Posts Tagged ‘SCSM

09
Aug
10

My Marathon Wish

I may not have run the best marathons in the world, and I need not to, to know what makes a great marathon.  As a runner who has joined quite a few marathons locally and one internationally, I’ve had my fair share of good, bad, and noxious races.

Darkness that is SIMLast year I got tired of a string of heartaches from poor races.  The lone marathon that I’ve prepared for, the infamous Subic International Marathon, almost broke me into tears, literally, as I felt abandoned by the organizers in the midst of the race in the absence of the basic but dire need—water.  I knew for a fact that I would’ve reached my goal of a sub-4 hour marathon that night had the race been at least decent.  And that story was just one of the few.  If I can’t get “my race” in the Philippines, I might as well get it elsewhere—and I found it in Singapore.

(Continue reading…)

21
May
10

More than a Name Change: Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) 2010

Last year was my first ever marathon outside the Philippines during what was then called Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM).  This year, Standard Chartered, the event’s title sponsor, decided to give it some makeover by having a name change.  But the changes with this year’s event is more than superficial—new sponsors, Race Director, routes, and event are being introduced.

ASICS would be the official outfitter of this year’s SCMS under the three-year sponsorship agreement (until 2012) and as such will be offering 15% discount off regular merchandise at ASICS Concept Stores, located at Paragon, #04-44A and Marina Square, #03-110 for participants of SCMS 2010 from August 01 to December 04, 2010.  Singapore Sports Council (SSC), the organizer of SCMS, appointed Dave McGillivray, the person behind Boston Athletic Association’s (BAA) Boston Marathon, as this year’s Race Director, but the two major changes that would be introduced this year are the new routes and the new Ekiden relay.

Full marathon runners will run down Orchard Road, Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts building, followed by bustling Chinatown and the grand Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.  Half marathon runners will start on Sentosa Bridge through Universal Studios and 10K runners will start off at the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and will run past Singapore’s Financial District before moving over to the new Helix Bridge.

The Ekiden (long distance relay) is the new addition to SCMS where six runners form a team to cover the entire 42.195K.  The first runner will flag off with the full marathon runners while the rest of the participants will be allocated to their respective stations.

I would’ve wanted to set a new course record with SCSM but it seems that with SCMS that’s no longer possible, but it does offer the charm of a new route (I think I’m more excited with 21K route, unless the marathon route covers it too) and the promise of a better race.

Registration for this year’s SCMS is already open and if you register between May 20 and June 04, 2010 you get at least 45% discount.  There’s also a 15% discount if you use Standard Chartered Credit or Debit Card.  This year’s race would be on December 05, 2010.  More details of the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2010 will be released within the next few months.

18
May
10

Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2010 Registration

Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2010 is about to open its doors for registration on Thursday, May 20, 2010.  To those lucky enough to be able to go to the Launch Roadshow on Raffles Place Park 10AM on that date will get first hand information on the race and if you’re among the first 80 registrants you’d get a premium goodie bag worth over S$500 which includes a Citizen Eco-Drive watch (now I’m envious).  The next 800 registrants to register will receive an exclusive goodie bag.  For more details visit www.marathonsingapore.com.

For some ideas on what else to do before, during, and after the race, checkout my chronicles from last year’s events (did you notice that the words “Singapore” and “Marathon” were swapped?).

13
May
10

Experience the World through Sports: Sports Tourism

Given a chance, who wouldn’t want to travel?  But travelling for sports?  That’s a different story altogether.

We typically travel either for business or leisure, and if it’s the latter we usually have relaxation in mind.  And relaxation doesn’t usually involve moving too much!

Sports Tourism is a niche of the travel industry with sports at its core—either through spectating or participation.  You need not go abroad to watch the World Cup or Olympics, or be an athlete yourself to be called a sports tourist—you already are when you went out of town for that basketball game!  Indeed spectating is the most relaxed form of sports tourism, but why stay behind the scenes when you can be part of the action?

A year ago I went to Singapore for some hard labor—not for employment as typically expected with most Pinoys—I went to run a marathon!  Even Singaporeans that I met were surprised that I visited their country for four days just to run.  I was a perfect example of a sports tourist!

The Philippines has much more to offer than Singapore as far as tourism is concerned.  The latter despite being one of the smallest countries in the world it is frequented annually by a lot of visitors.  It is so small in fact that you can practically cover the entire island in less than a day!  So what keeps tourists coming back to Singapore?  Sports!  Aside from world class marathons, the country is also popular for its F1 races and now they even host a 70.3 Ironman race.  Imagine all the income these tourists bring to their economy annually?

