Archive for the ‘Singapore’ Tag
Still in Singapore, yesterday I ran in the Green Race Ultra Challenge, a trail run based on loops of 9.3 km, with options to run one loop, two, or as many as you can in 8 hours. I chose the two loop option, and since the start was at 08:15 I prepared myself for the worst of the Singapore heat and humidity.
In the end the heat wasn’t that bad, but my race was. I started much too fast, partly because of the deceptive first 3 km, on a flat and easy track, but then the hills started – lots of small and steep ones – and I finished the first loop with severe cramping. I started the second loop much slower, walking some of the hills, and recovered a bit towards the end, but my splits were 51:47 and 63:10, which is pretty awful. I finished 9th out of 71, and I couldn’t have improved more than 2-3 places anyway. My route is on Strava.
The course was half an easy track, which here is basically a wide grass strip with a dirt single-track in the middle , usually used by bikes, and half a scenic walking/bike trail through the jungle, which was very similar to running a single-track back at home, except the rocks are replaced by tree roots. On the first loop I wondered why the various tourists we passed were pointing their cameras up at the trees beside the trail, but then I realised that they were trying to take pictures of the monkeys!
Speaking of pictures – I’ve never seen so many photographers at a running event, at so many places along the course. The Running Shots team took loads of pictures and the best ones of me are below.
I’m on another business trip to Singapore, but this time there is progress on the ground. My compatriot Gil Rinat is still on relocation here, and he managed to connect the Singaporean orienteering group to Davidi Segal, one of our experienced mappers who has lots of vacation time and adult children (unlike myself). They paid for him to travel, and he just finished making a few park maps.
Yesterday after work I ran with Gil on Pasir Ris, a large seaside park in the north of Singapore. It was probably the easiest orienteering I’ve done for years, but it was fun – not too hot with a brisk sea breeze, mostly flat grass and paved trails, and some very nice features. We just marked some controls on the map and ran the course as fast as we could, which was 4.75 km in 26:04.
They can definitely organise an event here soon, and there are plans for more maps and races in the future, with Gil giving advice as long as he’s here. Hopefully Singapore will soon be one of the IOF’s newest member states.
I’m on business in Singapore again, and with my orienteering friends out of town I registered for the Energizer Night Trail Run on Saturday night, not exactly knowing what to expect but confident that I could finish the 18 km course. I did some research in advance, using Google Earth and last year’s video and results, but there were still some surprises waiting for me.
The first was the race’s PR team. They contacted me by e-mail asking for details before the race, and arranged for a telephone interview with Singapore radio (which I then heard, by chance, while in a taxi travelling back from work). Then at the race I was met by nice Lu Minru, who had a sack of gifts for me in addition to the standard participant’s bag full of goodies.
The second surprise was the course. I knew there would be hills, and even how high they were, but I didn’t know how steep. Based on the distance and last year’s results I was expecting to run 1:35-1:40, which would have placed me in 20-30th place, and the start looked good as I ran the first 4 km in about 20 minutes, gaining some height along the way, but then came a couple of really steep uphills, including one that reduced me to walking, and my pace slowed drastically. After the first 6 km loop we merged with the stream of 12 km starters, and from then on I was overtaking much of the time. The 11th km included the famous Hill 265 (feet), with a very steep and sandy climb that reduced everyone to scrambling and even had a rope for the weaker climbers, and then there were a few more steep parts before a long and comfortable run-in on a slight downhill.
I finished the run (measured by my GPS at 17.5 km) in 1:43:56 and 55th place (out of 665 men). It was a tough challenge, but very satisfying to finish and a great experience. The organisation was great, except for the kilometer markings on the route which were quite inaccurate (see below). I would certainly run it again, but obviously there’s only a very slim chance that I’ll be in Singapore again for next year’s race.
In the beginning of December I was in Singapore again for a short business trip (Monday to Saturday). Despite not having a weekend there, I was determined to make a map – and the only option was Fort Canning Park, 5 minutes walk from the hotel. There was no base map, so I used Google Maps, which had a basic outline and many of the paths and buildings.
After landing on Monday evening, I skipped mapping on Tuesday, but planned on using the remaining three mornings and as much time as necessary on Saturday. I have to be at the office at 09:00 (after a shower and breakfast), so the schedule was tight – first light is around 06:45. The start on Wednesday was promising – I met up with Sebastian Wong just after starting, he followed me around for a while to see how it’s done, and I made good progress.
But December is the rainy(er) season in Singapore. Half an hour after starting work on Thursday it started pouring, and after waiting it out for 10 minutes (there are enough buildings around in the park for shelter) I opened my umbrella and headed back to the hotel, arriving quite soaked. Friday was OK, and I was optimistic about Saturday, but luckily I started early (my flight was at 21:00, so there was time) because at around 9:30 it started raining again and after waiting for half an hour I quit again, with not much work left to be done. I waited until the rain stopped at around 14:00 (including some shopping, lunch, packing, etc.) and then dashed out for another couple of hours to finish the map.
Due to the rain, I didn’t have enough time to survey the contours (I was planning to use my laser rangefinder’s height difference function), so there are lots of earth bank symbols for the slopes. I hope to be able to put in some finishing touches on a future trip, but there’s nothing planned yet. The finished map is in 1:3000 and according to ISSOM, except for a non-standard symbol that I added for the gardened areas (out-of-bounds would have looked awful).
Any orienteer who is visiting Singapore is welcome to contact me and receive a digital copy of the map, but more importantly I hope the Singaporean orienteers will be able to use it for training and races, and to attract more people to the sport.