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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

U Run Vertical Climb 2012

I did this event last year. It was fun but tiring. This year the old legs got no more strength to climb stairs so have to sit out the race. Instead, I went to kaypoh a little bit.

This year race format was similar to previous year. There was just a run segment and there was the Run 10km/Climb 30 flights of stairs segment. Both event starts at the Float at Marina. The end point was interesting. For the run only category, the race finish at the same place. For the climb, the race officially ends at One Marina Boulevard some 1km away. I didn't know that and parked myself outside the OMB only to find an empty place at least until the runners started streaming in.

The official start and finishing point

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Another New GPS Watch

Surprise surprise, another company is launching a new GPS watch and its not Casio!

Epson Japan has announced that it has developed the World's lightest GPS watch.

From Epson's website: Seiko Epson Corporation ("Epson," TSE: 6724) has developed the world's lightest*1 GPS-enabled running monitor, which also boasts an extremely thin design. Designed to be worn on the wrist and equipped with long battery life*2, the monitor uses GPS to provide runners with accurate distance, pace and other data.

Epson claims it has the most accurate GPS and up to 12 hours of battery life. Whether that is true we will only know when the watch reach the market. And of course, the other questions remain. What type of pricing and will it ever reach our shore?

Read the full press release from Epson here

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Expensive Race Fee?

Was going to sign up for the Energizer Night Race until I saw the race fee. Whoa, $65 for a 16km race! If I remember correctly, that was more expensive than the full marathon. So I chicken out. Too kiamseap. But that set me thinking, there has been many complaints in the Sgrunners forum about ever increasing race fee. Is our race fee really that expensive?

So I did some googling and came out with some findings.

Firstly, a comparison of the Energizer Night Race which is held in several countries. Unfortunately, I only managed to find the race fee for 2 other countries, one in far away South Africa and the other, the badly organised Malaysia Night Race. All races came with event tee or finisher tee, medal and other novelties items including headlamp. The Johannesburg race only has a 5km trail whereas the Malaysia had a version with full marathon and the full works so for equal comparison, I selected only the shortest category for each country and no surprise there, Singapore came out as the most expensive.

Next I compared another series race - the Mizuno Wave Run. This time I had Hongkong and Malaysia for comparison. And again Singapore  emerge as the most expensive race.

So it would seem that all the complains were spot on and Singapore is indeed the most expensive place to race. For a final comparison, I looked at the major marathon races among the region and surprise surprise, Singapore was not the most expensive. Tokyo had the most expensive race fee followed by Gold Coast, Australia. 

Conclusion from this mini unscientific survey. Singapore is indeed the most expensive place to race for smaller races but for international races, the race fee is average. So if you feel that the wallet is tight and want to save some money, take part in the longer distance/major races. It is better value for money.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

4 Hills Run

It has been a long time since I ran this particular route. This is one of my favourite place to run but also one of the toughest being as the route name suggest, comprising of 4 hills namely Mount Faber, Telok Blangah Hill, Kent Ridge and Labrador Reserve. Used to be that a main part of this route was on the pavement along  Telok Blangah Road but with the completion of the Berlayer Creek and Bukit Chermin Boardwalk, this has since been very much reduced.

The view of the Henderson Wave Bridge. Sometime we run up Mt Faber and use this bridge to cross Henderson Road or sometime we just cross the road at the traffic light to reach Telok Blangah Hill.

This is part of the Forest and Earth Walk trail at the Telok Blangah Hill which forms part of the Southern Ridges. Looks like there was a landslide and they are pouring concrete to stablish the ground.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Venus Run No More

The 2nd Venus Run for women has come to a premature end barely 2 weeks after registration opens. Scheduled for 11 March 2012 at the Bedok Reservoir, this race which was to celebrate International Women's  Day has the dubious honour of being the first race in Singapore to be cancelled. Ostensibly, the reason as stated on the SAA's website was "In order to ensure the best Venus Run race experience for you, it is with much regret that the Venus Run will be postponed till a later date."

Huh? When does having a best race experience means cancelling the race? Read between the lines, and I think the pure and simple reason is "Poor Response = Not Commercially Viable = Cancel Race". 

What do they expect? Launching a race just 1 month before the race day? And no publicity at all! It's no wonder there is no response. Which is a waste considering that the sidekick who took part in it last year really enjoyed the race. In my opinion, last year's race was one of the better organised and value for money race

There are obviously lessons to be learnt here.

1. Prepare for the event well in advance and launch it early (but not too early)
2. Have a proper marketing program. Don't take the running public for granted and assume that the public knows about the race and sign up automatically.

I hope all the other race organisers out there sit up and take notice. Do not clap and applause that there is 1 less competition for the race money. If it can happen to somebody like SAA, it can happen to any other, especially the smaller outfit!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Running Shops's Weekly Runs

Since Running Lab started the trend of having group run from the shop, many other sports retail outlets have jumped on to the bandwagon. Add in product sampling, shoe trial, store discounts and the move is a smart marketing tactics to build loyalty to the shop. 

Runner Lab, the pioneer has its runs on Tuesday and Thursday at its Novena Velocity and Funan outlets respectively. Athlete Circle has it weekly Thursday run from Boon Tat Street. New Balance holds its run every Wednesday and Thursday from its Novena Velocity and Scape outlets. Newton hold theirs every Wednesday at Marina Square and so does new kid on the block, Asics. Adidas and Nike used to hold weekly runs as well but for some reasons, these have been replaced by adhoc special themed run during weekends. (somebody correct me if I am wrong on this).

