Sunday, March 30, 2008

The 3rd Sundown Familiarization Run

I got Bev to join me for this Sunday's 3rd Sundown Familiarization Run. Because of the KL Marathon, many of the regular runners were not around. Since a large turnout was expected, I volunteered as a mid-pack pacer along with the team of support and lead runners, all organized through Hi-Velocity and Ripley from SgRunners. By the time we gathered at 6:20am at Bedok Reservoir Park training shed, a large group of runners, many whom we were meeting for the first time have turned up. We put on our volunteers' running top, and Ripley gave a brief of the route and introduced the support team: cfred, best, myself, Raven and ST to lead the runners, Philip, Tiwazz, acleong and Ripley to provide drinks and banana support stations.

We started off at a comfortable pace, with cfred leading on a bike. I set the pace of about 6:15min/km for the mid-pack runners, and very soon had a group running alongside me. We ran along various Tampines Aves, before entering the Tampines Park Connector, which will bring us all the way to Pasir Ris, then to Loyang, and Changi Beach Park, where the halfway-mark of 17km will be. I made various stops at critical junctions to show runners the way, and was working with Best to cover the rather large mid-pack as much as we can. With the rain clouds building up for some afternoon showers, the air was humid and heavy.

Reached the 10km mark in about 1:10hr, and was greeted with cold drinks and bananas set up by Hi-Velocity. All were fresh and chatty, as we made our way up a slight slope towards the Shell Station. Turning left brought us to Loyang, and then cfred was waiting at the junction to direct us towards the Changi Village chalets. By then, a smallish group of BioSynthesis and friend, Crystal, AmericanRunner, Nicholas, Bev, and 2-3 more were with me. We ran into Changi Village, and headed towards Changi Beach Park along the shaded area. The sun was out in its full glory by then, and the runners were getting affected by the heat.

About 1.5km more, and we saw the mid-point water station, manned by Tiwazz, acleong and Philip. All were so happy to see them, and chatted with a few of the runners over drinks at the watering hole. Some of the runners decided they wanted to run all the way to East Coast Parkway, along Changi Coastal Road...about 10km more...waah! After a quick drink, I moved on to join some of the mid-pack runners in front. As we turned back into Changi Village, we met up with cfred and ST, who mentioned that Raven and the rear-pack were coming in. I ran ahead to inform Raven and his group that the U-turn was just 2km ahead. Just behind Raven was someone who wore a head-band that mentioned that he was relieved to hear that they were near....I thought at that point he looked like Sim Wong Hoo of was later confirmed by the Organizers that that was Sim, and he would be doing the 84km Sundown...wahsey!

Many of the mid-pack runners started to take walk-breaks as we got near to the Tampines Park Connector. The heat was really getting to many of them, but they were 'mentally' strong to carry on running....I was most impressed, especially with many of them having done maximum distances of only 22km up till this morning's run. They have surpassed their longest runs, and were in record-breaking territory :). I waited for them at critical junctions, and urged them to continue running, only taking walk-breaks in the shade...hehe. They were determined, and were rewarded when we reached the Hi-Velocity water point again....cold drinks to refresh the semi-burnt bodies. With only 10km left, all were ready to do their best to finish the run. Save for a few blisters, and slight knee aches, all the runners were in good form. The ambulance parked nearby was not called upon to render any service.....good.

Nicholas, Crystal, Best, Pauline and the mid-pack group started to take more walk-breaks, but they were strong enough to go for even more....good sign. I was quite surprised that the gals looked so, and they were running that long distance in such conditions for the very first time. Most of the mid-pack finally reached Bedok Reservoir Park in about 4hrs. With about 2.5km left to the end point, I ran ahead to the finish, got some drinks, and cheered on the rest coming in. I could see the relief and delight in their faces...really made all the effort of encouraging them to finish the run worth it. Bev and the front-pack had earlier finished, and was resting in the shed. I reckoned we took 4hr15min to complete the 34km, inclusive of breaks and waiting time....not bad actually.

Over drinks, we exchanged some pointers on distance running. I hope some of the new runners will join the SgRunners forum to get good advice and share tips with the seasoned runners, and maybe, even join in the training runs. Bev had her longest run to date, and she did well to sustain in such trying conditions....I am sure, the night marathon will not pose a big problem for her. As for the new runners who joined us for the first time, I hope to see them again at the next Sundown familiarization run in April 26, and who knows, some of them might be crazy enough to join us for Dusty Run ahead of that...shhhhh!

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At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

damn i missed it :(

At 2:57 PM, Blogger The Dream Runner said...

no probs moon...join us for the next one in 2 weeks :)


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