This morning my husband ran in the Standard Chartered marathon race, while my father-in-law participated in the 10km run. The marathon flag-off started at 5am, so my husband had to leave the house at 3.30am. I brought my parents-in-law to the race later as the 10km race flag-off started only at 7.15am. (They’re out-of-towners.) My husband participated in the half-Marathon at the same competition last year. Apparently the 21km route was worst than the marathon route because it was pretty hilly. My husband told me last year, after the race, it was a rude shock for him since he didn’t train for uphill running. As he was struggling in his run, he kept hearing the cheerleaders shouting “you can do it!” He felt like punching one of them in the face.
Anyway this was my husband’s second marathon, the first being the Adidas Sundown Marathon held in late May this year. As its name implies, it started at 10.30pm. So you can imagine the time when most people finished the race. My husband developed blisters midway through it, and was forced to walk the last 15km. But we’re pretty proud he didn’t give up despite the agonizing pain, and completed the race. He described it as the Bataan Death march for him.
After we sent off my father-in-law to the starting line, my mother-in-law and I were looking for the viewing gallery and also to get close to the finishing line. But unfortunately the pathway at the Padang was blocked off just before we arrived. So we had no choice but to take a circuitous route via Old Parliament lane. But when we were at Victoria Concert Hall, we found out from an organizer that we wouldn’t be able to go near to the Old Parliament House and no way could we get close to the finishing line. In fact she told us that our location was a vantage point to view the competitors making their final 500m to the finishing line. So we parked ourselves there.
There were hell of a lot of runners. For the marathon alone, there were more than 20,000, and there were around 16,000 participants in the 10km run. My mother-in-law and I were in no time surrounded by the 10km and 5km runners as we were near the starting line. Seriously, by the time all of them were flag off, it was way past 8.00am. I overheard the commentators mentioned earlier that the marathon flag-off for all runners took an hour.
So we were waiting around for the marathon runners to start coming in, and as expected the first guy is an African, he ran past us at 2hr13min. But since we were still about 500m from the finishing line, he took slightly longer, which is not surprising considering we’re in the tropics and it’s impossible to make it in the same time as compared to running in temperate countries. Anyway from what I observed, at least top 10 male runners appeared to be Africans. The top 3 female runners are also Africans. Seriously they are damn fast! I only managed to take a shot of the back view of the 1st African, he zoomed past like speedy Gonzalez. They look extremely fit, and very lean. The first Asian guy ran past us only 20mins after the first African guy did. The first female runner ran past 3 mins after the Asian guy.
As I was watching the marathoners coming in, like an hour after the 1st guy, I was wondering how come some of them don’t look like they were trained for 42km and yet able to complete in pretty fast time (I mean a flabby person able to complete a marathon in less than 3.5 hours is a miracle.) Upon closer look, I realized these were 5km and 10km runners. Strangely many of the 5km runners looked as though they had ran a marathon, huffing and puffing. Sorry to say this, but most of the 10km and 5km runners I saw don’t look rather fit to me. They either look like casual runners or weekend warriors. Worst, I actually saw a couple having a smoke after the run. Many of them also ended up at McDonald’s at Raffles City mall. My father-in-law told us later that he saw a couple of runners puking along the way. That’s the problem when you don’t train enough. But I guess, at least these people run, hopefully once a week. It’s better than those who don’t even exercise.
A lot of kids participated in the Kids Dash. When ours is 2-year old, I’ll take him or her to the kids dash run. That will also help to instill an interest in running in the kid. It’s very important to encourage the child to participate in physical activities. When parents exercise, kids will follow suit.
Anyway my father-in-law did relatively well in his run, at 1hr 50mins, which means he’ll get a certificate for completing the race in less than 2hrs. My poor husband got blisters after the mid-way point on both feet (again). He said it was so excruciating that he imagined it was worse than labor pain since he couldn’t ask for an epidural. So his contention is that I shouldn’t complain about labor pain when I deliver the baby next year. (Yeah, right!) He was tempted by the stretcher a number of times, especially with the hot sun blazing and going up and down Benjamin Sheares Bridge. Worst he had to suffer from lower backache and take in the hot sweat emanating from around him. But he was determined not to be disqualified in order to receive the medal. He claimed he is now able to understand the pain Jesus went through when carrying the cross. Again he felt like killing somebody when the cheerleaders chanted “you can do it!” (“What the hell do you think I’m doing?”) My friend, Evelyn, who participated in the marathon with her husband, also suffered during the race. She injured her knee at the 25km mark and was forced to limp the rest of the 17km. Well, I think to run a marathon, you must possess a sadomasochistic streak to push yourself to the finishing line. I don’t think I have that in me.
Despite the bad experience, Eve is still going for the marathon next year. My husband is considering focusing on half-marathon to improve his timing. But he may change his mind next week because he’s already talking about changing his training method and training properly. Also no traveling within a few weeks of a race. The Chiangmai trip had taken a toll on his stamina.