First Marathon…

December 30, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Posted in itchy fingers | Leave a comment

After participating in a few 10 km runs, Itchyfingers finally did our first marathon….but as spectators! Hahahah!!!

Normally registration for runs opens few months before race day. So when registration for the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore opened few months back, Itchyfingers didn’t sign up for it cos firstly we weren’t sure if we would be in the country; and secondly, having only started joining races in the middle of the year, we weren’t sure if we were up to it to enter for the full marathon, though Tisu Boy did manage to complete the Army Half Marathon later.

Since we missed the chance to race in one of Singapore’s biggest running events, we thought the next best thing to be involved would be catching the action through our lenses. But we were too lazy to get up in the wee hours on a Sunday to see the 5 am flag-off at Orchard Road…The 6.30 am flag-off for the half marathon at Sentosa was too much a hassle. So we chose to wait for the runners at the finishing point instead.

We reached the Padang area before 7 am as we know the first runner should
be able to complete the run in slightly more than two hours…The finishing
point was already crowded with photographers and volunteers, so we
had to station ourselves somewhere near the 150 metre mark away from
the finishing point

We waited patiently. It didn’t take too long before the first runner appeared…

Mr Kenneth Mburu Mungara from Kenya…

Look at his long stride! No wonder he appeared to be cruising so effortlessly!
He finished at a time of 02:14:06 hr. Amazing! Guess what’s his prize
money? $66,500!!! My goodness!

The second and next few fast runners were all Kenyans…We were curiously if any Chinese or Singaporean could finish closely with the Kenyans. Then from far, I finally saw one man that was not black!

Initially I thought finally we had a Chinese. But looking closely, we realised
that he is a Nepalese Gurkha in the Ekiden Race consisting of six team
members to complete the full 42.195 km distance…

Few more Kenyan guys passed by…Then the first woman marathoner arrived! As expected, that would be a Kenyan! 😀

Miss Irene Jerotich Koskei from Kenya, the first woman to cross the finishing
line at 02:35:22 hr. Thumbs up!

Seconds later, these two ladies arrived in style…it was assumed that they
would secure their positions as second and third….

But volunteers at the side of the road started shouting at this lady,
Ms Annerien van Schalkwyk, to warn her about the lady behind her…

…as Ms Ayelu Lemma Geda started to pick up speed, obviously trying
her best to catch up!

It was such an exciting moment! You could see that Ms Annerien was keeping to a steady pace while Ms Ayelu started sprinting!

It was tough fight as Ms Ayelu finally caught up at around 50 metres to the
finishing point!! I wished I was stationed at the finishing point to see them
closer! So exciting!

And yes! The two ladies finished off with a mere one second apart!!!! Ms
Ayelu earned her second place at 02:35:31 hr! Ms Annerien was great too
as it was her first full marathon race!

Just when we were taking a breather from the excitement, we saw a Chinese guy from far running our way!

We realised that was our local triathlete, Mr Mok Ying Ren. This would
be his second marathon, taking the first place in local category at 2:38:27 hr.
Besides him was his pacer, whose name on his bib was different from that on
this account on this site

As Itchyfingers have not participated in a full marathon before, we were
not too sure about the role of a pacer. As seen here, the pacer seemed to
be a stronger and faster runner…but I couldn’t find his finishing time on
the official site. Why would a fast runner want to be a pacer and get
no timing? Maybe pacers are paid to set new records for runners?

Another two running closely together, not sure if they were pacers but
both of them wore tee that said “Marathon Pacer Support” with 1:45 hr
on the tag. Eventually, both the Japanese and Singaporean guys finished
at 01:44:32 hr. Nice…

As the sky turned brighter, more and more spectators and photographers came…

The most interesting ones must be these Japanese mother and daughter pair.
Were they dressed as such to support someone?

Finally saw paraplegic athlete Dr William Tan in action. He finished
his 10 km in 23:37 min

For the wheelchair race, they were escorted by a few volunteers in

Although there were different starting points, all merged to finish at the
same point. Many runners were confused though there was big banners
for direction…But when you were so tired, you tend to miss things…It didn’t
help that there were so many categories, hence different bib colours which
did not have the race categories printed on them, making it difficult for
volunteers to guide the runners to their respective finishing point.  Here
the wheelchair bound athelete was pointed to the right finishing point
by his escorts….

It was already past 8 am, which meant that there were no more sub-3 (under 3 hours) runners. At 03:12:24 hr, we saw our first local category woman winner!

Ms Qi Hui!

We were wondering if we could spot our friend among all these runners but ended up catching all these other familiar faces in the running scene…

We only found out on the paper that Ms Sumiko Tan was just 50 metres
away from a silver medal
after collapsing to her knee, struggled but
failed to get up. Eventually she had to be stretchered  off by medics. What
a waste!

Does he look familar? That’s our ex-national sailor, Dr Benedict Tan. He
finished third in the 2008 marathon in 2:56:20 hr but having concentrated his
time more on his medical career now, he still managed to clock 03:22:02 hr
for this year. We were excited to see him in action!

