The MF UltraMarathon Challenge
This was the first time MF Running Club has organized a UltraMarathon, and we have been getting many runners to train and run in the individual open and team events. The race was to run from 7am through 2pm, with runners completing as many laps of the 10km MF route as possible. In tie situations, actual run timings would be tabulated and counted for.
I was looking to participate in this MF Challenge with a minimum of 3 laps, which would be a good weekend workout for me. The weather forecast for today was late morning and afternoon showers. Many SgRunners have signed up with SAFRA Running Club just for this race...Brokie, SealBoon, Cosmic, Gentle, and more. When we arrived at the clubhouse at 6.30am, a large crowd had gathered by the registration tables, all neatly set-up and manned by many sweet ladies. Ultraman showed up to pace Ripley and Kayano.
The race started promptly at 7am with the sound of the horn by Ong. I took a leisurely pace, and was aiming to do the first 3 laps below 1hr for each lap. With the full dinner I had last evening, I could not wait to offload some of those carbo...:). We ran along Henderson Road, turn towards Harbourfront, and then ascend Mt. Faber by the steeper Kampng Bahru side. As I did not want to tire myself out too early, I walked the steep part of the slope, following quite a number of the runners. The official photographer was busy snapping our photos, and since we were all fresh, nice poses were displayed by all.
Once up to the Jewel Box, we would have the main support table, and we were supposed to collect the first wrist-band. On the way down to MF loop, I collected the second wrist-band from TLH. Out from Morse Road, we would once again run along Harbourfront and then towards Kampng Bahru. This part is pretty mental as there is very little shade, and the concrete pavement stresses the legs. In addition, we would have to pass this portion twice for each 10km lap....yucks! I collected the 3rd and final wrist-band along Telok Blangah Rise, and finished the lap in 57min...ok, I was still fresh. Took some bananas and 100plus, and off I went for the second lap.
I went through the second lap in pretty cool wether taking also 57min. I was running most of the time alone, with one or two familiar faces in front. Took a powergel, more 100plus, and went off for the 3rd lap. Cosmic followed close behind me for the first 2 laps. The 3rd lap had the sun shining brightly, and it took its toll on many of the runners. I continued to maintain my pace, and finished in about 58min. With the 3 laps done under 3hr, I had 4hr to do another 3 laps. I was contemplating to do a 6th lap if the weather was kind. However, the 4th lap was a killer, with the sun burning my skin. I was feeling the strain as I moved up Kampong Bahru. I drank lots of isotonic drinks to keep myself hydrated.
After finishing the 4th lap in about 1hr10min, I decided to take a long break of 30min before going for the 5th. I changed into clean socks and shoes, but my feet still felt quite sore. Eric who was pacing me for the 2nd part of the 4th set decided to end the run, as he did not like the HOT weather. After chatting with many of the running kakis, I moved off for my 5th lap. My legs was starting to feel like lead, and with the mid-day sun blazing down, I decided to finish with 5 laps...at least that would be classed as a UltraMarathon (50km) for me.
Running by Harbourfront and towards Kampong Bahru was unbearable. I had to take lots of walk breaks up the slopes of Kampong Bahru, and my body was heating up. Nearthe Jewel Box, Shirlyn had moved forward to meet us...I was walking, and could not find energy to even jog. The second time along Harbourfront was terrible, and I had to stop to walk even on relatively flat surfaces. Colleen came by and egged me on. I picked up and followed her closely all the way to Ronnie/Thomas' water point. It was great relief, as I declared that I had 2km more to the finish. With words of encouragement from all, I slow jogged alll the way, collecting my final wrist-band to finish at the ClubHouse to rousing applause. Jaime mentioned that I was in the running for 5th position for Men's Open, which was good news for me :).
The women's race was very competitive; Lai Chee was doing her 6th lap; Sok Hwa, Helen, Jancy and PS were alogging it out in the 5th lap. For the men's open, Teck Hou, Melvin, Jimmy Chow did 6 laps, while Bug decided to stop at 5, getting 4th position. The top 2 teams did 7 laps, and Colleen/DO combination really sparked the competition in the end. With the final horn blown at 2pm sharp, the prize giving ceremony got underway. Lai Chee topped the women's cat. Brokie did a very respectable 4th position; I was impressed with her 50km distance, as she had not done much running recently. DO and Colleen did very well to clinch 2nd pos for the team competition, with medals, vouchers and cash prizes. Teck Hou took the top prize for men's open. Bug was 4th with 5-lap easy run. I was very fortunate to get 5th position, and was rewarded with a medal, $100 Pearl Izumi Voucher, a bag and water bottle. I was happy, as this was the fist time I have won anything at all in a running competition...haha. A well-organized race, with all enjoying it, including the marshalls and helpers. I guess there will be more participation and intense competition for MF Challenge 2008...cya all then!