Saturday, December 27, 2008

Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2008

What? Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon

Where? Singapore

When? 7 Dec 2008 (Sunday)

How Long? I didn't run this year....but I still make a point go for the event.

Yes, I didn't run this year. Why? Well, it has been a "been there, done that and got the Finisher T-shirt" situation for me.

I have completed my SCSM full marathon in 2004, a couple of Half Marathons in 2005 & 2006, and a 10K in 2007. So, the only event that I have not put my foot in so to speak is the Kids Dash but then, I am waaaaaaay pass the qualifying age. (Insert kiddy giggles here).

When my runner friend, Frank was planning the trip July, I immediately asked him to count me in, even though at that time I have not registered for the run. I wanna experience the run from a different perspective.

It was like an annual pilgrimage. I have never failed to visit Singapore every December for the past 4 years to pay my homage to the bright and colourful multi-themed Christmas decorations at Orchard road. This year, the Toursim Board of Singapore had made up a fantasy family called The Sweets Family hoping to bring in sweeter cash from the tourists.

I arrived on the day before the race by train. Joined Frank and the gang and went up the Singapore Flyer. It was expensive no doubt. The ride cost SGD 29.50 for about 30 mins ride. That comes to SGD 1 per minute! But I tried it anyway. I will ride anything once!:P

On the day of the marathon, I woke up about 3:00-ish am and got out from the hotel called Beach Hotel (which is no where near a beach) at 4:00am. We walked to the start point.

The full marathon start time was at 5:30am. After saying good luck to my runner pals, I went to the start point, find myself a good spot and started snapping away with new FujiFilm S100FS camera...I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them. Comments are welcome.

Caught Amelia in action. She was running the full marathon!

My superfast friend, Casey Lim and the Malaysian Adidas team at the start of half marathon.

Half Marathon Blast off (CLICK PLAY)

The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon has attracted more than 50,000 runners.

I love the next picture. A group of pacers ran by. Thanks to the live view tilt screen, I managed to get to this angle without having to lie down on the ground.

Another shot from the ground level. The sky provided a dramatic backdrop.

Peace! I would be rich if I get SGD1 everytime a runner flash me a "peace" sign.

Another "runwitme" in the making? :)

10K Men event. Check out the guy in yellow. So striking in a sea of blue.

Resting before the start?

The Women 10K. Girls just wanna have fun! The MC even managed to coax them to do the funky "Chicken Dance" (CLICK PLAY)

Isn't she sweet? :)

The one with the fiercest hair. Runrio, from the Philippines.

Top Malaysian Marathoner - Shaharudin, wearing Nike Lunar Racer. Look at him go....!

The world's greatest BLIND runner, Henry Wanyoike (the one with dark glasses on). I saw him couple of times running with his guide, Joseph Kibunja before. However, Joseph was replaced by this guy this year. Seemed like the blind was leading the abled eyes. :)

My pal William running his 10K.

Please, put some clothes on. LOL!

Fat Bird Team, Dream Runner in action!

Andrew looking good in his first oversea half marathon! Congrats!

Little supporter.

SG Runner founder, En. Sukaimi Ali (guy in long trackpants) running the full marathon.

Lawrence Leong looking very happy towards his full marathon finish!

Too hot? Run with an umbrella..ella..ella..ella...

Uncle Sonny Ng (in yellow), full marathon! Uncle Sonny, pls be patient, I will send you those uncompresssed photos to you. :)

Just robbed the bank or what??? LOL!

Chee Kong grimacing toward his first full marathon finish. Congrats!!!!

Pacers....I love the background - The Singapore Esplanade dubbed The Durians.

Ouch! Ouch! Every runner's nightmare - bleeding nipples! Next time don't forget to lube up!

Mohan - the superduperultramarathoner! This guy runs marathon all over the world!

Amelia Ang. The smile in the ealier picture has turned into a cry of relief. Congrats for completing the SCSM! Well done!

After being an "unofficial" photographer for SCSM, I have some tips for those runners who have photographer friends waiting to snap their pictures during a road race. It will make their lives a whole lot easier.

Top 3 Tips to get your photograph snapped photographer friends during an important run.

1) Wear something different. It was not easy to spot someone in the sea of runner like Singapore Marathon, it was like looking for a blue fish in the sea of blue. Wear something of different colour than the official vest, even better something unique like a pink tutu…or a gorilla suit. Not only your photographer friend can spot you, chances are you might land your picture in your local newspapers too.

Example below:

2) Ask the location(s) your photographer friend might station himself before the race.

