With the gloom and doom situation of the unhealthy Haze levels for the past weeks, it was a blessing when the winds finally turned positive in our favor from Saturday that the STRun Organizers eventually put in a sterling job of conducting the Straits Times Run @ Sports Hub 2015 in clear skies on Sunday.
Team FatBird, once again the official pacers for the STRun had earlier conducted 3 well-attended progressive training runs to prepare participants of the 18.45km category for race day, and we sure were happy to report that we accomplished the pacing mission with flying colours (in spite of initial concerns that the race could be canceled due to unhealthy psi levels).
When we received confirmation from the STRun Organizer at 2am that the race was ON (as psi readings remained in < 100 levels), our team was real happy and excited as we made our way to OCBC Arena @ Sports Hub to meet and collect our Pacer bibs and balloons.
Along the way, we could see that the skies was clear and that there were no foul smells of any haze at all. By 3.30am, the RV point was buzzing with activity as we put on our Pacer Bibs and Balloons and took group photos with the equally excited runners as well.
The Pacers moved into the starting pens at 4:20am to take up position and shortly, the runners joined us in their respective target timing targets. The MCs were doing a great job of entertaining the runners gathered before the drums and band along with the fitness instructors took over to warm up the crowd.
The 18.45km race was started off promptly at 5:00am and soon all runners were gathered around their pace groups and running together. The weather was cool and calm as we headed off along Nicholl Highway with lots of chatter and encouragement for the runners and pace groups.
It was noticeable this year that all participants were running strongly and enthusiastically, in part due to their pent-up energy levels during the abstinence due to the haze as well as the good vibes of the race.
The hydration points were well stocked-up with water and isotonic drinks and the cheerleaders and marshals were very energetic and motivating when we ran by. By mid-point (9km) of the race, we were settled in comfortably and running a very sustainable pace which we know will bring us to the destination in good stead.
As we approached the Marina Barrage, we could hear loud cheers and music from a sizeable group of supporters, which perked up all runners passing through for the important final third of the race. We were charged up by the high-fives, dances, clapping and shouts of encouragement as we proceeded onto Gardens By The Bay East.
With 4km remaining, there were some signs of slowing from the runners, and that’s where the Pacers kicked into high gear to shout words of encouragement and give the runners a sense of how well they were doing up to that point.
Most of them found the extra resources in them to sustain their paces, and when it was just 2.5km to go (after cresting the small slope), it was a smooth going as we could all see the Stadium grounds and knew we were near to the finish line.
With 1-2 min of buffer remaining, the Pacers made good use of the time in the final 500m to encourage and push even more runners into the Stadium to beat their pace targets. We are heartened to see many giving their best efforts and picking up their legs to cross the finish strongly with arms held up high for that victorious pose.
After collecting the finisher tee and medal, we went onto the spacious carnival in the middle of the Stadium for drinks and bananas, and at the same time caught up with many of the runners for photos and congratulatory messages.
With the cool air from the air-conditioned Stadium interior, we felt comfortable and had great fun celebrating with all the STRun Pacers and runners in having many group photos and shouts of victory to end what would be one of the more memorable races we have participated in for 2015.
Kudos to the Straits Times for successfully organizing the ST Run @ Sports Hub 2015, and for Infinitus Productions for executing the whole race management and experience to a tee. And of course, a word of thanks to the Team FatBird Pacers who have banded together tirelessly over 8 weeks for Pacer training, Progressive Training Runs and delivering a great job on race morning to bring so many ST Runners to the finish in goal times.
Photo Credits CK Chin, Steven Ho, Rand Yan, Onin Tayson, Wai Pong, Margaret