When Team FatBird was first approached to field a team of Official Pacers for the Straits Times Run @ The Hub (ST Run), we were all excited and eager to be involved as this was the first time ever that runners would finish the race in the newly minted Sports Hub Stadium and that we would be pacing and leading groups to finish strongly on the Stadium track.
In the run up to the race, we conducted and lead a series of successful 3 training runs to prepare ST Runners for a good run, developing their ability to pace well throughout the 21km and along segments of the actual race route for familiarization.
After 2 months of tuning up, our experienced Team FatBird Pacers were all set for the mission with the pace groupings of 1:50h, 2:00h, 2:15h and 2:30h. We gathered at 4:00am at the OCBC Arena vicinity for a light warm up before donning on the color-coded pace balloons on our shoulders. Group photos of the Pacers and runners were the order of the morning, as spirits ran high on being able to complete a good run inside the Stadium, just a short distance from where we were starting off.
At 4:50am, the Pacers moved into the starting corrals to take up position in their respective timing zones. The runners joined in the their Pace groupings for a 2-wave start at 5:30am. As the Race MC introduced the Pacers and built up the excitement of the runners, smiles were all round in spite of the rather humid morning without much of a breeze.
Once the race was flagged off, we ran at an even race pace for the first 3km which allowed the runners to warm up on the run and find the Pacers.
Away We Go with 2:00h, 2:30h Pace Groups: Photo Credit Run Gallery SG
The Pacers tried to spread out within the Pace Groups where possible to prevent bunching in and blocking some of the narrow parts of the course – that worked well as many of the runners were able to keep in pace, following different pacers within the same pace group.
2:15h Pace Group: Photo Credit MK
After 3km, we progressively moved up the pace till we reached Optimal Pace (a few seconds faster than race pace) to catch up on some lost time (especially for the 2:15h and 2:30h groups). The runners were following the pace well, controlling themselves not to run too fast ahead lest they fatigue fast and pay for it in the later km.
2:00h & 2:30h Pace Groups: Photo Credit Kenneth Kwok
The route was pretty smooth as we ran though the F1 area, Shenton Way and then onto the Marina Promontory. By the time we hit 10km along MBS, the pace was Optimal – on target. The spirits of the runners were high as they felt comfortable and were more confident of achieving their goal finish timings.
2:30h Pace Group: Photo Credit Kenneth Kwok
As we continued on to Marina Barrage and onto Gardens By The Bay, daylight provided good visibility as we continued to maintain Optimal Pace. By then we had banked in a slight buffer of about 1min (which came in useful for the later groups who did get caught up in a merge with the 10km runners). A few of the runners popped in gels at that point to keep their paces sustainable. Water points were ample to keep us well hydrated and able to sustain race efforts in the humid weather.
2:15h Pace Group: Photo Credit Running Pics
Because of the early start, the sun was not apparent when we hit the 15km mark along Geylang PCN area. With only 6km to go, some of the runners were seen to be slowing down. With the encouragement of the Pacers and the small buffer they had accumulated, the determined racers were not about to give that margin away without a good ‘fight’.
1:50h & 2:00h Pace Groups: Photo Credit Run Gallery SG
The ST Runners persisted and sustained till the 18km mark when we turned into the Sports Hub. That we were on Stadium grounds perked up the runners who were getting all excited and motivated. The stronger ones were asked to move ahead while we encouraged those slightly behind that they were within reach of their final objectives.
1:50h & 2:00h Pace Groups: Photo Credit Melvin (Xiao Mao)
The finishing 2km was great as the bunch of friends and supporters lined along the run path cheering us as we looped back to the Stadium. Sensing that we were near, the tiring runners were giving their all for a strong finish. With 500m to go, the Pacers released our balloons (as we were not allowed to wear them inside the Stadium) and continued to cheer and egg the runners on.
Satisfied ST Runners & Pacers : Photo Credit MK
Because of the 3min buffer we had accumulated, we were able to ‘push’ more runners to go below target timings. It was a exhilarating feeling when we stepped onto the Stadium Track, a first for many of us. We took our time for the final run up and held our arms up with pride as we crossed the finish line victorious.
Happy sub 1:50h runners : Photo Credit Rand TF
Lots of congratulations all round to the completing runners, and when we received the many words of thanks and appreciation from the runners who had followed the Pacers to their best timings (many by a good margin), it made the race that much more memorable and satisfying for our Pacer team.
