As it was, with the long Easter Weekend, the sign ups for the first Sundown Lead Up Run was already not that great…then came the heavy showers just 2 hours prior to start time, which threatened to sabotage the whole event that everyone has been anticipating.
In spite of worries of the rain and lighting, more than 200 runners eventually turned up, and they were all duly rewarded with a scenic, albeit humid run into the City. Accompanied by the 40 Sundown Ambassadors/Pacers, the runners were well ushered through the various critical junctions which saw them crossing from Fort Road onto Mountbatten, then along Kallang and Nicholl Highway, before settling down onto the Marina Promenade towards the beautiful Helix Bridge where the Maxinutrition hydration point was strategically located.
The runners were segregated into their respective timing groups, all with a targeted training pace, each group having 5-6 Ambassadors leading, mid-segmenting and sweeping. At the same time, the groups were mutually supporting one another for a moving chain of glistening lights in the serenity of the night. For many, this was either the longest distance they were to cover on their marathon journey, or the first time they have run such a City route in the night; all adding to an air of suspense and a sense of adventure.
The runners, averaging about 50 in each pace group, ran along in tight-knit fashion; constantly watching for one another. With the guidance and direction of the Sundown Pacers, they were able to keep to their target BaseBuild pace affording a smooth passage, with sufficient time allowed for toilet breaks and even photo stops. All the runners were enjoying themselves, and whenever the groups do pass, they will cheer and clap for one another; adding on to the already high motivation levels, making the run so much easier even though the the distances were not exactly short.
The Half Marathon groups turned back from the Helix Bridge and made their way back to ECP when they came from, making a total of 17km – much to the delight of the first-timers for that distance, giving them new-found confidence to easily conquer the 21.1km on race night.
The Full Marathon groups went for an additional tour of the Helix Bridge, Marina Bay Sands, One Marina Boulevard, The Esplanade before coming back to the water-point for a pit-stop. The runners’ spirits ran high as they proceeded back towards Nicholl Highway and then Fort Road. Pacers and Marshals were egging the runners on, some who seemed to be a tad affected by the rather humid conditions post-showers. Some of the new runners were also not carrying hydration, affecting their ability to keep to sustainable paces.
When we hit Fort Road-ECP, the clear runway encouraged many of the runners to pick up speed to power their way to the end point (for HM) and final pit-stop for the FM participants. It was a fun stretch where we see various groups of runners running abreast and striding well with good speed, all with at least 15km of running already in them.
The prized isotonic 100Plus at the Playground kept the runners flying all the way, with nary a walker. They were amply rewarded with a strong finish for the night, and those who have done their deed went for a special post-run Compression Boots’ treatment from The Ahtlete’s Clinic, helping to relieve their tightened muscles and fatigue in their legs.
The entire session ended well before midnight, allowing the runners to mingle around for a bit before catching transport back home. It was a night where we saw the Sundown runners Show Their True Colours with satisfaction and pride.
Judging from the post-run feedback and video interviews conducted by the Sundown Organizer, this first lead up run (in a series of 3) went down really well with the participants, with many pledging to return for the remaining 2 progressive lead up runs in April and May. Sundowners, You Have Shown Your True Colours Tonight! Facebook Photos from CK Chin, Ronnie Goh
It was set to be one Wild Night Run at the green lungs in the Reservoir areas of MacRitchie, Pierce and Seletar. The large group of NightHawks descended upon the MR Amenities Centre for their first night LSD (Long Slow Distance), many whom were going to experience their maiden journey along these routes which were familiar, yet new as they are doing it in the night for the very first time.
Without the mic, it was a challenge to get the buzzing flock together, but somehow in the midst of chaotic orderliness, the group leaders/crew were able to round up all for the key route briefing. With head lights and light bands, the respective groups (each about 20-30 strong, had their own ‘pow-wows’ before setting off under the cover of night along the Reservoir roads.
