This year the organizers held the Sundown Marathon for two days (May 31-June1). The half marathon was held on the 31st May at 11:30pm while the 10K was held on 1st June at 12:30am. The full marathon on the other hand was held on 1st June at 11:30pm.
I think it was a good idea by the organizers to stage the full marathon and the half marathon on different days as this prevented the race route from getting too congested. Last year both categories were flagged off at the same time which made the starting point congested and confusing.
I arrived at the F1 pit building about an hour earlier before the race started. Security was tight. Bags were checked before entering the venue however, it wasn’t really much of a hassle. There were a number of baggage deposit counters and depositing my bag was quite a breeze. The volunteers were quite friendly and cheerful too.
As I entered inside there were already a lot of runners waiting for the starting pen to open. There was a stage setup and there seems to be a live band performing as well.
One of my pre-race rituals is to go the toilet before starting to run. It somewhat gives me a peace of mind that once the race started I don’t have to worry about finding a toilet midway during the marathon to pee. The organizers provided an ample number of portable toilets and there were portable toilets specific for women which was really good.
Thirty minutes before the scheduled flag-off and the starting pen was opened. There were markers that indicated the target finishing time. Being a slow runner I went to the entrance indicating more than 5 hours.
At exactly 11:30pm the full marathon was flagged off. From the F1 pit building we made our way to Republic Boulevard heading to Republic Avenue then Nicoll Highway which is a route I’m very familiar with.
I was mindful to run at my own pace and not to start out too fast. I stopped at every aid station to drink water or 100Plus. I regret that I didn’t use my hydration pack as I wouldn’t have to stop at every hydration point instead I would only stop at aid stations with 100Plus.
From Mountbatten Road we passed by near the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The route then took us along the river and there was this very-well lighted building with a very unique design. I remember passing by this area last year on our way back from East Coast Park to the finish line and I was soaked wet.
I passed the 10K mark at about 1:14h on my stopwatch. I was feeling okay and was hoping that I can sustain my pace until the finish line.
From Tanjong Rhu Rd the route led us to Gardens By The Bay East. I knew that we were now heading to the East Coast Park.
I had only been running for 15Km but it seemed like I was already running for quite a long time and I was not even halfway yet. My pace was slowing down at this point but I told myself that at least I don’t have to run under the hot sun.
As I was running in the East Coast Park I looked up to the sky and there were no signs it was going to rain anytime soon instead, I saw a bright crescent moon. It was quite lovely to look at and it distracted my fatigue for the meantime.
I started to feel pain on my right hip but continued on with the run. I was targeting to reach the 21Km mark and the U-turn mark without walking, only stopping at aid stations to drink water or 100Plus.
I reached the 21Km mark about 2:38h on my stopwatch and I was already feeling exhausted. About another 3Km before reaching the U-turn point at the National Sailing Center. The lack of sleep the past few weeks had finally caught up on me. I was feeling sleepy and my tummy started feeling funny.
As I went past the U-turn point (24Km) I decided to walk. The pain on my right hip was getting more worst and I also felt like vomiting. I was not feeling good at all. After walking a few minutes I tried to run again but my right hip was just in pain.
I was still within my target of finishing the marathon in 5:30 but I made the decision not to push myself further as I know this injury can get far more worst. I decided to walk at this point until the finish line. I felt sad that it’s going to be another disappointing finish at the Sundown Marathon but I know it’s the wisest decision.
The long walk back to the finish line seemed like an eternity. Even walking was painful too as my feet were very sore at this point. It was the first time I was wearing the Asics DS Trainer 17 in a full marathon. I have been running with my Nike Lunarglide+ 3 the past 4 full marathons. Although I have been running with it during my training runs the past few months, I had never done long runs with it over 20Km.
I took the Maxifuel Viper Active Gel at one of the aid stations however, my tummy was feeling uneasy so I decided not to take it. I ate the banana but I couldn’t finish it as I felt like vomiting.
I took a toilet break at the last public toilet in East Coast Park before heading towards Garden By The Bay East but it did very little to get my energy back.
As I walked back to the finish line, many runners went past me but all I cared about was getting to the finish line safely. I was battling with so many demons that night. Hip and feet pain, nausea and sleepiness. I felt like I was walking zombie. I recalled telling myself that night that I shouldn’t run the Sundown Marathon again next time.
There was supposed to be a hydration station in Gardens By the Bay East but it seemed like the station was already closed when I passed by. The volunteers were sitting at the side and there was no water available. Feeling a bit thirsty I continued to walk. I saw someone taking photos from afar and as I walked closer I realized it was Marcus from Running Shots but I was too exhausted to even say hi to him. I also saw Brokie who was giving support to other runners.
As I continued on to Marina Barrage the 5:30 pacers caught up with me. I forced myself to run along with them but I only managed to run a few meters and I had to stop. It was disheartening and the prospect of finishing over 6hours was a very big possibility.
I walked from Marina Barrage all the way to Gardens By The Bay South, Marina Bay Sands, Marina Boulevard then Esplanade Drive. Around the Merlion area, the 6-hour pacers had arrived. Since I was already very near to the finish line, I decided to make one last push hoping I can finish the marathon before 6hours. I ran from Esplanade Drive to Raffles Avenue but I had to stop again after the Makansutra Gluttons Bay. I walked until The Youth Olympic Park and then ran until the finish line.
After running 5:54:36 (net time) I finished my 2nd Sundown Full Marathon. I was hoping for better results before the race started but given the pain I was experiencing during the run I can’t really complain. I was relieved more than anything else to have finished the marathon.