Sunday, March 14, 2010

16km NE Run 2010

This morning NE run in Pasir Ris was my third run for the year after Jan's Urbanathlon run and Feb's Zoo run.

Got up this morning at 5.45am, left the house by 6am and by my reckoning, I should make it before the flag-off at 6.45am but my 'guesstimation' went off-mark somewhat. Looking for parking space proved to be a challenge, given those who were driving came about the same time too and finally found one in a nearby housing estate.

By the time I reached the start line, 16km runners were flagged off and quickly, I did some warming up before joining the rest. When I glanced up, I saw I was more than 2 minutes away from gun-time.

This run was to start-off & finish at Pasir Ris Park and the entire duration of 16km covering some part of Tampines town and into Temasek Polytechnic compound being the 8km turnaround mark.

The challenging part was not the run, never mind the 16km distance but overcoming the overhead bridges. There were 3 or maybe 4 overhead bridges along the way that all runners must cross over and since it was a turnabout circuit (mid way point at Temasek Polytechnic), everyone had to cross twice. Very frankly, I did enjoy the crossing part, a chance to test my uphill endurance and it was not that demanding either. But many runners were seen struggling going up the stairs and some simply ignored the overhead bridge, they just dashed across to the opposite side of the road. Alas, no marshals to stop them either.

There were easily more than 2,000 runners but the narrow jogging track along Tampines Park Connector simply squeezed everyone together which made running & overtaking almost impossible. I decided to run on the grass patch instead of joining the pack on the narrow jogging track.

We then had to pass through a suspension bridge at some point and with so many runners dashing across, it swayed quite badly. I was hoping the cable won't snap and didn't. Wonder whether the organisers did really check on the reliablity of the suspension bridge and also, the narrow jogging track along the Tampines Park Connector, given the high turnout of runners for this event...? Personally, I don't think the chosen route was conducive and safe enough for so many runners making a dash at the same time.

In event like this, one can always get inspiration to draw strength on. First, I saw a man running on one good leg only and he was then taking a breather. Much later, I passed a young man running without one arm. Gave him some encouragement and he acknowledged duly - such gregarious fella. These two gentlemen can easily put many able-bodied runners like us to shame...their grit & determination to complete the 16km course earned my highest salutation for them.

My pace throughout was steady, I didn't attempt to speed up. At some point, I found myself pacing another runner and both of us kept to the same pace for a good 3 km till I surged past him in the last 1 km to the finish. At the finish, this gentleman thanked me for pacing him; eh...nice to get such compliment though.

It was a casual run for me, I didn't push hard but I am pleasantly pleased to have clocked under 1 hr 28 mins. My own target was to finish under 1hr 30 mins and well, I went under that. My next run is the 21km Adidas Sundown in May and in my last 21km run in 2009, I clocked over 2 hours. This time around, I intend to go under 2 hours and it seems to me 'nothing is impossible' now, I just have to work harder.

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