Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Singapore Bay Run/Army Half Marathon 2009

Race Report by FatBird Anthony
Photos By DO, Melvin Jnr

Team FatBird Runners @ AHM2009

I had 2 good days of carbo-loading leading up to this yearly 21.1km race, the Singapore Bay Run/Army Half Marathon 2009. Team FatBird Runners donning their TFB Running Tops gathered at 5am at the Esplanade sunken amphitheater. We had a few group photos, before proceeding to the start line at 5.10am. The few of us guys were frantically trying to locate toilets, and was aghast to find that the public toilets around the area were closed, and there were long queues at the porta-loos. By the time we were done, it was 5.20am. We managed to squeeze through but we were quite far back from the start this year.

Team FatBird & friends @ AHM2009

As we were trying to inch ourselves a little further up, the MC suddenly announced that the race had started...a good 5min before the pre-determined 5.30am flag-off. A minute elapsed, and I was not moving much. I started my Garmin 405 as we walked towards the ChampionChip mat. By the time we crossed the mats, another minute went by. The initial 3km was one of braking, slowing down and weaving around the bunched up pack, who were running at about 6min/km pace....shucks! There was a clearer opening as we ascended the Sheares Bridge. I took the opportunity to break free and moved ahead to make up for lost time. The pace then was 5.45min/km....fwah!

As I passed familiar faces and Team FatBird Runners, I gave them the thumbs up and told them to 'Keep It Up'. I was trying to make up for 'lost' time, and did not have the luxury to chit-chat too much, not that the runners wanted to talk anyway....haha. Everyone was focused, and all I heard at that early morning hour were sounds of breathing, footsteps pounding the roads, and the sloshing of water as we passed water stations. As I had my fuel belt with me, I skipped the first 2 water stations to avoid getting in the way of the crowd.

By the time I entered Fort Road, about the 7km mark, I had brought the average pace down to about 5:05min/km....ok, time to take a breather...hehe. As I trotted along, still trying to find ample space along the narrow pathway along the ECP, I passed Li Lian, and then YN....both were doing very well. Up to 9km mark, I spotted Han Low, and then Silvia, Cheow. They were all on track for 1:45min/km up to the 12km mark. Then Lexus ran past at fast speed....oops, he must have been caught by the earlier start, just like Ben Swee, who had earlier caught up with me at Fort Road. After a breather, I had to increase the pace to bring it down to a sub 1:45hr target...Han and Cheow were maintaining too. Then spotted Roonz and aerosolcan, very steady pacing. Anna was around the vicinity as well.

It was still dark as I turned out onto Mountbatten Road. The distance marker earlier showed 13km. I saw Roentgen doing a steady 4:58min/km pace....wow, this guy had really improved heaps since his one year stay in the USA, running with the local clubs and all. I was feeling quite alright at that point, and decided to move ahead. The drinks stations were great this time around, with the marshals coming out and handing out cups of isotonic and plain water. I drank mostly on the run to save more time...hehe. With 6km to go, the crowd had thinned, and I was able to move about quite freely. Some of the slopes were a welcomed change for me to capitalize on the different styles of running. The Newton Racers I had on were behaving well, with good ventilation...not much heat generated, and I didn't really feel them at all.



With 5km to go, I passed Johnny and then caught up with Lai Chee. She seemed to be conserving for the final push....so I moved up to a group of guys and ran alongside for a bit. There were 2 slopes to tackle, and a few were slowing down. As I moved forward, there were more girls up front...wow...a pleasant surprise to see so many more strong lady runners this year. When we entered the F1 Pit area, it was just down to 2.5km....time check showed 1:30hr. Knowing that I have made up most of the 'lost' time, I slowed down to soak in the sights and sounds of the 'happening' cheerleaders and the final push for the 'rear' runners of the competitive army units. I could see Donald from MR25 taking count of his runners, and then followed by Eugene further up.



As I turned back to Esplanade Drive, I was in the mood for some photo taking...ran past Tekko who was there snapping away, but he just missed me...haha. There were a couple more photographers snapping away, and from a distance, we could see the army boys and friends cheering and welcoming the runners. Since I had some reserves left, I decided to pick up the pace, overtook another 10-15 runners, and crossed the finish line in 1:42:30....the nett time should be 1:41h or so. James Lua was just behind me, and we also saw Lim Lian Hock. It was nice catching up with James as we proceeded to get our finisher medals. Darren (1:40), Spencer (1:41), Keonz (1:30), Max (1:28), Aaron (1:33), Teck Hou (1:33) and many of them had already finished. After grabbing a 100plus, I went back to the finish line to welcome back the finishing runners....YN (1:49), Silvia (1:52), Li Lian (1:52), Eileen (1:52), Yong (1:56), Zhilei (1:59) & Max (1:54), June (2:01) and many TFB runners who did so well.

SAFRA Mt. Faber Running Club @ AHM2009

DO and I then joined the SAFRA MF group for more photos, as well as catch up with running friends and kakis. Jackie (1:34), Melvin (1:32), WenLong (1:26) and many of the SAFRA Runners did extremely well. Colleen and William had a nice outing too. Jaime and Ong were still not too well to run, as were a few other runners who took up the responsibilities of being cameramen and supporting crew :). Thereafter, we proceeded to the Cenotaph for the 9am Team FatBird Group Photo sessions. Lots of runners had already gathered by then, many sharing their trials and tribulations of the AHM2009 experience...many like Amy, SC Lim, Wai Pong did very well at their maiden half-marathons. Berno, Han, Eline and many more new FatBird Runners achieved personal bests. We waited till 9.15am for the 10km finishers who started their race under the blistering sun at 8am. Rose and her team did well to finish the race under trying conditions.



Overall, it was a great outing, although the initial human-jam and earlier start did put a small dampener on the good overall organization of the entire AHM2009. Till AHM2010!

When You Run The Bay, FatBirds Will Yet Show The Way!

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