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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ultra & Trail Running

Trail running has been getting popular in Singapore. Not too long ago, there was only 1 trail race in Singapore and that was the MR 25 end of year MacRitchie Ultra Trail race. Then along came the Salomon Trail run and North Face 100 Challenge and the scene exploded. From 1 in 2007, there was at least 5 trail races in 2012 and now in 2013, the first competitive running event of the year is a, yes, you got it, trail race - the Green Corridor Run!

Not to lose out, ultra running has also been getting popular. Again, apart from the MR 25 Ultra marathon there was no other ultra race in Singapore until the people from Hi-Velocity came up with the Sundown Ultra Marathon. Then in 2011, Running Guild came into the ultra scene and last year, they organised 2 Ultra races of which one was a whopping 168km round the island run! This year, despite the small size of Singapore, there will be more ultra races starting with the Twilight Ultra and culminating in the monstrous 200km ultra!

The scene in Facebook has parallel the running scene with 2 new Facebook pages started within short time of each other promoting trail and ultra running respectively. There is also another group that is organising a series of "Fat Ass" runs, ie a series of ultra runs modelled after those in the US!

And all these when Singapore has not much trail and not much land to run on!

To overcome these problems, Singapore runners are happily packing up and flying overseas to complete in Ultra trail racing. Take the recently concluded Hong Kong Vibram 100. Of the total 1213 participants from 39 countries, tiny Singapore has the 3rd highest number of participants at 111, a solid 9% of the total numbers. I dare say it will be the same at the next Hong Kong Lantau race, the Thailand North Face 100 Challenge and other nearby trail or ultra races.

For those who have yet to take up trail running, give it a try. It is more therapeutic than road running,  with the nature, the green and the fresh air. 

For those who are want to earn the honour of being an Ultra-marathoner, the wait is not too far off. The first ultra race of the year is just 2 months away in March! It will be a doable event as it is held in the relatively cooler night time and runners just need to complete a minimum of 5 rounds of 10km at the East Coast Park within 16 hours to earn the honor.

For those going to the Thailand North Face 100 Challenge, seeya there!

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