3 hours before the start of the second Sundown Marathon Lead Up Run at The Playground, there was a heavy downpour island-wide, especially heavy in the East Coast area where we were expecting more than 300 participants for long pace run.
We kept our fingers and toes crossed, and we were blessed with clear skies at 4:30pm for the long run of 14km and 26km to get underway. More than 200 runners made their way in time for the 5:00pm registration and promptly issued light bands and sticks for a ‘happening’ night conditioning run.
Water points stocked with iced-cold isotonic drinks and mineral water was ready for the Sundown Runners at Car Parks C4 and F2. The Official photographer was busy snapping photos of the runners and pacers, including the briefing and dynamic warm-up drills sessions the Pacers took the Sundown Runners through.
The NightHawks who were into their 6th week of structured marathon training with Team FatBird was also lined up alongside the Sundown Runners for their buildup long run at Marathon Pace (MP). The 10min dynamic warm up set the runners into the right mood and blood pumping to the music carried by the Pacers.
At 6:15pm, the Sundown runners in their respective pace groupings were flagged off in waves to the sounds of air-horn breaking into the dusk. The groups of Sundown Marathon Pacers along with their troops of runners looked very neat and impressive, running to a certain tempo and carrying an impressive aura about them as they strode their way down towards Fort Road and then the access road leading to Gardens By The Bay (GBTB).
The skies were still bright when we turned back just before hitting GBTB, and as the various groups of runners passed, loud cheers and blows of the whistles could be heard from the distance. The portable music set the tempo for all of us to keep in step, and the Sundown Marathon Pacers were impressive as they shouted words of encouragement and providing guidance to the runners.
Once back onto ECP, the Pacers led the runners through with songs and shouts of “Sundown Sundown, Ooo Ahhh!” The high spirits of all runners shone through as they found much fun and ease with keeping to the challenging MP through the energy of the group.
We made a quick stop at the first hydration point at Car Park C4 Shelter, before the Half Marathon Runners made a U-Turn at the Y-junction just before turning into Cable Ski. The Full Marathon participants continued on their merry journey towards Sailing Centre and then NSRCC, before making a U-Turn back to home base.
At the 18km mark, a few of the runners felt the strain but were still making good effort to keep up with the main packs who were sustaining MP at easy pace. The high energy of the groups kept the runners’ spirits high in spite of tiring legs.
The blinking lights on the runners and pacers looked bright and visually pleasing, which made for easy identification of the running groups from Sundown. There were cheers of encouragement from holiday makers and families gathered by the sea-side, making the whole run very interesting and motivating for all.
As we neared the end of the run at 14km and 26km respectively, each of the pace groups closed ranks and shouted group slogans and singing songs for some very good shots from the Official Photographer. Although the skies were clear after the bout of rain, the humidity levels remained high, which made this finish for all participants even more impressive.
Isotonic drinks and bananas made for great replenishment after the long run, followed by respective group debriefs and two rounds of static stretching to relief those achy muscles, conducted by the experienced trainers from Team FatBird.
With 2 lead up runs under their belts, the Sundown Runners will keep up the momentum with a few more progressive long runs of their own, before returning for the final installment of the Lead Up Run Series on May 7 with long steady runs of 21km and 32km at Optimal Pace.
As we bade goodbye to the Sundown runners, there were lots of appreciation and words of thanks from the marathon trainees for the Sundown Marathon Pacers and Organizer, making our efforts in putting the lead up group training runs together all the more sweet and satisfying.
Sundown Runners, You Are Limitless!