After having missed the last two Sundown Marathon, I was looking forward to run this night marathon again. Without the scorching heat, I was hoping I can outdo my personal best of 5:16:16 for the Full Marathon which I did during the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon in 2011.
It was quite unfortunate that I sprained my ankle a week before the event, after I landed badly on my right foot during a basketball practice. A few hours before the marathon and I was still not decided if I was going to run or not as my right ankle was still swollen.
After giving it a hard thought, I decided in the end to head down to Nicoll Highway and give it a try. I said to myself that if the pain is too much I will stop and quit the race, at least I can’t blame myself for not trying.
I arrived in the race venue an hour before the start of the run then started to stretch and warm-up. I had wrapped my swollen ankle with an ankle support but I was finding it uncomfortable. I took out the ankle support and decided to play around with how I tie my shoes. I was filled with excitement when my right ankle felt good without the ankle support and more importantly it wasn’t rubbing against the side of my shoes. My thoughts that time was that maybe I’ll be able to run with this. All I wanted was to finish the marathon at a decent time.
At exactly 12:30am the horn started and off we went. The first 12 Kilometers went pretty okay then my legs started to feel a bit heavy so I slowed down my pace. When I reached Marina Barrage I took a quick stop for a toilet break then continued my way to East Coast Park. Running at night in the East Coast Park was quite refreshing but then all of a sudden it became very windy then it started to drizzle. Not too long after there was a heavy downpour.
I had ran with a drizzling rain previously but it was certainly my first time to run under the heavy rain. I was wet and I was beginning to feel cold. I decided to take shelter and waited for the rain to slow down, but the longer I waited the more I felt cold. I saw the other runners continuing to run despite the rain so I decided to carry on.
There were no signs that the rain was going to stop anytime soon. I was all soaked wet and my shoes were feeling heavy. I was getting tired but I didn’t wanna stop because I will be walking under the heavy rain and will be feeling more cold. I found another shelter and decided to take another stop. At that point I was beginning to think if I should continue the run or not. I was thinking if I quit the race, it won’t be easy to find a cab in East Coast Park and I’m already wet. As I’m already more than half of the distance, I can try to push myself to the finish.
When I reached the 25Km mark, I was quite relieved to see that I have reached the loop and will be heading now to the finish line. I was feeling fatigued not just from the running but from the lack of sleep and cold weather. I was already imploring run-walk-run but the longer it got, the more I had to do more walking than running.
From East Coast Park we headed to the Gardens By the Bay East. The run/walk to the finish line felt like an eternity. I checked my watch and I knew there’s no way I can finish the run in 5:30 and there’s a great possibility that I will finish the full marathon in more than 6hrs. I consoled myself saying that I should just be more than happy to finish the full marathon despite having a swollen ankle and running in the heavy rain.
The race to the last 4 Km was the most difficult as even walking was already a chore and I still had to contend with the drizzle and cold wind. I didn’t care anymore what time I was going to finish. I just wanted to reach the finish line in one piece, take off my shoes and let my feet breathe.
After running 05:59:38 hrs, I finally reached the finish line. I was almost overcome by my emotions when I crossed the finish line. It was the 5th time I completed a full marathon but it was the first time that I felt like crying for having finished a marathon. It was the hardest full marathon I had ever completed so far. Running with a swollen ankle, braving through the rain and running despite all of the pain made this marathon quite memorable.