Satisfied sub 2:00h runners & Pacers: Photo Credit Jberteddy
We collected our well earned finisher tee and medals before proceeding to the New Balance booth for group photos and exchanges of our good race experiences. There were many Personal Bests reported, as well as notable achievements of firsts at a Half Marathon. The 10km runners too joined us to celebrate their victories.
Joyous Team FatBird Runners : Photo Credit MK
The entire stadium was spacious and well ventilated with air conditioned comfort, a luxury for most of us marathoners who were used to congested finish points with the elements and crowd in other races.
Mission Accomplished ST Run Pacers : Photo Credit MK
All the Pacers in the respective groups achieved our mission with flying colours, in the process helping many runners achieve more than their expected target results. Bouquets and accolades for this team of Pacers who have worked hard to bring their best out for the ST Runners.
First-ever Pacer Team @ The Hub : Photo Credit MK
Overall, it was an excellent race in nice weather in a well-planned route which minimized as much as possible potential bottlenecks and choke points to bring us a most enjoyable and satisfying race experience.
Mission Accomplished ST Run Pacers : Collage Credit Ivan Lau
A shout out to New Balance who initiated and supported the Pacer team; the race organizer, Infinitus Productions for a well organized and executed race; and to The Straits Times for putting up an unique experience of finishing at the Sports Hub Stadium and giving all of us runners bragging rights of “I am the first to finish at the Hub”. Straits Times Run Pacers’ Photos from FatBird MK
Operation Sunbird 2014 got off to a roaring start in nice weather at the Playground @ Big Splash, ECP last Sunday morning. In spite of the multiple weekend races where a number of Sunbird trainees were participating in, the turnout was still respectable and it was great to see many first-timers as well as returning satisfied trainees for Team FatBird‘s structured training.
After the registration and tee-shirt sizing (for the training tops and finisher singlets) were done, a short welcome address and overview of the training program were given to give all trainees a sense of what was to come for their 12-week training journey with Team FatBird.
A sense of excitement and slight apprehension were in the air as the participants were placed into their respective training groups according to target timings and base abilities. They will be exposed to Team FatBird’s FlightZONES and PowerFLIGHT training systems as we help them progressively train up for their HM and FM distances in order to complete the races comfortably and with good timings.
After the customary training group shots, the respective training groups of 1-4 were flagged off for 13km (HM) and 21km (FM) and BaseBuild heart-rate zone(2). Led the their trainers and pacers, the eager-eyed trainees were lapping up the km with smiles on their faces, quietly confident that they have made the correct choice of committing to waking up early for the next 12 weekends to accomplish the important and meaningful marathon goals they have set for themselves.
The first 7km was rather cool and cloudy, making it easy for all to get into the rhythm. The more experienced runners had with them sufficient hydration and even gels/electrolyte to fuel their run.
The HM runners turned back at F2 carpark to proceed back to the Playground in high spirits, while the FM runners carried on with their set paces towards the Sailing Centre where they were given a 1-2min technical water break. From there, most continued on to the NSRCC for the 21km U-turn mark.
By then, there was a fair bit of sunshine and heat, causing fatigue to set in sooner than relished. We threw in one more water break for the FM runners, before pushing back all the way to the start point at Playground.
Many of the Sunbirds were able to keep pace with their respective groups, and for the newer ones who were tiring after their conditioned distances were maxed, the patient and reliable Pacers brought them back with additional walk-breaks in addition to a down-shifted pace.
The iced-cold isotonic drinks at the end of the run was lapped up by the thirsty and tired runners. Still with beads of perspiration and slightly sun-burnt colors on their faces, all Sunbirds gathered in the cool comfort of the shady grass patch for a debrief as well as additional training information for the next session.
The training objective for the first session was amply met to the trainers’ expectations, and our initial assessment was that we have a pretty strong group of trainees this year. We are hopeful and quietly confident that all of the Sunbirds will do well at SCMS in 12 weeks’ time.
There are still limited training slots available for this training program, and for those who wish to hop on to this flight, you may check out the website www.OpsSunbird.com for schedules, FAQs and REGISTER HERE! Flight OSB14 Has Lifted off To Expectations! Facebook Photos by FatBird Ronnie, MK.
The 3rd and finale training run of The Straits Times Run @ Sports Hub was fittingly sited near the final end point of the race itself, at the newly-minted Singapore Sports Hub.
About 100 runners and Pacers turned up at the footbridge in front of Singapore Indoor Stadium in anticipation of their final preparatory run for the race in 2 weeks time. Team FatBird (on behalf of the race organizer) gave a short welcome, followed by National Head Coach (Distance Running) Ghana who gave tips on how to prepare for a good race. A route briefing ensued with a good round of dynamic stretching led by the dependable Team FatBird Pacers.
