Group Picture Taken At Ya Kun
I have not been running SCMS event in the last two years until Feng messaged me to replace her in this morning Ekiden event under 'Team PainKillers' and I agreed right away since I didn't sign up many run events for this year. There are 6 runners to the team and each of us will have to run 7 km to complete the 42 km distance and passing the sash to another runner when one runner holding the sash has reached the designated checkpoint. In our team, I only know Daniel. On the eve of the event, I managed to be introduced to Norman who will be taking over the sash from me. The order of our relay team was as follows: Daniel will take the first leg, I will be the second runner followed by Norman, Andrew, Max and Raymond.
Picture Taken at Padang
I got up this morning at about 0345 hrs and drove to Leisure Mall to catch the shuttle bus which will take the Ekiden runners to their respective start points. My start point was at Singapore Flyer and I had to pass the sash to Norman, the third runner at East Coast Park near Fort Road. The bus left at exactly 0430 hrs and well before 0500 hrs, we arrived at Singapore Flyer. It was still dark but our chat group started to kick-in when Daniel arrived at Orchard Road start point. I estimated more than 50 Eiken runners at my side. When it was past 0500 hrs, one of the marshals informed us that the race had started and we had to gather at our waiting pen. I did a little warming up while waiting. A group of Kenyan runners were the first to run past the 7km mark and they had already pulled a long lead. After them, a local Ekiden runner arrived and that was fast. The second runner quickly took over from him. Not long later, local elite runners and the Kenyan women runners strode past. More faster Ekiden runners started to arrive. One Ekiden runner was (I think) fourth to arrive and he started to shout for his second runner. No response. He shouted at the top of his voice and actually, letting go a little of his frustration, much to the amusement of the rest of us waiting. Poor chap, he did a fast first leg but his second runner was nowhere in sight.
Some of the waiting runners started to move forward leaving little space for first leg runners to run through and the marshals started to push them back. Stretching out my head to look out for Daniel in the dark and he suddenly appeared before me. It was about 0545 hrs and boy, he was among the early batch to arrive. I quickly took the sash from him and sped off immediately. Adrenalin rush did kick into me as I did not want to lose the good head start given by Daniel. Still fresh, I was soon running past many runners who were doing the full marathon. I did manage to overtake at least 5 Ekiden runners who were ahead of me. For the first 3 km of my 7 km run, I accelerated faster than my usual 5 mins plus per km pace. I reckoned it was 5 mins or little under per km. I then decided to slow down a little to prevent over burning. At about 4 km into my run, I can see the 4 hours pacers from a short distance in front of me. I told myself that I have to catch up on them and slowly but surely, I did. There were two water points along the way but I skipped them all.
Running past Fort Road cross junction to East Coast Park, I knew it was near to my check point. I accelerated a little faster and from a short distance, I saw a group of Ekiden runners waiting, I started to shout "Painkillers" to catch Norman's attention. When I arrived, he was already waiting. I passed the sash to him for him to carry on. It was already 0620 hours. After a quick dash to the toilet, I decided to walk to Padang instead of waiting for the shuttle bus to pick us back. It was easily more than 5 km back. I was walking in the opposite direction of the runners who were heading to East Coast Park. I was taking my time as it was still very early. Daniel had by then settled at Ya Kun outlet at Funan, tempting rest of us to join him for a hearty breakfast there. While walking along Nicoll Highway, I found a nice Wang Cafe at Suntec and decided to take my breakfast there. Meanwhile, our run progress was updated on our group chat.
Daniel and I were waiting at Padang for the rest of our team members to join us. The cool morning started to get hotter by the minute. When our last runner, Raymond completed, it was near 0930 hrs and we finally managed to re-group. Our gun time on the app show 4 hours 22 minutes. Good team effort. We then strolled to Ya Kun at Funan to have another round of breakfast before parting way. It is nice to meet new friends and we promised we will run again next year. The target...to clock under 4 hours for 42 km.