Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The North Face 100 Singapore 2012...

Event: The North Face 100 Singapore 2012
Venue: MacRitchie Reservoir, Singapore
Date: 13 October 2012
Time: 6.45am
Distance: 50KM (48KM by Polar RCX5 G5 GPS)
Shoe: ASICS GEL-Fuji Racer
By Frank

The 5th and the annual event organised by the parent company I worked in, The North Face 100 Singapore saw a different refreshing twist to this year's edition. Not only was it well improved over last year's fiasco, this year also saw a much improved route despite shorter and also a cooler weather.

3 of us from Running Lab Malaysia which includes myself, Syah and Roy were to run this year's edition. However, Roy had to pull out a week before as he sprained his ankle. Not wanting to to waste the race bib, Ben took over his slot.

I travelled down via coach on Friday itself and made my way to office to have some office matters settled before hand. And when all is done, together with the team, we all proceeded to MacRitchie Reservoir which happens to be the race site to finalised the setup there. I was helping out setting up the tear drop flags and anything else that came in my way. I tried to keep some energy for myself too so I hope I did not get into the way of the others. Once everything was done, I went over to Walter's house which was nearby to clean myself up before heading to Singapore Polo Ground for dinner with Nic and also a personnel from The North Face's principal office.

Once dinner is done, it's off to my cousin, Eugene's house to prepare my race gear before calling it a night.

I had only 4 hours of sleep and I was a little tired. Did all my preparation and it all went well and I was all ready an hour before my schedule time to leave at 5am. Eugene drove me to the race site at 5.30am and the place was already packed with runners. Did all my necessary and met up with Ben, Hong Soon, Mohan, Foo, David and many others.

And just after checking after checking in myself to start, I heard a familiar voice calling out "MR AFRICA"! It was Yim who had just completed his first 50KM loop of this total running distance of 100KM! An amazing feat from him, we all motivated him and took the chance for some photos together. And while we 50KM runners line up for our start, we all cheered for him as he made his way out followed shortly by another Malaysian runner friend of mine, Razif!

Priceless shot of 50KM runners with Yim (2nd from left), the 100KM runner just before exiting for his next 50KM...

The 50KM start this year was a much better affair compared to previous year. The ambience and mood was good as I started with Hong Soon who will immediately went missing after crossing the start gantry. Not intending to follow as I just had doctor's clearance to run this event with caution, I ran on my own comfy pace following what my heart rate monitor has been set to do.

The first 6KM plus or so on trails was a rather fast affair for me. As my body was still fresh, my heart rate was beating strongly. I lost my control here and it was the moment when I exited the trail for a moment that I started to slow down, and told myself to just make it back to the finish safely on 2 legs.

The GU support station. Gels and Chomps galore...

Into dairy farm where I got lost last year, this part saw a change of route which is very refreshing for me. Mixture of trail and tarmac, I truly enjoyed this area as the volunteers were cheerful here too! The first and probably the biggest GU Energy support station was also here. Fueled myself up here before going into the trails again and soon arriving at Zhenghua Park. Familiar place here, I spotted Yek Bun and a few others cheering for runners just below the overhead bridge here.

Running through the thick bushes at the KTM track...

As I make my way to Mandai, the sun began to shine. A new friend and customer at my work place, Jamie passed me here near Mandai Orchard Garden, a place which I did not like due to lack of trees. Haha... Spotted a fellow runner who is suffering cramps here and I stopped to help him and to make sure he will shake it off. And he did, continuing his adventure slowly but safely from there.

Finally arriving at the crossing of Mandai Road, Lorong Asrama is next to welcome the runners. and just before entering that area, Yek Bun was there again and he offered me a refreshing cold barley drink! I must say it was HEAVENLY! 