Photographers were on hand to snap some great looking group photos before we were flagged off together. The participants, grouped into the four pace groupings of 1:50h, 2:00h, 2:15h, 2:30h took off in cloudy cool weather.
The 15km paced run covered a segment of the actual race day route from parts of Geylang PCN to Gardens By The Bay East, Marina Barrage, Marina Bay Sands, Marina Promontory and passing key scenic areas. Water support was great with 2 water points supplying isotonic drinks and water, covering 4 stops to/from the out/back route.
The first 10km was comfortably paced, with most of the runners sticking to their respective pace groups at Optimal Pace (a few seconds faster than targeted race pace for that 1-2 min of buffer). The participants came well prepared for a hard run which many of them were able to maintain target paces for.
There were minimal down time along the way as breaks, if any, for water were short, and reactions were quick with a pick-and-go approach for the drinks. At the 12-13km mark, there was a slight slow down for some of the runners who were feeling the effects of low-fuel – a number perked up after downing an energy gel or electrolyte tab, and were able to sustain good paces from then.
The final 500m was sweet as the runners ran up the Tanjong Rhu bridge towards the end point, to applause for a satisfying finish. Drinks, bananas and energy bars were offered to the hungry runners who had spent quite a fair bit of reserves to maintain the pace, but it was well worth it from the looks of their happy and satisfied faces.
A good stretch down was conducted by the Team FatBird Pacers to ease off tensions and loosen any tight muscles for a quicker recovery, Another round of group photos was taken of the happy finishers of the training run, with lots of thumbs up and roars of excitement at their good performances this morning.
Lots of chatter and sharing continued after, and as we bade farewell to all the ST Run trainees, there were delight and confidence in all of us that we will be seeing some good timings and Personal Bests (PB) on Sep 28.
We would like to thank the Organizers (The Straits Times, Inifinitus Productions, New Balance Singapore) of this ST Run training/pacing series for a smooth and fruitful three progressive long runs which have benefited many ST Run participants and left great memories of the teamwork and motivation in all the respective pace groups.
We wish all ST Run participants an enjoyable and fruitful race and be able to claim bragging rights of being one of the first few to finish their race on the competition track of the Sports Hub Stadium. Straits Times Run 2014 Pacers – Follow Our Pace, Win Your Race! Facebook Photos from FatBird MK, Coach Ghana
Operation Sunbird delivers great value with structured training sessions, enhanced equipping discounts to provide you the ultimate marathon training experience.
Team FatBird FlightZONESTM Structured Marathon Training Program 2014
• A 12-week program comprising of weekday tempo/strength/fartlek workouts and one weekend long run, weekly.
• Workout sessions will focus on building strength and endurance for the 21km and 42km distances, with a good mix of tempos, hills, repeats, coupled with weekend LSD and pace runs.
• Experienced Marathoners and Pacers leading and guiding the runs
• The FlightZONESTM Training System, incorporating heart-rate measurements and progressive paced running
• The PowerFLIGHTTM Training System, incorporating hill repeats and trails/rolling hills
• Two levels of training – beginners and experienced runners
• Regular EDMs and online postings of the weekly training plan and tips on running techniques, form and pace
• “OPERATION SUNBIRD’ TRAINING tee to all trainees on package. • “OPERATION SUNBIRD’ FINISHER singlet to trainees who meet attendance criteria • A one-time 50% Equipping Discount on Main Sponsor (New Balance) apparel, shoes, products
• Equipping Discounts and Special Promotions on other Sponsors/Partner products
• eCertificates Of Completion/Achievement
Click HERE Training Dates/Schedules for your planning purposes. Click HERE for Program Information and FAQs! Please email to email@example.com for any clarifications or enquiries.
To gear participants up for the Straits Times Run at the Sports Hub, race event organizer Infinitus Productions and The Straits Times have lined up a range of training clinics, workshops and long paced runs to prepare runners for the exciting race on Sep 28.
Straits Times training article for STRun 2014 – Terence Ong, Straits Times, 6Sep14
In the final installment of the training run series led by Team FatBird Pacers on Sep 13, Half Marathon participants of the ST Run @ Hub will be given a preview of a segment of the actual race route as well as pace runners to gauge their level of readiness for the event with a 15km paced run.
Due to overwhelming response, registrations for this training run is closed. We look forward to seeing registered participants at this 3rd and final training run! Be The First (to finish) At The Hub!