Photo from RL - Circuit Training on 9 Feb 2012
Attendance at each run generally averages from single digit to mega numbers such as those like the Newton and New Balance runs which wisely tie up with running groups like Punggol Runners. Some are well organised with free drinks, storage and proper warm up and cool down drills. Some like Running Lab and Newton occassionally come up with special program like the recent Polar Circuit training for Running Lab and Run Injury Free talk by Newton.

Warming up at the Newton Run  on 8 February 2012. Photo by Francis Chia
The emergence of such runs is good for the development of running in Singapore. But the retail shops need to be more professional in their approach and come up with more value added programs to keep the runners returning. Just having runs week in and week out will lead to runners inertia. In addition, almost all the outlets do not make the runners sign any indemnity and touch wood, in the event of a mishaps, the shops may end up facing a big legal bill. Something for the shops to think about?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Launch of Brooks Pure Project

 I been waiting for the launch of the Brooks Pure Project series of shoes since it was launch in the US but Sportslink did not bring it in.

But it is finally here in Singapore, courtesy of Key Power International which has taken over the distribution of  Brooks shoes in Singapore. Hopefully, they will be able to raise the profile of Brooks shoes which has been languishing right at the bottom of the running shoes hierarchy here.

Key Power choosed to launch their distribution of the Brooks shoes with a bash at the sports hub, Velocity United Square. 

 On show was all the 4 shoes in the series, the Pure Connect, Pure Flow, Pure Cadence and the Pure Grit. So Brooks has at one go, released 3 shoes to fit all the standard category of runners and one for trail as well. The Pure Project shoes are meant to be Brooks answer to the barefoot/minimalist movement with its lightweight, flexibility and low heel to toe drop. But barefoot advocates will sniff and laugh at this imposer which comes with an arch support, cushioning and  thick sole.  The other unique feature of the shoe is its split toe between the big toe and 2nd toe. I am not too sure what is the purpose of that since it is neither here or there unlike the Five Fingers. If anything, I think it may cause problem for some people. However, without a proper run in the shoes, I will never know right?

Women Pure Connect
Men Pure Connect
 Brooks running shoes are now available at all 2XU outlets at Velocity, Marina Square, Queensway and Macpherson.

Saturday, February 04, 2012


There must be some streak of masochism in human being. Otherwise, why would one willingly subject themselves to torture what more pay for it! And that was how I found myself when I went through an hour of hell. Actually it seems like more than an hour and it never seems to end.

To start from the beginning, the dashing and hunk, IMD has an ongoing weekly training session which he very aptly named S.I.C.K training at the Queenstown stadium.  From the Facebook page, I knew it was some sort of circuit training but exactly what, I have absolutely no idea. So being the typical kaypoh I have to find out. So on Thursday night, and bored of running around the neighbourhood, I made my way down to Queenstown Stadium. 

The brief from the coach aka torturer was do 3 rounds of warm up and 4 rounds of faster pace run or what he called a "time trial". So I went all out which was a bad idea considering that I have not been doing much running  nowadays not to say speed run. And after 1 round, I was KO and had to slow down drastically. 

And then came the real torture! After a brief warm up, the sadistic coach with a smile on his face asked everybody to go do a fast round! And this was followed by a static exercise. Now I fancy myself quite good at push up but after the 400m run and without much rest, I found to my horror that I couldn't do the push up. And the runs and exercise continue! Round and round and back to the static exercises which could be push up, lunges or anything that coach fancies. We were literally not left with any time to breathe.

Of course, I got smart and started running at easy pace so that most of the rounds, I was one of the last few to finish but that still left me gasping and panting when doing the static exercise or what he calls "circuit"

Anyway, I am proud to say I survived S.I.C.K. and being a masochist, will probably go back for the torture again.

S.I.C.K. training is conducted by Ben Swee, a qualified running coach/Ironman/Ultramarathoner at Queenstown Stadium every Thursday (except when there are S-League matches) at 8 pm. A fee of $5.00 is payable. S.I.C.K training is suitable for masochist and sadists. It is also suitable for those who are looking to pass IPPT, NAPFA test, lose weight, lose fat and build speed. Finally it is highly recommended for ladies and some guys who want to get up close to the hunky and charming coach aka torturer. For more information, check out the Facebook page.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Project Tummy Week 1

Times flies and 1 week is over since I start on Project Tummy.

Here's a recap of the week:

Wednesday 25/1/2012:  Went to the gym. Did 25 mins on the elliptical trainer and another 45 mins playing around with the weights machine.

Thursday 26/1/2012:  Running Day. Foot felt weird so decided to slack rest. Went through the motion of doing weights. Does that count as exercise?

Friday 27/1/2012:  Off day from work. Managed to get up early and went for a swim. 20 laps in 1 hour:(. Then had a rich expensive lunch. So much for all the calories that was burnt during the swim.

Saturday 28/1/2012:  Finally a real run. 11km slow and easy run. Followed by a buffet dinner in the night. Calories gained?

Sunday 29/1/2012: Supposed to join IMD and friends for another run. But the body is not agreeable to waking up early 3 days in a row. That plus the late night on Saturday. Made up for the missing run by doing a 25 minutes run in the early evening before going for another fat inducing dinner.

Monday 30/1/2012: Rest day but played around with the weights again.

Tuesday 31/1/2012: Another 25 mins run. The runs seem to be getting shorter and shorter.

Wednesday 1/2/2012: Another weigh in. Last week inaugural weigh in was 80/35 ie weight 80 waistline 35. 

Today weigh in: Surprise surprise 78.5/35! How about that? I had expected a gain or at best, same weight but a loss of 1.5? The weekly weight in is currently done first thing in the morning on Wednesday.To double check, weighed myself at the gym tonight and back home again. 78.3kg! Hmm I must be doing something right.This call for a celebration.Think I shall have my box of chocolate.