Monday, April 21, 2014

Sundown Marathon Lead Up Run #2

The second Sundown Marathon Lead Up Run saw another capacity crowd arrive early to the Playground @ Big Splash, ECP.  After the overwhelming attendance for the 1st Lead Up Run at night, registrations have filled for the 2nd and final lead up runs, allowing for a more manageable crowd in terms of pace guidance and resource allocation.

Because of the longer distances of 21km for the Half Marathoners and 30km for the Full Marathoners, the Sundown Organizers was at the Playground way before 6am to setup for the early arrival of the enthusiastic Sundown Marathoners.  

The Sundown Marathon Pacers were also out in full force, carrying pace timing Boards to mass the participants into their respected pace groupings of (2:00h, 2:15h, 2:30h) for the HM and (4:00h, 4:30h, 5:00h, 5:30h, 6:00h for the FM.  There was an air of excitement amidst the cool morning, albeit with humidity rather high in the face of impending late morning rain.

After the route and pace group briefings, the respective groups were flagged off to the sounds of the air horn with the Sundown flag waving proudly in the air.  The objective of this training run was to maintain and sustain Marathon Pace (MP) for the respective distances.  

With the help and guidance of the Sundown Marathon Pacers, the participants were all rev-ed up to do their best to meet their personal targets in terms of pace and distances.

It was a motivating sight to see all the timing groupings led by their respective Pacers (with timing bibs on their backs) moving as one along the straights of the East Coast Parkway.   

There were applause and shouts of encouragement, interjected with the occasional whistles, as the various groups pass one another - that always injected extra energy into the runners, providing additional boosts to their mission of sustaining Marathon Pace.

The first 12km was done with all groups on pace and ever energetic as we took a 'technical halt' at the Maxinutrition hydration point set up at NSRCC.  The hydration team comprising of Maxinutrition and FatBird volunteers did a sterling job to manage the constant flow of electrolyte drinks without much of a delay to the runners' continued advance back to the Playground.

By the 15km, the various groups have thinned somewhat with the faster runners moving ahead at their comfortable paces, whilst the ones who were not able to keep up with their respective paces falling slightly back.  

The Sundown Pacers were immaculate with the main body keeping the target MP in check, while there was a lead and sweeper in each pace group to help with the ones in front and at the rear.  It was also good practice and experience for the Sundown Pacers as they got to feel for some of the runners' management issues they may encounter on actual race night.

The HM groups reached the Playground with 21.1km completed with 2min to spare in each of their respective pace timings.  If this plays out to plan on race night, the Half Marathoners would have no problems hitting their race timing objectives at all.  


As the HM rested in the cool shade of the trees nearby, the FM runners came back within the MP timings, but the weariness and fatigue brought upon by the heat of the morning sun could be seen in many of the runners.  

With 9km remaining and in wanting to meet their training objectives, the Sundown Pacers rallied their respective groups to continue with their sustained paces - kudos to their mental strength and resolve to complete the mission at hand.

The second loop after the hydration stop at Playground was tough, especially with the overbearing  heat of the sun testing the steadfastness of the pace groups.  It was a lot harder to keep up with Marathon Pace (MP) as the kilometres drew on, but the Sundown Pacers were giving their all to encourage and motivate the tiring troops to avoid dropping off the MP trail.

After 3 hours, the first of the FM groups streamed in to loud cheers and applause as they complete the full 30km in target paces.  Handshakes and warm words of congratulations went around the group members and Pacers for a job so well done.  

The rest of the groups came back in about 15min intervals, and as they drew near, lots of shouts and whistles could be heard.  The weary but satisfied smiles of the runners when they crossed the finish line were 'invaluable' and that in itself was the just reward for accomplishing what they set out to do in the morning.

Some of the participants did not complete the intended distances, but still felt accomplished and happy that they were able to maintain the targeted MP for 70-90% of the prescribed distances, before slowing slightly to complete the full distances at a slightly slower pace.

It was the great organization and support from Sundown Organizer and Maxinutrition, coupled with the professionalism and dedication of the Sundown Pacers, along with the commitment and positive attitude of the Sundown Runners that made this Lead Up Run a huge success - Congratulations to all who have contributed to make this run so happening!

Here They Come, Sundown Runners...
Here They Run, Sundown Runners...
Oh Yeah, The Sundown Runners!

Facebook Photos from FatBirds CK Chin, Meng Kiat

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Gold Coast Marathon Training 2014

Operation Kookaburra - Gold Coast Airport Marathon (GCAM) 12-week training program got off to a smooth start at Changi Beach which saw close to 50 participants joining in for its kickoff session.

On a cool night, buzzing with activity by Changi Beach point, the Kookaburra trainers/pacers met with the trainees for the first time, and quickly melded into their respective target training groupings.  

A quick briefing was conducted to inform participants of the Team FatBird FlightZONES structure of the 12-week program, and how we would be proceeding to build up our foundation and long run endurance for a good showing at GCAM 2014.

The Kookaburras started off alongside the Ops NightHawk participants (who were in their sixth session in the run up to Sundown Marathon) and soon were settling in to enjoy the night's training run of 13km-21km.  For a first session, the enthusiastic Kookaburras did reasonably well, although more work will need to be done to help find their sustained paces in the weeks of training that will follow.

The quiet of the cool night was abuzz with the Kookaburras and NightHawks's footsteps and the regular chatter amongst pace group members as they strode along the 'mentally draining' Coastal Road stretch.  Running parallel to the Changi Airport, this 14km stretch (7km each way) offers the runners very good training for pace and building up their mental strength for long distance running.

