Thursday, December 20, 2007

Muddy Grass 2 - The Return

The Muddy Grass 2 Team

It was a large turnout of SgRunners at MR for the MR25 Ultra Marathon recce run organized by Kayano. I had the good opportunity to call for a Muddy Grass run to tap on the soggy ground conditions caused by the many days of rainfall, as well as have a sight-seeing run for some of the runners who have yet to been to that 'secret' stretch from Seletar Reservoir to UPR ;).

The larger recce group left sharply at 7am. Kayano and PassionRunner had pre-arranged to have a case of 100-plus in my car, as well as plan to meet up after the entire runs for makan. Brokie and Vincent were the final ones to arrive for the Muddy Grass team...Bug, DO, Raven, leh-lio, DeepCruiser, prata, stardust, Alvo, cfred, Cheow12, SassyRunner, Teck Hou, Julie, Melvin and myself forming the rest of the group, proceeded off at about 7.15am.

Just before entering 'secret' passage

It was a cool morning, with rain clouds looming, as we ran into Northern Trail. I briefed some of the runners who were not familiar with the route about some strategic points as we moved along. Soon I was running in mid-pack, trailing cfred, prata and Sassy. The pace was quite nice....midway spotted 2 gals strolling in the woods...hmm, told them not to 'walk'...haha, they know who they are lah! We exited the Northern stretch in about 23min....not too slow. IMD was positioned there to take some video of us running up...nice.

Bug, stardust and DeepCruiser were happy to chiong the 'chunky' SICC slopes....a nice experience for the rookies. We turned into the golf course for some nice morning scenery, before stopping at the bridge to UPR for some group photos. Proceeded forward to meet up with Meteor and Yee Hua for more photos. Thomas who got lost from the 10.5km group, chose to join us for the remaining journey...a decision I am sure he did not regret! From there, it was all the way up UPR, turning out onto OUTR, and then UTR...stopping for group photos in between. We soon reached the Executive Golf Course, where the 'secret' entrance to the Muddy Grass trails was nearby....we found something interesting leftover, along with some golf balls we picked along the way,...haha.

It was a challenging entrance into the Muddy Grass region, with some bashing, crawling, snaking around barbed-wire obstacles, thick the company of creepy crawlies and ants. I was praying quietly not to encounter any snakes, as I was heading up first to recce for the secret 'hole' in the fence....was elated to finally find a clear way to it. Shouted to the rest to proceed, and with DO exhoing the instructions, the team moved steadily, cooperating and helping one another to emerge from the 'hole'...hehe. A small section took a right flank and re-orged with us soon.

We were happy to be free and clear, and ran all around the deserted area. In the midst of the excitement, I almost forgot the way to turn....and as it turned out, we were actually in just the 1st part of the range, after having skipped the Ultra-aircond road earlier. I was happy to find the entrance (with the barrier) finally, and we all recognized the muddy portions and trails we took in Muddy Grass I. DO and gang were smart not to take the left fork this time, and neither were prata nor stardust willing to take the risk by going ahead...haha. We ran mostly on muddy grass areas, jupping over small pools of water, skirting fallen branches, and root undergrowth.

The skies got dark, and the winds howled. The rains finally came as we were midway thrashing through the pipeline grass region. All of us remained focused, as we braved the elements and mud, nobody ever mentioning anything negative, all pushing forward to the exit...we finally reached civilization after quite a long, slow shuffle....all were elated to rush up onto the UPR road. The rain continued to beat down on us as we cheered the remaining members of the group as they came out. We continued to run on, deciding to skip the rifle range in view of the tight timing as well as the likely conditions of the route.

Bug, stardust, DeepCruiser, DO and Melvin led most of the way back to the golf course, along SICC road, and back onto Northern trail. The rains had abated somewhat by then, and lots of people were moving about in the trails. Brokie, leh-lio, Vincent soon went ahead, and I followed from behind....with Thomas, Teck Hou and Julie covering the rear. I was happy to finish the remaining 3km without running too hard, having sufficient time mostly to avoid the puddles of water....reached back to the elapsed time of about 3hr15min. I went straight to the car to get the 100plus for all.

The rain continued on, though lighter....and Brokie was lucky to get an umbrella shelter from Meteor to take photos from...very pro lah...haha. Kayano, OrangeGuy, Passion and meimei waited for our group to come back...we were so appreciative. More nice group photos, a quick wash up, and the whole group adjourned to the Adam Food Centre for lots of nasi lemak, prawn noodles, prata, teh alia and teh tarik, milo dinosaur spiced with lots of lively conversations about the run and training, in interesting company, some having turned back from Holland Village and bugis Junction....hehe...suffice to say, a perfect ending to the second installment of the Muddy Grass Run :)

Slideshow of the day's activities
, courtesy of Brokie :)

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