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Friday, February 12, 2010

A better Marathon or 2 Marathons?

I guess the whole running community in Singapore is waiting with bated breathe to see how the tussle between the SAA and SSC turns out.

To recap, the SSC has fired the first salvo by announcing its own marathon on the first Sunday of December, a slot that has traditionally been reserved for the SAA organised marathon. SAA triumph card is of course its affliation to the IAA and without the sanction of SAA, the SSC organised marathon will fall flat on its face as no international elite runners will be allowed to take part. Does SSC has something up its sleeve? It has engaged a son of the IAA President as its consultant so does it mean that eventually IAA will grant its consent direct to SSC instead of going through SAA? So who will triumph? Or will we have 2 day marathons this year?

Let me try to be a bit kapoh and analyse the news announced so far.

Firstly, the SSC has announced that its marathon will be held on 5 December 2010 and SC Bank has jumped over to its side. The SSC promised a bigger capacity. new route, new events and most important of all a better race experience.

3 a crowd. With 50000 people last 2 years, the congestion at the end point was horrifying for most of the full marathon runners. With 60000 people how do the SSC hopes to solve the problem. I doubt they can. Why?

All roads lead to Rome. The ending point will be at the Padang (note that they did not say it will start from the Padang). There is only so many way to go into the Padang, via Esplanade Bridge, Connaught Drive and St Andrew's Road. Traditionally, the end gantry is along St Andrew's Road. I doubt for cost and logistic reasons, they will have different ending point for all the different categories and events. So the runners may come from different directions but eventually all will converge on to St Andrew's Road and the nightmare will continue for the runners.

The early bird catches the worm. Start the race earlier? I doubt. They need all the spectators they can get and there must be public transport to transport them there. And that is not possible with the current apathetic attitude of our public transport companies.

Have a break. Split the race into 2 days? Nah - it will be difficult for the organiser to claim that it is one of the biggest race in the world if it were to do so so quite sure the 1 day format will stay.

So it will be a big race but better experience? I seriously doubt.

How about the new route? That sounds promising with all the talks of Orchard Road. Fat chance. Remember the furious honking during the 2007 AHM when it went through Middle Road and Clemenceau Road? Can the authorities afford to close Orchard Road for 5 - 6 hours? I don't think so. My guess for the new route will be Padang or FI Pit stop to Sands IR via the new bridge and through Marina South, Marina Barrage and East Coast Park again! Why? Because most major marathon involves a coastline run and so die die we must have a coastline run as well and beside - no road closure required!

How about 2 marathons. Nah I don't think it is possible. The SSC has already confirmed early December which means no sane organiser will do another full marathon in the 2 preceding months unless it is an informal one like the MR Ultramarathon. And the SAA will definitely not do one like that.

So the most idea date will be in June but that is a mere 4 months away and too close to the Sundown marathon so I don't think that is a possibility which leaves September. Can the SAA pull it off? Without a doubt with its experience but with the SSC controlling the purse string and most probably all potential sponsors too scared or bemused to get involved..nah it will not happen.

My take on the eventual ending? There will be one marathon and it will be co-organised by the SAA and SSC as usual. Yes they will kiss and make up. And how is that going to happen? Remember Aware and a certain EGM? Well the same thing will happen. The clubs will be coaxed or 'persuaded' by some unseen forces to call an EGM and Mr SAA will be voted out and the newly appointed head honcho? What of him? No prize for guessing!

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