The Philippines may not have as developed tourism infrastructure as other countries but as far as sports tourism is concerned we’ve got so much to offer.  Recently our surfing spots are becoming world famous and also a similarly world-class 70.3 Ironman race reached our shores. Even our local running scene attracts some foreign elite athletes.  It may not be as much as with other countries but it’s a good start.  Mainly fuelled by locals, Philippine sports tourism needs all the support it can get, but what’s in it for you?

With sports tourism you get to view a place in an unusual perspective—like watching a movie behind the scenes.  But don’t be contented with “viewing,” participate! Participation in sports allows you to “experience” the place—and you don’t need to be an elite athlete to enjoy it.  We can say that sports tourists don’t just “visit” the place, they “experience” it!  And the Philippine advantage is that you have a lot to choose from for every budget!

For starters you can try “jogging” along baywalk (or a nearby park).  Once you get started everything becomes easier, and before you knew it you’d be taking that six hour bus ride or that next flight out just to participate with your favorite sports!

I was once just like every yuppie out there stuck between the walls of the office cube during office hours but through sports I was set free!  Little did I know that aside from being good for health, through sports I’d be able to experience the world in a unique way!  Don’t just take my word for it; experience it for your own.  Stop thinking and start doing.  Are you ready to make your own experiences?

Note: This article was originally intended for print.

10
Feb
10

You’ve Got Mail!

An unexpected surprise came into my mail today that made my already awesome day even better:

From Singapore Sports Council… I wonder what it is 😉 (yeah that’s how our local mail is treated, moving on…)

Tada! My SCSM 2009 Finisher’s Certificate

I actually forgot all about it, and I’m glad I did because now it came as a surprise.  And good thing that it still holds my marathon best time.  And yes, it’s laminated and it even comes with a zip-lock bag (for your Finisher’s shirt in case you want your finish time printed on it, see below).  I-love-it!

Wear your best time on your finisher tee (click to download instructions)

😀

28
Dec
09

runningpinoy’s 2009 Second Half Report

Before we look back at the year in its entirety let us first review the Philippine running scene for the last six months.  This period saw highs and lows as far as races were concerned.  Races reached all-time high in terms of participants while inversely its quality fell to all-time lows (since August 2008 when I started joining races).  We’ve also seen race fees skyrocket to outrageous levels but there were still great races from good organizers that gave free races.

July

July marked my marathon debut on one of the best organized race of the year with the 33rd Milo Marathon Manila Eliminations. It was at a caliber unseen before locally and although it fell a little short it served as an epitome on how races should be organized.  Globe’s Run for Home was also a milestone as it introduced disposable timing chips while being virtually a free race when prepaid loads served as registration fees.

Personal achievement: First marathon and half-marathon PR

Disposable timing chip used in Run for Home

August

Kenny’s Open Urbanite Run introduced the first organized night race in the Metro with disposable timing chips to boot.  It could also be credited with starting the steep rise of race fees that would ensue throughout the year.

Personal achievement: 10-mile PR

Scene from KOUR

September

Mommy Milkshake was one of the most organized fun run of the year and the only one to be really free!  It puts in question organizers’ “reasons” for putting up expensive registration fees with races.  It was also during this month when race distance accuracy became a serious issue when RotaRun’s 21K was 3K short.

Personal achievement: First provincial Milo race

Pink Power at Mommy Milkshake Fun Run!

October

International Marathon (IM) season has begun with Quezon City International Marathon (QCIM) followed the following weekend with Subic International Marathon (SIM).  The use of the words “international” and “prestigious” became in question when races that used these didn’t live up to their promises. This month also started the “Kenyan invasion.”

Personal achievement: First marathon pacer duty; first back-to-back marathon (second and third)

World-class competition at the QCIM

November

The Philippine International Marathon (PIM) ended the “IM” season and was also highly criticized for not rewarding marathon finishers with a medal (the only one to do so thus far). It was a month plagued with poorly organized races!  The month seemed to turn for the better when Timex Run came but was derailed when Fit ‘n Right Fun Run didn’t turn out to be fit or fun for many disappointed runners.  Fortunately Run Ahead in Laoag, Ilocos Norte reminded everyone of how races should be with a well-organized, fun, generous, and charitable race making Metro Manila-based organizers look very greedy.

Personal achievement: Fourth marathon; 5K PR

Team Logan during PIM

December

Corregidor was a breather for many local runners and although it wasn’t trouble-free it was definitely unique.  There were still plenty of races for the month but personally I’ve had my dose of preposterous registration fees with mediocre races so I decided to be in abstentia for the month.

