Friday, December 30, 2005

Youth & the Year Ahead

2005 will soon draw to a close. It has been an eventful year for me participating in running, trekking and biking; I hope you have the same experiences too.

Moving forward, let us renew our commitment and enthusiasm to strive harder in outdoor quest and also in our career.

Wishing you a challenging and happy year ahead.

Below is my favourite inspirational passage and I would like to share it with you. It can really inspire and charge me up whenever I do not have the “oommp” in my endeavour; I hope it has the same profound effect on you too.

I first read this passage below in the September 1990 edition of Reader's Digest. I like it so much that I cut it out and keep it. After 15 years, on 2 January 2005, I decided to type into a softcopy document and share with my friends via emails. One of my friends was so touched and energized with the message that he replied excitedly: "YEAH...Let us die young at …". Then I realized that it was only the second day of 2005. It was really inappropriate for me sending the passage that provoked him to mention "die" at the start of a new year – did not sound auspicious. Nevertheless, I survive 2005 with much vigour.

So, I think it is appropriate to publish it at the end of the year.

KCxxx :-))


Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.

Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of 60 more than a boy of 20. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.

Whether 60 or 16, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing childlike appetite of what’s next and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station: so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from men and from the Infinite, so long are you young.

When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at 20; but as long as your aerials are up, to catch waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at 80. (From Reader’s Digest - September 1990)


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Glimpse of Photography

Stockie and Lye Hock are friends whom we share common interest in camera. I can not, at this moment, say "share common interest in photography" as I am not up to the standard yet. My skill is only up to point-and-shoot type covering running events. Let me show you what serious photography means.

Stockie's Photography Works
Please click here to go to Stockie's weblog.
It is ironic that the photos taken by Stockie (a nickname) were of razor-sharp, vivid and vibrant in colour even though the subject was in a distance. But the profile photo on him is blurred. I was trying very hard to see whether we can recognize him from that blur photo. Was he holding a handphone?

I guess his friend who took his photo could be an apprentice. Similarly, when guys go to the barber shop for haircut, if they are two barbers in the shop – one with neat and nice haircut, and the other one is of lousy haircut – who would you chose? Answer: select the barber with the lousy haircut as the master is not easily visible.

When I first received an email reply from Stockie, adding on to the confusion of this subject matter was the following line of technical specification:

Nikon D50 AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED, AF 50mm f/1.8D, Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG Macro, Sigma MACRO 105mm F2.8 EX DG, SB600.

Looks like I need to spend time to decipher what these means. Apparently, every letter has its special meaning and also means much superior – come with higher capital outlay – than another one. For example: AF, S, DX, G, ED where AF stands for Auto Focus, etc. On initial reading of the camera manual, Nikon would publish that certain letter (or the absence of it) is compatible (or not compatible) with certain type of camera bodies. Hmm… not that simple after all.

Lye Hock's Photography Works

Please click here to go to Lye Hock's weblog.
His profile photo is even much more stylish -- we can only see his shadow.
Under the Moonlight

After I have bought my Yashica SLR camera long time ago, I went back hometown one day to see that there was one type of flower planted by my parents started to blossom at midnight. The flower is white and the name is sounded like “kheng” flower. According to what I heard, when it blossoms, it would bring good luck to the family.

On that night, it was a coincidence that the full month was high up in the sky. By the light of the full moon, I could see the flowers in a silvery varnish. It was a rare moment of serenity and I found myself mesmerized by the full moon illuminating the flowers. So I took out my camera, lay flat on the ground below the flower with the moon as backdrop and started clicking away. I remembered too that one of my neighbours who was attracted by the camera flashes igniting the neighbourhood, was showing concern of my weird action.


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Celebrating Life - Siemens Run 2006

Siemens Malaysia, in the sporting arena, organized the first Siemens Run in 2004 to propagate healthy living among Malaysian. With the previous success, the Siemens 10km Run is back again on 15 January 2006 at Dataran Merdeka.

Besides from encouraging Malaysians in the sport of road-racing, the run is also for charitable purposes, as the proceeds would be donated to the Pediatric Cancer Ward of University of Malaya Medical Center and the Rotary Club Kuala Lumpur DiRaja.

The Siemens Run has a special meaning to our group because it was the first 10km race after knowing Chantelle, MC, Janet and Sook Yuen in October 2004.

On race day, I would try out my new toy, Nikon D50 SLR camera, by capturing the runners in action – the expression and emotion on triumph, joy, determination, despair, agony, etc.

For those fast runners, this could be another arena for you to reinforce your standings. So, let us support this event for a good cause. As you can see in the photo below, our famous guy, TeyET, was so touched about this event.

Details of the race:
Date: Sunday, 15 January 2006
Time: 7.30am
Venue: Datara Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur
Fee: RM 10-00, RM5-00, RM3-00.
Distance: 10km, 7km, 2km.

Closing date of application: 11 January 2006
Telephone: 03-7660 9611

Supported by: FTAAA
Sponsors: Milo, 100 Plus, etc.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Powered By Nikon D50

I was most satisfied using the Nikon D50 digital-SLR camera at Mizuno Wave run on 18 December 2005. The camera was responsive; shutter-release button was smooth and the shutter-release sound was so soothing that I wanted to press for more. It was really “syok” (fun and exciting) to use.

I bought it on Saturday 17 Dec 2005 from Foto Shangri-La at Lot 10 Shopping Complex. Nikon Malaysia actually sent a team of sales persons to assist in managing the road-show. I was attended by Josephine and she asked me for NRID in the purchase due to standard procedures. Leaving Lot 10 excitedly, I was carrying three big paper bags bearing Nikon name containing camera body, kit lens, flash unit, camera bag, knap sag, pouch bag, etc, and other free gifts.

I only started reading the camera manual almost at mid-night to understand the functions and features. Due to lack of time, I decided to set everything to “Auto” mode for a quick familiarization the next morning. I was a little excited and I woke up before the alarm clock went off on Sunday morning.

On race day, I completed my run after 50 minutes. Immediately, I took out the new camera. The feeling of holding it was fantastic – it automatically upgraded me to a level higher than the compact camera series. I was the photographer in disguise but easily recognizable: donning running vest and shorts with wet and muddy running shoes after running across the pitch to the finishing line.

Almost all the initial photo shots on runners in running action were blurred because my hands were shaking: firstly, it was after the run and secondly, I was nervous as I have not been shooting in SLR camera for a long, long time.

With the wider angle, taking group photos has more rooms and easy. With the long-range lens, I could freeze runners in action further away. So, next time, remember to put on your best smile – as though it is a free and easy run – for photo shots while you cross the finishing line.

I have considered buying a SLR camera for a few months since Nikon D50 was launched. I was contemplating how to hide and carry the huge SLR camera in my pocket as of the convenience of digital compact camera.

