The race was to start at 6.45am and we drove down to reach at about 6:20am or so and thats when the saga of finding an available car park spot started. For 20-25 minutes, we were driving in and out of HDB car parks, going through seemingly never-ending spirals of 5-7 storeys before realizing that the entire car park was full. We finally managed to find one which required super tight maneuvering to park and by the time we walked to the start line, it was 7.05am.
As we started the race late, the crowd had already thinned down and we settled into a nice 8.7 kph pace as warm-up for the first couple of kms. Within about 600m of the start line, there was a traffic signal manned by an auxiliary officer and several people had to wait before being allowed through. This was a real pain so early into the race but luckily when we reached the signal, we just ran straight as the roads were empty. After about 2km, I told my wife I was gonna go for my pace (9.5kph for the reminder of the run) and broke away. It was a great day to be out and I struck a nice rhythm after about 4kms. The 16km route has several overhead bridges that needed to be combated and in a strange way, that made the run a touch more challenging.
About the 8km mark, i was on 0:52 which was in the time range i was looking to be at. One great advantage of starting right at the back of the pack is that you get to overtake a lot of people and that is morale-booster even though i was just looking to enjoy myself. The route went into Temasek polytechnic and came back out, and there were frequent patches of the route that were bathed in sunlight and others which were well shaded by the HDB blocks. There were several volunteers all along the course and that was great cos unlike some earlier fiascos in local races, there were no misdirections. And it was great to see young school kids come out on an early Sunday morning and get in on the act.
At about 11km, i was feeling good and started running at a 10kph pace. I was able to hold this pace until the end of the race and finished in 1:35. But the one thing that completely pained me was the fact that while the race was touted as a 16km race, it was only 15kms long. My Garmin 305 tracked 15km and I later found out on SGrunners that several others had experienced the same thing. The route and my splits are here: (http://connect.garmin.com/activity/26913776)
Overall, i thought it was a decent enough race. I had participated in it as part of my training for my first road marathon on May 29th, the Sundown Marathon. And if i can stick to my training schedule, I should be able to go under 5:18 which is my current target.