Monday, September 24, 2012

The Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon 2012

Kingfishers & Newton Pacers @ AHM Start - CK Chin

The annual Singapore Bay Run / Army Half Marathon (AHM) has been recognized as the largest and most important half marathon race in the Singapore Running Calendar.  When it was rumored to be called off, there was much disappointment in the running community...good that it was eventually announced to be 'ON', albeit 2 weeks later on Sep 9.

Kingfishers @ AHM Start - Ck Chin

With the good news, I was able to put Team FatBird's Operation Kingfisher into action was to train the group of 100 FatBird Runners and prepare them well for The Army Half Marathon (AHM) 2012.

FatBirds & JMs @ Esplanade Bridge - BTing

Decked out in bright yellow Kingfisher running jerseys, we gathered just outside the Esplanade area a full hour before race start to warm-up, take group photos and go for the final loo-visits before lining up near to the respective Newton pace groups.  This year's AHM saw a lot less participants from the Army units as they were all encouraged to do the 10km distance instead.

Kingfishers just before race start - SC Lim

After some light entertainment from the MC to keep the crowd motivated, we were flagged off promptly at 5:15am.  There was a light congestion at the beginning as some of us did not manage to get to the front in spite of us being there quite early.  Still, we were patient as we paced ourselves and move to within sight of the pacers, and then putting our race plan into execution.  The cool air after an earlier bout of showers made the early kilometers pleasant, although the humidity levels remained high.  

This year's AHM route was generally an improvement over 2011, save for a few choke points, especially bad near the Tanjong Rhu area.  The tour around the Gardens by the Bay and avoiding the pancake-flat ECP were welcome touches to the course, although the pre-dawn start would not allow much scenery to be visually enjoyed.  Still, the nice weather and generous support stations of isotonic drinks, bananas, Salonpas gave us a peace-of-mind to focus on the race at hand.

 In a bid to make the ground conditions even 'sweeter', the race organizer actually laid red carpets along certain stretches.  However, as they were laid directly over uneven grass patches, the carpets posed some potential danger for falls and trips to the runners - in fact quite a number actually tripped up and got twisted ankles and swollen knees from falls.  The bottlenecks were a problem mainly to those running more than 2h for the 21km as they had to wait anywhere from 2-5min for certain choke-points to clear.

The cloud cover ensured the sun did not rear 
itself even till 9am, making the final km of the run more sustainable.  Although there were the occasional cramps from pushing the pace, most of our runners were able to sustain their planned paces to finish strongly inside of target times.  Heartiest congratulations go out to all of them who trained and raced to expectations.  Even the few who had caught the 'flu' bug just before this race ventured down and completed in very respectable form and time.  


I was able to enjoy my run thoroughly, cheering on fellow Kingfishers and FatBirds along the way, while still getting a respectable timing of 1:41h over a slightly longer HM distance of 21.4km.  I was pleased as punch to hear that most of the Kingfishers achieved their targets, with many doing outstanding timings and Personal Bests.  That is testament to the effectiveness of the short training stint we shared as a team.  

As we gathered near the Tan Kim Seng fountain to exchange congratulatory messages, share the joys and satisfaction of our race, take many group photos with different poses, we were glad we put in the commitment and dedication to training and following our race and pace plan to reap the fruits.  Kudos Kingfishers!

As we joyfully headed to nearby Marina Square to refuel and recharge, we were not feeling that drained nor too tired, with some even able to do multiple jumps and possibly planning for a recovery run later in the day.  I am most heartened by the good results and many PBs achieved by the Kingfisher trainees and even trainers, with many vowing to be back for Ops Kingfisher and AHM 2013.  Running The Bay? FatBirds Have Shown The Way!

Photo Contributions from CK ChinSC LimBTing

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