With high spirits and lots of chatter (running in BaseBuild zone), it was quite an exciting mini adventure for the NightHawks who were still getting to know one another better in their respective pace groupings. The air was cool after we got off the main axis onto the quieter road passes flanked by night forests on the sides.
There were less bikes this evening, although the cars were still out and about along winding OUTR. The Night Running Safety Pointers dispensed earlier to the participants served as good guidance for the flock to run safe yet achieving their intended training objectives. The Half-Marathon groups turned back at the 7km mark bidding farewell, some with a tinge of delight at not having to go further, while the Full Marathoners were all raring to visit the famous Seletar Reservoir Park.
Since the majority of the trainees were new to the route, the Training Crew was working overtime to guard critical junctions and traffic control points. We were suitably impressed that most of the runners ran well to stay in their respective groupings, without sacrificing pace, minimizing wait time and avoiding any incidents getting lost.
As the night deepened, some of the runners were feeling the effects of night running as they fought off the sleepiness. These night runs are part of conditioning the bodies to get used to the idea of long distance running near or even past bedtime, all so that we can race well in the night marathon at Sundown. Over the next 10 weeks, we will have 5 more of such night runs in different locations, adding to the allure of the program as training at night does bring a different kind of experience to the regular day marathoners.
The return was without fuss as the groups were herded well by the Group Trainers/Pacers, sometimes shouting, sometimes singing, and sometimes blowing their whistles to heighten the attention of the weary runners. 3 hours later, all were back at MR Amenities Centre in happy mood, re-hydrating with Maxinutrition drinks and refueling with bananas, while reporting their timings. Each group had their respective cool down and mini briefings, before being dismissed in time to catch the last transport home.
With the completion of the second session of Ops NightHawk, the trainees are settling well into their respective groups and progressively getting used to the Team FatBird training format and group dynamics. The next 10 weeks promise to be more visits to new training areas, with a couple of exciting night runs to the City and even close to the Zoo…hmmm, talk about animals :DD When Dusk Falls, The NightHawks Emerge!
Flight NH13 (Operation NightHawk 2013) got off to a roaring start with more than 120 participants at The Playground @ Big Splash, ECP. The first session of this 12-week journey will see another batch of marathon trainees go through the FatBird FlightZONES training system to prepare for Sundown Marathon at end May/1st June
It was nice to see and hear of many trainees from previous FatBird Operations return for more training after getting good results from their diligence and commitment following our structured training programs. The new trainees were all eager to get going, and that ‘fire’ could be seen in their bright eyes during the pre-training briefing session.
The trainees were divided into respective groups based on their target marathon goals, each group having accompanying trainers and pacers to train alongside with. After the customary group photos and shouts of “NightHawks, NightHawks, We All Rawk!” ringing across the Playground, the respective groups were flagged off for their (13-21km) Endurance Run in BaseBuild Zone.
The weather was cooling at the start, allowing for a good momentum to be maintained. The group trainers and Pacers were showing the way and getting to know the runners in their respective groups. Lots of chatter and interesting conversations abound as there was good interaction among groups of like-minded runners getting together for the first time to run together for about 2hrs.
There was good shade in spite of the sun rising up for the second half of the run – many of the runners had hydration with them which helped loads in terms of keeping up with the pace. All the runners returned in groups, mostly as intact as when they first started off earlier – a sense of satisfaction and smiles on their faces as they felt a small sense of accomplishment in completing their first NightHawk session.
The stage is set now for an exciting journey ahead as we prepare for the first night LSD run in session #2. The participants will convene this time in on one of Singapore’s greenest lungs, donning blinkers and light sticks for what will be one “Wild Night Run”.
Have you benefited from having a healthy and happy life, and wish to give back to the society via running? Here’s a good opportunity to do your bit for a very meaningful and charitable cause!
Calling all Team FatBird runners, friends and the running community to participate in this RUN event to help disadvantaged children and at-risk youths. Run for this meaningful and charitable cause which will go a long way towards funding the support for Sam and his friends. Check out Sam’s story and join us to RUN FOR LIFE!