With your registered name, check out your race timings of the race here.
The Nike Human Race was on yesterday, overall I can say it’s a rather pleasant race with a few exceptional quirks here and there. The Nike Human Race is one of Nike’s comeback races in Singapore after the long discontinued Nike Realrun previously, which was subsequently renamed to the Hometeam Newbalance Realrun from almost 4 years back. This one is particularly no exception, with a world record in mind and 26 countries participating at this event at a given one time no wonder this race was such a big hit.
Sorry I do not have much pictures of this post as I did not have my phone with me during this race.
I believe everyone have their own unique story of their feat in getting to the event. Let be commute by MRT, etc you should have more or less, be caught in the heavy traffic leading to the event area. This is unlike most races held early in the morning from 5.30am to even 7am where traffic is significantly lower, traffic around the area was a typical one you can expect form a weekend on Sunday afternoon, especially with the Comex IT show on it’s last day. No wonder the whole Marina Boulevard area was bumper to bumper during the event. The road closure at Chinatown was something to boot about as well so that added quite a fair bit of diversion if you are commuting there by bus from the west or south.
Passing by the area at 3.30pm, workers can still be seen rushing to set the area up, presumably with the tight road closure schedule. Carparks are all full in Marina square as well as Raffles City and Suntec, so commuting a very much a viable option unless you are prepared to park multiple blocks away. The large crowds at the event are expectant, not to mention the waves of similarly dressed participants adding to the whole authenticity and integrated feel of the race, just don’t tell anyone you are meeting at the event that you are “wearing red”.
There was a race pack collection point as well as a race band dispensing point for people who missed their collection on the race expo day itself. I did not get the race band, so a quick pop to the counter got a fresh band strapped on in less than a minute. Baggage deposit was crowded, but otherwise rather fast moving with all counters open.
As only half the esplanade bridge was open, runners have to make their way to the holding pens through the esplanade front entrance. Even the concrete barricades erected for the upcoming F1 race didn’t prove much of a challenge to the horde, who all easily pushed their way into the starting area like flood waters through a burst levee.
There were 2 flag offs, planned at 15mins apart, the 1st flag off took 8mins for all the red and blue tag runners to clear. I was told that even runners with green tags who made and squeezed their way to the front can start off in the 1st. To much of runners dismay, the 2nd flag off was thereafter extended to 30mins after the first wave, which thereafter was shortened to 25 minutes. At that given point, the running pens were all so full, the running crowd stretched all the way to the tip of the raffles-one cross junction. Security personnel were seen pulling people not dressed in red out of the pens.
I was in the 2nd wave, so that was quite a long wait after warming up for the 1st wave. It was quite a challenge to stop yourself from cooling down in the breezy weather, which threatened to rain at some point at the start of the race (there was a short drizzle). Many of us will choose to prefer to keep on stretching while waiting in the pens, but the space constraints there proved to be rather quite a challenge. Rod and the crew from class 91.3 were there as well, though you can only hear them and not see them, the chatters on the PA kept most of us sane in the human sardine tins, which made the wait more bearable.
Despite being at the front third of the 2nd flag off, it took about 2-3minutes before we finally get to touch the start line. The crowds were horrible at the start, with the route so packed, speeds average about 7km/hr on the esplanade bridge leading to the DBS center. There were many runners running together in a group and some waiting by the side of the barricades waiting or looking for their lost group of friends which added more to the congestion. Things started to clear up alot by the Singapore Conference hall, where average speeds start to pick up to 10km/hr with an occasional ’12km/hr burst and brake’ for overtaking slower runners given the opportunity. For this stretch from Collyer quay to Raffles quay, 2 lanes were only opened for traffic, I believe this is knowing that this stretch of road is notorious for double yellow line parking, it’s quite a fix to question why they should open more lanes for the event.
