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
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!
After a solid 6 weeks of training with hill repeats and runs, track and speedwork, tempo and cruise intervals and paced runs through to 21km, the Kingfishers were all roaring to do their best and set some records at the SAFRA Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon 201 (AHM14).
After last year’s route bottlenecks and dimly-lit areas causing slowdown and stoppages to the runners, SAFRA conducted recce runs to receive feedback from the SAFRA Running Club and Team FatBird early to refine the route for a much improved race experience – and the runners were not disappointed this morning, with potential choke points being re-routed, dim areas like the Gardens and Tanjong Rhu areas well-lit and running passages wider and clearer for a much smoother passage.
The Kingfishers RV’ed at 4:00am at the Esplanade Amphitheatre in their smart race gear, looking in great condition. We conducted a mini group warm up and dynamic activation for those who were present and by 4:30am, we had taken a couple of nice group photos and moved into the start corral as a team.
Although some runners thought it was Team FatBird who would be officially pacing for the AHM14, it was actually the runners from SAFRA Running Club forming the large contingent of Half Marathon (HM) Pacers. Some of our FatBird trainers and pacers were on hand to run along with our Kingfishers to provide encouragement and motivation too.
The weather at the start was a tad humid, but it got cooler as the crowd spread out after the flagoff at 5:00am. As expected, a large race like the AHM will always be a little congested with many runners, but we had sufficient space this time as the passages are wider. By 3km, we were into the groove and moving ahead quite steadily.
As the Pacers did not have their balloons on time, it was quite hard to spot them from the distance – fortunately they were in large enough groups to be seen as we neared them. Still, our Kingfishers were trained to manage their own Optimal Paces and run to their respective Race Plans.
The first half of the race went pretty smoothly, with ample hydration points and some music and cheerleaders especially along the quieter Marina Barrage and Gardens By The Bay. The momentum was fluid with the runners quite well spread out – at least for those aiming for 2:15h and below, there were not many walkers seen. Also, because first light was not out, the number of runners taking selfies and photos were markedly diminished, again minimizing blockages to the running paths.
We were able to sustain a good pace, and as practiced during training, a number of us popped a gel after 1hr or 11-12km of running for a sustainable race pace in the second half. Other than a couple of sharper U-turns, the next 10km to the finish was smooth going for many of us. As we neared the finish line at the Padang, we could hear cheers coming on for the Half Marathoners as well as the start of the 10km race on the opposite side of the Esplanade Bridge.
The atmosphere was great as we ran into the finishing chute with our arms raised high for a happy finish. Many of the Kingfishers recorded good timings and Personal Bests (PB). We had 3 Kingfishers who placed top 10 in their respective categories – Congratulations to Kingfisher Mabel (2nd Women’s Open), Kingfisher Ngee Hung (7th Men’s Veteran), Kingfisher Cher (4th Women’s Open, although due to chip timing fault, she could not claim her rightful prize at the end).
This year’s route distance was spot on compared with than last year’s shorter course – More Kingfishers and runners have actually scored much better race paces and may even record PBs factoring this additional distance in.
After collecting the well deserved finisher tee-shirt and medal, the Kingfishers gathered at our usual post-race spot near the Tan Kim Seng fountain. Lots of happy faces and congratulatory handshakes, and of course, victory photos and jump shots.
Overall, it was a well organized AHM14 and a good set of results and performances for the Kingfishers and FatBird Runners. Special mention and thanks to the AHM14 organizing committee for involving Team FatBird in their route planning and incorporating the inputs for a much better route and accurate distance.
The Kingfishers Soared At The Bay!
With AHM14 nicely wrapped up, Team FatBird will be starting our next training program, Operation Sunbird 2014 in a fortnight. We look forward to this structured 12-weeks of training to ready ourselves for yet another good race at the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) 2014!
Facebook Photos from FatBirds MK, Chin, SuatHar
Team FatBird conducted the 2nd lead up training at the beautiful Ponggol Waterway for a good turnout of enthusiastic Straits Times (ST) Run Half Marathoners. A number of them were returning trainees from the 1st training run at Bedok Reservoir Park, whilst the rest were joining this training series for the very first time.
The Ponggol Promenade area at Tebing Lane was already bustling with joggers, walkers and bikers before sunrise. It was good advise that the ST Run Organiser, Inifinitus Productions gave for the runners to arrive by 7:00am.
We started the dynamic warmup and drills by 7:10am, and along with group photos and route briefing, we were all ready to run off by 7:30am. The trainees were assigned to their respective Pace groupings of 1:50h, 2:00h, 2:15h and 2:30h to attempt to maintain race pace for the whole distance of 12km.
The first half of the run had us running alongside the Waterway on the left, with lush greenery, fountains dotted with smaller parks and pavilions. Our runners kept to the pavement for most of the time, and running on the shared tarmac whenever there were no sighting of bikes travelling at fast speed.
As we turned the bridge at around the 5km mark, we could see the runners still maintaining pace within their respective pace groups, and looking strong to boot. After the U-turn to the other side of the Waterway, we were aiming for iced cold isotonic drinks at the 6km mark.
We could see other pace groups on the other side of the river as we ran, and the cheers and applause to encourage one another were spontaneous. The smiles on the runners’ faces were evident as they ran with pride and joy in being able to keep pace through to 8km mark.
We did a turn towards the Coney Island direction and had to contend with the final 4km of run without much cover under the blistering heat of the emerging sun. Still, the runners held steady and kept up with the target paces for as long as possible. There were the occasional slow-down or even short walks to recover from the intensity, but as soon as the Pacers came along, the runners again picked up their legs and continued running.
Running and pacing as a group is certainly a lot easier than having to do it on one’s own. Before we knew it, we were just 1km from the finish line, and the Sunrise Bridge was in sight. Sensing that, the runners’ worked hard to sustain pace to finish strongly, with many bettering their own training timings.
Sufficient isotonic intake along with bananas for replenishment helped the runners regain their strength to recover rather quickly. The respective group Pacers led their runners for a good 10min of static stretching to ease off any tightness with the aim to speed up recovery.
Lots of positive feedback and exchanges abound, with Coach Ghana and the FatBird trainers on hand to dish out simple but effective advise on how to improve ourselves for the HM race on Sep 28.
With the finale training run On Sep 13 @ Sports Hub, we can expect an even better turnout with many of the satisfied trainees returning as well as those who had missed the earlier runs to show up. It will also serve as a final time and pace trial for race day.
Facebook photos from Nicholas Heng, CK Chin