SINGAPORE - A sneakered army of solitary people stand penned in like cattle in the Punggol darkness.
There are thousands at The Straits Times' Run in the Park, yet the runner is mostly a lonely creature.
Yes, couples photograph each other. And friends Ritu Jain and Christina Michael shadow each other. And Mr Sridhar Malur promises to run alongside wife Anupama Kannan.
Usually, she gently laughs, "he takes off". On Sunday, he says later: "We finished together. Holding hands."
But really, for all this, the runner is a lonely traveller who must pass internal examinations.
Ms Gaby Thornton knows that and at 54, as her heart pounds, she demands of herself: "Finish it. Finish it."
There is spirit to be found by the waters of Punggol. But this is yet to come because dawn is yet to come.
Walking towards the start, a young man - slight, shy yet certain - is my first conversation in the morning darkness. He has never run a 15km race. By the time it is light, Mr Ivan Low will win over 15km.