Then look out for your friend and the flash the widest smile for him even though inside you feel like dying from exhaustion as you approach him. This work only if the organizer doesn't divert the route at the last hour of the marathon. I was waiting like a fool for my friend, Ultraman Tey at the bridge but I didn't see the sign of his nostrils for more than 6 hours. I saw less and less full marathon runners passed by me. Later I found out that the diverted the "slower" runners to an alternative finishing route!!! Grrrrrr....

3) Wave, shout and scream if you have to for attention.

It's difficult to notice your friends in that tiny viewfinder especially when you have back to back runners that you know. You can only see so much in that little square. I guess this is the possible reason that I didn't manage to spot Frank. I found out later that he was running in front of The Lonely Runner (TLR). My focus was already set on TLR and I completely missed out Frank. Sorry again, Frank!

If the above doesn't work for you...., bring your own camera – pass it to bystanders and ask him/ or her to snap a pic for you. Best work with a Professional photographer if you can find them on the route. Approach politely. I did that once on the human race. That fler knew how to fix the focus and then recompose the picture so that he gets you and the background into the photo without breaking photography "the rule of third". Heheh!

I enjoyed photographing runners in the Singapore Marathon. It was really challenging as everything is so dynamic and fast. My index finger hurt after all the snap snap and click click session. I took about 1500 over photos although not all viewable by human eyes. LOL! But it was great fun. I think I will be there again next year. My feet are itching to run. Heheh!

Hope you enjoy my post especially the photos. As usual, comments are welcome.

Acknowledgment: Frank (Thanks for arranging the trip), Andrew, William, Chee Kong (for being great traveling runner friends) and TLR & Fida (Thanks for the Muallaf movie treat).

For more photo, please check out my Picasa album.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Singaporean Chicken Dance

See...Told ya that the girls had more fun at the Singapore Marathon. :) Now everybody go down like that and clap clap clap clap!

Friday, December 19, 2008

They Had Me Suicidal

I think the girls had the most fun than the guys at the Singapore Marathon 2008. Blog write up coming soon. (and when I say soon...gimme a week or two LOL!). Please comeback for updates.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

First Putrajaya International 12 Hour Walk 2008

What? First Putrajaya International 12 Hour Walk

Where? Dataran Putrajaya

When? 8:00pm 13 Dec - 8:00am 14 Dec 2008

How long? 1km per loop. The walker with the most loops covered wins.

I have been a "fan" of ultra walking event like this since I joined the first ever 24 Hour Walk in Genting Highland a few years ago. And everytime after the event I would swear I would not join the next event because of the pain, sleepiness and blisters that I had to endure. But then again, I have not failed to sign up for any 12 or 24 hours walk event that came my way. There is some kind of allure of this event to me. Don't quite understand it....Must be the food! :)

I met up with Kevin, Amelia, Yew Ting, Isabel and Tan at Steven Tea Garden for an early dinner before departing for Putrajaya on the Saturday evening. It was raining very heavily around 3:00pm. I was a little worried that the rain clouds would ruin everything!

We arrived at Putrajaya around 6:00pm. Collected our race kits and goodies bag. Had a chance to meet up with my ex-colleagues who were tending the charity booth near the start point.

Saw many participants already getting themselves ready for the race. Seen many familiar faces...those I see once a year in this type of event...LOL! And of course there were many fresh faces too.

All the walker gathered at the start point about 15 mins to 8:00pm. A short briefing was given by Mr. Khoo Chong Beng, the main man behind this event. ;)

A surprise announcement was made. There was a girl who celebrated her birthday on the event day! Everyone sang "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" to her. What a lucky girl. I manage to record it with my camera. (CLICK PLAY)

Crank up the volume and listen carefully, someone shouted that he wanted a kiss from the birthday girl...I know who you are!Cinya hamsup! LOL!

At 8:00pm, we were set off for a long night of walking....walking...talking and also eating. LOL! (CLICK PLAY)

The venue in my opinion is EXCELLENT! Beautifully lit buildings around us. Flat road surface. No traffic = less pollution.

I walked slowly with the company of Yew Ting. She has been my walking partner since we met at the first 24 Hour Walk in Genting Highland in 2000. This event gave us the perfect opportunity to catch up, talking nonsense and gossip about other participants. LOL!

There were many style of walking....Check out this fler's move.(CLICK PLAY)

He is a friend of mine. I hope he won't hunt me down like Mariah Carey for posting his video here. LOL!

As we walk around the Dataran Putajaya, we also get to see the food being prepared right in front of our noses. Noses? Yes....the aromatic whaft of freshly cooked food filled the air. I was salivating like a Pavlov's dog each time I passed by the food station. I had to wait till 10:00pm though; when they would start "feeding" the hungry walkers! :)

Pretty in Orange.

Eat to walk or walk to eat? I think I am in the latter category! Whoosh....there went my waist line...