The good thing was that the congestion problem was quite a thing of the past into the Marina bay area, one of the few better bands were playing there on their mobile truck stage which really kept runners going past the 2km mark. Strangely the organisers are already tearing down the start line and clearing up the bridge even when some late comers are just starting the race, that proved to be rather puzzling to look at. The first bridge of the route was the Cavenagh bridge leading to Boat Quay, the organizers were good in putting up blue rubber mats on parts of the route which runs over slippery drain covers and railings along the UOB building area. There, there was another band (percussion) on a floating stage. Running through boat quay with many dazzled tourists looking and cheering runners on was a rather unique experience by itself. Few particular choke points I noted for this part currently was the ramp part coming out of the tunnel from The Riverside towards Central mall.
The route was still largely a straightforward route until the central mall area where another Oriental stage performance event going on at the Central Mall, creating quite a crowd which proved to be quite a pedestrian hazard for runners. Runners will see themselves largely snaking in an out obstacles around the Swissotel Merchant Court area before passing The Riverside point (Orchestra stage band). Thankfully from the organizers, the strategically positioned bright orange cones not only clearly demarcated the boundaries of the route but were really good in helping running avoiding obstacles such as barriers, potted plants and lamppost, which all always seem to pop out of the sudden out of no where, well so as I thought.
Compulsory waterpoint stop at Liang Court?
This was one of the biggest no-nos of the race, a major choke point greeted runners opposite the liang court (near merchant loop) before the ord bridge. This was really a funnel of death- no runners can get out and marshals stationed at this area directed all runners (though there were some smart ones who sneaked behind the water points) into the pavement which leads straight on into a 2m wide space with half of it taken by runners drinking water and the Singapore river on the right, we all have no where to go! Here was a painful long stretch at 1.8km/hr for afew long minutes before picking up the pace again. Some runners going “off road” on the wet grass, coupled with the residual water after the waterpoint made the blue rubber mats running away from the area thereafter really slippery. And man was I flying thereafter.
The run to the finish
It was not long when the route saw a U-turn at the 7.2km mark at the Alkaff_Bridge, the second bridge to be crossed on the race, getting up and off the bridge saw runners through a little merry-go-round chokepoint at the bridge ramps, which will tempt any runners to jumpe the railings. Come to think about it, I have not seen any more distance markers after the 2km distance marker at the marina bay, if I didn’t have my watch to keep pace and distance, I do not know where and when to speed up. With less than 3km to go, it was a viable option.
The route snaked it’s way through many bridges and underpasses, but those expected tunnel congestion points do not proved to be expected choke points as the traffic through all of them was still smooth and steady. The one at the Liang court and Alkaff bridge were all completely unexpected ones though. Before I knew it, I was running right trough Clarke Quay and under the Coleman bridge and speeding to a big open area after the Parliament house right into the Padang area and past the finishing line. The race was over.
Post race and miscellaneous
The marshals were prompt on chasing lazy runners right into the concert area after the race, that helped in clearing rest benches and finish line hoggers who do not want to leave the runner’s exit pens or waiting for their friends to finish. Marshals were also there to direct runners to the first station they know will visit right after the race- Drinks and Massages. There were ample 100+ canned drinks as well as ice-mountain water to go around, not to mention mini bags of snacks offered outside the finisher’s bracelet collection point.
What I can say the race marshals for this race were really on the ball, presumably mostly volunteer student helpers and not “arrowed NSF” in AHM or less than enthusiastic employees of commercial races. This race is definitely set in a different light, almost like the organization of the Standard Charted marathon. Baggage collection (which also doubles are a drink point as well) was fast and smooth as well, waiting times are almost non existent. There were just than adequate toilets to go around, though I didn’t have a chance to use them, noteably are toilets lined along the route as well, though you won’t be needing them if you know of toilets already located in the buildings along the route.
The race is overall a rather pleasant and well organized race, also one which offers a constant nice nice view and scenic route along the Singapore river to boot- one we all know off but never really took the gesture to appreciate till now (well I know I did now). I have not much complains with the exception of the mentioned route congestion, but knowing all that for charity only makes it feels better after all- for the causes we all pledge our human race on the day 31.08.08.