The Army Half Marathon (AHM 2023) is upon us again this year. Lets take a look at what is on offer this year as the event returns to a physical run. This is after a hiatus of 4 years, with a cancellation of the run in since 2019 to support the country’s Singapore Bicentennial commemoration, and from 2020 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Also, the pandemic and the start of a virtual “at your own pace” virtual run for the last two consecutive years for 2021 and 2022.
Looking back, my 2022 run was rather enjoyable, having to be able to run 21km at one go at your own pace. Also your runner entitlements (singlets, good bags and finishers medal) all conveniently mailed to you for a low $5 total event fee. This is also more efficient without having to be physically present for race expos.
Runner entitlements, great value
Just like taking the best parts from last year’s Army Half Marathon (AHM) virtual race. All runner entitlements including your bib and running singlet are mailed to you at least a week before Sunday’s race day on 27th Aug.
Furthermore, if you had registered for the race, you would already have the race pack delivered to you. The main sponsor or this year’s race is ST engineering, who has their logo plastered prominently across your race bib tag.
Speaking of race bibs, you do need a race bib to be allowed into the race pen to run. Also your bib is mailed to you earlier, so technically you can pop them on and walk straight into the action. Also, the bibs are coloured coded too. You be issued a red coloured tag for the 21km, blue for 10km and yellow for the 800m kids run.
AHM 2023 Race categories
The half marathon is the flagship category in the race, topping up with 21km. Other race distances being 10km and 800m. There is a 21km Cumulative Challenge (virtual run) supported by 42race having a similar organisation to the last two year’s races. Additionally, the virtual run period for SSBR & AHM 2023 runs from 31 Jul to end of 26 Aug Saturday. This is when you can clock your distance synced to the 42race app. It allows the race organisers to know whether you had completed your run.
Moreover, you need to know is that the 21km race starts at 4.30am. 4:30am is the flag off time (gun time start) with the pen closing at 6am (last entry to run). Also the 4:30am start is a similar race start time with the Singapore Marathon. This is considering previous AHM’s usually starts around later at 5:30am. The 10km race starts at 6:30am. This as for crowd control and minimising bunching.
The events wraps up with the Families for Life Challenge in just after sunrise at 0830am. Also, the Families for Life 800m run is a family-orientated one. Here, parents pair up with their children in a dinosaur-themed run around the National stadium building itself. Also, a specially designed ‘dino’ tee is given for every participant.
Though the registration price of the race of $20 for the discounted NSMen’s 21km open is considerably higher than last year’s $5 event entry fee, it is still a bargain. This is compared to most running event fees today going upwards of $50 the norm now. For the record, the Singapore Marathon registration is almost the absurdly-high $100 registration price range. Do note that AHM discounts are available to existing Active, NSmen or SAFRA members.
Scenic running route from Kallang towards Marina Bay
Furthermore, the organisers touts the 21km Half Marathon and 10km Race will wind along the Marina Bay passing by several iconic landmarks.This includes the Singapore Flyer, the financial district, Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay, offering you a scenic running route.
Moreover, the event is held at the National Stadium (Sports hub) grounds. You start off is from the Medaka bridge along Nichol highway with the race ending at the Sports hub grounds itself. The route carries on from the Medeka bridge towards the Merlion. You run along Nichol highway passing by Suntec city, the Esplanade bridge towards the CDB. This is before turning left at Marina boulevard towards the Marina Bay Promontory. You circle past the Red dot museum, onto the Marina Bay Sands boardwalk around the Art Science Museum and into Gardens by the Bay.
Back to sports hub via Kallang basin
Also, the garden’s route sees you past the Garden’s Conservatories towards the Marina Barrage, and across the barrage. The route then skips Marna East into East coast park area via the quiet Marina East drive access road. You do a loop at East coast park (13km at U-turn point) towards fort road and along Tanjong Rhu park connector route. It is quite a scenic run by the Geylang River you might recall we ran on during last year’s 2022 Decathlon run. From here, you cross the Tanjong Rhu Promenade crossing the Geylang River via a bridge back into the Sports hub grounds where the 21km race ends. Do note the National Statdium post run carnival is open to only participants and race bib hodlers.
Moreover, the 10km race skips the Marina Bay Promontory and east coast section in-entirely. Going along Gardens by the bay form the helix bridge area, the Marina Barrage and via Gardens of the bay East back to the Sport hub.
Additionally, I can see the race moving away from the Sheares bridge run. This was the moniker of which the race is named after during the event founding days. But we can see running events moving away from the Sheares bridge this time of the year. This is due tothe area in high gear in preparations of next months’ Formula 1 race, as well as with the floating platform slated for demolition to make way for the new NS square waterfront hub.
It would be mostly a dark run
The run is a very scenic route, albeit one run just before sunrise. From the 4:30 am start time, you would be able complete your race just before sunrise. Assuming you are planning on doing a sub 2-hour half marathon, or into the early light before it gets too hot for a sub 3-hour run.
Moreover, there are also pacers if you are looking to hit a personal best half marathon. Look for runners with red balloons doing 1:45, green balloons doing sub 2 hours, blue for 2:15 and 2:30 finish time with black balloons. Also, as the race starts before public transport service times. Hence, you have to make you way there using private transport, though paid shuttle buses are also provided for. If you are driving, SAFRA recommends parking at the Sports Hub itself. Free bag deposit service is provided at the OCBC arena.
All in all, looking forward to the first AHM in a long time, with a great scenic route to boot. See you at the race this coming weekend!