Freeze the Actions

I tried very hard to capture runners in action using the compact camera but the results were unsatisfactory. My first funny encounter of action photo shots was taking those racers at Malakoff Duathlon in March 2005. When the cyclist was framed in the middle of LCD monitor display, I pressed the shutter-release button. But during playback viewing, the cyclist was not captured due to slow shutter speed of compact camera.

After seeing Jason Lee’s Nikon D70 (bigger brother of D50) results with stunning clarity from the Nikon telephoto lens, I decided to buy one. I, too, like photography. I remember after started working in my twenties, I bought one Yashica SLR camera; that time I did not have much money owning a Nikon brand.

Back then, I was using a partial auto camera. First, I have to decide whether to set the aperture or shutter-speed priority. Viewing through the viewfinder would give the other clue and then set accordingly. Focusing was done manually by turning the focusing ring of lens; taking each shot seemed slow and tedious.

Photos that you see in the weblog are down-sized and set to Medium resolution quality for fast transmission over internet. Each photo is down-sized from 2,000 KB to about 40 KB only. They all suffered the lack of clarity and vibrant colours as compared to original.

Buying SLR camera is the beginning of spending lots of money. On Sunday at the Mizuno run, I have a chat with Chan Wing Kai, Pacesetters Club photographer. He proudly showed me a jewel in his camera bag – a renowned Nikon VR (vibration reduction) lens of almost six inches long costing more than RM 5,000 !

Other than taking runners and bikers in action, I would have to try my hands on birds (those that fly, of course) to improve my photography skills. Just in case I am engaging in “flower or bird” priority mode, just shout out loud when you run pass for me to switch back to “runner” priority mode.

Please click here to view photos takin by Nikon D50 for the Mizuno Run.

By KCxxx :-))

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Santa Claus Running 20km

Today is Christmas. Nevertheless, we still go to Bukit Aman for a 20km run this morning in preparation for the coming Kuala Lumpur International Marathon on 3 March 2006. Before that, we were busy with Singapore International Marathon on 4 December, and that was over.

It was most unusual to have a Santa Claus doing a 20km run this morning with us. What costume would you expect Santa Claus to wear – heavily dressed-up costume with big belly? That would be difficult to walk 20 meters let alone running for 20 kilometers. Yes, to grace the occasion, we have JOHN TAN, The Santa Claus. Since it was a 20km distance, he was donning running apparels attire.
. .
There were not many runners this morning. I presumed they must be taking a holiday break for the Christmas celebration. The morning air was cool and fresh after a downpour yesterday evening. It was perfect for a long distance training run.
. .
Our Santa Claus was seen distributing sweets along the course. At Selangor Property area, one Philippine maid who was waiting for taxi was most impressed to receive a sweet from our Santa Claus. Further down the course, two Bangladeshi workers were given our Santa Claus extended admiration. Not many people have the luck to watch Santa Claus in running action.
Near the Bank Negara LRT area, I was running fast and competing with Santa Claus. He eventually outran me. Well, he is most qualified to assume the assignment for long-haul running Santa Claus in Christmas.
To view other photos, please click here.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Festive Seasons and Holidays

Dong Zhi

According to Chinese tradition, today (22 December) is Dong Zhi (Winter Solstice) festival. When I was a teenager, my mother would make the colourful marble-size tang yuen (glutinous rice ball). I would then volunteer to help her to roll the dough into round balls. She would say, “Son, after this Dong Zhi, you will be one year older and one year wiser.” After eating thousands of tang yuen, one thing is for sure: it adds up to my age but I am not sure whether it adds up to my wisdom.

Above is a photo taken from Chee Wee’s internet email. He sent us one virtual tong yuen feast this morning.

Year-end Festive Season

2005 will soon draw to a close and it has been an eventful year for me. Other than the usual running, this is my maiden year taking part in Duathlon races – it was love at first sight. In August, after months of trekking, we scaled the summit of Mount Kinabalu with Tony as the Team Leader.

This year-end festive holidays will allow us some rest and an opportunity for reflection on our achievements. Briefly, here are my major events:

March = Kuala Lumpur International Marathon; cheering and then bought a road racing bicycle.
May = Duathlon at Lumut; Trekking at Gunung Dato; Nike-Pacesetters 15km race.
June = Trekking at Gunung Irau, Cameron Highland.
July = Seremban Half marathon; Malaka Half marathon; Duathlon at Johor Baru
August = Trekking up Mount Kinabalu
September = Putrajaya Half marathon; PJ Half marathon, Putrajaya Powerman.
October and November = 20km and 30km training runs for Singapore marathon
December = Singapore International marathon.

Going forward, let us renew our commitment, whether in running or in our career to strive harder. The challenges that abound in the coming year will require all of us to train harder and run faster. It comes a long way where I evolve from a 10km runner to a full marathon runner.

Thank you to all my running friends for being with me and I treasure the camaraderie and good times together.

To my friends and readers who are celebrating Christmas, may I wish you Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year to all. As you travel with your loved ones for the holidays, drive safely.

Best Regards,

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I Am Nearly Famous

When I turned to Page 34 of Metro Section in Star newspaper today (Wednesday, 21 Dec), the familiar sight of runners donning blue T-shirts caught my attention. In the following page, I saw the inflated model of a huge shoe associating with Mizuno Wave Run on 18 Dec.

I was most excited when I recognized that the person in the photo was me. With back facing the camera, I believe nobody else could recognize the person, other than yours truly. The other guy in the photo looking sideway was Chee Wee. I was searching for something on the ground at that moment as though we were busy doing treasure hunting next to a majestic structure in the shape of a giant shoe.

We were not aware that the photographer was taking photos on us – the power of telephoto lenses. Otherwise, we could have demonstrated more creative poses. The photo below showed a completed action: the reason why we went near to the giant shoe even though we have to walk across the muddy pitch.

Next Posting: Powered by Nikon D50 SLR Camera


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Singapore Marathon - The Race (Part 2)

Note by KC: This is the concluding part of SIM report.

Quotable Quotes

The quotable quotes were really motivating. With too much jerking of the brain, somehow, I could only remember a few as follows:

There is a window to the wall. Find it.

Run with your mind.

Mind over matters.

Fear is courage for one extra minute.

Finish what you started.

Earn the finisher T-shirt.

Don’t stop; you never know how close you are to success.

Keep going, and you will end up at your destination.

Reading the quotes here and reading them in the race has entirely effect. The effects of these quotable quotes were really fantastic. It could really charge me up.

Cheering Teams

This was a big let down. After first 10km, there was none. Another 5km down the road, still there was no sight of them. Occasionally, there was one or two solo cheering that gave me the much needed boaster. It was very quiet this time compared to last year. I saw a teenage boy holding placard cheering runners and I actually gave him a high-five to acknowledge his effort.