Personal achievement: Fifth marathon and new PR (via Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon)

Takbo.ph in Singapore!

Lessons and Tips

There were a lot of lessons both runners and organizers can learn with these period.  As long as these points were taken we have no reason not to improve next year.  Personally here are some tips I can give to fellow runners especially those that are just beginning to join races here in the Philippines:

  • Time yourself. Not all races we join are “reliable” and if you intend to monitor your progress get a watch.  You don’t even need one with a stopwatch, you just you’re your common sense.  Buy an über cheap children’s digital watch for P20 (from sidewalk vendors; no reason not to have a budget), remember your time when you start and look at it when you cross the finish.  You should get a rough approximate of your time which not accurate but it’s much better than nothing (what do you expect for P20?). You may validate it later when the race results come out.  If you have some dough buy a stopwatch, but if you have some serious dough get a GPS watch!
  • Bring your own water/sports drink. You need not buy a hydration belt; just bring a small flask or bottle of water or your preferred sports drink in case the organizer didn’t fulfill his obligation.  Consider investing in one though but ask around fellow runners first before purchasing.
  • Don’t be a distance freak! A few meters off the mentioned distance doesn’t mean you’ve been ripped off by the organizers.  Here’s my point: try to make an accurate 1K route using any GPS device.  Run that same route at least twice and see if you can get an accurate 1K every single time.  If you do try to make routes in 5K, 10K, 21K, and 42K and do the same.   If you still have an accurate distance every time you can make yourself a race route director.

I hope that newbies don’t get intimidated by bad experiences from previous races and continue joining reputable races, especially those with a “real” cause.  Before signing up for a race, don’t just join because everyone else does—ask fellow runners about the reputation of the organizers or the conduct of its past races.  Even the “pros” have “bad days” while on the other hand everyone deserves a second chance.  Best of all follow your heart—regardless of what everyone says it’s up to you to decide where you’re investing your hard earned cash.  Remember that we are not only paying for our right to join their race, we are also paying for the experience.

Summary

It was a “one step forward, two steps back” half for the year.  Disposable timing chips definitely placed Philippine races forward at par with races abroad but the proliferation of unbelievably disorganized races with outlandish registration fees were really traumatizing especially to newcomers to the sport.  Even race results became optional as we saw some races with no official race results, and those that do have inaccurate, very much delayed, or alphabetically-sorted race results!  Common sense wasn’t very commonly applied as far as this half was concerned!

23
Dec
09

Singapore Special: The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (Day 03)

One of my dreams is coming true: “to run a marathon abroad.” Not only am I fulfilling it, I’m doing it with flying colors with SCSM which is one of the most popular marathons in the world.  I remember when I first knew of SCSM a year ago I was quite envious of the runners that were racing here especially that they got full gear from a leading sports brand.  Back then my longest race was 10K so I never thought that a year later I too would be in Singapore, doing a full marathon!

From our hostel it was an easy kilometer to the Starting line and along the way we met runners of all sorts, nationalities, and races also on their way to the Start.  Aside from the heat you feel because of the humidity you can feel the heat of competition in the air!  We were in the presence of thousands of serious runners and world class elite athletes, definitely not your regular “social” race.  If this atmosphere doesn’t motivate you to run better, I don’t think anything could.

Baggage Counter

It’s pretty difficult to miss the baggage counter because signs were all over.  What’s good about their system was that they probably had enough space for every runner, and they don’t just take your bags, they place it inside huge plastic bags and seal it so you know that your things are protected.  Your baggage claim number would be stapled on your bib itself so you won’t lose it.

The Starting Line

From the baggage counter signs were placed that lead to the Starting line, the only difficulty would be navigating your way through the thousands of runners in the area.  Even in the area signs were very visible on where 21K and 42K runners should assemble.

Edu, Pepsi, Myself, and Carina (white bibs 42K, red bibs 21K)

The Starting line of SCSM was located across Fullerton Hotel and runners were assembled on the bridge all the way to the Esplanade.  There were a lot of portalets around the area (although there were so much more runners!) and water was also overflowing.

Thirsty?

Not all runners are created equal.  We all have different goals and capabilities and as such sections were dedicated for different target finish times: there was a section for over 5 hours, over 4 hours, over 3 hours, and of course up front the real competitive athletes.  Since timing chips were employed and if you’re not aiming for the podium your chip time would be your reference as getting through the Start line would take some time.

