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Saturday, October 15, 2011

The North Face 100 Challenge

I have been looking forward to this race since last year when I ran into the dreaded wall and got defeated by the trail and the heat. But as things turn out, despite putting in so much more trail runs this run, the injury put paid to all my plans. Hopefully this will be the final race that I have to sit out this year. 

A number of friends are doing this and of course, the sidekick. She jokingly said she is on a blind date since she does not know who her running partner is. TNF people managed to swap my place with somebody. As things turn out, she never even got to see her partner. 

After dropping the sidekick off at MacRitchie and after the flag off at 10am (why must it be so late?), I went over to Mandai. The original plan was to go the Dairy Farm first to catch the 100km Duo people and some of the 50km Duo. But after calculating that the majority of the 100km Duo people would have passed Dairy Farm by 10.30am, decided to go straight to Mandai. 
At the junction of Mandai Road and the road to the zoo, there was a waterpoint there. Went in with Ultrawoman Kelly who had DNF after the first round when her back of knee came back. Took some photos before being driven away by the swarm of mosquitoes. 

Crossed the road to Lorong Asrama to await the runners coming out from there. Had earlier prepared some frozen drinks and fruits for Ocean 9, the group of TNF Trail Run Leaders and friends. Of course took some photos in the process. Photos didn't turn out too good. Must be cockeyed!

Unfortunately couldn't wait for Alck, the only Ocean 9 members left doing the 100km solo after the sidekick called to said she was not feeling well and had to rush back to MacRitchie.  Anyway, was glad all the Ocean 9 members completed within the cutoff and got their finisher medal.

The TNF 100 Singapore Challenge has always been a tough race for the local. The terrains are not as bad as other overseas TNF edition I supposed since we do not have steep hills and rivers but the heat more than make up for it. 

As per past years, there was a nice spread of food at the end of the race; Subway sandwiches and cookies, fruits, jelly and cakes. Overall, I would give the organisation a 6 out of 10, the 4 being some feedback from friends which hopefully the next year organiser will take note:

1. The last minute change of start time from 7am to 8am was unprofessional. It affects travelling plans for the overseas participants and should never have happened.
2.  Signage were put up too early and the results were that they were either stolen, vandalised or damaged by the rain and a lot of runners went the wrong way, some running up to 2km extra
3. Insufficient water. Water ran out at several water points and even at the finish line. There were milo aplenty but not everybody can take milo throughout the race. It could have been better for them to have isotonic drinks at the water points instead of milo. Or maybe at alternative water points.
4. Start the race earlier for all categories. Our weather is simply too hot for afternoon running. Maybe the 100km Solo can start at 7pm and continue into the next day. The 100Duo and 50Duo can start 1 or even 2 hours earlier.
5. Have a baggage deposit. The lockers at MR will not be enough for all the runners.

More pictures here

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