Monday, March 12, 2007

SMART Tunnel 14km Run

Click here to view 50 photos taken by WENG, who ran with the camera... NEW!
Written by Steven (Penguin-5)

It was indeed unique to run in a tunnel. I was glad to be there experiencing this once-in-a-life-time event running in the SMART Tunnel 14km Run, on Sunday 11 March 2007.

The starting point was an open space about 1km from the tunnel. In the tunnel, runners run via the upper deck to the other end of the tunnel. Upper deck was easily recognized with the curved ceiling. At the far end of the tunnel at Sungei Besi airport area, all runners exit from the upper deck and return via the middle deck, recognizable with flat and dimly lighted ceiling.

The entire course was flat. The interesting part was that when runners entered into the tunnel, the downward slope was very gradual; so was when exiting the tunnel at the far end.

To ventilate the tunnel, jet fans located at about 1km interval were switched on. The jet fans were spinning quite quietly. One could feel the breeze when running near the ventilation fans but it was hot at areas away from the fans.

Contrary to a few runners’ belief, the footsteps and the echo sound were quite tolerable.

There were two water stations in the tunnel. The first one was located at about 500 meters after entering the tunnel; the second one was about similar vertically location before exiting the tunnel. I guessed that there might be vertical through passage between the two levels – in real life, for ease in swift evacuation.

I was running in the Men Open category, the first group. I was shocked to see that there was only one Indian boy frantically manning the first water station. Impatiently, most runners just grabbed the unopened bottle of water and continued with their run. Some runners grabbed two. After drinking a few sips, they threw the unfinished water away – what a waste.

Weng who was running in the next group (Men Veteran category) was told that there was no more water at both the water stations. It was reported by other women runners – who started after Men Veteran category – suffered the same fate.

I saw four persons were unconscious in this run: two men and two boys. I was not sure what was the cause but definitely, it must be unique too to have so many runners fainted.

At the finishing line, it was located in such a manner that the faces of the runners were backlighting against the sun that was difficult in taking photos.

Overall, it was quite boring and monotonous running in a tunnel, as there was nothing much to see other than similar structure and lighting in the tunnel. With regards to the standards of race organization, definitely, there is room for improvement. Whenever new organizers trying to stage a run, they are bound to have numerous teething problems. Since these are repeatable process, maybe FTAAA can draw up standard checklists for the new organizers.

By Steven

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i totally agree with u was so hot and the lack of drink station just made the situation worst..the organizers were terrible..but i dont think FTAAA is responsible for the organizers..that part belongs to a different person..from my past experience with FTAAA everything was smooth sailing..