Over 3,500 take part in toughest ever Men's Health Urbanathlon challenge

The fifth annual Men's Health Urbanathlon, a 14km obstacle race organised by SPH Magazines, distinguished itself on Singapore's action-packed running calendar with eight tough obstacles and its first-ever Mystery Obstacle that left participants with a real sense of accomplishment at the end.

Co-organised by sports event management company HiVelocity, the annual race tested the fitness of 3,500 participants from the very start, with a tough slog up and down the seating gallery at The Float at Marina Bay.

In addition, participants also took on obstacles like Curve Analysis, which required Urbanathletes to pull themselves over 1.5m-high cement pipes; Leap of Faith, where participants leapt from a 2m-high tower; and Peaks and Troughs, where runners scaled up and descended 3m-high sloping structures.

The Mystery Obstacle also presented an interesting challenge to participants, who had to sprint up the ramp and hold on to the summit, exhausting the limits of their strength at this last obstacle, to haul themselves up and slide themselves down to a pool of water, to round off a refreshing end to the Urbanathlon.

At the end of the race, this year's individual category was won by Umesh Rai, with a timing of 55 minutes and 17 seconds.

The 26 year-old Nepalese proudly walked home with S$10,043 worth of prizes. Clinching the second place with a timing of 55 minutes and 46 seconds was Suresh Gurung, while Hangpal Angbuhang took third place with a timing of 56 minutes and 05 seconds.

Corporate category champion

More than 125 teams raced in the corporate category, each comprising three to five runners, all slugging it out for the grand prize worth up to S$12,445. The team Civil Service emerged victorious while the teams SPF and MOE took second and third place respectively.

The Corporate challenge proved an interesting challenge for repeat Urbanathlete Campbell Wilson, Scoot's Chief Executive Officer, who represented the airline together with 25 colleagues from Scoot.

The 41 year-old Mr Wilson exclaimed: "This year's route really showed my age! I ran with a bunch of pilots and cabin crew, and they made me feel old. I think the toughest part of the race was the stretch at Fort Canning, but it was nice for the team to run together, and I'm glad I came in third amongst all our colleagues, with a respectable time of 1 hour and 32 minutes."

The Men's Health Urbanathlon 2014 was also marked with a raft of celebrity runners who were keen to test themselves against this edition's tough challenges. They included TV personalities such as Paul Foster and Kelly Latimer, as well as well-known fitness luminaries such as Sumiko Tan, Anne Qi-Hui and Benny R Chandran.

For returning Urbanathlete Paul Foster, his second experience proved surprisingly tough. Foster, who is a True Fitness ambassador, said: "I was definitely slower this year than my last try, with a timing of 1 hour and 32 minutes. For me, the obstacles break up the monotony of running, lets me catch my breath and exert a different type of energy: fast twitch power and upper body strength, and this was particularly the case with the Mystery Obstacle."

It was also heartwarming to hear the cheers of supporters as parathlete Shariff Abdullah ("Singapore Blade Runner") crossed the finished line in an amazing display of grit and determination. Shariff is a repeat racer who took part in the race to help raise the awareness of disabled athletes in Singapore.

Ms Pang Lee Cheng, General Manager, SPH Magazines, said: "We are very pleased with the showing of Men's Health Urbanathlon 2014 - its continued success is certainly due to our loyal readers and participants who keep coming back year after year, as well as our focus to ensure the obstacles continue to pique the interest of Singapore's running community. The support from our sponsors is also a testament of how this event works as a synergistic platform for all parties, as well as promote a fun and healthy event for participants."

The excitement did not end after runners completed their race. After collecting their finishers' T-shirts and medals, the participants enjoyed food and drinks, and tried out various games at the race village to win Scoot air tickets and other attractive prizes.