Your Elbow is Your Greatest Weapon

Saucony 100-Plus Passion Run 2009
0700 hrs, 24 May (Sunday)
East Coast Park

There are 2 good things about East Coast Park: the very relaxing seaview (a sea breeze is a bonus) & the people. And there are 2 bad things about East Coast Park: the inaccesibility & the people.

Sunday’s Saucony 100-Plus Passion Run was filled with people. An unbroken snake of red track vests and wriggling legs from Macdonalds at one end to Bedok jetty at the other. Sometimes the crowd seemed so thick & neverending all those poor kids coming to East Coast Park to use the beach to play beach soccer on a Sunday morning must have kena stunned, at not being able to get across the crowd in the first place. 10,000 people, according to the radio DJ at the flag-off, had signed up. But from the amount of people waiting for the fun run to begin after the competitive segment was over, the crowd seemed greater than that.

With people, come certain problems. For those running the 10 KM competitive race route & who were NOT fast enough to outrun the crowd from the previous flag-off, they had to endure an entire 7.5 KM stretch of running on the sidelines, bursting in between couples going at jogging pace & worse of all, putting up with barricades of recreational runners who slowed down to refresh themselves at the drinking points. They had to, literally, fight and maintain a constant pace, battling with both stamina & elbows as weapons. When the courteous “excuse me” got nowhere, then they elbowed their way into the clear.

I think this run, despite the seaview (and sea breeze) taught me how to be polite, how to squeeze through human gaps about 30 cm x 30 cm, how to dodge people at high speed & last of all, when I had to force my way through, how to apologize. It also taught me patience: accept that other runners are not going all out, & so appreciate them for their leisurely pace on a very good Sunday morning (the weather was pretty cool!) The greatest moment, ironically, came not at the finishing line, or the last 100 metre sprint, but at the turning point where I stepped out of the 15 KM running crowd & for the first time in the race, an empty path with Alan and 1 other racer in front opened up till the finishing line.

The suggestion to PA & the race organizers should be verrry obvious: allow the 10 KM runners to go earlier. Or at least let both start-off at the same time. It makes no sense to burden 10 KM competitors by giving them extra obstacles which runners like the Gurkhas simply elbowed aside. Also, it seems a bit pointless to have race marshals which are sitting down reading. I won’t say it was a letdown, but definitely the race can be improved

All this gave some runners a bad mood. Some didn’t like getting elbowed. Some didn’t like being blocked. All this culminated in an ugly display of cars horning at the each other at the E2 carpark when I passed by post-race. 2 drivers (runners,  too)were going at each other in public, while the auxillary police stood by watching.

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