Photo Contributions from Ronnie Goh, Tan Kim Lai, Running Shots

The weather was just perfect for what would be an enjoyable and fruitful 10km and 21km x-terrain challenge of trail, sand and road for the FatBird Runners and Sunbirds in their first official race since they embarked on the training 6 weeks ago.

We arrived at the Changi Exhibition Centre at 5:15am to a growing group of team members and fellow runners who had already begun taking photos and preparing for the race.  All decked out in their favourite Team FatBird jersey tops, many of the Sunbirds were all excited about this race as it was not only the first time doing this course for most of them, it was also a time-trial of sorts to measure the progress of their Sunbird journey.

In the end, they passed with flying colours, many scoring Personal Bests on what would be a tougher course than the typical road race.  After the group photos were taken with much fanfare, the runners lined up comfortably in the starting pen.  With two other races happening in the same morning, there was a smaller crowd but with some real serious challengers at the NBRR – a number of Kenyans, Moroccans and local champions sighted, in the midst of many more ‘real runners’ 😀

The first 2km of sand was smooth, except for the puddles of water accumulated from the early showers, causing us to side step and adopting a more cautious start.  Once out onto the road, we quickly settled into our steady paces and into that long ride up and down the ‘mentally challenging’ Changi Coastal road.  The paces were tapered at various stretches due to temporary lapses of focus, but things perked up whenever there were shouts of encouragement from friends and fellow mates from across the other side of traffic flow.

It was pretty smooth going in nice weather till the 15km where there was a mini human wall from the bunching up of the 10km runners which started 30min later.  Fortunately, that was not too long a stretch before we hit the beach stretch – it was here where most of the photographers were positioned, as if expecting the the soft sand to suck the final breaths from the unknowing runners.  The more experienced ones could be differentiated from the newbies as evident in how they tackled the sand to make smooth exits back onto the final 3km to the finish.

The skies remained overcast and cloudy, with even a few droplets of rain felt, affording a quick recovery for an easier coast home to the finish line to loud cheers and crowd support.  Many of the Sunbirds reported better than expected finishing times and Personal Bests, a lot attributing the good showing to the tough hills and trails training they had experienced in the first phase of Ops Sunbird.  There were beaming faces all round, with many making time to visit the sponsors’ booths for more photos and post-race fanfare.  

After a rather no-fuss collection of the nice finisher medal and tee, we proceeded to grab drinks, bananas, apples, biscuits and spent time cheering the remaining Sunbirds and FatBirds coming through as well as catching up with our friends and supporters at New Balance, Soleus watch and RUN Singapore magazine.  

It was an eventful and fruitful race for the Sunbirds and also for the rest of the FatBird community and friends who not only did well in terms of executing their race plans, but also the joy of meeting with so many friends and familiar faces as well as soaking in the whole friendly post-race atmosphere.  

Congratulations to the race organizers for another well executed NBRR.  To all runners who raced and overcame this x-terrain challenge – You All Are 100% REAL RUNNERS!