The good mix of Groups 1 & 2 Full Marathon trainees along with Group 3 FM and HM trainees provided the Kookaburra trainers/pacers with plenty to do, stretching their pace management boundaries wide to reign in the well strung-on runners - a commendable effort from the trainers/pacers who did a great job.

The night ended rather young for the Kookaburras as most had no problems meeting the training objectives and returned 'home' within the set paces for their respective distances.  Bananas and isotonic drinks greeted and rewarded the happy Kookaburras for the good effort and enthusiasm for training displayed.

We look forward to the next face-face session with the Kookaburras in a fortnight, where we will do another night flight, this time longer and along the mystic trail road and park connectors of the Reservoir/Mandai Reserves.

Run Kookaburra, Run Kookaburra,
You Have Got What It Takes!

Photos by FatBirds Meng Kiat, CK Chin

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sundown Marathon Lead Up Run #1

The Sundown Marathon Training (Lead Up) Runs series is an integral part of the Sundown Marathon program to help Sundown Runners build up for a good race on May 31.

Two weeks before Lead Run Run #1 on Mar29, registrations already busted the maximum allowable being closed...and that happened to Lead Up Runs #2 and #3 as well - registrations for all 3 Lead Ups maxed out even before we got underway with Lead Up Run #1.

In anticipation of a large crowd, the Sundown Organizer (HiVelocity) together with the Sundown Pacers worked closely with the hydration sponsors 100Plus & Maxinutrition to put together what turned out to be an eventful and exciting night for the 400+ Sundown Runners who came.  The first ones started to drift in from 7pm, and by 8pm, the Playground @ Big Splash, ECP was buzzing with the heat of excitement.

The Sundown Pacers were on hand to welcome the runners into their respective pace groupings of Half Marathon (2:00h, 2:15h, 2:30h) & Full Marathon (4:00h, 4:30h, 5:00h, 5:30h, 6:00h), stamped them with the Sundown Marathon chop, and assimilated them into the team.  

A warm welcome from HiVelocity was given before Team FatBird briefed the runners on the evening's routes, training paces, safety instructions, and introducing the Sundown Marathon Pacers to the public for the very first time.

Then there were the futile attempts to fit everyone into the group photo to shouts of "Sundown, Sundown, Bring On The Night!" - everyone was so highly charged that there was not really a need for flashes, but cameras with telescopic lens :D  

The respective Pace Groups were then flagged off to the sound of the blaring horn, and with the lighted wrist bands provided and the blinking lights on their bodies, the Sundown Runners & Pacers strode down ECP towards Fort Road, looking like a flock of lighted, blinking birds - a sight to behold.

The night flight then went along Mountbatten road before turning into the serene Geylang & Tanjong Rhu Park Connectors.  The run along the quiet riverside on the ride with greenery on the left, interspersed by occupied park benches made for quite a relaxing and therapeutic run, and the occasional light breeze in what was a humid evening helped stoke the already high spirits of the runners - song and laughter broke out midway as the runners approached the Viper water point at the entrance to Gardens By The Bay - East.

The Maxinutrition drinks station, stocked with iced cold Viper isotonic & electrolyte drinks was a welcomed sight for the thirsty flock as they shouted with joys of "Sundown, Sundown, Bring On The Night!".  

After a regroup, the runners continued across the Marina Barrage, and when they saw a crowd gathered, joyful choruses of "Ehh-Oh Sundown Runners Ahh...I Wanna Be A Sundown Runner Ahh...HOOhh-HAHhh" broke out to applause and appreciation from the public, who were amused and impressed by these groups of runners maintaining steady paces and yet looking and feeling so happy and relaxed.

The Half Marathon groups took their cues from their Sundown Pacers and turned back for their return back to Big Splash for a 17km BaseBuild pace run completion.  The Full Marathoners proceeded towards Marina Bay Sands, which was choc-a-block with many people and activities around the bay.  

The Sundown Runners broke into song a few more times as they cleared the way for a relatively smooth passage to Fullerton Bay Hotel before making their U-turn back to Big Splash.

The Lead Up Runners were having so much fun as a group that they did not feel too bad in spite of the clock closing in on their 'sleepy' bodies and having to contend with humidity.  The group energies and the motivation by the Sundown Pacers went a good way in ensuring that the groups stayed close together and in pace all the way back.

The Half Marathoners completed their joyful journey from 10.30pm onwards while the Full Marathoners reached back to Big Splash at 11pm, leaving them with ample time for another 2km-4km to complete the 26km distance prescribed. 

The beeline for the iced cold 100Plus was well managed by HiVelocity and the tired runners were just happy to relax on the floor, sipping their iced cold drinks and maxi milk for recovery, while listening in to the debrief and instructions for Lead Up Run #2.

As Lead Up Run #1 came to a close at 11.30pm, the high levels of endorphins kept the runners, especially the Sundown Pacers buzzing as more group photos were taken, coupled with excited chatter and sharing of tips and information.  

It was a very successful and immensely enjoyable lead up run, which would not have been possible without the outstanding organization of HiVelocity, the professionalism and commitment of the Sundown Pacers, as well as the enthusiastic participation and engaged cooperation of the Lead Up Runners - you all ROCKED THE NIGHT!

Sundown, Sundown, Who's The Best!
Sundown Runners, We're The Best!
Sundown Runners, Bring On The Night!  HOOhh-HAHhhh

Photos from FatBirds CK Chin, Meng Kiat


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