I could not believe, at 30km mark, there was still no sign of pom-poms girls. What actually happened? And finally, at the 35km (or 37km) mark, I saw the first group of pom-poms girls cheering runners. I was elated to see them and raised my right hand to greet them with high-fives. Immediately, I was charged up and my footsteps were lively. Looks like I required outside help to run a marathon, which is not allowed.

If I could remember correctly, there were only three cheering teams. The last group was most unusual. One girl was seen standing on the shoulder of her group members and I overheard while running pass: how to come down ah?

Occasionally, there would be one or two persons cheering. I always acknowledge them and thank them. It was like dealing with intrinsic or scarce commodity.

Mat Salleh Runners

This marathon attracted quite a number of mat sallehs (foreigners; particularly whites). Most of them are good runners. Throughout the entire course, I saw a few unique incidents: At the early stage of the course where we met runners at the opposite side of the road, this guy must be famous as quite a number of his friends shouting happily acknowledging him.

Somewhere at around 30km mark, I saw a lady runner carry a special backpack filled with water with a rubber host sling over her shoulder and connected to her mouth. She was seen completely drenched with sweat dripping down her body.

Another lady was running with heavy breathing clearly audible few feet away.

The most unusual sight was a guy running a few feet in front of me. Suddenly, he just threw the unfinished bottle of water on the grass and detour to a tree. When I glanced sideway, he was already urinating with full throttle ahead at a tree as target with back facing us in bright day light and in full view of everyone. That was instant startup not affected by surrounding factors.

A lady runner was seen chatting with another guy at 33km mark for almost 5km. That was incredible and I admired her ability. As for me, I was running in silence conserving my energy necessary to lift my foot and step forward.

Another guy was fainted on the grass around 39km mark. I saw two runners went to his help. Since I was rushing for time, I proceeded with my run and I wished him everything fine.

Water Stations

There were ample water stations. Most stations only served plain water though the umbrella clearly said 100 Plus. Before I decided to take plain water, I would extend my gaze to check whether 100 Plus drinks were served.

The organizer was very generous with the plain water: they served in 500ml bottles. A lot was gone to waste as runners just took a few sips and then threw the bottles. At one water station, the road was complete wet as though it was after heavy raining.

At that instant, it reminded me of a joke after SIM 2004 that the bottled water supplied by water station, could they come from Newater (drinking water recycled from sewage water by Singapore).

Many runners were inconsiderate. They just threw the bottles on the road instead of at the side of road. One runner behind me was seen kicking the bottles onto the road itself. This is “kurang ajar” (lack of good teaching). Imagine a runner would step on it and trip and worst still, been stepped on by other runners.

As for 100 Plus, only served at limited stations. The good thing was that the 100 Plus was served without carbonated type. The first few sips was most enjoyable and I could taste that it was slightly sweater and smoother than those bottled or canned type.

Kenyan Runners

I saw a pack of more than 20 Kenyan runners running very fast after the U-turn heading in the opposite direction. All runners were cheering them and gave them rousing support. It was amazing to see that they ran a marathon as in 10km pace.

The siren from the Police motorbike jolted me from dreaming in my run. The runners were asked to run on the right side of the road. Through experience, we know that super fast runners were running from behind. I saw a short Kenyan guy wearing sunglasses running with another taller guy; both were running side-by-side, very consistent in pace. Don't tell me that the Singapore morning sun was more glaring than in Africa continent? After the race, my running friends told me that the one in sunglasses was actually blind!

Pee Stop

I was looking for a place to pee before the sky was bright. Knowing that thousands of eyes would be looking at me, it was not easy to do the job swiftly. So I was observing the course for a more secluded and comfortable location.

Then there was an adjacent road which was quite dark and secluded. I saw a few runners quickly made a detour and I followed suit too. Most guy runners would prefer to give the plants some exotic showers for much need nourishment than waiting in line for mobile toilet wasting valuable time.

10km Racers

The route took us back to Shenton Way – a very wide road near the Esplanade. It was at that moment, I saw huge crowd of 10km racers – gals and guys; young and old; short and tall. Seeing them in white T-shirt running 10km race, it reminded me that more than 5 years ago, I was also like one of them.

On that day, I was promoted to run a full marathon race. The difference lied with encouragements and motivation from other running friends – dare to take challenge.

Whom I Saw

While running the entire course, I only met the following Pacesetters runners: Crystal of Pacesetters Club Kuantan Area Group; Mr. Tai from Bukit Aman Area Group.

I saw two running group set up their bases by the route to supply their members with drinks. What a thoughtful gesture though there were lots of water stations around.

At the park, I was looking at the opposite runners in no particular focus until someone called me “P1”. At that very moment, I was blurred. A split second later, then only I realized that he was calling me “Penguin-1”. But I could not recognize the runner.

When I turned my focus to my right about 30 feet ahead, I saw two SAFRA (running club from Singapore) lady runners in the bright green running vest. When we locked our gaze with a little smile, it turned out to be the girl that I saw in Malacca marathon on 17 July 05 who looked like Hong Kong singer – Sammy Cheng.

This year, I did not see any fancy-dressed runner running with big make-shift object. Last year, there was a guy running that way and I heard it took him way beyond six hours to reach finishing line.

At the Finishing Area

As usual, the finishing area was full of activities: runners returning, official camera men busy clicking away; security officers jealously shooing by-slanders to stay clear of the finishing line; runners talking to one another excitedly about their experience; medical teams busy giving first-aid treatment; runners just lied on the ground to relax their exhausted or cramped muscles; support stuff moving around to serve cold 100 Plus to runners.

In the big Athlete Welfare Tent, many runners just sit there quietly relaxing while some busy talking; some engaged in collecting the finisher medal and then collecting their finisher T-shirts. Wend and I were busy taking photos.

Since that was a world-class event, I saw they have at least four DJs doing the job concurrently. One DJ of dark complexion was seen walking around on the course itself cheering and announcing the runners crossing the finishing line. The DJs there were full of dynamism and enthusiasm – a task expected from them, and they live up to their names.

When I came back, I saw Eric Teo was sitting and resting. His timing was the fastest among friends that I know – 3 hours 53 minutes.

I later saw Chantelle, who finished 5 hours 29 minutes. I was so glad to she her completed her maiden marathon. Congratulation and well done!

I later heard that Tony’s timing was 5 hours 59 minutes. Chiam’s was 6 hours 30 minutes.

One very unusual sight was the location of the mobile toilets. They were neatly arranged just opposite the grand stand. However, they were cleverly hidden by rows of cheering crowds.

Pom-poms girls were very friendly and sporting: I was roaming in the field with camera in hand. I approached them and asked for photo shots and they responded positively and posed with enthusiasm.

