Run Review - Around Singapore (125km)
By NED PHILLIPS
Back in 2004 I ran round Singapore. 125km. 17hrs 48mins. Started from the Fullerton Hotel at 5am finished back at the same place at 10.48pm.>
9 months before that I went for a run from my work in Singapore. I had planned to go for a 2 hour run. 1 hour out and then turn round and come back. Well at the hour point I was on the East Coast Park and I just decided to carry on running for the next hour in the same direction. Well in just over two hours I got to the airport. After I got in a cab to take me back to where I started I thought ‘well why don’t I, on my next run, start where I just finished the last run and run for another two hours’. And that idea germinated into ‘well why not find a route all the way round Singapore and then run it all in one day’. Quite how my brain decided that I am not sure. Maybe it was the lack of blood sugar after a 2 hour run in 34 C heat.
So about one month ago I choose the date of 26th Feb. to do the run. By then I had found my route all the way round. I wanted to run it all in one calendar day so I started at 5am and hoped to finish by about 10pm. But the best laid plans, not that mine were laid particularly well anyway, went wrong straight away when I got lost in the dark 40 mins after starting. For those of you who know my navigation skills this loss of way will be no surprise. I blame the fact that what was once a forested area in Marina East is now devoid of trees and on its way to becoming Singapore’s biggest new development area. After 15 mins or so I got myself right and off along the East Coast to the airport.
Along the way the greatest thing happened. The sun didn’t come up. Well not so I could see it anyway. After 36 days of a Singapore heatwave the rain finally came on the day of my run. By 9am it was pouring down and I was singing in the rain. Perfect day. I met my kids at 10am out at Pasir Ris in the far east of Singapore, where they drank my Pocari, ate my Power gels and then ran with me for a 100 yards.
The next 5 hours until I met Jackie and the kids again were hard. The sun was winning its battle with the clouds and I was losing my battle with my mind. It never quite convinced me to stop but it had a good go at about 1pm. I still had 2 hours till I met Jackie and I just wanted to have little walks here and there. These walks got more frequent and longer. But then something-clicked upstairs that walking was not going to get me all the way round by midnight, so I got going into the full speed of a slow run again.
I met Jackie at the Kranji Dam in the north west of Singapore, which overlooks to Malaysia. Jackie had laid out a feast of goodies and after 10 hours of running and 10 power gels the sight of real food was joyful. Oranges, pasta, dried mango all went down fast. Also the block of ice on my head and wrists was very welcome. My friend Rob, who was in town from HK, met me at Kranji as well and he ran on with me for the next three hours down Lim Chu Kang Road. Rob and I have run 1000’s of km together and he did a great job of keeping me running rather than walking. At about 4.30pm a huge thunderstorm broke all around us. At one point there was no time difference between the lightning then the thunder, and based on our schoolboy calculations that meant the storm was right over us. Then this huge bolt of lighting came down very close to us. Frightened me enough that I had to have a quick walk break.
At 6.30pm Rob left as he was on an evening flight to Boston. I was now down by the Singapore Discovery Centre out past Jurong. I still had about 28km to go along the West Coast. I plodded on for a bit and then after a double caffineted power gel my energy lifted and I started moving along quite nicely. I was now running through the industrial area of Singapore but since it was now evening there were very few lorries on the road and it was surprisingly one of the nicest bits of the run. I ran through West Coast Park and was getting hungry; almost hungry enough to go into the McDonalds but luckily I came to my senses in time to run on by.
I knew that when I saw the cable cars going to Sentosa I was only about half an hour from finishing. Normally you can see the cable cars from quite a distance. But as I ran on I just couldn’t see them. After 17 hours of running I started to fixate on seeing the cable cars. I was even starting to think I had somehow gone the wrong way. It wasn’t till I was 1km passed them that I realised it was night and they were all stored in the cable car stations so I couldn’t see them anyway. By the time I realised this I only had about 2km to go. Jackie was waiting for me at the end by the Fullerton Hotel. As I passed the Singapore railway station and turned up into Anson Road I had the biggest smile on my face. I knew I had finished. I almost had that cliched moment when you don’t want it to end I felt so good. But it was time to finish. So I ran up Shenton Way and Jackie was there and we ran in the last 1km together. Very cool. Finished at the exact spot I started 17hours 48 mins later. An excellent day out.
I think because it wasn’t a race I hadn’t run as hard as I could, so the next day I really didn’t feel as bad as I thought. And now 4 days later I am thinking about going for a run again.
As Rob writes about his mountain adventures.
Key take aways;
1. If you want to run round a country choose a small one. Like maybe Liechtenstein
2. Having your wife and kids support you on the way round and meeting you at the end is the best.
3. Get a pair of five toed socks from a company called Injinji. www.injinji.com. they are amazing for distance running. I had no blisters, no hot spots, just totally happy feet.
4. You can’t live on Power Gels alone.