It was a sight to behold – 250 runners descended on to the PlayGround @ Big Splash on Friday evening for the Sundown Marathon 2012 Lead-Up Run. It was gonna be the first and only night lead-up run in the series of 3, and the promise of running into the city lights only served to build up the anticipation of those who had earlier signed up.
The Official Sundown Ambassadors: Credit Official Sundown Marathon Photos
It was also the night when we would introduce the Sundown Ambassadors in their neon-green running tees which are both eye-catching with a luminous effect under the silvery light of the moon/lights. Weeks before, the Pacers were already preparing for this run, doing recce, planning out the route marshalling and logistics support, as well as practicing on marshalling as a team. This evening they arrived as early as 6:00pm, 2 hours before the start of the event, to take Pacer photos for the profiles, helping to set up the registration and on-site stage, as well as going through the final coordination of logistics, timings and groupings for the night’s run.
Runners started streaming in at 7:15pm, registering themselves, getting light sticks and wrist bands, nutrition gels from the sponsor (MaxiFuel Singapore), and checking out and chatting with the Pacers and groups already present. By 8:00pm, the entire group was ushered nearer to the beach where the lighting conditions were better. Introductions of the Pacers and Pace Groups were followed by route and safety briefings. As the route was rather challenging, running through traffic crossings and descending by bridges, safety was emphasized and took priority over speed and pace.
After the customary group photo was taken with high energy levels, the runners were lined up in groups by 8:30pm, and flagged off in 2min intervals. Each of the 4 groups had about 10pacers running alongside 40-60 runners, having a front guard, middle guides and rear guard. Whistles and words of encouragement could be heard along the way to perk up the senses of the participants and to alert them of traffic and route conditions. It was a sight to behold as these groups ran along Fort Road, Mountbatten, Nicholl Highwayand then onto Marina Promenade. The beautiful lights from the Flyer and Marina Bay could be seen, and as we went closer, sounds of music and bands celebrating the lights festival could be discerned – a beautiful sight which had the runners’ senses tickled with delight…some even danced and pranced to the beat of the music.
The strategic water support station set up by MaxiFuel was a godsend. The Viper drinks and gels gave the runners much renewed energy for the onward journey to the FatBird statue below UOBPlaza, the U-turn point for the 20km runners. Some of the HM participants turned back from the HelixBridge for a slightly shorter route. There were lots of other activities and crowds at the Helix, and it was a real spectacle for the touristy groups to see runner groups coming in from the Marina side. Although the afternoon rains brought some cool relief, it was still a relative humid night, and the Vipers did really nourish us with renewed energy for the final 8km back.
The speed on the return always seem faster as we naturally wish to finish earlier to get the job completed J Spirits ran high as we were still running as groups and looking out for one another as teams. The moment we hit Fort Road, all broke loose as we headed for the finish with the form and power only seen in 10km races. Whistles were blowing and shouts of encouragement echoed through the night as the runners finished the run with arms held high to loud cheers and applause, the sense of satisfaction seen on their faces can hardly be described. The NightHawks (trainees) in accordance to their training program went on to complete another 4-8km. By midnight, all had completed their missions in fine form and a nice set of results to show.
Many of them said ‘thank you’ for an enjoyable run and helping them fulfill one of their longest training runs to date. As the runners settled down with isotonic drinks and bananas in hand, they were sharing and recounting their experiences of the night’s journey. Many looked tired as we approached the witching hour, but they were still full of smiles with twinkles in their eyes. We held separate group debriefs and garnered generally very good feedback of the run as well as organization, support and route marshalling.
As the set-up were slowly being dismantled, the runners proceeded to the nearby food joints for their supper and post-run replenishment. We would like to thank all participants who made this Sundown Lead Up Run a great success. Special mention go out to the dedicated team of Sundown Pacers and staff from the Organizer (Hi-Velocity) and Nutrition/Hydration Support (MaxiFuel) for working together as a team to make this happen! Go, Go, Sundown!