At 1.30pm, I finally saw Marvin coming back; he was with Jimmy Thong. The first message from Marvin was that: “No more marathons”. That sounded familiar. Many first timers, after going through the punishing journey, would swear never to do another one. But weeks or months later, they would run the next marathon challenge and declared that anything fall short of 42 km would be unchallenging. Vivien commented: running a marathon was like giving birth – interesting analogy.


The race organization was superb starting from online registration and payment; notification of progress and happenings way before the event; collection of race entry packs; designing the scenic and beautiful course; handling of race facilities such as mobile toilets and water stations; devising motivational quotes with wonderful message; involvement of volunteers; lifting up moods of runners by DJs, etc. – the concerted efforts that made it happen.

Without doubt, the Singapore International Marathon is a world-class event. They live it up to the name. If you have run once, you will keep coming back for more.

We shall meet again on 3 December 2006, same place. Will ya?


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Mizuno Wave Run - 18 Dec 2005

Second Photo Album:
To view 81 photos by courtesy of Weng, please click here.

To view 121 photos taken by KC, please click here.

Note: while you are in the photo album, viewing is always faster if you click "view slideshow". To return, click "Back" button (at top left corner of Microsoft Internet Explorer browser) 2-3 times.

The huge shoe does add on to the excitement of the event.

Sponsors for the success of this event.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Singapore Marathon - The Race

Written by KC
A mega event of world-class standards requires detailed narrative of things happening. This is the Part 1; please stay tuned for Part 2 on next Tuesday, the concluding part.

Have you viewed 380 great photos shots of Singapore Marathon? If not, please scroll down six postings below.

At 5.15am, I was waiting at the hotel entrance waiting for Chantelle, Penguin and Sunshine runners. Thomas Ng, another runner while passing by, said, “Tony and gang were over there.” Then only I realized that there were two entrances: Weng and I were waiting at the Peninsula hotel entrance and the others were waiting at Excelsior hotel entrance, which was 50 meters apart.

Mr. Dan was there to support us too. After a group photo session with other running friends, we walked to the starting line, 500 meters away. Everyone was excited as the moment that we have been preparing and waiting for had finally arrived.

At Starting Line

Reaching the starting area 5.40 am, that was the biggest crowd that I have ever seen. Most runners were already in the starting pens (a small area with a fence round it in which farm animals are kept for a short time). The elite runners were in front while the slower runners are supposed to line up at the pens behind. We actually did not bother which pen we were supposed to enter. We found one pen in the middle with an opening, and we just squeezed in.

The scene was abuzz with energy as runners and crew scurried around making last-minute preparations for the race. Lively music was playing loudly from the audio speakers. The announcers were charging up and getting connected with the runners waiting to unleash their power. The few minutes before start were the most exciting moment in any race. After a brief photo session by Weng and Dan, we were ready expecting the gun off moment.

At 6am sharp, the race was on. The crowd roared. Flashlights ignited the starting area. Slowly, we inched forward in a pack. I was desperately trying not to step on or be stepped on by anyone in the middle of the horde. At that moment, the song: “Who let the dogs out” was played. It was most amusing and appropriate for the occasion. After stepping on the Champion-chip mat, we began our marathon challenge.

Earn the Marathon Medal

There was a steady procession of runners moving up the trail like pack mules. Having experiences in running marathons, the first 5km was run slightly slower than normal pace. With thousands of runners, speeding was not easy. In this case, my running speed was more or less determined by the general running crowd. Whenever there was pocket of space, I would speed up a little.

The morning air was mild and still. With the humid weather, every pore in my body now gushed sweat. After 10km mark, I increased my speed by having longer stride and I continued with this style of running -- much like turbo-engine that required some time to warm-up.

Beyond 25km mark onwards, exhaustion set in and I began to feel a little tired. I was surprised that during the 30km training run three weeks ago, I was still very energetic at this mark.

Beyond 35km mark, the tiredness in my legs worsened. I just wanted to rest. Could it be the depletion of my muscle glycogen stores? So I used one method which I read long time ago – using arm movement to control the legs movement. When I swung my arms, my legs must follow the rhythm. Immediately, my speed increased that even overtook two runners. One of them showing concern and said in Mandarin: “Pal, go slow man”. Then he read out loud the quote printed at the back of my Adidas vest: Impossible is Nothing.

This technique worked for a few kilometres. But after that, my arms began to feel tire too. Then I used May Ching’s (another runner) motivation quotes: ”Go, Go, Go, Mr. Marathon man!” It sure helped a lot.

In this run, there was no knee pain; no muscle cramp. I believe the 500 km of training run would have conditioned the legs muscle. The only complain was legs getting tired. However, any of these three factors would slow down the pace.

When I saw the 39km marker, I was thrilled – two more kilometres to go. But when I saw the 40th marker, then only I realized that actually it was three more kilometres to go. See what long hours of jerking can do to the brain – could not even perform a simple arithmetic.

Three more kilometres to go, according to my calculation, my timing was bordering four hours, and I was trying hard to do another sub-4. But running sluggishly, I knew it was a difficult task. Nevertheless, I really tried to push harder. Immediately, I could feel the calf muscle giving me the cramp signal.

When I saw the Club President, Mr. Munning, standing there taking photos, that really gave me the boaster. I waved my hand and presented my best smile amidst the tiredness.

Beyond that point, it was just maintaining the slow speed of running: my breathing was shallow; I put my head down and kept ploughing on, putting each foot forward mechanically.

I was really excited when I reached the underpass. It was like discovering an oasis and it really was a welcome sight– I was nearing the finishing line. With the cheers of spectacles, it charged up my battery power and immediately, I felt much lively and I picked up speed again.

I was cautious running the last 200 meters as I do not want any surprises to happen. What mattered was making it to the finish line. Waiving my right hand at the crowd, I looked up at the official timing device – 4 hours 6 minutes. I felt a grand sense of accomplishment. Yeah, I made it despite a slip from my previous SIM 2004 timing.

Later, checking at the official results, it was 4 hours 4 minutes as I took extra two minutes to walk from the back portions of the pens to reach the computerised starting mat.

The Course

The entire course for Singapore marathon was flat. Seasoned marathon runners would say that there is not much challenge here. But for the Phuket Mountain Marathon ran by a few of the runners recently, only 5% was flat and that was another extreme.

Compare to 2004, the course changed slightly while maintaining the main structure. That was a welcome sign as changing the design of the route gave runners the freshness feeling.

Most of the time, we were running in parks full of grasses and trees. I like to run in this type of course as the air would be cleaner. I remembered that in 2004, there were breeze at the park. I could hear the dried leaves rustle in the breeze. Another good point was that the roads were completely closed to traffic. There was no vehicle speeding along side competing with the runners.

Before 10am, most of the roads were still under shade. I could not imagine for slow runners, they would be roasted in the hot sun.

Somehow, most of the Pacesetters runners were not able to run faster either. Many of the runners felt that the late start (at 6am instead of the usual 5am) and with the humid weather, that could easily tire the runners.

