SINGAPORE SUNDOWN HALF MARATHON 2019
Looking to go for a run in Singapore? Here is an honest review of the Singapore Sundown Half Marathon 2019.
We were fortunate enough to be travelling around South East Asia and attempting to run in so many different places. We saw the Singapore Sundown Marathon (and half) advertised which fit really well with when we were going to be in the area. So we specially booked our flights to give us a chance to explore Singapore, as well as run the half marathon.
Half marathon over the marathon?
We chose the half marathon for many reasons, but just mainly that we wouldn’t have been able to fit in the marathon training with our travels leading up to the event. At least with the half marathon, we knew we could get the mileage in, plus it’s just a really great distance.
Now, before I start this review, I just want to say a few things. I really do not want to go with all of the negatives & I apologies in advance if that’s what it seems like. It is an honest review from our experience.
The route is an extremely flat run that takes you around the the main sights of Singapore. A run that winds around the streets and loops back on itself in different places, before coming into the final stretch of the main attractions in the last few miles. Starting at the F1 pit building, runners get to go past the Concourse, Golden Mile, National Stadium, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands and finishing just past the Singapore Flyer.
There was said to be hydration/aid stations located approximately every 2 -3 KM. With banana and energy gels available at the 14km and 36km marks.
The Singapore Sundown Marathon took place on the 1st June 2019. It was created in 2008 and became Singapore’s first official night marathon.
There are several different events on the day, 5km, 10km, half marathon, and full marathon – there is plenty to choose from!
You get the chance to run with several pacers on the event. For the full, between 4:00 hours and 5:30 hours. For the half, 2:00 hours to 2:45 hours. I believe there was at least 2 pacers per time.
Race pack pick up/ Expo
Well, if I’m honest, I can’t actually tell you anything about this. The event was on the 1st June but the race pack pick up was only during 24th-26th May. An email was sent out a week before stating when race pack pick up was but with no other information if you weren’t a resident. We scoured the website trying to find any information. Fortunately for us, we had a friend who lived in Singapore, and was also racing, who was able to pick up the pack for us.
I ended up messaging on the events instagram asking how international racers were meant to pick up the pack to which they replied that there was a race pack pick up on the day but no further information. I’m sure that it would have been fine, but we couldn’t see the information anywhere. It may just have been in the panic that we didn’t see it, but it wasn’t clear.
According to our friend, the pick up was really easy. She just handed our details in (you have to sign a letter of authorization) and they gave her the race packs with no issues.
In your race pack you were given blister packs, laundry detergent, shower soap, your race top, and other leaflets. The best thing though, it came in a large reusable bag for life – it is super handy as it fits so much in.
There was a good buzz in the village before the events. Plenty of things to see and do. My favourite bit is that they had films playing before and during the race – we managed to see a bit of Black Panther before we started. When you finished, they had the Champions League playing from 3am onwards.
There was also street food and yoga in the village, so a really good place if you want to arrive early and enjoy the atmosphere.
The half marathon and the full marathon were set off at the same time whilst the 5km and 10km had been completed earlier in the evening. There were 3 pens to start lining up in, based on times. As I put a slower time in, I was allocated the 3rd wave. Becky and Wayne moved into the start pen with me as they had been allocated the 2nd one but we all wanted to start together. Mitch went into the first wave as he was a lot faster than us!
Wave 1 was meant to go off at 23:30, but their wave didn’t start until 23:45, 15 minutes late. It was at this time that the tannoy started announcing a slight delay in the run and that the next waves were going to be set off a bit later. If I am honest, I couldn’t remember what time wave 2 went off at as I was so tired of waiting by this stage, I just wanted to go.
The final wave eventually set off at around 12:30/12:40, it was 45 minutes after the first wave went off. The energy was a bit low by this stage as we had waited so long. Even with the low energy, the music was pumping, the announcers were shouting words of encouragement over the tannoy, and once you crossed the start line, it all started to pick up.
We set off on the run and started at a pretty good pace. The rest of the runners around were all pretty good at staying as a group, keeping their pace and just generally running. Within the first mile, you could see the sweat dripping off of everyone. There is something about running a race in about 90% humidity in the heat that really brings out the sweat. All the runners were glistening in the lights.
For the first few miles, there were a few squeeze points with the hoards of runners. This meant that you ended up walking for about 5-10 minutes as the route has gone so small, only 2 people could get through at a time. For us, it was fine, as we weren’t there for a time, but I am aware that other runners weren’t so pleased. There was about 5/6 squeeze points throughout the race, but this was only the case for the second and the third wave. The first wave was lucky and didn’t have issues with this. I think ultimately, if you were in the last 2 waves, you shouldn’t hope for a PB.
