Running Average: Oxfitt Run 2019

I’ve definitely mentioned it entirely too much this week, however this past weekend I completed my first half marathon ever at the Oxfitt Run 2019. I just wanted to leave my thoughts here in case anyone wants to know my impressions and experiences of the event, maybe for future Oxfitt events.

The Oxfitt Run this year was held at Marina Barrage – I understand last year’s event was an evening run of 15km, while this year’s event was a half marathon (21km) and in the morning. As the start time was at 5:30am, I took a Grab to the Barrage – while this is quite early, I would eventually appreciate this as I finished the race before the sun really started beating down. But more on that later.

The starting (and finishing) area was dimly lit, probably so as not to shock all of us who were still waking up. However, this made it kind of difficult to spot the baggage drop area. After speaking to some helpful event staff, I found the baggage drop area, who gave me a sticker that corresponded with the tag attached to my bag. I say sticker; it actually didn’t stick particularly well to my race bib, so I ended spearing it with one of the safety pins to make sure I didn’t lose it.

By the time I was done dropping my bag, I lined up for the bathrooms – as the event was taking place at the Barrage, there were only a small number of port-a-loos as there were facilities available already. As a man, this made it quite convenient as there were both urinals and cubicles, which kept things moving quite quickly (for me at least, since I didn’t need a cubicle).

My camera really struggled to take photos in these low light conditions

As I exited the bathroom, the start pen opened up so I took my place about one-third of the way back from the front. The event stage was right at the front of the pen, where the MC tried to keep all of the bleary-eyed runners, like myself, entertained and eventually took us through a warm up as the start time approached.

While the event was sponsored by Oxfitt and their name was splashed everywhere, there was actually no official presence of the company – in fact when it came to waving the race start, it was an official from the event organizer, Pink Apple. Not necessarily a bad thing, just unusual.

At 5:30am sharp, the race was waved off, but because there was only one big wave, everyone was only able to shuffle out of the relatively narrow starting pen. Once out of the pen, I decided to try to catch up to the pacers as I wasn’t too far back, though it still took me almost 2km before I was able to catch up to the 2:20 pacers (targeting a 6:30min/km pace), who I decided would be the group for me to follow for the first part of the race.

The course was still very dark and in parts poorly lit, but there were plenty of course officials and markings to make sure we didn’t make any wrong turns. There were a few narrow spots and stairs which were a bit tricky to navigate in the dark, but for the most part the course was quite manageable in the dark.

For me personally, my plan was to run the first half of the race behind pacers, then speed up after this. This actually worked well as the pacers started off a bit quickly, hitting the 10km mark by 1:02:00, 3 mins ahead of schedule. Unfortunately, they slowed down significantly to get back down to their target time. It was at this point that I broke away for the second phase of my run.

At 16km, the course runs back passed the Barrage, taking us up on top of the Barrage before coming back down towards the Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Sands – unfortunately I made the ill-fated decision to run quite quickly up the Barrage, buoyed by the excitement of overtaking people; this would come back to haunt me shortly.

Spotted: me struggling in the background

At 19km, we ran in front of Marina Bay Sands and the Shoppes before looping back towards the Barrage for the last 2km. It was at this point that I started feeling an abdominal cramp – probably partly because of overexerting when running up the Barrage, and partly due to lack of hydration and nutrition in this last phase of the race. At the 20km, the cramp had me almost doubled over as I struggled to maintain my running form.

One km later, I managed to hobble over the finish line for a net time of 2:11:06. Considering I’d never finished a half marathon, even in training, I was just happy to have finished; the time was just the icing on the cake. At the finish line, we received a finisher medal, a bottle of Pocari Sweat, a can of drink from minor sponsor XS Energy, a banana, and a ice towel.

Bag pick up was efficient – admittedly I was hobbling at this point so the helpful event staff made note of my bag number as I hobbled over and handed me my bag without me ever having to stop.

That pretty much concludes my experience of Oxfitt Run 2019. It might not be one those mainstream races that you sign up for immediately, but if it’s on next year and I’m in Singapore, I think I’ll sign up again.

Thanks to my supporters!

Published by Stephen Yuen

I've been many things in my life, but right now, I'm an engineer, a runner, a husband, and a cat daddy. Who knows what comes next.

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