Mobile toilets were consistently located along the running route at fixed interval. Running around the park adjacent to the seashore, there were ample public toilets just next to the running route.

At around 30km mark, bananas and Power Gel were distributed to provide the much need energy. The funny thing about taking Power Gel was that the fingers would become sticky. I have to ensure my both hand are opened wide. Otherwise, the fingers would stick together.

Stay tuned for the followings:

Quotable Quotes – charge you up with wonderful message

Cheering Teams – like scarce commodity

Mat Salleh Runners – funny encounters; brave guy peeing in full view of runners.

Water stations – serve drinks in style

Kenyan Runners
– Great runners

Pee Stop – exotic showers

10km Racers – Move on to become marathon runners

Whom I Saw – Sammy Cheng’s sister?

At the Finishing Area – hype of activities



Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Singapore Marathon - More Short Reports

From Chee Wee:

My form was not ready to conquer the SIM on last Sunday morning. I started to develop sign of cramps at my stomach and later the side of quadriceps on both legs immediately after 15km. That forced me to slow down. There is no short-cut for a full marathon challenge if you aimed to have a good timing in the race; one must well prepare for the challenge.

From Chooi Lin:
I tripped & fell at about 30km mark, bruising my palms & knees. I was helped up by two concerned S'porean runners. I continued my run, slightly shaken but thankfully no injuries. I located one Red Cross tent about 1km away and they tended to my bloody palms & bandaged my knees (spent about 10 minutes). Although the weather was hot, I managed to finish the race with timing of 5:17:07, an improvement compared to last year's timing of 5:41(my first). There are no juicy oranges for us at the end of the racethough.

From Lim FW:
I went there to 'go below' 4 hours but I did not achieve that. Everything went well until about the 35km mark. My legs were heavy ... swollen to be exact after that point. That is something I had not experienced before. The first thing that came to mind was why in the world did I travel more that 400km look like a mess?

With every cheering from all those wonderful people that lined the street (thank you) I ran for very short distances. I got bananas, oranges, water in recycled bottles, many words of encouragements, stares, smiles, waves, claps all the way back. (thanks again). That continued until the finish line and my race ended at 4 hour 8 minutes plus. It was good. See U next year.

From Jenny Lee:
I did it ... there were so many skeptic thoughts in me before I start. Can I do it? Will I be able to sustain in the hot weather? How hot will it be?
Well, I did it in 5:44 hr chip time or 5:47 gun time. Although this is the worst result out of 4 marathons, my greatest achievement - I got the Finisher T-shirt at last!Hope to try for better timing next year!

From Chantelle:
I felt good on the race day. Tony, my trainer, accompanied me for the first 20km with constant support and pacing. At the first 5km, he even helped to carry a water bottle in case the water station ran out of supply. I told him that it was not necessary as I observed that the event was well organized; running out of water supply was most unlikely.

After 20km run, I could not trace Tony anymore. I found out from him after the race thathe got to tie up his shoe lace and could not paced with me with blisters on his foot.I finished the rest of the journey alone. Seemed like I was able to find the window to the wall – there was no hitting the wall beyond 30km mark. Maybe I was running the race slightly relax manner.

After 35km mark, I slowed down a bit due to tightness on my legs and minor blister on my toes. Besides, I have already missed sub-5 hours timing. I was most glad if I could meet 5:30 hour’s target.

At 40km mark, I decided to push harder and ran slightly faster for the final kilometers. Finally, I finished in 5:29:17. According to the official chip time published in the Internet, my timing was 5:27:10.

I was most pleased as it met my target of 5:30 hr. Yes, I successfully complete my maiden full marathon without much difficulty. Running a full marathon really requires considerable amount of commitment; constant training and rest; couple with good diet and strong mental power.

My next plan will be training for Kuala Lumpur International Marathon – aiming for sub-5 hours.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My Chin Woo Biathlon Experience

Written by Chee Wee

The much awaited Chin Woo Biathlon 2005 was held on Sunday, 11 December 2005. The race format is a 800 meters swim followed by a 7km road race. I realized that there wasn't much publicity done for this race compared to others races. I actually heard about this relative well known race among the local triathletes.

Terence was the one who recommended this new & exciting race to me. I considered this race as a new adventure for me. We did a minimal training to prepare for this race. We only went to Chin Woo's swimming pool twice for our swimming training before the Singapore full marathon on 4 Dec. With Terence's guidance, I learned & picked up some tips on how to race in the Biathlon.

When I told my loved one that I will be taking part in a Biathlon race on 11 December, she looked at me right into my eyes & felt strangely that she has never heard about my ability in swimming & seen my swimming style. She is fully aware that I can run, but not sure how far I can swim. This was my maiden Biathlon challenge; I knew that I must overcome my fear in the swimming segment.

I told Eric about my fear on Saturday evening & I was glad that I spoke to him as I was feeling much better after our telephone conversation. He advised me that to swim with a relax mind & don't try to chase after those fast swimmers as it could affect the focus & create a panicky situation & the most important part is to stay clam in the pool.

On Sunday morning, 11 Dec 2005

At the starting venue, I parked my car right up to the top, at the Chin Woo's entrance. Certainly, I could feel the tension because everybody seemed to be ready for the race. I reported myself at the race registration booth. I collected the bid number for the running 7km road race & received the nice event t-shirt.

At the booth, the lady official asked me to roll up the right & left sleeves of my shirt so that she could scribble my bib number on both of my arms. Being a first timer, I obediently rolled up the sleeves & stood there when the bid number was being engraved on my arms. A strange feeling when the ink printed on my arms...

There is an old saying that when meeting up with those good friends, your feeling could be more calm & peaceful. It worked for me. I felt less tension when I met up with Alden, Raymond (Alden's friend), Eric, Francis, Tan Wah Sing, KC, Jason Lee (Thank you KC & Jason who came here not just being the camera men but also gave us the strong model support) & many more familiar Pacesetters' members. Maybe because I was talking to them on other interesting topics; hence, I was no longer paying attention to the race anymore.

I met the main facilitator Don Khor; he asked if this was my first biathlon race & I responded with a nod of my head.

At this time, I was still playing with my mind (mind over matter), try to overcome my fear, by constantly telling myself - don't worry about the lane...deep or shallow....I will survive...I will survive.


Despite my mental readiness, of course I still felt nervous standing at the starting block for swimming. It really took me a lot of courage to be able stand there as the thought of completing 800 meters swim was quite a distance to conquer. Before coming here, I reminded myself on my hidden agenda that I must continue my swimming without any need to have a rest stop, to achieve a non-stop 800 meters swim which I have never done it before.

Before the starting time, Alden called me over to the end of swimming pool, to do some warm up which could help to boost up my confidence for the swimming challenge this morning. I relaxed further when I was warming up my body in the pool with Alden & Raymond. Indeed, it was really help me to refocus my attention on my fear while chit-chatting with them in the pool; feeling great & strong that I will make it for the race.