The last familiar face – Ms Jeanette Wang, editor of Shape Magazine and
an athlete, finished the half marathon at 01:57:18 hr

It was a pleasant surprise to see my long lost friend also taking part in
the half marathon! Didn’t wanna distract her from finishing the last
stretch so didn’t call her. I hope to be able to run a good timing as her
one day – 02:16:37 hr

There were also some runners who were more ‘outstanding’ than others, not necessarily in terms of timing, but perhaps, the dressing… :p

Mr Flamboyant Man…hey he came in number 9 for the half marathon okay!

Mr Translucent Man in white compression suit leaving nothing to the
imagination! Hahahah!  He was pissed with the confusion of the different
finishing point…He was quite fast too!

Ms Covered Up! Seriously, I wouldn’t bother to wear the official tee, just
the bib would do…hahah

Mr Star Man! So he was the one the mum and daughter were waiting for!

Mr Leopard Man…anyone understands the Japanese words? Does it mean
some blood donation drive?

Mr Banana Man! He ran to raise awareness for the Dyspraxia Foundation

Ms Hawaiian Woman! This lady is a regular dresser at marathons. Saw
her at the Real Run dressed like a yellow feathered chicken…a bit showy
for our liking…hahah…

Little Miss Fairy at the Kids’ 750 metre dash!

Mr Marathon Man! Look, he has a website! 😀 He also ran for a cause

And since it was near Christmas, we had this one…

Mr Snow Man! Oh my goodness! Looked really hot running in this plastic
thing! Wonder why he din get heat stroke!

Mr Snow Man was so hot! Pun intended! Hahahaha!!!

Hahah! Even the camera crew was covered up! 😀 Strange it wasn’t
turning cloudy in the morning…but he took it off later… too hot! 😀

Under the hot humid weather condition, it made running long distance a real challenge. We saw at least three runners collapsed in front of us, so near to the finishing point….

He was jogging slowly with the others when suddenly the legs looked like
they had turned jelly and he slowly walked towards our direction before
I tried to encourage him to move on but I think he was too tired…

I think he got a bad case of muscle cramp…such a waste…

Another runner suffered even worse pain that he couldn’t get up to the side…

…and had to be stretchered off….seriously to run a full marathon is no

Good training is important. Joining a local running club is a way to get
support from fellow runners…whether you are aiming to just finish the
full distance or aiming for a personal best timing…

Another very active local running club – the Team FatBird

Getting the right pair of running shoes that suits you is as important. Here
this lady was spotted with the Vibram Five Fingers which is the closest to
barefoot running…I am curious to try them on! :p

Hydration is very important too! We saw people running in East Coast
with these, but this was the first time we spotted people actually running
with them in a full marathon! Er, not heavy meh? :p

As the weather was so hot, sunshades and a cap would be very useful to provide some protection…But in the absence of these, you gotta improvise then!

Cover up with shirt!

But dun cover so much till you look like a terrorist! Hahahaha!

No scarf or shirt? Hahahah..then borrow lor…

Reuse carton box lor! Hahahah! Just dun be shy! You can do it!  😀

Some say life is like a marathon, there are moments of happiness and excitement…

…moments of agony and pain….

..moment of disappointment….She must be thinking, “Arrrgh…so slow!”
By the way, notice her bib is a guy’s name? Transferring or selling of
race slots is not allowed mainly for safety reason cos in case of an
emergency, the organiser would not know about your medical condition
and the person to contact as the record would be different. However,
many people ignored it. I have friend asking if I wanna buy over a half
marathon slot. But, safety reasons aside, where’s the satisfaction when
the bib, the official result and finishing certificate do not bear your name?

Like life, running a marathon involves stages of learning and preparation. You can start young or old…just don’t give up!

Old Japanese ojisan (uncle). We thought he was already quite old…

Until we saw this even older one! So cute, he got a 86 year old bib! Hahaha!
He completed his half marathon in 03:47:23 hr! Bravo!

It’s good to start young..

She looked a bit too young…hahahah! While some kids
older than her were
pushed by parents
in strollers, this little girl walked all the way with
encouragement from mummy. Many volunteers found her so cute that
they cheered and hi-fived with her along the way!

Some chose to finish their marathons together just like in a life’s journey…

And it’s good to start young! Hahaha….

Others chose to stick through thick and thin together as a family… 🙂

We stayed until around noon when the sun got unbearably hot and
we were also getting hungry. Pity those 10 km runners who started much
later and some slower marathon runners…

But when they reached the finishing line, most of them were so happy

Kudos to the many energetic volunteers who had to stand under the hot
sun to cheer the runners! You guys were great! They might even have to
help with the cleaning up after the race

But thumbs down for those who dumped these around…or were these done
by spectators?

It was definitely a great experience to be involved in a marathon for the first time even we were just spectators. Itchyfingers hope we will be able to be part of a marathon running as a participant soon!

Also see related posts:
> Scaling New Height
Taking Baby Steps
Life is Great – Great Eastern Women 10K Run
The Ultimate X-Terrain Challenge – New Balance Real Run 2010
Ten Ten Ten Ten – The Prelude
An Uphill Task
Getting into Shape
Stepping Up @ NLB
Tortoise and Hare


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