, glad the organizing committee saw that through.
Top timings go to “superman” a Malaysian for 15km in just 52min. And for 10km opens, it was like 32mins. Results wise, 4 of our SP track and field runners came in within the top 20 of the Men’s Junior category and Brokie from the SGrunners presented me with my events certificate of achievement today as well! Cheers to the SGrunners, Yoke Thye and GuetPing who were there too.
The roads only open up after 10am, this is a technical and safety limitation so anyone who wants out before that have to make their way out by foot which quite a few runners were seen doing, otherwise the carparks and shuttle bus services towards Pasir-Ris will start at 10am sharp when the roads are re-opened. While those who drove will only be greeted by an oven hot car to head back home, there was a healthy flow of air-conditioned shuttle buses for those who needs a free lift back to Pasir-Ris. The buses kept up pretty well with the horde of crowds heading back, even at the end of the event- waiting time for buses never went past 5mins on a single wait, not only people were queuing up for buses, the buses were also queuing up to be boarded as well, well done!
Overall 8.5/10 (Highly Satisfying Race)
Good race! The Realrun team never disappoint with this year’s run, despite all the challenges with a new route and venue. Logistics to transport were all thought through. Commendable!
SP Gym 3 Sets Weight Training – Thursday
Ulu Pandan Canal Route: 9.58km – Thursday
Ulu Pandan Canal Route: 11.00km – Friday
New Balance Real Run 2007: 15+2km – Sunday
Total Mileage for week: 37.58km
Total 2007 Accumulative Mileage: 873.7km