Upon calling all the swimmers to get ready, Don Khor told me that I was allotted to a lane at the deep end of the pool. When I heard it, I told myself don't panic. Being a new boy at the block, I guessed that I have a privilege to have the special request. Furthermore, I didn't want to take any risk. Then, Don Khor came over to reassign me to swim at the swallow "lane" (app. 6 feet deep) which wasn't marked by any floating objects. KC called it an "open sea" area where I was sharing with a lady swimmer at my left & Terence (who arrived late & missed his category's starting) at my right. All set to go; as I jumped into the pool, I could barely touch the bottom!! So that means I could not stop half way for a rest or have a standing rest.

I heard a count down to a loud "START". I didn't freeze but swam to my best to cross the pool to the other end. In actual, the rest of the swimmers were moving so fast that I could see their movements when I turned my head up for a breath. There was no time for me to think but just get out there and start paddling. I did a decent free style from one end to another end, then kicked on the wall, to have strong bounce back, then I did the same for opposite direction. I had to do this for 16 laps.

The first 3 laps already had me a bit of huffing and puffing. Furthermore, I had to make two times quick adjustments on my new goggles which I just bought it on last Saturday night (a night before the race day).

After a few more laps, I totally lost the counting on the number of lap I did. It was very hard to keep track the counting! I was too damn focus on my arms movements & breathing; my arms felt heavy and my legs were dragging. But, my stamina was there to help me keep going & paddling. I also felt strongly with KC & Jason Lee supports at the pool side making me more stronger & faster, wanted to finish this damned swim within a fast pace. Needless to say that I began to enjoy my swim. I didn't know how long I swam but all the sudden I was given a victorious hand-sign from the male official who was recording the finishing time & lap for me. Two more laps to go...

All right! Two more laps to go; I was so happy & told myself that I will be "home free" soon. At the last lap. I went all out for the last lap - look good and be strong. But as I got out of the pool with my own style, my legs were so rubbery. KC told me that my legs were trembling. I felt lightly that my head was spinning but I just ignored them totally & eagerly shot off for the 7km road race. I think I was the last three at the pool. The others swimmers have gone & disappeared. I didn't care much; it did bother me as I just wanted to complete this damned race.

In my heart, I gave myself a good high five...Yeah! I was so worried about the swimming and was so relieved that I made it! Luckily, no drowning...hahaha!

I put on my running vest first then my running shoes. I didn't realize that I was wearing the wrong side of the vest until I ran up to the stairs. Boy! I was having a wrestling match with my running vest. The back portion of my running vest was rolled up and it just so hard to come down. This was probably due to my wet body or panicky feeling. Finally, I managed to put on my running shoes & I was ready to take off running down the streets.


There was a check point before reaching the water station where I would collect a total of three color ribbons and drank water. There was good traffic control and some Chin Woo members were cheering nearby the water station. I had to run three laps - running around the Stadium Negara, Stadium Merdeka, heading out to Jalan Maharajalela & back to Jalan Stadium. Certain stretches are quit hilly, but it is not that bad running route.

After the completion of 1st lap, I was feeling much better & gaining back my running momentum. Indeed, I felt strong & satisfaction with each foot strike forward. I overtook few slow runners & ran with a negative split result for this short distance race. I really wish that I can do the same for my full marathon run.

At the time, the sun was up in the sky & the weather was getting warm.Finally, after my last lap & having a quick drink at the water station, I was running with the steady condition towards the steep slope with the finishing line on top. But I felt strong to across the finish line & break the finishing tape with my own style. I could see KC & Jason at the top & gave my thumb up after my final push towards the finishing line. They were so kind & supportive to wait for me to come back & took those memorable photos. Thank you KC & Jason. With your presence, my race turned out to be a truly enjoyable & memorable movement.

I received a unique finisher medal from the race organizer that engraved Biathlon Finisher & with the Chin Woo's Chinese wordings. I looked at the fine Chinese wordings. It really made me think off the great martial art Master Bruce Lee (wooooo...with a swinging hand, toughing the nose & slowing jumping around a circle...). If you still remembered that movie's title name - "Chin Woo Mun" & the main actor - great Bruce Lee, you can visualize his unique move & style.

I didn't stay on for the light breakfast which was provided by the race organizer. I had to leave immediately for my hometown. My wife & son were waiting for me at home for going back hometown for the afternoon family gathering. I greeted Francis, Tan Wah Sing, Eric, Alden, Raymond, Don Khor & Others good bye & hope to see you guys again in next year's Chin Woo Biathlon race. On the way to the parking lot, Eric told me that I will become stronger after this race. Thank you Eric for the great advises & accompany.

KC, Jason & I left the place at the same time.

Breaking News

After my quick shower at home, I received a following SMS from my buddy Alden: "Raymond's position is 4th & myself is 5th; both of us are recording a same finishing time, 49 minutes. Your position is 15th & finishing time is 1 hour 6 minutes. Swimming time 28 minutes 32 Seconds. Not bad for a 1st timer! Congrats!". Surprisingly, I completed the race with such a timing. As a matter of fact, I didn't have much expectation for this race.

Yeah! thank you Alden who gave me the "live telecast" at that afternoon as he knew I wasn't there to wait for the official results.
Chee Wee

Monday, December 12, 2005

More Reports on Singapore Marathon

Note by KC: Chee Wee’s long report on Chin Woo Biathlon will be posted on Tuesday evening. Meantime, let me switch back to Singapore Marathon. Below is an account by Eric Teo, a fast Penguin-10. His timing was most impressive: 3 hours 53 minutes. Read on …
By Eric Teo
"Oh my god! I heard 3,2,1....then gun off, and the 42.195km run had started!" I have just finished my last minute toilet pee at a secluded corner below the bridge and the race was on! I managed to "potong sayur" and jumped into the sub-3 (meaning completion of a marathon race below 3 hours) race pen leaving Chee Wee and other running friends behind as they were in sub-4 race pen. Very sorry guys, I did it not on purpose.
It was good to be in the sub-3 race pen as runners would cross the starting mat first while the rest of the runners behind were still inching their way forward. It was indeed spacious and have plenty of rooms to run at your warming up pace instead of jamming side by side together like "sardine fish"! Nevertheless, with the Champion chip device, activation of each runner’s start time was when one crossed the starting computer mat.
I managed to keep my running pace of 5min/km for the 12km (in first hour), 22km(in second hour), 32km(in third hour) before I finally give in where my body told me to walk through the whole stretch of drinking station (about 50meter) when I started to pick my drink.
Most of the drinking station of 2km apart was my "shower station" too due to the extreme heat in my body. I would pour the unfinished water over my head to cool me down. Only the 6km 100PLUS drinking station was actually my "refuel station".
There was one particular 100PLUS station where I did not see any 100PLUS cup served, so I just drank almost half bottle of plain water before one drink station attendant shouted out at the other end that there was actually a 100PLUS drink served but in mineral bottle!

