As it was, with the long Easter Weekend, the sign ups for the first Sundown Lead Up Run was already not that great...then came the heavy showers just 2 hours prior to start time, which threatened to sabotage the whole event that everyone has been anticipating.
In spite of worries of the rain and lighting, more than 200 runners eventually turned up, and they were all duly rewarded with a scenic, albeit humid run into the City. Accompanied by the 40 Sundown Ambassadors/Pacers, the runners were well ushered through the various critical junctions which saw them crossing from Fort Road onto Mountbatten, then along Kallang and Nicholl Highway, before settling down onto the Marina Promenade towards the beautiful Helix Bridge where the Maxinutrition hydration point was strategically located.
The runners were segregated into their respective timing groups, all with a targeted training pace, each group having 5-6 Ambassadors leading, mid-segmenting and sweeping. At the same time, the groups were mutually supporting one another for a moving chain of glistening lights in the serenity of the night. For many, this was either the longest distance they were to cover on their marathon journey, or the first time they have run such a City route in the night; all adding to an air of suspense and a sense of adventure.
The runners, averaging about 50 in each pace group, ran along in tight-knit fashion; constantly watching for one another. With the guidance and direction of the Sundown Pacers, they were able to keep to their target BaseBuild pace affording a smooth passage, with sufficient time allowed for toilet breaks and even photo stops. All the runners were enjoying themselves, and whenever the groups do pass, they will cheer and clap for one another; adding on to the already high motivation levels, making the run so much easier even though the the distances were not exactly short.
The Half Marathon groups turned back from the Helix Bridge and made their way back to ECP when they came from, making a total of 17km - much to the delight of the first-timers for that distance, giving them new-found confidence to easily conquer the 21.1km on race night.
The Full Marathon groups went for an additional tour of the Helix Bridge, Marina Bay Sands, One Marina Boulevard, The Esplanade before coming back to the water-point for a pit-stop. The runners' spirits ran high as they proceeded back towards Nicholl Highway and then Fort Road. Pacers and Marshals were egging the runners on, some who seemed to be a tad affected by the rather humid conditions post-showers. Some of the new runners were also not carrying hydration, affecting their ability to keep to sustainable paces.
When we hit Fort Road-ECP, the clear runway encouraged many of the runners to pick up speed to power their way to the end point (for HM) and final pit-stop for the FM participants. It was a fun stretch where we see various groups of runners running abreast and striding well with good speed, all with at least 15km of running already in them.
The prized isotonic 100Plus at the Playground kept the runners flying all the way, with nary a walker. They were amply rewarded with a strong finish for the night, and those who have done their deed went for a special post-run Compression Boots' treatment from The Ahtlete's Clinic, helping to relieve their tightened muscles and fatigue in their legs.
The entire session ended well before midnight, allowing the runners to mingle around for a bit before catching transport back home. It was a night where we saw the Sundown runners Show Their True Colours with satisfaction and pride.
Judging from the post-run feedback and video interviews conducted by the Sundown Organizer, this first lead up run (in a series of 3) went down really well with the participants, with many pledging to return for the remaining 2 progressive lead up runs in April and May.
Sundowners, You Have Shown Your True Colours Tonight!