Marathon #12 : Singapore Marathon 2011
4th December 2011, Singapore
Finish Time = 5:06:59
I was living and working in Singapore for a period of 5 months when I found out I would be there at the same time the marathon was going to be held. Excellent! By the time I found out though, entries had closed on the website. I couldn’t believe it, my one chance to run a marathon in Asia with no extra expense and I couldn’t enter. I posted up a message in the Facebook group of the event and a few days later someone replied saying that Asics were doing a promotion for a few last minute places. I raced over to the Singapore Asics store in the Paragon shopping center and bought the first running top I found that fitted me, which made me eligible to enter. And it was as easy as that, I couldn’t believe it, I had a place!
The race started at 5:00am, I took a taxi over to the start line and was there at 4:30am. It was already hot and humid with 95% humidity. Even just standing there in a vest and shorts I was already sweating. I went to drop my bag off and then when I made my way back over to the start area the police had closed off the pens and weren’t allowing runners to get back in them. I had no idea why, there were literally hundreds of runners trying to get in, who were resorting to climbing over the barriers, breaking the barriers open or sliding through the gaps in the railings. It was crazy. I think they planned to release all of the runners in the pens and then fill them back up again with another wave. While the police pulled a runner off the fence a couple of others near me climbed over, so I went for it and jumped over myself. I just about made it without injuring myself or getting arrested, but it was definitely the most bizarre start to a marathon I’d had.
We started off and the road quickly went down to just one central lane with a barrier at either side. This way they kept traffic flowing on either side of us. It was a big race and not much room for us all to squeeze into a single road lane.
Would you like a Sauna with your Marathon?
I soon found myself packed in to this sweaty, humid, sauna-like experience with random Singaporean men brushing their bare sweaty arms up against mine. I then realized what I had got myself in to. A sauna probably would have been preferable actually, as there’s usually a nice eucalyptus smell in the air rather than, well, the smell of thousands of sweaty runners in the stale, humid air.
I actually ran the first half at a pretty good pace in 2 hours 10 minutes. Slower than usual but great considering the conditions. But after that it started to go down hill. The sun came up and then it was just game over. The temperatures hit 88F / 31C and combined with the humidity made for a heat index of 127F / 53C. People were dropping. I even saw some of the Pacers collapsed on the side of the road, and these are the runners that are officially part of the race to pace people to the finish in a certain goal time.
With the humidity, your sweat just wouldn’t evaporate which is a key part to the body cooling itself through perspiration. It just got hotter and hotter. As I got towards the end I couldn’t even run the last 3 miles, I just staggered towards the direction I knew to go to get to the finish. The last mile took me 18 minutes to complete. Even with a finishing time of 5 hours 6 minutes, my slowest time ever (apart from when injured during my first marathon), I still finished ahead of 81% of the rest of the finishers. It was without a doubt the toughest marathon I had run to date, with the exception of the double ultra I did.
After finishing and collecting my medal I then had to walk 2 miles to get back to my apartment. It was great to have completed a marathon on a completely new Continent and always rewarding when you complete such a big, and unexpected, challenge.
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