Kiwi Lawrence back with a bang

Kiwi Lawrence back with a bang
Winner of the event Jason Lawrence, 35, with (left) Kelvin Tan (editor of Men's Health), runner-up (second from right) Jite, 20, and third-place finisher (right) Kumar Sunuwar, 24.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

It was his first Men's Health Urbanathlon (MHU) in three years. But that did not stop Jason Lawrence from climbing, crawling and swinging his way to a fourth Urbanathlon title out of the five times he has taken part in the annual event.

With a time of 58min 1sec, the New Zealander managed to top a field of more than 3,500 participants that also featured the likes of S-League footballer Fabian Kwok and former national footballer Aleksander Duric.

"I'm not as fit as I used to be and it has been three years since I last ran and won," said the 35-year-old head of physical education at Overseas Family School.

"This is the fourth time that I have won and I'm just going to make sure that I keep on winning it.

"This event is a lot of fun and it attracts many people that may not be keen on typical road races.

"If they enjoy this, it will encourage them to take part in more races and it will only help the sport."

Finishing behind him were Nepalese duo Jite, 20 (58:37), and Kumar Sunuwar, 25 (59:07) respectively.

But not everyone taking part in the MHU was there to challenge for a podium placing.

"This is something that I wanted to do to inspire people.

"I want to make a difference and show the youth that if I can do well, they can do much better," said para-athlete Shariff Abdullah, 47, an inspirational speaker who also took part in last year's edition.

"I see many new faces and people who are eager to challenge the obstacles so it's very positive," added the "Blade Runner".

The 14km race, which was organised by SPH Magazines and presented by Scoot and Tigerair, started and finished at the Kallang Practice Track. The route took participants past landmarks like the Esplanade and the Singapore Flyer.

Seven of the nine obstacles were new additions to this year's race and one of them incorporated a CrossFit element for the first time.

The Metcon Madness obstacle saw participants executing box jumps and overhead squats.

Most participants were delighted with the addition of the CrossFit obstacle.

"It was interesting and something different," said teacher Sarah-Jean Toh.

"It really challenges you differently.

"Instead of stopping my momentum after all the running, I had to increase my intensity."

The event's final obstacle featured a thrilling zip-line flight into a pool of water but the lengthy queues at the obstacle dampened the spirit of some.

"When I reached (the final obstacle), I had to wait for about 20 to 30 minutes.

"Not many people could attempt the obstacle at once and the queue wasn't really moving," said student Joven Lee, 21.

Of the delay, an SPH Magazines spokesman explained: "The safety of our participants is our topmost priority and we formulate all the obstacles with that in mind.

"We've also created bypass lanes at the obstacles should the racer decide to skip the station altogether."

However, in spite of the bottleneck, engineer Sherman Seow, 28, enjoyed the airborne experience and the subsequent cool finish in the pool on a scorching morning.

He said: "Even though the queues were long (for the last obstacle), it was still really fun and I would come back next year."

This article was first published on March 14, 2016.
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