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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Real Run 2013 is back at Sentosa!

The Real Run is back at Sentosa! After a break of 7 years, it has moved back to Sentosa, its home ground since it first started 18 years ago. The Real Run has always has a very special place in my heart. Back then when I first started running, it was one of the few races in Singapore and probably the most unique race around. The 10km route on Sentosa covers road, trail and sand was one hell of a race for the average runner and I remember it as the only race where I threw up after completion. That was also the race where I finally get to meet a great bunch of runners from the Sgrunners forum, many of whom has now come to be good friends and frequent running buddies.

The Real Run had to leave Sentosa when construction work started for the Resort World and moved to the Changi Exhibition Centre. Now, it is back at Senotsa, ironically, forced to move due to construction work at the CEC!

Together with friends from Punggol Runners, I was happy to be invited to test run the new route for this year edition of the Real Run. Azman, the Chairman for the Real Run Committee briefed us that he hoped to make this the "toughest" 10km race in Singapore. Certainly with so many races every month in Singapore, making this something special is always going to be tough but to make it the toughest?

I still remember the old route where we started on the road just after the causeway and ran up a steep hill to the satellite station before hitting the beach and the sun and then wrapping it up with a "trail" run. I also remembered how in 2006 I was stuck in heavy traffic and had to watch the runners start the race while still in my car and by the time I managed to find a parking space, the race was already over! 

This time the organiser had wisely anticipated the traffic problem and the race will be flagged off from the  middle of the Sentosa Boardwalk or Causeway so runners do not have to drive into Sentosa but instead park at Vivocity, Harbourfront or Seah Im carpark. Sadly, the satellite station is no longer on the route but still the route is challenging enough. Right from the start, it is an uphill run all the way till the Underwater World where we entered into the "trail portion". Here, it is a series of turns over tarmac pavement strewed with leaves from the forest on both side of the pavement. So no earth ground here just man-made 'trails' but emerging from the trails, the runners is greeted by the sight of the majestic Reflections by the Bay on the opposite side of the sea.
Photo credit Michael Kang, Punggol Runners
From behind the Underwater World, it is Siloso Beach, the first of the 2 sand stretch that runners have to run on. By now, I guess the average runners will be slowing down to a jog as the soft sand makes it difficult to get a good grip and run fast. 

Photo credit Michael Kang, Punggol Runners
This stretch is about 1km after which it is out of the beach for another series of twist and turns along the major attractions of Sentosa starting with the Imbiah, the Images of Singapore, the Merlion before hitting Palawan beach (no sand here hurray!) and Tanjong Beach where there is the final stretch of sand to run before finishing at the Beach carpark. Too bad no Universal Studio though!

So can it live up to the expectation of toughest 10km race? In my opinion, not really. That honour will continue to go to the Mizuno Mount Faber Wave Run with the steep climb up Mount Faber. But certainly it won't be easy. This is definitely not a race for those looking for a PB. With the sand and narrow "trails", runners will be forced to reduce their pace. There is also 2 sections where runners will meet oncoming runners and there will be bottle necks and congestion if lane control is not managed properly. The organiser promised that there will be adequate crowd control and since this is organised by the Home Team which has all the police resources at their beck and call, I have no doubt this will be effectively done.

The race capacity has been capped at only 6000 so that runners can have a better experience. So if you are looking for a different type of race instead of the usual race at the East Coast Park or Marina area, this could be it! Early bird closes soon on 23 March so hurry!

For more information on the Real Run, click here

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