Inside Lorong Asrama this area is a love and hate area. Not easy to run here due to the heat and also the big rocky terrain with ascend and descend, but this area is also filled with memories I had with my friends. David passed me steadily at this area. Seeing him running so well, I did not want to call out to him for fears he will slow down to accompany me. And when I got to Hill 265, I was hoping that Syah will catch up, which he DID! Just like last year, we pose for a photo again before attacking it. And this year, I did not go down on 4 as the shoes I wore this time provided the sufficient traction to bring me up.

Cam-whoring with Syah before attacking Hill 265...

I ran with Syah for a while before I spotted Fred who is cramping all over running his maiden 100KM. Although he is complaining, I can see that he is still in a good shape and with only 20KM plus to go, I know he will nail it. Just before exiting Loron Asrama, I met an Indonesian Chinese runner Zedy and we spend a few moments together walking till the support station. And just when I was about to cross the Mandari Road crossing again, I saw James Liew whom I met during Craze Ultra 2012 running strongly on his second loop. Way to go! Yek Bun was still here and this time he offered me some grapes which I politely rejected as I just something earlier. Can't go in mate but thanks yeah!

Continuing on, the weather took a change for a better. Of all the 3 The North Face 100 Singapore I did, this year rather different. There were signs of rain but it held on. The clouds kept the sun ray's at bay. Fast forwarding to the entrance of dairy farm where I pop out somewhere near the rifle range, I saw Lin Hong manning the support station there and gave him a wave! Took a break here chatting with him before I continued on. As every step forward nears me to the finish, I began to find some extra strength in me and I began to run more often now but still keeping it to a very easy pace.

And finally, into the area which I like a lot, the golf course area. I continue my walk and running here till I suddenly heard someone shouting to me "MR BURGER". I looked back and to my surprise I saw Ben! I would have though he will have been far far ahead of me. However, due to his recent viral infection, he walked all the way from the start only to start running when he saw me. And I was like OMG! He walked all the way here and still managed to pass me? I better go find a hole and hide myself in there, I joked.

Into the final stretch where Lornie Trail is, I know the end is near. I met Zedy again and we ran for a moment together. And when I finally saw the light at the end of the trail, I was going strong until I saw a guy wearing a 2ndskin shirt. I slowed down wanting to snap a photo of it to show to Eugene of 2ndskin but when that particular person turned around, I was shocked to see that it was Roy! Hahaha... Then at the exit, Nic called me to ask where I was as I earlier text him a cheeky message. Haha... 

Then 500M became 400M and shorter as I near the finish line. Friends like Azrul, Syed, Nyoman and many others were at the side cheering. And finally, I ran through the finish gantry clocking a personal worst timing of mine from all the 3 editions I've ran in, in 07:46:38 hours. Hahaha... I was glad though that I made it back with no discomfort to the chest and it's one event that I truly enjoyed.

The finisher's medal...

Rested while exchanging our running experience with some others and also awaiting others to return, it was a great bonding session with the others. And the moment of truth happen when our hero Yim who completed his 100KM TMBT trail and 100 miles Craze Ultra 3 weeks ago returned! Am so proud of him and certainly an inspiration to many others for his physical and mental strength is something truly admirable. 

Chilling out with my ice cream and Roy...

Despite the shorter distance of just 48KM and the hiccups of the finisher medals being a 100KM finisher version (rectified medal will be send out on a later date), the event this year round was a major success. It's a step forward and I can see the effort being put in by the team and I'm proud of them. 

I had fun running this event this year and again, more friends were made as this is certainly one beauty of running ultra events. And it's also god to see many new runners especially those whom I have given advise to tackling the distance successfully.

I would like to thank Walter for sponsoring Team Running Lab Malaysia 3 complimentary race slots for our runners. And also to thank and congratulate the team from Outdoor Venture, The North Face, organisers and sponsors for a job well done this year. Despite a few hiccups, I would say this is a very positive result and improvement from last year's edition. Keep up the good work and we hope to run an even better The North Face 100 Singapore next year!

* a note of THANKS to the photographers who took excellent shots as posted above that will serve as a lifetime memories.

1 comment:

Elena said...

Great pics! You are awesome. A miracle of god.