The route was a really good way to see the views of Singapore. Although it was at night, you still were able to enjoy the beautiful views and lights around the route.
Now, this is the section I never thought I would talk about, but it has got to be addressed. Between miles 4 and 12, there was no water. They ran out of water. This was specifically for the half marathon, I can’t imagine what the marathon runners had to experience. The poor marshals at the water stations were definitely getting it in the ears about something that wasn’t their fault. All of the stations were completely empty, there was nothing to drink.
They ran out when we had made it to the 4 mile water station and the next one wasn’t for about 2-3km’s. At first we thought it would be fine, but then the next one didn’t have any, and then the next one. We didn’t know when we were going to be able to drink and this was when alot of runners started getting angry, annoyed and all decided to walk most of the event.
If I’m honest, I was just shocked. Running an event in that heat and humidity (I think it was around 32° and felt like 90% humidity) with no water is quite dangerous. Let alone running a full marathon.
The water was eventually restocked around mile 12 and then plenty at the finish. However, it was almost too little too late because the damage had been done, the runners were frustrated and it just seemed like a bit of a nightmare.
I have mixed opinions about the marshals in the race. They were spread all over the route, however, only about 6/7 of them seemed interested in the run. The ones who were interested were cheering, laughing and giving high 5’s to all of the runners – it was really encouraging and definitely what was needed. It seems like their attitude didn’t quite make it to the rest, who were all interested in their phones. At one stage, a runner fell over, and the marshals didn’t even look up from the phone – the other runners had to help him up.
The finish was a little bit quiet by the time we were coming up to it. There was still music blasting and everything was still set up (usually by the time I finish events, everything is packed away).
The finish area was still buzzing. The football was blasting and everyone was enjoying their much needed water & refreshments. It was definitely a nice way to finish off the race. Give or take the many issues we experienced during the run, at least they nailed the race village and finish!
I’ve never completed a race so late in my life, usually they are early morning or mid day events so this was certainly going to be interesting. I wasn’t sure how my body was going to cope with the late run but I thought it was going to be interesting.
It hit 11pm and I was super tired, I was so ready to go to sleep but knowing we still had another 30 minutes before we started was a bit of a killer. I was excited to get going though, the race village gave a great atmosphere. We watched a little bit of the end of Black Panther whilst we prepped ourselves for the race.
We had already decided that this race wasn’t about times, it was about enjoying ourselves and just having the experience.
I was really enjoying the run for the first 4/5 miles, and then the water station mess hit. Trying to see the positives out of it, we decided we would run until each mile check point and then walk until we felt like we wanted to go again. This was going to be the best way we were going to have a great race.
So ultimately, we ended up walking a lot of the race, and we were okay with that. I just felt bad as I knew Mitch was going to be waiting for us at the finish for a long time. We also wanted to look after ourselves, in that heat, we knew it wasn’t worth pushing our bodies. After every failed water station, it just started to become a bit of a joke and we could make a good laugh out of it.
We eventually came into the last 2/3 miles which for me, I think it the best part of the route. It is right where all of the man tourist attractions are, and it was all still lit up at this time of the night. It was really pretty to be running past Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Sands at this time of night, and a really good way to experience it all without the mass crowds!
We came into the finish, received our medals and water! By the time we had collected everything and enjoyed the time in the race village, it was coming up to 4:30am; it was really weird being up at this time in the morning, it felt like we were pulling an all nighter. This was when we decided to head home. It had been a bit of a hectic night and bed was calling.
It was a great lead up to the event and exciting to say that we were going to be running a half marathon in Singapore – unfortunately I think we were led down by the event itself. I read the reviews online after we had finished the race and it appears that in the years it had been running, there was always a serious issue.
It’s such a shame, because I never want to write anything bad about an event, but this needed to be said. They have all the right ideas, but seem to not have much of a clue when it came to race day itself. The information on international pick up, the late start, the pinch points and the no water. These are just things that shouldn’t have come up for such a big event.
On a positive note – we enjoyed the run as much as we could. The route is great, it is flat, it goes past all of the main sights of Singapore, it’s a really cool experience, and it certainly gives us a story to tell.
I’m not sure whether I would recommend this, I probably wouldn’t pay to do it again. I would like to see what improvements the event makes and whether they listen to all of the runners. It could be such a good event, they just need to work on the actual event!
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