Phenomenon #1: So 30 of us arrived at Bedok Reservoir for the first road relay race of the year, on an afternoon made symbolic by a lack of clouds, an excess of sun and Ke Wen arriving late. A total of 3 guys’ teams (12 runners total) & 2 girls’ teams (8 runners in all) were due to make start the race with NUS colours. Most of the runners were making their, yes, debut appearances for the school. And this against a field of running clubs, JCs and seasoned secondary school runners.
Logistically, we prepared for this race. Really. There was an ice-box, bananas & 100-plus. There was a guy with a computer helping us to double check the route (Patrick). And some of us had even psychologically prepared ourselves by coming 2 days earlier to do a recce of the route. But then all that went out the window when the official told us, while warming up, that the route had changed.
Phenomenon #2: Have you ever felt that you are running very hard, but can’t seem to see/ find the finishing line? I do. Maybe it’s poor perception of distance or having no sense of length. But after forcing yourself through a winding path and a red-brick up-slope, followed by a returning route on sandy gravel, with the sun in your face, the route felt as if it was extending itself. Only when a measurement was made later did we all realise that a verrry small misjudgment had been made: the road relay distance was 4.5 km, not 3.3 km as advertised.
Phenomenon #3: Despite the miscalculations, the heat and the competition, the guys fought like bobcats, maintained their paces like falmingos and sprinted to the finishing line like armadillos. Thanks to consistent encouragement from supporters, the guys’ chased the leaders, braved the route & ran a great race. Unfortunately, none of the guys’ teams finished top 5 on the podium.
(And even more unfortunately, the lack of medals didn’t do justice to Guo Chen, Steven, Yongqiang & Yi Qun – who ran amazing runs which kept us in suspense all the way. But at least one of guys did shake the GOH’s hand: Nic Tey is now the proud owner of an Akira radio-clock).
Phenomenon #4: Where the guys fell down, the girls stepped up. With their race delayed by 30 minutes, both girls’ teams averaged 20 mins on the 4.5 km route, outclassing almost all their opponents, and finishing both 2nd & 5th respectively. Cue applause & rrrrespect here. Especially from the guys (one of whom was cheering & shouted the wrong name). And credit to the team of Veronica, Zakiyah, Valerie & Cai Sang, who fought their way to 2nd place.
Definitely a memorable afternoon. I’ve learnt not to trust recce runs; I’ve learnt to listen to my emotions & feel the point where I know I’m running a longer distance than I should be (my knees are still hurting). Thanks to Jin Yang our post-race photo was taken amateurishly with the prize presentation in the background, and I will be cheering on CJC in the next race because they are cool (too!) On a race when nothing is as it seems, thanks to Melvin & Darren for their reliable support, Patrick for his attention to detail, Ben for his camera skills & Kelvin for filling my camera with pictures of MR25 runners.