Ex­otic Des­ti­na­tion

One of the world’s top global cities of­fer­ers run­ners a unique ex­pe­ri­ence, jux­ta­pos­ing the past and fu­ture

Canadian Running - - CONTENTS - By Melissa Offner

Stan­dard Char­tered Sin­ga­pore Marathon

Pic­ture this: run­ning past 25- and 50-me­tre tree-like ver­ti­cal gar­dens and the largest glass green­house in the world, or in front the world’s most ex­pen­sive stand­alone casino whose de­sign was in­spired by a deck of cards. How about run­ning by a gi­ant fer­ris wheel, or the world’s largest f loat­ing stage and a per­form­ing arts cen­tre that is shaped like a gi­ant alu­minum durian, but then also mak­ing your way past iconic her­itage and cul­tural sites that have been around since the 19th cen­tury? These are just some of the epic con­trasts and unique sights that run­ners will get to ex­pe­ri­ence at t his year’s St an­dard Char­tered Sin­ga­pore Marathon. The 17th edi­tion of the scsm is set to take place on Dec. 8 and 9 in Sin­ga­pore. The new two-day for­mat will of­fer the 50,000 plus run­ners, rep­re­sent­ing 126 na­tions, a myr­iad of com­mu­nity-cen­tric ac­tiv­i­ties and ex­pe­ri­ences. To re­main ac­ces­si­ble to run­ners of all abil­i­ties, in ad­di­tion to the marathon dis­tance, the scsm is of­fer­ing a 5k, 10k, half-marathon as well as an Eki­den (a con­cept orig­i­nat­ing from Ja­pan, where a team of five run­ners com­pletes a marathon) and a Kids Dash.

The race’s 4:30 a.m. start time en­ables par­tic­i­pants to wit­ness the cos­mopoli­tan megac­ity that is Sin­ga­pore, come to life. The scenic course will take them along Or­chard Road; the shop­ping dis­trict, the Cen­tral Busi­ness Dis­trict as well as tra­di­tional and her­itage ar­eas like Arab Street, Lit­tle In­dia, Chi­na­town and old shop houses be­fore hug­ging East Coast Park and end­ing by The Float at Ma­rina Bay Sands, amidst Sin­ga­pore’s pic­turesque sky­line.

What’s it like to run in one of the lead­ing global cities of the 21st cen­tury? Ac­cord­ing to Clare Gaskell, a Toronto-na­tive who’s been liv­ing in Sin­ga­pore for the past seven years and who will be run­ning her third full marathon at this year’s scsm, “it’s very beau­ti­ful, it al­most helps you get through the race be­cause you’re al­ways look­ing up at what your sur­round­ings are.”

The scsm also of­fers en­ter­tain­ment through­out the race, plus hy­dra­tion and nu­tri­tion sta­tions, not to men­tion tun­nel mists to off­set the city’s warm, hu­mid cli­mate. But the heat doesn’t seem to de­ter Gaskell or any of the thou­sands of run­ners be­cause “you al­ways see peo­ple lin­ing the streets, there are mul­ti­ple cheer sec­tions, fam­i­lies and friends wait­ing, it al­ways feels like there’s some­one there

giv­ing you a high five,” she added.

Com­mu­nity is an im­por­tant as­pect of the scsm. Mr. Ge­off Meyer, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Iron­man Asia and the scsm ex­plains “with our launch this year, we in­tro­duced a se­ries of pro­grams and ini­tia­tives aimed at ral­ly­ing and en­cour­ag­ing the com­mu­nity to take up run­ning as a sport or trade up to higher cat­e­gories. We also rein­tro­duced the 5k cat­e­gory, a rel­a­tively shorter dis­tance that is per­fect for en­try-level par­tic­i­pants to in­spire and en­cour­age them to take up run­ning and live a health­ier life­style.”

In 2017, the scsm launched their Women Squad, a pro­gram de­signed to en­cour­age women to start run­ning. “We col­lab­o­rated with the rock­run­ners, a lo­cal run­ning club, to lead the ini­tia­tive, whose pri­mary ob­jec­tive is to help women of all lev­els and abil­i­ties pur­sue their fit­ness goals by equip­ping them with proper knowl­edge and train­ing that would help them train con­sis­tently for race day,” ex­plains Meyer. The pro­gram in­cludes a se­ries of spe­cially cu­rated work­shops and classes, such as talks on run­ning biome­chan­ics and nu­tri­tion. They also of­fer hiit, barre and yoga classes to the women who take part in the pro­gram.

The run­ning and club com­mu­nity is thriv­ing in Sin­ga­pore thanks to the city’s modern in­fra­struc­ture. “They com­ple­ment the city’s land­scape very well, mak­ing it con­ducive for run­ning with well-main­tained parks and ded­i­cated park con­nec­tors,” says Meyer. And avid lo­cal run­ner Gaskell con­curs, “I love run­ning in Sin­ga­pore be­cause you see the same peo­ple run­ning all the time. Peo­ple will wave and smile at you, it’s the same com­mu­nity and faces you see at the races.” Run­ning in Sin­ga­pore and the scsm is not only the best way to get to know this global hotspot but also an un­par­al­leled run­ning ex­pe­ri­ence for both fu­tur­ists and his­tory en­thu­si­asts alike. Melissa Offner is a writer, run­ner and tele­vi­sion and pod­cast host based in Van­cou­ver.

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