The Standard Chartered marathon 2022 was a-go and wow was that a race. The race happened last Sunday morning, with over 40 thousand runners over the weekend for all 4 running event distances of 5km, 10km, 21km and 42km. Here is my race report of the Standard Chartered marathon running the half-marathon event.
Standard chartered marathon 2022 Pre-race
Following the race pack collection a couple days back, runners like myself saw ourselves back in the marina bay area this time for the actual race. The 4:30am start time was tad earlier than normal, as marathons I remembered back then used to start around 5:30am. This is important as a later start time allows more time for sleep so you can be well-rested before the event. Furthermore, runners taking the official shuttle bus to the venue have to be up even from 1-2am. So much for sleep!
There was adequate crowd direction and ample toilets at the starting pens before the race. The entry to the F1 pit-building starting point is funnelled into one entrance along Raffles Avenue. If you were to drive, the Esplanade and Marina Square be best places to park, with similar hourly parking rates too. Unlike the Gardens by the bay, their entrances are unaffected by the road closures.
Moreover, I found the 4:30 to 5:30am start time as an hour block confusing, as usually it would just be one time. Also, it might be good to have separate flag off for 21km and 42km also to avoid confusion and over-crowding at start. Maybe marathon at 4:30am and 21km at 5:30am to space out the crowd and not create an ending surge. There were also ample pre-race hydration points before the race. But watch your pre-race in-take as there will be usually be lots of runners needing the toilet in the first 2km.
Just when spirits are high for the start, a lighting thunderstorm came in right at the start time. Runners who arrived early into their pens were stranded under the rain. Interestingly, late comers in the overflow area out of the pens were lucky to be able to find shelter under the overhang of the F1 pit building.
Thankfully my shoes and socks were dry pre-race as I was able to seek shelter at the early part of the race. Moreover, it is very important to keep your feet and socks dry in the rain. Wet socks and feet won’t do any good for marathons, making your feet more susceptible to blistering early. Some runners turned up in ponchos covering their sweaty body but leaving their shoes exposed, I reckon ponchos for shoes were more important!
Race start and Sports Hub loop
The run up along the Kallang basin was a very crowded one. This also considering that my Pen D-E took almost 15 minutes to cross the start line after flag-off at 5:30am.
Still, with 50 thousand runners pounding the pavement on Saturday and Sunday race days, this year’s attendee numbers are about 20% lower than 2019 peak numbers before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Starting average speed in the crowd was still sub-optimal below 7km/hr for a 2 hour half-marathon. It is good for a slow start, but a nightmare for pacers and those looking to clock their PB.
It was tad an overtaking fest in the packed horde of runners. Some openings by side pavements provided some crowd relief. However, there was not much practice of lane discipline by runners with many walking both left right and center holding people up. Notably, there were a couple of runner who ran with their baggage sling bags too. I can presume they missed their chance to deposit before the run.
Also, as expected, the first 2km saw hordes of runners going for the portable toilets, while some just relieved themselves in the construction site and bushes along the road.
The crowd started to spread out into the sports hub area U-turning back after the first timing checkpoint onto Nichol highway towards the CDB. I was surprised to find runners starting to walk 5km into the marathon. Don’t stop fellow runner, there is much to run ahead!
Through the CDB and Keppel Viaduct U-turn
The sun is mostly up on my part of the race along Nichol highway towards the CDB. On this part of the Standard chartered marathon 2022, many runners here are seen taking photos along the esplanade bridge with the Marina Bay Sands in the background. The run carried along Shenton Way and Robinsons road along the way back, U-turning at Keppel viaduct just after the old Tanjong Pagar railway station. This is where the next timing checkpoint is located.
There are waterpoint at approximately every 2km. Most waterpoints from the 5km mark distributes 100-plus isotonic drinks on top of water. Notably, only bananas are served as running foods and there are not power gels.
Trash management is great with large clearly labelled bins. Interestingly, there were a horde of Sembcorp cleaners and road sweeper machines on standby by the roadside ready to pounce on the trash at minute notice.
Despite these bins, there was also a considerable amount of litter all over. Stations with bananas offered have their roads hilariously painted white with the fruit, though not slippery by any means.
Performers along the route
Commendably, there were a couple of performers I saw throughout the route. There was a group of percussion drummers at the sports hub and the downtown marina boulevard area. This is in addition to the cheering groups you can find at the Lao par sat market. Also, there were a pair of ballet dancers at the republic plaza area dressed as butterflies in their eye-catching dresses.
A scenic run past landmarks
With the sun fully up in the still-cool morning sky, the ending of the race saw a route through Marina boulevard. From here, the route splits into both half and full marathon routes, with the latter going towards east coast park via the marina barrage.
Also, the half-marathon route leads you back to the Marina Bay area. This going past the Marina Sands building going up the Sheares Bridge into republic boulevard.
Additionally, this uphill climb is probably the best time to overtake runners. Most runners I see here walking up the flyover climb. I found the downhill circle your way back down to Raffle avenue a good speed run area. From here, you do a final U-turn before passing the F1 Pit building to end at the floating platform.
Additionally, towards the end, I noticed the closing route towards the finishing line is pretty congested. There are only 2 lanes of Raffles Avenue dedicated to both the 21km and 42km final run up. Thereafter, both lanes merge into one bigger path before the last 2 corners into the finish line.
Finishing line and race village
After crossing the finishing line, you follow through past a tented area. Here, staff will present you with your finishers medal for your category. Thereafter, you follow through a route under the helix and Sheares bridge, past the Singapore Flyer back to the F1 pit building and paddock area. Here is also where your marathon finisher’s shirt be given to you too.
And that is all for the run folks. When you though you are done, the race village has a limit-less supply of drinks, bananas for those who still needs it. The cool 100-plus dry-fit towels are also a post-race refreshing welcome. Also, it is a small towel you can keep after the run too.
The race expo is home to a number of sponsor booths and open spaces for you to do your stretching. Though security at times kept chasing runners who crowd around the entrance. Still I was able to find a nice spot by the fence line where I can complete my post-race stretching uninterrupted with nice drinks of 100-plus.
Interestingly, there was over 45 minute queue for the lower leg massage tasters, which only last 5 minutes, not quite a good investment of your time I suggest giving a pass. Also, this years race didn’t’ see any records being smashed. This is also given the circumstances, and less than ideal situations because of the weather.
Looking to next year’s race!
For this year’s race, Ezekiel Omullo from Kenya led the Mens marathon with a timing of 2hr 20min. While Esther Macharia who completed her Womens full marathon in 2hr 45mins.
All in all, that wraps up my adventure of this year’s Standard Chartered half-marathon. Definitely be a welcome to grace the event again after the pandemic, and more races to come!