In order to avoid the cramps set in later part of the run, I just sacrifice my already half "blotted" stomach to be topped up with another bottle of 100PLUS! Now, I really had to run like a Santa Claus (with big belly). I could still hear the water running up & down in my stomach. :-)
My last 8km was really torturing and boring besides having tired legs. With the run/walk technique and I looked down on the ground every six feet to distract me from the "never ending" finishing line. I managed to complete the "HEATY Marathon" in 3:53:14 (3:52:39 net).
I was most happy that my sub-4 achievement was recorded with the official timing device. My previous sub-4 timing was done in Songkla Marathon in August but without any official timing device. In this case, there was digital evidence.

I would have run non stop (like in KL & Songkla marathons) if I had done enough mileage training to "season" my legs into running long hours. Strong mental too is important to overcome the obstacle.
To fellow runners who are thinking of doing their maiden marathons: running a marathon is tough but manageable. It is important to build up stronger legs slowly & patiently over a number of months. Do a few half marathon (21.1km) runs & races comfortably before slowly increase to 30km & 35km & then be mentally strong to try out the 42.195km run!
My next running target: to reduce the number of races & only participate in those local 10km or 21.1km run (which I had missed out a medal during this year run), to do 3 or 4 Full Marathon in a year in nearby country (like Thailand) & will be out to try my hand & legs on Powerman event (run-cycle-run) & Triathlon event (swim-cycle-run).
Eric Teo

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Chin Woo Biathlon

We will temporary stop three more postings on Singapore Marathon for this Biathlon race. It was held at Chin Woo swimming pool this morning, Sunday 11 December 2005.

The format of this race is to swim 800 meters and run 7 km. The swimmers are to swim along the shorter distance of the swimming pool. Officials are stationed at the starting end to record the number of laps completed by each swimmer.

A few of the Penguin runners (Chee Wee, Eric, Terence) were taking part. So this time, I became the camera man. I was most glad to hear that Jason Lee was coming to take photos too. With his Nikon D-SLR and huge telephoto lenses, my Canon IXUS compact camera was like a short gun compared to a Bazooka.

Chee Wee told us earlier that his loved one was a bit worried and discouraged him from taking part in this swimming event as she has not seen his swimming style and not sure whether he could swim that far. So we told him to hang on to something in water during emergency; for example, another swimmer. Another running friend suggested that he should hang on to the bra strip as it is of high tensile strength and more elastic – won’t snap easily.

Chee Wee’s fear came true – he was alloted to Lane 13 which was at the deep end of the pool. Hearing that sent chills up my back; I shared the same sentiment that Chee Wee should change lane. Don Khor, the facilitator of this event and is also a triathlete, was most understanding. So he re-assigned Chee Wee to swim at the swallow end of the pool which was not marked by buoys. I called it the “open sea” area as he could have one-third of the pool to himself and he could swim in any style he chose without having to worry about kicking another swimmer.

What happened to our Penguin Grand Master? Jason Lee had an appointment and we decided to leave at 10am. While walking down the slope with him to the car park, we overhead the race support crew’s conversation in Cantonese:

“Have all runners come back already? Can we 'sau thong' (close shop) already?”
“Looks like the ‘Fei Chai’ (fat boy) is still not back yet.”

Please wait for the long report from Chee Wee.

To view photos by courtesy of Jason Lee (59 photos), please click here.

Note: Jason Lee's photos view directly from PC are stunning, clear, beautiful and of rasor-sharp quality -- treadmark of Nikon SLR camera. However, after downsize (by me, of course) with medium resulution and view via Internet, quality is compromised.

To view photos by KC (24 photos), please click here.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Reports on SIM 2005

By Yoke Peng

Having heard so much about this reputable event, I decided to run my second marathon in Singapore on 4 December 05. My first marathon at KLIM '05 was completed with a timing of 5 hours 45 minutes and I had a faint hope to PR over this time though I did not have high expectations.

The airhorn sounded at 6:00 am signaling the start of the full marathon. It felt good to run among such a big contingent of marathon runners (6,500 as per statistic). Following the advice from friends, I started off slowly. About 6 km into the race, I felt the need to answer nature's call but I hanged on. Later I saw only one portable toilet but there were three runners in queue. After a few seconds of waiting, I decided that nature's call can wait a bit longer and carried on running.

At about 7 km, I saw some runners detouring to a food-court area supposedly looking for toilets and I followed suit. The floor area was a bit wet and oily and I had to walk gingerly to look for the toilet. That took up at least 3 minutes. After feeling at ease, I ran at a comfortable pace all the way till I reached 30 km.

Fatigue was setting in and I was plagued by my coughing which I had not fully recovered. I was eagerly looking forward to approaching each additional kilometer signboard. At this point too, I keep on reminding myself:"Mind over matter!"

After the 35 km mark, my calf muscles were feeling tight with intermittent cramps and I had to stop a few times to do some stretching. I made a mental comparison of my time splits with that of KLIM '05 performance and I knew that I was below target. Suffice to say, I also did not push myself as my objective was to just complete the race within 6 hours which I did in 5 hours 51 minutes.

Post race analysis:
1) Spend too much time locating the toilet. They should provide more portable toilets at each spot, not just one.
2) Not enough training resulting in muscle cramps.

Overall, I'm satisfied with my performance, considering the fact that I only achieved 80% of my planned training schedule (bronze standard). My advice to non marathon runners – You will not be satisfied till you have done one. It is something not impossible. All you need is lots of time in training.

After indulging in so many races since 2002, my plan for the future is to only take part in selected races and doing more of half or full marathons which are much more challenging.

Yoke Peng
Running Is Life

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Singapore Marathon - The Journey

It was a wet, wet morning on Saturday, 3 December 2005. Reaching Bukit Aman car park still in drizzle at 7.30am, I asked one Pacesetters member in one of the two buses, “Is this the Champion bus?” “Yes,” he replied. So I proceeded to take out my bags from my brother’s car boot. Then only I realized that I was supposed to go in Boleh Bus.

I have been reading the previous posting about the integrity of the marathon written by the Race Director of MCM Marathon. It was about cheating despite using the Champion Chip. Obviously, the word Champion had made an impression in my mind.

So I went to another bus where the person whom I asked earlier looked at me in bewilderment. I saw PK Chan, the Coach Captain of Boleh Bus greeted me at the entrance. With the score-board in hand, I said to PK, “You look like a bus conductor.” “Yeah, don’t forget to give tips later,” he quipped. As time passed, more members arrived. We were happy exchanging greetings going for this special mission together.

