4am, 11th November 2012 sees me springing in to action as my alarm clock heralds the start of an adventure…my first ever half marathon race. The Great Eastern Women’s Run 2012.
This wonderful run was commissioned by Great Eastern and is only available to women, making it very unique. Catering for 5km, 10km and 21km runners, it’s distances offered will have undoubtedly have appealed to women runners of many levels. In fact, close to 15,000 women signed up to run whichstands testament to this appeal! Flag offs for each category took place at 5.30am for 21km, 7.10am for 10km and 7.40am for 5km.
The 21km distance was the first ‘all women’s half marathon’ to have ever been offered in the region and took runners along a beautifully scenic route encompassing, the Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands, Merlion Park, Esplanade, Singapore Flyer, F1 Pit Building, the new Sports Hub (Estimated completion date 2014) before finally terminating back at The Float, Marina Bay.
A total of fifteen elite athletes lined up on the 21km start line and included Melissa Hauschildt, the Australian, 29 year old 2011 Ironman 70.3 world champion, fellow Australian, Melanie Daniels, Japanese Noriko Higuchi and Singapore’s Anne Qihui, Lim Baoying and Choo Linger. With a top prize of $10,000 it was no surprise to see there was some stiff competition!
The Elite athletes Gun Time results were timed as follows:
- 1st – Noriko Higuchi – Japan1 hour 19 minutes 35 seconds
- 2nd – Yu-Hsuan Chen – Taiwan – 1 hour 24 minutes 2 seconds
- 3rd – Meri Mariana Paijo – Indonesia – 1 hour 24 minutes 28 seconds
Singapore Runners elite athletes also finished with amazing times as follow:
- 5th – Anne Qihui – 1 hour 27 minutes 13 seconds
- 9th – Baoying Lim – 1 hour 38 minutes 2 seconds
- 10th – Choo Ling Er – 1 hour 39 minutes 13 seconds
The start was smooth with little in the way of ‘jostling’ and the race overall showed a great deal of etiquette amongst the female competitors. Runners graciously moved to the side to allow faster runners to pass and seemed more spaciously aware than I have previously experienced at other similar events. Fellow competitors, race volunteers, photographers and crowd supporters alike, cheered runners along their way and produced a very happy and positive environment for allcompetitors to enjoy.
Starting out in the dark, cool air was an especially pleasant aspect to this race and allowed many of the slower athletes to complete almost half the race distance before the sun rose. A few bottle necks were experienced but athletes moved through them quickly so they didn’t pose too much of an issue.
Distance markers and hydration points were plentiful and offered all that one would expect from such a professionally organised event. I will however say that toilet stops weren’t as well catered for as perhaps one would hope! I personally didn’t see a porta-loo until around the 9km mark when I found a singular toilet tucked behind a hydration station. The facility was not obvious and around 10 minutes of preciousrace time was spent waiting for some of the volunteers to use and vacate the toilet before runners could access it. The toilet was however clean and well stocked with toilet paper and water.
Re-joining the pack, I noticed a lady running ahead of me wearing a pink and black ballet tutu. Increasing my pace to meet with her stride I asked if she would mind talking to me for a few minutes and she kindly agreed. The lady was called Debs, short for Deborah and she was a westerner residing atSembawang’s Naval base. Debs told me that she was in fact one of 22 runners who were running in Tutu’s to support breast cancer survivors in the honour of one of her friends who had herself battled this condition. A total of 4 ladies were competing in the half-marathon, with the balance running the 10km option. A t-shirt was also part of their ‘outfit’ but Debs had forfeited hers when she discovered it wasn’t fitting very comfortably. I applaud these ladies who undoubtedly would have felt the temperature rising under their multi layers of netting!
There seemed to be no end of luxury surrounding this event! Muscle rubs were available along the route as well as pre and post-race. Viper gel packs in a choice of summer berry fruits or lemon and lime were a welcomed offering for many of us hitting the 17km mark and feeling the wrath of our exercise! Even the route offered a degree of luxury itself, mixing the hard surfaces notoriously experienced with road races with a few areas of grass to ease the pressure and provide some relief to weary limbs!
The kilometres melted away fairly easily and I was thrilled when I realised that there were just a couple of kilometres left before I would complete my quest. Volunteers were plentiful along this stretch and the cheering and clapping was apriceless motivational tool! Rounding our last corner I had expected to see the finish line but was surprised when it wasn’t where I thought it would be! A volunteer waved me to the right where I was greeted with a beautiful lawn ofastroturf which guided me in to the race village and behind a tent to the glorious finish line! Euphoria swept over me as I passed through the gantry to collect my medal and an ice cold can of 100Plus.
The finisher’s area reflected the grandeur of the race in general. Opportunity to freshen up was very much appreciated as athletes enjoyed the products available for their use in the appropriately named ‘Powder Room’. It seems that all lady competitor needs had been considered and I personally enjoyed cleansing my previously hot and sweaty skin with the antibacterial cooling wipes available before applying talcum powder and deodorant.
It was easy to locate muscle rub from one of the many volunteers but it was necessary to apply it yourself. The massage tent was incredibly popular and as such the queues were a bit of a deterrent!
Fruit, ice cream, muffins, water, juice, 100 Plus…Everywhere I looked I spotted a fuelling opportunity for tired athletes! Children were also well catered for by the organiser who provided them with a bouncy castle alongside a ‘mini obstacle course’ play area. Both were situated behind the baggage collection area so were undercover from the sun. This area also played host to other fun entertainment which even included a jousting competition, giving the race a real ‘community carnival’ feel.
Overall I can only praise this event…from organisers to volunteers, competitors to supporters, it all worked like a well-oiled machine. Great Eastern Women’s 2012 run was amazing…I can’t wait for 2013! Hope I’ll see you on the startand finish lines too!
Photos courtesy of good people of Running Shots