Marathon: No stadium finish for runners

The race route for the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) on Dec 7 has yet to be finalised, but it is certain that runners will not get to hit the tape in the glamorous setting of the National Stadium.

Participants, though, are likely to run past the newly-opened Singapore Sports Hub en route to the traditional finish line at the Padang. Speaking on the sidelines of yesterday morning's registration launch at ION Orchard, where the first 100 runners to sign up enjoyed a $1 entry fee, Chris Robb, managing director of event organiser Spectrum Worldwide, explained the situation.

"It won't be possible to finish in the stadium with the number of runners we have," he said of the 58,300 participants expected, with the hosting of the AFF Suzuki Cup group-stage matches (Nov 22-Dec 20) at the stadium an exacerbating factor.

"The entrance to the stadium isn't wide enough to accommodate the number of runners and, if the event were to ever finish there, it would be in the precinct, and not in the stadium itself."

While a precinct finish is possible, the newly opened Hub might - due to unfinished pathways and roads - compromise the running experience of the participants. It is something that organisers are not willing to risk.

"There are probably a couple of months before we're ready to announce that (the actual route that will go past the hub)... but I think it's a very exciting addition to the route," added Robb, who is focused on safety matters and accuracy of times recorded.

A glitch in last year's timing system saw 3,782 runners being given inaccurate race timings or, worse, unfairly disqualified.

Robb believes that the same situation will not occur with Multisport Australia, a company with more than 20 years of experience, coming on board this year.

Engaging the community is another key factor for organisers, who have established five running communities aimed at both fostering team spirit and kicking off friendly rivalries.

The communities are designated by zones across the country and will be led by #TeamSCMS ambassadors, who come from across the broad spectrum of Singaporeans.


They are: National Paralympian Theresa Goh, SportCares beneficiary Abdul Thaslim, Chua Jin Sen (YouTube personality Dr Jia Jia), chef Andre Chiang and Sofie Chandra, a self-professed music and party-lover, who is Zouk's head of business development and PR. "I've never even run 2.4 kilometres in my life and I'm extremely nervous about the community running events, where I'm sure I'll meet the pro runners," the said 31-year-old Chandra.

"But I hope I can inspire people who love the night-life to embrace a balanced healthy lifestyle. It hasn't been easy for me but, if I can do it, I'm sure many more can, too."

While multiple Para Games gold medallist Goh is looking forward to the community events that "don't leave anyone out", and Thaslim who hopes this kicks off his dream of running for the country, the SCMS seems to embrace varied goals.

Gerrard Lin, who spent more than 24 hours queuing up to be the first of over 800 participants to register by 3pm yesterday, has his sights set on a sub-three-hour finish to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

He said: "This is one of the biggest events in the calendar and I want to qualify for Boston at a local race."

This article was first published on July 17, 2014.
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