ST Run 2013 - so much for all the hype!

Disclaimer - I am not trying to be part of the complaining society, but spilling out the facts that need to be out there in the net. My intention of writing this post is not entirely to crib on how bad the event management was, but to direct pointers to the management, and to serve as a caution for ST runners next year.

I was thrilled when I read an advetorial about STRun in the park 2013. I saw it as a training run for the Standard chartered Run at the end of the year. When I called up a few of my friends who are into running, it eventually became an opportunity for us to spend some sporting time together and discover a new park route. We signed up as a bunch and started the prep. Some of us were running 10K and some were doing their first 5K.

#1 Alarm bells started ringing when the race pack collection was set for the National Day/ Hari Raya long weekend! Of all the days, the ST team chose these particular days when most people would be out of the island or busy visiting relatives! Luckily, Kanan and D were in town and they helped all of us with the race pack collection. After all the fuss, the L size marathon Tee resembles an XL and Manu was not able to use it for the run!
Possible solution - Be reasonable and relevant. After all, being the national daily, you should know the crowd behavior and expectations!

#2 When the 10K was gunned off at 7.15 on August 25th 2013, most runners didn't realize that it would be under the balzing sun all the way, with limited water supplies. There were only 3 water stations along the route and very ill prepared. Runners had to queue while the glasses were being filled! At one station, I skipped the hydration to avoid the long queue and it was a mistake which I couldn't foget because of the throbbing headache throughtout the day.
Possible solution - This route might be good for an evening run. But, for the next year, if the management plans to keep the park runs, choose another park with better sun protection OR consider alternate timing.
More resources should be allocated at water stations and increase the number of water points as well, so that runners would take staggered stops.

#3 Obviously, the management had conveniently overlooked the capacity of the punggol waterway and the serangoon reservoir park connector when they decided on the number of runners. I heard from the 5K runners that they were briskly walking or slightly pacing an obstacle course!
Possible solution -  Set the maximum cap on registration based on the park capacity, or if this intends to grow into a big event, find better routes for the event

#4 Unlike other marathons, there were no cheer persons to motivate us to keep going, One volunteer at the 8K mark was sitting there utterly bored and yawning! The only cheer we got from was from a park visitor who was quite happy to see the thousands of blue clad runners :)
Possible solution - Allocate more cheer leaders by the water stations and at kilometers marks. Motivate them enough with goodies or freebies so that they in turn pass on the cheer to participants.

#5 I hated the supposed-to-be motivating captions at the kilometer marks. There were some captions like - "Stop reading this and keep running", which I did not find humurous at the 9K/14K Mark!
The worst one was - "Smile, because you are still ahead of the people behind you!" I couldn't believe that organizers are unaware of the fact that apart for the top 1% of the runners, marathon is not about competing with the rest of the crowd. It is about fighting demons within, runner's block and most importantly achieving the incredible satisfaction at the finish line at the end of months of hard training !
Possible solution - Run a campagin similar to SCM and collect motiavtional quotes from runners and choose positive, relevant and most inspiring quotes.

#6 When the last water station at 10/15K mark ran out of water supplies , I thought that this was the worst part of the run. To get some water we had to walk long way to the carnival area in the still balzing sun, where each runner had to queue for the end-point drinks. Each was alloted only 1 small bottle and a can of 100 plus.
The goodie bags and medal collection were clubbed together. Manu rightly pointed out that, in a country full of queue loving people, this organizer has succesfully mis-managed a queuing system! They were even assembling the contents and magazines of the goodie bag while the finishers were queueing. D said that she spent more time queuing than running !
Possible solution - Find a better event management team who are ready to learn from present mistakes. Don't cut corners lah!

#7 The medal is stamped in big bold letters with Straits Times Appreciates Readers (STAR) branding and sponsors titles! I wonder how this could be a STAR event, when each runner paid 50$ for this terrible experience.
Possible solution - Set the event goal clear! Is it to really to appreciate the readers ? Or just another ad campaign ?

Overall, a very diasppointining event management and a marathon not be attended next year.

Still, I must say thanks to my buddy finishers who remained motivated against all odds and successfully
finished the trails :)
Proud finishers
D (Divya), Kanan, Kapil, Priyanka, Manu and Me!
(Background - Goodie bag collection)

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