After a two year hiatus, I decided to participate in this year’s Shape Run. One motivation was that a friend was going and I had company. Another reason was after completing one 10km run without suffering knee pain, I wanted to test again the effectiveness of the glucosamine powder which I have been taking for three months.
I like that the 10km race started at 6.30am which was nice and cool. Dawn was just breaking and the blue hue of the sky was a nice backdrop to the illuminated striking pink start arch.
The crowd of female runners, most clad in the official salmon coloured Sketcher vests were busy taking selfies instead of warming up. We were there for fun, and not for competition.
When the horn blared, the crowd barely moved. I realised why when I reached the bottle neck that was the starting point. Soon, I was off, running at a slow pace to warm my cold muscles. I imagined the agony my brother-in-law Frank felt running his first 10km in the Orange Ribbon Run the day before. The first two-kilometer is usually the worse and if you can get past this, the run is relatively easy.
There were a few grouses towards the run on social media and I agree with most. The first drink stand at 2km mark was situated at a bend and created a bottle neck. There was also one area where the 5km and 10km runners criss-crossed each other. Otherwise, I love the scenic route, away from traffic.
There were pacers holding coloured balloons for runners with different speeds: 0:55 orange, red 01:00, pink 01:10 and 01:20 blue. I passed the blue pacers easily and caught up with the pink after the half-way mark. There were many photographers along the way and while before I would run up to them to wave, I was mindful yesterday that many were there for a particular runner, and not members of Running Shots, a group of volunteer photographers who shoot at mass runs for Facebook. Thank goodness I too was equipped with my own personal photographer. My hubby was there! Just as well as I couldn’t find my photo in the Running Shots Facebook page.
As I trudged on, I thought to myself: this is really nothing as compared to climbing Mount Kinabalu. The mile-stones passed by quickly and soon I am at my last kilometer. The three auxiliary traffic policemen clapped as I ran past and I shouted a thank you to them. Other than the stomping of foot-steps, the run back to the finish point was astonishingly quiet: no cheers, or claps from the bystanders by the sides.
Unlike other runs where you can immediately grab a drink and your finisher medal, here, I had to walk a distance to the field only to encounter a snaking line. I asked what we were queuing for but none could provide an answer. After standing in line for a few minutes without moving, a man helpfully told us that we were in the M-size queue for the finisher t-shirt. I left the queue and went to the L-size line with only a handful ahead (the plus of being plus-size!). Despite the few of us only, the boy was frantically trying to pour isotonic drinks into paper cups. I needed two cups and guiltily held up the queue while he poured me an extra. Then I proceeded to collect my medal and T-shirt. By then, even the L-size and X-L had lines. I was still thirsty but there was no other drink stand around.
Two years ago, the snaking queues were for the goodie-bags. So when we got our goodie-bags before the run this year, I had expected a smooth ending. Alas, it was still the same. I pity my friend who came in after me while I leave the ground to search for drinks.