Just before we started our journey, PK passed to me a film type Minolta SLR camera for taking group photos. Since Pacesetters Club’s official photographer, Mr. ChanWK, was not here as he had gone to Singapore earlier, looked like either Weng or I would have to assume the task to take the group photos.

Mr. Krishnan, Head of Running of Adidas, was in the same bus. He showed us the latest Supernova model which was much lighter yet with improved cushioning than the earlier models. According to Mr. Krishnan, the sale of Supernova was most encouraging. Every time the outlet gets a new delivery of consignment, it would be quickly snapped up by the runners.

At around 7.45am, All-Stars Bus from Permaisuri Group arrived. The rain spoiled the plan of taking group photos before we departed. PK suggested we would take one at the Yong Peng Rest Area later. At 8.05am, all three buses departed from base. I was feeling excited. I have not had this experience of been chauffeured in chartered bus for quite some times.

At Yong Peng Rest Area
The food-court at Yong Peng Rest Area is huge. There were many tour buses parked there. With so many tour buses, the food court was crowed with tourists looking for food. They even have VIP treatment for bus drivers to have their meals in a special room. The food there was pricy. A plate of simple mixed-vegetable rice and a soft drink costing RM 7-50!

Immediately after our food, Wend and I went outside to survey a suitable location for group photo session. There was one vacant land opposite the main road but crossing the road was quite dangerous. We identified a better location: the car park area which was on the same side of the food-court, though further away.

Taking group photos of about 120 runners was really an experience for me. I began to appreciate how ChanWK could accomplish the tougher jobs – taking 260 runners for the KLIM 2004 and 2005.

Returning to our three chartered buses where they were parked next to one another, I saw that all bearing the same number: 5885 with only the preceding letters differ.

Collection of Race Entry Packs
The buses reached Singapore custom checkpoint at 1.30pm. There were long queues of people waiting in line. With another 120 Pacesetters runners, that would compound the problem. One runner commented that they should anticipate the sudden influx of tourists for this marathon and should have more officers manning the counters.

Out of boredom, one runner jokingly said that the delay could be due to some elaborated ear squatting checks (referring to the infamous incident happened to a few Chinese national girls recently). Another runner replied: knowing that we are runners (with T-shirts prominently proclaiming we are), we could be asked to run 10km or round the building compound. Finally, it took us one hour to clear the custom.

We reached Suntec Complex at 3pm and we were given one hour’s time to collect the race entry packs. The collection center was big and impressive as the collection process was timed together with the Sports and Fitness Expo. There were many lanes for different race categories. Collection was efficient and swift, and the queues were cleared very fast.

Checking in at Hotel
We finally arrived at the Peninsula-Excelsior hotel at around 4.30pm. Since we were separated in different buses, we began to chat happily when we were together again. Much like at Bukit Aman car park after two hours of training runs. In this case, it was after five hours of sitting and sleeping in the bus. Most runners like to talk. Topics on running alone stretching from preparation to running and recovery would consume unlimited number of hours.

With a big group of runners, collecting of room keys was quite a daunting task. We were all asked to go to a briefing room. The hotel representative working with PK and PhoonYK were distributing the room keys to all runners. I continued to take photos while the procession was taken place. It really caught Phoon’s attention with the flash photography. Without much waiting, I was given the room key. But I continued taking photos and chat with other runners.

Surveying the Padang
Everything was done in quick succession. In less than half hour in the room, Weng and I were ready to go out to visit Orchard Road. We detoured to the Padang, the finishing area of The Race. It was calm before the storm: there were only a few workers doing the last minute work. Most booths were completely wrapped up in white plastic sheets. One tent, however, was seen arranging for a dinner party – it was the Pasta Party. There were rows of tables and chairs. I did not join them in the party last year; so is this year.

Weng and I had our dinner at a food-court around 6pm. It was located at the basement of the building opposite Peninsula hotel. With a camera in hand, I even took photos at the eatery stall after asking the stall owner for permission. Sensing that her photo was been taken, she took extra seconds to avoid the camera. Later only I realized that she is a Chinese national. She could be fearful that I was the Immigration officer that has Pacesetters written on the T-shirt.

We took MRT at City Hall station, which was opposite the food-court. Everything was just a stone’s throw away – very convenience. The earlier encounter of taking MRT was in SIM 2004, exactly one year ago. I have only a faint impression of what needed to be done. I asked one young guy about the detailed procedure of purchasing tickets from the ticketing machine. It turned out that he was a Thai; eventually, he was asking me for help.

A Brief Evening at Orchard Road
Stepping out of Orchard Road MRT station at 7.05pm, we could see the entire areas were packed with locals and tourists. My eyes were really busy. Other than admiring the lightings, most girls were quite revealing in their dressing with low cut tank T-shirts. Shifting my focus up (at lightings) and down (at them) would strain my neck too. Nevertheless, I have to focus more of the lightings: the original intention of walking along the boulevard to feel the Christmas mood.

Just in front of a huge Christmas tree lighted with thousands of glittering lights, we met IPP Mr. WanYL and wife. Mr. Wan was most impressed to see us wearing the yellow T-shirts promoting Pacesetters Club while strolling all over Orchard Road.

After walking for more than an hour, we decided to return early. Boarding one MRT back to the hotel, I saw that there was a lot of publicity for this marathon event. Event the floor board and wall of MRT are pasted with stickers announcing and promoting the event.

We retired to bed at around 10.30pm, preparing for The Race tomorrow morning – an event that we have spent three months in training runs that stretched almost 500 km.

Wishing all runners pleasant runs in their marathon challenges.

Goodnight everybody.

p/s stay tuned for The Race.


Monday, December 05, 2005

Singapore International Marathon 2005

All photos for Singapore Marathon are ready.
Album A contains photos taken on 3 Dec 05 for the journey; collection of race entry packs; checking-in at Peninsula-Excelsior hotel; an evening at Orchard Road to experience the streets decoration and lightings of Christmas. To view 140 photos, please click here.
Album B for happenings on race day is ready. To view 101 photos, please click here.
Album C is by courtesy of Weng. He sees things from slightly different pespective, and his camera contains many good shots. To view 139 photos, please click here.
Beautiful Sunday... it was raining on Saturday morning, so was this morning, Monday. The hot and humid condition, however, can be tough to marathon runners.
Does it occur to you that the camera man is also running in the race? Weng was running with the camera.
With the well-organized event handling a total of 23,000 runners and 6,500 for the full marathon, this is something to be proud of. BRAVO.
I was trying very hard to maintain SIM 2004's timing of 3:51 but it was just too tough this time.
I was roaming at the field and was heading towards their dierection. They were very friendly and responded enthusiatically with my request for taking photos.
Great achievement for Chantelle who completed the race in 5 hours 29 minutes. The trainer, Tony, took slightly longer time to complete due to blisters.
This is the first time I noticed that there were so many runners who just lied on the ground to rest their exhaused bodies.