Army Half Marathon 2018
Race Report By FatBird Anthony Sum
Photos from FatBirds Paul, Rand

The 12-week PowerFLIGHT Speed & Strength marathon training prepared our runners well for the Army Half Marathon 2018 (AHM18).

Because of the Singapore heat, the AHM18 has been having a very early start at 4:30am every year.  Considering my sleeping habits (which is quite late in the night), I could not get into sleep at all in spite of lying in bed from 10pm.  I decided to watch some YouTube instead while waiting for breakfast time at 2:30am.

Eddie has so kindly volunteered to pick us up at 3:00am to proceed to our group’s meet-up at Esplanade Amphitheatre.  We did our warm-up routing of light jogging, activation drills and some strides before more of our runners arrive.  After our group photo and final toilet stop, we proceeded into the start corral at 4:00am and inched our way closer to the front for a smooth start.

Armed with our respective race and pace plans, the PowerFLIGHT marathoners were all raring to get out there for a good run.  The weather conditions were kind with not too much humidity in the air.  The COA promptly started the Half Marathon race at 4:33am.  After a slight initial crowd at the front, I was able to find space to move closer to the front.

Met many fellow FatBird, SAFRA runners and friends along the 1st km.  We exchanged greetings and well wishes before proceeding onwards to our targets.  The first 5km was along the CBD area where GPS signals were affected by the tall buildings.  Pace readings would be off and running by Heart Rate and Rate Of Perceived Exertion (RPE) was best here.

Taking care not to elevate HR, I would keeping to a comfortable hard effort and staying with the pack who were running 4:30+ pace.  My target for this race was to run a 4:30 pace average for the whole 21.1km.  Was a little surprised to find the first 2 water stations without isotonic, but no big deal.  The following 5km brought us through the Gardens which was well lit and having good directional signs to point us for turns ahead.

I tried to maintain 4:30 pace without feeling too worked up from there before we entered the ECP at about the 12km mark.  Missed the drinks but managed to grab a banana at the final table for a small bite to get some carbs in.  I was still feeling comfortable as I overtook a number of tiring runners through ECP, Sports Hub before coming out onto Mountbatten / Nicholl Highway stretch for the final 7km.

I decided to consume the lone pack of gel at 15km to get rid of the jiggle in my pocket.  The run along Nicholl Highway was enjoyable because of the space and some light wind in the face.  I continued to maintain 4:30 pace and overtook a few more folks.  In between, there were also some good exchanges of fellow runners trading places.  That made it interesting in what would be otherwise just plain focusing on closing in to the finish line.

As I headed towards Esplanade with 3-4km to go, the strain of keeping 4:30 pace could be felt.  Needed to perk up to maintain good running form and smoother breathing to avoid slowing down too much.  There were no niggles, twitches or any signs of cramping up, which was nice.  We ran on the outside of Esplanade instead of through F1 Pit area and soon I could see the final stretch of 1km at the Esplanade Bridge area.

I was doing a final calculation if I could achieve my Half Marathon PB of 1:35:15 and before I knew it, I was striding down the final 200m to the finish line.  The clock displayed 1:35 and some change.  I was happy to find out later that I ran a nett time of 1:34:16 on a accurate HM route for a new Personal Best.

Before I could take a breather at the finish line, I saw Pua and few others, and then Vanessa from SPRC coming in with a podium tag.  Then Chee Peng came in at 1:36 with a massive PB.  Waited a bit for Eddie who did a massive PB of 1:40 and then saw Steven with PB at 1:39 and KS coming in at 1:43.

We proceeded on to collect our finisher tee and medals before meeting up with the FatBirds and PowerFLIGHT marathoners at Tan Kim Seng Fountain.  Bumped into Raymond who did extremely well with 1:28 for podium, Robin with solid PB of 1:31.

I was excited and elated by the outstanding results achieved by our trainees and runners as they returned from the race with HM PBs in the order of 5-25min quantum.  All the dedication, commitment, belief in the training plan coupled with solid execution of race plans have delivered the sweet rewards for these happy campers.

Heartiest Congratulations to Julie, Xueli, David, Eddie, Meng See, Paul, Lynn, Winston, Nelson, Roslyn, Josephine, Jasvinder, Chee Peng, Beverly, Jacqueline, Rand, Chris and many more which I have unintentionally missed here for your outstanding performances and well-deserving Personal Bests at the AHM18.

You PowerFLIGHTers Rocked With Power!

Kudos and shout out to the highly dependable Army and SAFRA organization for putting such a class act with a superbly well-organized race scoring high points in all important areas of race experience and logistics management.  Well Done AHM Organizers!

We will now take our well-deserved break and do some reflection and assessment of our training and preparations for the AHM.  We will bring the lessons and build on this good momentum into our 12-week structured training for the Singapore Marathon (SCSM) in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, I will be indulging in my favourite foods and maybe put on 2-3kg before continuing with my preparations for New York Marathon in the first week of November.

The PowerFLIGHTers Rocked AHM18!


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