Where in KL or Malaysia can you get an all you can eat buffet spread for RM40 that last 12 hours? Heheh!

I didn't eat much in the first round. Took some veggies, egg, nuggets and a bowl of soup. The food was YUMMY!

The result was being posted every two hours on the notice board. Very efficient!

Legs up!

By midnight, some already "lembik".

Check out these flers. My fellow walker, Frank very cheekily pointed that each of the walker had a very distinctive style in sleeping when saw i posted this pic in my Facebook album. Frank commented, "And take note the way each person rest their legs. Straight, sideways, crossed and even kangkang (wide opened)."

I was ROTFLOL when I saw the sexy remarks that entailed from my other Facebook friends which I rather not publish here to keep this blog suitable for all ages. :)

I think nobody escaped the soreness, chafing and blisters during the walk. So, for some, the shoes had to come off....Like my friend, Kelvin. :) (CLICK PLAY)

Some walked backwards to reduce cramps....(CLICK PLAY)

This guy decided not to leave his shoes and carried them around. Maybe the shoes were expensive. :)

Yay! It's time to eat again...It was 1 am. I was tired, sleepy and hungry.

Then it started to drizzle! (Insert cry here!)

I decided to stop and watch the "rain coat fashion parade" :) (CLICK PLAY)

Some like this guy decided that he would be alright if he got only his head covered with a plastic bag. (CLICK PLAY)

Some like everything to be covered like this LITTLE YELLOW RIDING HOOD. :P

I managed to catch some winks after I completed the "minimum requirement" for a finisher medal - 24km. I decided not to get myself miserably wet. Anyway, my two feet has developed blisters at the early stage of the walk. They were rather painful.

Time really flies when you were sleeping. LOL! I woke up to find out that it was already dawn. I decided to make a few more rounds.

My hope to catch the sunrise in Putrajaya was dashed due to the still overcast sky.

My friend, Jeff resting while nursing a bad cramp.

Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) looks like a flying saucer about to strike us walkers...:)

Jamie feeling suicidal after the long torturous hours of sleepless walking.

That big palace like thingy at the background is our Prime Minister's office.

Almost 12 Hours had gone by. Someone was apparently glad it was all over! He kissed the ground for it!

Amelia making the last lap to complete her race. She was fund-raising for charity as she walked. RM5 for each km she completed.

Kevin giving us the "Peace to y'all" sign...while shaking his Booty-tastic behind. (Can't use booty-licious as it was already taken by Beyonce. LOL!)

...and Kevin made the girls' heads turned....LOL!

"BUAT KERJA" (literally translated to DO YOUR WORK)- Two, not one, big big banners running at the front of the Palace of Justice building. I wonder what they are for. Are the people working in the building are so lazy that they had to be reminded to "BUAT KERJA" each time they step into the building??? (Insert tsk tsk tsk sound effect here!)

BELGIUM’S Alexander Vandenhoeck, the men open champion making a dash to the finish line....CONGRATULATION!!!!!!

The winners.

The gorgeous finisher medal! I MADE IT! YAY!

I would like to congratulate the organizers, especially Mr. Khoo Chong Beng….for a race well organized. Thanks to all the volunteers for sacrificing their sleep for us. Thank you to friends and some strangers, I mean fellow walkers for the encouragement and keeping each other company round the clock.

As a summary,

The GOOD – Must say say FOOD. The best so far in the whole series on the walk events that I have participated in. All freshy prepared. The smell of cooking in the middle of the night sent our saliva glands to working overtime each time we passed the cooking station. LOL! We could see what they were cooking for the next "feeding session" as we walked round the dataran. Of course there are other good points as well..which already mentioned earlier in the post.

The BAD – The Music. What? The DJ must have been stucked in the era when boney M, big afro hair and platform shoes rules the chart. Come on..Play la some Britney Spear...or even Linkin Park. My MP3 player went dead...battery cannot last 12 hours. So, I had to rely on whatever the DJ played to keep the groove on. Next time I’ll bring some funky CDs for the DJ. LOL!

The UGLY – The Cheaters. They went for break and then they secretly joined back the race form the other side of the tent when no one was looking. Perhaps another mat at the U-turn end of the loop could help to prevent such things from happening? I don’t think we can rely too much on the marshalls as they are sleepy too....

OK...I am very tired. It took long hours and lots of effort to put this post together. Please forgive me for any spelling error or gramatical mistakes. Errors under your care. :)

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Comments are welcome. I would to hear from you. If you like it, please give a "virtual" little pat on my shoulder by leaving your comments. I need some encouragements from time to time, you know :).

If you don't like the post in any way, please let me know too so that I can improve. I'm only human, flesh and blood are made....

So, see you at the next around the clock race...runwitme, I mean walkwitme signing off. Cheers!