As Singapore counts down to hosting the SEA Games, the marathon event on June 7 will have a new twist.
The Straits Times understands that while the event will start and end at the National Stadium, much of the 42.195km race will be run in loops along Singapore's East Coast Park.
The course is still pending approval from the authorities but a source rates the route as "90 per cent certain".
Unlike the last edition in Myanmar, where sections of the route were on undulating terrain, the East Coast Park is flat and straight.
While monotonous, it is easier for runners to gauge how far they are trailing, and easier to execute their race strategy.
However, it is no stranger to the running community - it forms part of the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore's route, and makes up approximately 15km of the race. It was also used when Singapore last hosted the biennial SEA Games in 1993.
Lim Thow Wee, a national marathoner, said: "The route sounds good for runners. It is flat, predictable, and reminds me of the Gold Coast Marathon, where you run along the beach.
"I don't think it will be too monotonous. As a competitive runner, we focus more on our pacing and less on the scenery." Meanwhile, the Singapore Athletic Association (SAA) clarified yesterday that it will select the two fastest runners for the Games' marathon.
Last week, the SAA said that should more than two runners meet the qualifying mark, other factors such as the athletes' preparations, injury concerns, consistency and form will be taken into consideration.
However, the association has since clarified its selection criteria, saying there was a miscommunication.
Responding to queries by this newspaper yesterday, it said in an e-mailed statement: "SAA has always stated that the two athletes with the fastest time will qualify for the SEA Games 2015 nomination and we maintain our position."
Other conditions will be factored in only if two runners clock identical times, a rare occurrence in the marathon.
The SAA also said it has cleared up the selection policy with six local athletes and their coaches.
Singaporean Mok Ying Ren, 26, is the SEA Games marathon defending champion, having won gold in 2013 in 2hr 28min 36sec.
Currently, only Soh Rui Yong, 23, has met the qualifying mark of 2:30:30 after clocking 2:26:01 on his debut at last month's California International Marathon.
Athletes have until the end of March to meet the qualifying mark for their events.
Mok, whose personal best is 2:26.30, achieved at the 2013 Gold Coast Marathon, will use next month's Tokyo Marathon as his qualifying race.
Singapore's other contender is Ashley Liew, whose personal best is 2:35.39. The 28-year-old will run in the New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll Marathon this Sunday in a bid to make the cut.
In a Facebook post, Soh said: "I appreciate the transparency shown by SAA ... I have no doubts (sic) that the best team will be selected for the Games. End of the day, we're one Team Singapore."
GOING FLAT OUT
The route sounds good for runners. It is flat, predictable, and reminds me of the Gold Coast Marathon, where you run along the beach.
- National marathon runner Lim Thow Wee
This article was first published on Jan 22, 2015.
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