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