There Is

Akira SWIFT Cross-Country 2010
Sat, 20 Feb (1500-1745 hrs)
Bedok Reservoir

There is something about watching other people run that makes you want to run too – at least, it makes you wish you started training earlier/ picked up cross-country in sec school/ wasn’t taking pictures etc. But some jobs need to be done – So on Saturday, I sat on the grass for 20 mins and took digital pictures of our men’s & women’s team at the Akira SWIFT Cross-Country.

(For those who require clarification, the previous Akira SWIFT race was a road relay. This one was a free-for-all, 4++ km)

The Ritual - Donning the Number Tag

Ben, our photographer (left) & the Women's Team (Warming up)

There is no doubt that clouds and rain make runners nervous. If it didn’t, the weather certainly made the organizers kancheong spider a bit. This is the first time in the entire history of my joining races that I’ve heard that they had planned to bring the start-time forward. Add the fact that Mok was slightly late, I took the role of the lookout tower for a while, standing on some low wall at the carpark with his number tag – and to spot him running in from his extended warmup. At the starting line, in the meantime, Jackie decided to use his long hair to his advantage & attempt an early start with the girls. (Un)fortunately, the plan failed quite badly.

Women's Team Event Starts! - Zhiyun in the lead (right)

There is always a surprise when you least expect it. Like how me and Azrul were waiting at the wrong road for the runners to come in. Only when we heard cheering, then we ketok-ed ourselves and quickly reassembled at final 100m. Zhiyun cruised in just behind the women’s leader, and Mok seemed to be running so fast that my camera couldn’t even catch him. Melvin and Jayanta were chasing each other. And Jovin was the only one from our team to enter the last 100m with a smile.

Mok leads the pack at the last 100 metres...

...And Baldwin Makes it look easy

... And Baldwin makes finishing look easy

There is a need to mention what impressed me. Ups to Mok, Aaron, Giri & Ee Ghim for taking the top 4 spots in the men’s race. And ups (x10) to Sarah for her strong finish (and for representing NUS cross-country at NUS women’s soccer). And, most of all, ups (x100) to Benedict for taking all the powerful photos at the turn where all the runners were getting ready for the final sprint.

There is a very subtle irony in the way the prize presentations are conducted (and just in case, I shouldn’t talk about it here). But Swift can consider changing its motto to expect the unexpected, or don’t leave now cos there are better lucky draw prizes later. Overall: NUS women finished 5th (Team 2) and 3rd (Team 1). The men finally got some medals: they came in 4th (Team 2) and 1st (Team 1). They now have a gold-coloured cup for apple juice and/or isotonic drinks!

Men's Team 2 (4th) - Guochen, Patrick, Baldwin, Jackie

Women's Team 1 (3rd) - Zhiyun, Trisha (for Zakiyah), Cai Sang, Valerie

Women's Team 1 (3rd) - Zhiyun, Tricia (for Zakiyah), Cai Sang, Valerie

Finally, there is always the lucky draw to remember. Certain individuals now have an obligation to keep time (Cai Sang), boil coffee (Patrick), cook well (Zakiyah) & warm/cool food (Melvin). So NUS claims (sort of) another great race. To all, all I can say watching from the sidelines is:  another race down, another weekend well spent, another photo with the sunset. And another reminder to pick up the litter, thank you.

Post-Race: Compulsory Relax

And Melvin is happy with his new Akira Steam cooker

Next: WINGS Cross-Country on Sat, 28 Feb.

More photos: here.



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