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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Marina 21K

At $58 and $48 respectively for the 21km and 10km  distances, the Marina 21K has got to count as one of the most expensive local running race. The lure was an early bird opportunity to run in the brand new Bay East at Garden, part of the Gardens by the Bay, a giant garden scheduled to be opened only in mid next year. For me, it was 'triply' expensive as I had to pay for 3 participants (me, M and the Kid). Of course, to add salt to the injury (this time literally), I had to sit this one out as well. What a bummer!

The event didn't got off to a good start as well. In addition to the expensive race fee, the route was announced extremely late, in fact just 2 weeks before the race leading to all sort of speculation including one from me

Then the lack of a goodie bag raised another howl of disappointment. Why? Not that the organiser had promised any but for the price the participants were paying, they had rightfully or not expected something more than the usual t-shirt and medal. The organiser didn't help by keeping silent. Maybe they got a bit worried after the Tri-Factor debacle last week!.

Back to the race. Dropped off M and the Kid. The kid was doing his first competitive race and I think we were more excited for him than he himself. After that, the princess and me went to recce the route in the car. The route had attracted a lot of controversy by firstly it late announcement and secondly the many u-turns. The map itself was not so clear. There was no distance marker on the route map. There were several overlaps and the return route clashed with the forward runners. We took this picture of one portion of the route where the runners have to run next to parked vehicles severely restricting the running space. 

Subsequently, we parked ourselves at the 10km u-turn point and witnessed the 2 marshals sitting there eating while the runners came along. The ambulance was parked right in front of the u-turn and timing mat and the lead rider had to scream for it to get out of the way so that the runners can do their u-turn! The 2 marshalls were also totally clueless about the logistics like the distance they were at, how other participants were to get to the race site and even directing runners to turn!

It was blazing hot at 6 plus in the evening and after the Kid came along, we packed up and went for dinner before I returned after 9 to pick up M after she completed her 21km run. The 21km runners have to do 2 loops of the 10km route which means 6 U-turns plus running on narrow path, grass and roads.Of course, the promised run in the Bay East turned out to be just a short 1km round the perimeter. Oh well.... But generally, there wasn't too much complaints as I think by then everybody just want to get the race over and go home.

One final note. There was only 1 single finisher tee for both group of runners. That should not have been the case. The least the organiser should have done is to print 2 separate set of finisher tee (for the 10k and 21k) or have one generic shirt without the word "finisher". Another issue was that they ran out of X-S and S size shirt very early. That again smack of lack of foresight knowing that most locals are of smaller physique.

From comments by friends, most will not be back if there is a next year edition but knowing the runners' mentality and general apathy, it will still be business as usual if there is one next year.

Some photos mainly of the 10k runners here


  1. I have to say that the whole thing was badly organised. We were running on uneven grass patches (very dangerous and can easily cause twisted ankles),alongside traffic and parked cars (some even trying to reverse out of the car park lots) while runners avoided them. There were no clear demarcations on running route and distance markers, such that you are not sure if you are on the right track route or not. There was also alot of unintended cheating going on as runners took short-cuts especialy when they rounded corners. Several times runners have to avoid accidents ie. from running against one another from the opposite side. Routes in which only allowed single file (alongside deep drains)were narrow and dimly lit. They promised fruit, but obviously did not want to cater enough because they ran out fast and those who came back later from the run (say 2 and half hrs later) did not have any. They definitely did not even care for the customer as we (do not forget), gave them our T-shirt sizes when we registered. I will make sure that I spread the word around that the equity shareholders are out to make money only.

  2. I ran the 21k and have to agree that this was the worst organised event I have run in (both in the UK and Singapore).

    A few things to point out:

    I was in 'runner traffic' for the whole race. The faster runners (Men's Open) started after everyone which meant that we have to overtake the whole race. Due to the overtaking I actually tripped badly on a tree root and nearly sprained my ankle. I decided to carry on but nearly pulled out. When organising a night race it is extra important to use wide and FLAT paths so that runners are not tripping over.

    The race course was also monotonous with many U-turns.

    The biggest disappointment, besides the lousy race pack, was that there was no pre-race instructions in the race pack advising where the start was. I tried accessing the website to find out where it was an this was down for the whole day on Sat 23rd July. Hence in the end I had to text a friend.

    When you have you ask a friend where the start of the race is I'd say it has organisation problems.

  3. Forgot to mention - the race wasn't 21k. I ran the route religiously and clocked 20.77Km.

  4. totally agree with you. and i still couldnt find the official results in the website! sundown released the results in less than a day...

    im not joining this race again!

  5. If this the launching year for Marina 21K, I encourage everyone to give constructive criticsm. I believe the organizer would welcome anything that would help improve for next years to come.

    Some comments are too petty, example the 20.77km as comapared to 21km states just 1% discrepancy and shouldn't be an issue. No timing device can match exactly to another one. Unless difference is 5% or above.

    I am not in any way related to any of the organizers. But I would still support Marina 21K especially when it aims to improve for next years.

  6. It was my first 21K........and I did not get my "S" tshirt. The oversized tshirt I got will have to be worn by my dad :( How sad.

  7. I totally agree with the original review. This is absolutely the worst organized race ive been to.. Simple things such as size signage on the finishers tee was not even there causing a lot of confusion. These are not petty but i believe are basic stuff that the organizers should have thought about. The route was the most dissapointing aspect of this race, I saw runners having to slow down or go to the grassy parts in order to avoid colliding with a man in a wheelchair that was being pushed by his caregiver ( they needed to use the foot path and rolled against the flow of the runners)

  8. improvement points:
    too narrow routes.. shared with runners, public, pets. insufficient km markers. runners insufficiently protected from incoming traffic (no barriers), race is too expensive, too many waves (out of control as some runners ignored their wave timing and proceeded), average looking finisher tee, need to provide lightsticks to runners for safety illumination (some routes were pitch dark), uneven terrains not announced to runners (thought I was running NB Real Run).

    good points:
    sufficient drink stations, sufficient mobile loos, good logistics to ferry participants to mrt stops, nice finisher medal.

  9. Has anyone found out the results yet? I still can't see them on the website and the Q&A section says results will be sent to runners within one month of the event which seems ridiculously long to wait...!!!!!!!!!

  10. Obviously the organiser had bitten off more than they could chew. Probably from lack of experience in organising events. To have passion and desire is one thing, but it is different from having to organise a race.