Monday, December 30, 2013

MR25 Cross Country Ultra Marathon 2013...

Event: MR25 Cross Country Ultra Marathon 2013
Venue: MacRitchie Reservoir, Singapore
Date: 29 December 2013
Time: 7.00am
Distance: 10KM per loop (to run as many in 12 hours)
Shoe: Saucony Peregrine 4.0
By Frank

After missing it last year as I visited Pretoria for the Year to Year 6 Days Circuit Race, I made my return to the MR25 Cross Country Ultra Marathon this year. At the time of writing this, my South African friends are doing this year's edition running in circles again over 6 days. To support them over here, I simply brought together my South African Buff headwear to be worn during my run at MR25. Was glad that the organisers had somehow manage to revert back to the original route when I first ran back in year 2009, the big 10.5KM loop from MacRitchie Trails, to Jelutong Hut, pass the golf course and into Lornie Trail before returning to the start/finish area. Definitely a more interesting and scenic route.

My trip down to Singapore was on board First Coach from Bangsar at 7.45pm. Met up with Susanah at her place together with Lai and had to trouble her dad to drive us to Bangsar. We arrived just in time and caught up with Jason and Hong Lan and the journey began. Journey was a smooth one and I was awake the whole trip with Susanah resting as she almost had a sleepless night. Worried about this girl's sleep pattern and while she worry about my eating pattern. Hmmm...

Upon arrival at Novena at around 1pm, it was lunch plus some errands before checking into our dorm at Backpackers@SG. Pretty neat backpackers I would say as we rested before early dinner at Lavender food court before it was lights off before 10pm.

Waking up around 4am, pre-run rituals was a smooth one and soon enough, all of us were already at MacRitchie Reservoir by 6.15am. Race pack collected, had our baggage checked-in, and by 7am, the event was started. I had my fiery red Saucony Perigrine 4.0 with me again, a much proven shoe during my TNF 50KM recently and thus was confident with the traction it can provide.

With the usual suspects before the start.

As this isn't a race for me, more like a long distance training run, I still came with a mission in hand. After what happened in Penang Bridge Marathon last month, I told myself that I would not leave Susanah behind again. To run along with her to at least the minimum requirements of 5 loops was my utmost mission. And so I did, started off with her on a very comfortable pace. As both of us aren't the chatty type during running, we kept our conversation to a minimal. We ran as we can, and walk when needed. I followed her. We completed our first loop comfortably and went on for our second after some catching up with Uncle Oliver who pulled his calf muscles. Shame indeed.

Second loop was a little slower but still fine but third was the turning point. I felt painful to see the pain Susanah had to go through enduring with pain on her feet and a little chaffing too. I felt really lost at that time as we shouldered on till the start/finish site where she did some adjustments to her kinesio tape. She asked me to carry on without her for my fourth loop. I was really reluctant to do so, but after she repeated a few times, I guess that she will be upset if I stayed on with her. It was a tough choice to leave her again, but a choice I had to make to at least calm her mood at that time. I didn't want her to feel bad so I went on feeling awful after giving here a little tap on her head.

When I started my fourth loop, my focus was to complete the next 2 loops as fast a possible, so that I can wait for Susanah to be with her again if she decides to carry on her six loop. I blazed my fourth loop but my fifth was a little painful one with discomfort on my left metatarsal, a reoccurring problem. I had to stop once at Jelutong Hut to had it massage before I carry on.

After a total time of 7:39 hours, I completed my fifth loop and waited on for Susanah anxiously at the start/finish site catching up with David, Kai Wei, Ben and some other friends. And when she finally returned with Eugene, I was relieved that she was hanging on. However, she wanted to push for another loop and hence I went with her walking the entire sixth loop keeping her company. This time, we chatted along the way, hoping to keep her mind off negative thoughts. It was like a bonding session where we get to know more about each other. And finally after 11:05 hours, we completed our sixth loop with a total distance of 63.5KM. Bravo to her!

The finisher medal and certificate.

Overall, the event was well organised with the exception of water being delivered just a little slow to the refreshment stations. We were also blessed with good weather and I certainly enjoyed this more scenic route But whether did I accomplish my mission that I set out to do was another story all together. I felt I failed again but at the same time, thought to myself that it may be the better option at that time to oblige to a request.

A group photo before leaving for the airport.

And with the MR25, my running event calendar comes to a close as the next focus will be to get the "engine" fine tune for Comrades Marathon 2014. January 2014 is where it all begins...

All photos here credited to respective photographers. Many thanks to them.

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