The Race

At exactly 5:30AM (Garmin time, to the second) the race started.  There were runners of all levels as far as the eye can see!  It took us more than two minutes (from the sub-5 hour section) to get through the Start line as the road was just jam packed!  It’s not that anyone was walking; everyone was running—all at the same pace!  It was strange for me at first to be surrounded by runners all running at about the same pace but despite the skill level of my company, because of the crowd we were running at an average of 6:30/km pace for the first 4K.

What’s nice with having a competitive pack like this was that you’re kept motivated to run.  You wouldn’t want to stand out in the crowd by being the first one to walk?  In the first place you picked your pace by choosing which section to start so there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to keep up with the crowd’s pace.  Everyone around you has the same goal as you: it’s either you let yourself be pulled towards the goal, or drag people to miss it.

After the euphoria and fatigue starts seeping in you’d just realize you’ve already ran 21K and the crowd is still there!  The jam packed crowd from the Starting line only loosens slightly at around 10K and even at 21K it was still pretty packed.  It was good I was in the sub-5 hour pack as nobody’s walking (so far) with the roads getting narrower when we entered East Coast Park, a beachside park with huge trees.  We were running on the park’s jogging trail so even if it was wide enough there were so many runners for the space.  Since we were already on our way back past 21K we can see on the other side the “slower” pack which was of course more crowded.

East Coast Park was one of my favorite parts of the course since it was very lively, it was beachfront, it had fresh air, it had a lot of supporters, and there was food!  You can feel the community’s support here as individuals give runners bananas, sandwiches, candies, and moral support.

As you progress with the race you just feel like the water stations get further and further despite being consistently at every 1.5K.  It was those moments where your mind would carry you.  Without a strong disposition you may give up.  Realistically it’s also at this point where you start slowing down without knowing it.  I remember that there was a runner who was starting to walk behind me.  One of the supporters put out one of his several banners, “this is a no walking zone.”  It was quite a funny moment and apparently it worked as the “walker” started running again with the supporter replying with a “thank you.”

I vaguely remember the details but around 10K before the finish I felt an imminent cramp setting on my left thigh.  I feared that I might walk all the way to the finish if it ensued so I had to take a brief rest and a walk break whenever I reach a water station.  Then I remembered my goal: “minimize walking.”  All my prior marathons have more than ideal walk breaks so if I were to stick to my goal I had to keep running.  As a compromise between preventing the full onset of cramps and minimizing walking I settled for easy and cautious running, of course walking a little after each water station.  Still, I think I was spending too much time at the water stations without realizing it, so when one of the volunteers at the water station cheered me up “Keep going, Dennis!” I was startled, but it woke me up and surprisingly got motivated to do just that, to the finish.

Finally back at Esplanade Drive, the Finish is just a few hundred meters away.  It was very, very crowded as runners from all categories converge in the area (think Milo Marathon) of course including “walkers.”  Looking at my GF405 I knew I would set a new PR and at a better than expected time!  I had to take it.  Out of nowhere I suddenly had the strength to run and finish strong, thinking fast to find my way through the sea of walkers and finally there it was, the Finish line.  I actually entered the wrong area of the Finish so I had to jump to the other section and make a mad dash against the clock.  As I crossed the Finish I was just so ecstatic that I just raised both my hands. It actually felt much longer than it actually was when I reviewed my video, which was probably adrenaline rushing.  Another marathon, my best so far, a “perfect” race for me.

Post Race

Finishing SCSM wasn’t enough; part of the experience was getting your reward: the precious finisher’s medal and the nice finisher’s shirt.  We also got a lot more freebies from the sponsors but I’d say the ice cream (more like ice popsicle) was one of my favorite treat (I got three).

Proud SCSM 42.195K Finisher

Singapore City Hall: the site of SCSM’s Finish

The activity area…

…with the skyline

…and the VIP tent

…where fruits, drinks, ice cream, and candy floss were served for free

It was definitely quite an experience, uniquely Singapore! I had so much fun that I am seriously considering returning to Singapore next year, although it may be with another event (who knows maybe I’ll return more than once).  I needed to fly three hours just to get the race that I was craving for, and despite the costs incurred it was well worth it for me.  This is an excellent example that when you give your best in anything you do, people will know, and you’ll get the credits and benefits you deserve.  Costs and distance will not be a factor if people know they’d get an experience they won’t forget.  Thank you Singapore and thank you Standard Chartered!  I am now a fan of SCSM!

Special thanks to Carina for the pictures that appeared here.

Singapore Special Index:




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The MIRACLE isn’t that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the COURAGE to START
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