Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ponggol Central Run 2008

I volunteered myself as a sweeper for the inaugural Ponggol Central Run 2008. Mike Kang, who was the chairman of the Ponggol Runners, had planned for this race with his team for at least a few months. Instead of doing the 5km speed run, I thought I could be of help as a rear runner to run with the fun runners, as well as motivate and encourage all to complete the race and have fun. The location was set in rustic, scenic Ponggol, an area where I do some of my regular runs...I run there from home about once every 1-2 months.

Kayano, DO, Beverly and myself were the Sweeper Team, who were to run along the 2 waves of competitive 5km runners and the 3km fun runners. DO had gone for an earlier briefing, and collected the volunteer running top for the team. DO and Kayano even went down to the race site to do a route reccee the day before. It started to rain cats and dogs at 6am on race day, but fortunately, it was down to a trickle by the time we got to the race site at 7am. We met Mike Kang at the Ponggol MRT (Race Site), got the final instructions from him, collected our walkie-talkies, and helped out around the registration area.

Fennel and xsuanjing turned up as race photographers....cool! We met many familiar faces and running kakis from SgRunners (Brokie & family, ham, Chantelle, IMD, Yee Hua, SassyRunner, teelee, Jodan, kcslchin, lcpsimon), MR25 Runners (Stephen Lee & a whole bunch of his very speedy runners), SAFRA Runners (Melvin, Yap, Shirlyn) and Ponggol Central Runners.

When minister Teo Chee Hean, MPs Teo Ser Luck and Charles Chong arrived, wave 1 was flagged off. DO and Kayano followed this wave. Wave 2 was flagged off 5 mins later; Beverly and myself followed the last person from behind. Because it was a shorter distance, I was able to run up and down to spot any runners who might be in trouble, but mostly to give encouragement to the rest. Fennel was positioned strategically in the middle of the road, with poncho over her head to take photos of runners going by....so pro!

Wave 3, led by the ministers, soon overtook the rear of wave 2. I ran closely behind the VIP group for about 1km, before they safely made it to the finish. I then joined Beverly to continue on to catch up with the 5km group. We caught up with DO and Kayano all the way to the 4.5km mark, where they were waiting for the final group of runners. We had good fun escorting the final 5-6 runners to the end...spotted Gentle, Ripley and many SgRunners cheering us on, with photographers snapping away.

The Sweeper Team

Mike Kang was there to welcome all the runners back, and thanked us for a job well done. He later got us some goodie bags which was a nice bonus for us. Thanks Mike. We were rewarded with delicious milo from the 'Milo Van' and then met up with the SgRunners for group photos. Feedback from the runners were good, and most of them enjoyed the race and cool weather. IMD did a good 20min time, while Jodan and kcslchin both scored PBs for their 5km races...well done folks! The MR25 runners were out in full force, and recording fast times of 17min-18min+ 5km to swipe most of the top few prizes in the various categories....President Stephen Lee must have been pleased as punch :)

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