Sunday, September 12, 2010

Flight KF001 @ Army Half Marathon 2010


All the Kingfisher and friends checked in at 4.15am for Flight Kingfisher001 from Esplanade Bridge to The Padang in high spirits. Although a number were nursing mild bouts of flu and the lack of sleep, most Kingfishers and friends came prepared for this key Army Half Marathon (21.1km) race in the local Calendar. With 6 weeks of training preparation under their belts, The Kingfishers were all set to go for this important flight in the hope of completing the journey in good form, best if Personal Bests could be bettered.

After group photos and visits to the porta-loos, the team of FatBird Runners and Kingfishers proceeded to the start point. Somehow, there was only one entrance onto the Esplanade Bridge this year, causing some choc-a-bloc. It was good that we set the meeting time to be earlier, mainly to deal with such unforseen circumstances. Soon we were able to line up about 30m from the front. More photos and shouts of encouragement ensued. Again just like last year, the start of the race was abrupt and earlier by 5min, catching many of the runners by surprise.

The crowd was thick, and coupled by the high humidity in the air, the initial few km was a challenge as we had to weave around quite a bit. The occasional turns and the new bridge towards MBS provided some beathing space and allowed us to move into open spaces. By the time we reached Sheares Bridge, 6km has passed. Managed to gain back some lost time by the 8km and was on pace for 1:45h, but some of our runners have lost us in the crowd by then.

The access road into ECP was rather dark and there were pot-holes at certain areas, causing the occasional trips and shouts. We are most happy with the much shorter stretch at ECP this year, taking a bit of the boredom out from that route. Along the way, there were shouts of our names, as well as meeting up friends and kakis who were moving ahead for the final 8km. I had a gel to provide the boost to the dwindling fuel, and that sort of perked me up for 2-3km. I was still maintaining pace of 4:55min/km, careful not to go into overdrive and causing any unwanted spasms to the calves.

The final 5km passed by rather smoothly as I gained some ground on those who had started a wee bit faster earlier. The crowd had thinned by then, and as we approached the 18km mark, there were sounds of people puking and some asking for assistance. The lighting at the F1 Pit-Stop was bright, affording us a clearer approach for the final 3km to the finish. The competitive women runners were making their moves on those who looked spent, and were slowing down. With 2km to go, I could see more familiar faces, mostly picking up speed for the final landing. A check of the time showed that we were well within the 1:45h target. The water stations this year appeared to be shorter, making access to the drinks support a little challenging....good that there were volunteers coming forward to hold out the cups. The water mists were very welcomed on such a humid and warm morning.

The final 1km was on familiar territory for major local marathon finishes, as we ran onto The Esplanade Bridge and turned into The Padang. After making sure the competitive runners finished their duels and that the path was clear, I finished in 1:43h. Thanks to the support from FatBird Runners and friends who were cheering us on, and a good finish photo from FatBird DO. Grabbed 2 cans of isotonic drinks to quence the parched lips, before proceeding back to the finish area to welcome our runners.

It was heartening to see many of the Kingfishers achieving their Personal Bests and targets of 1:50h, 2hr, 2:15h, 2:30h and 2:45h. Although a few suffered from cramps and injuries, they went on to complete the race in respectable timings. A number of FatBird friends were also seen holding onto 'Potential Winners' proud of them that they have made it to the top 20 or so runners in their respective categories. As planned, the FatBird Runners & Kingfishers gathered near the Tan Kim Seng fountain to share in the the morning's adventures and highlights. Lots of group photos were taken along with huge shouts of 'Hip Hip Hooray! FatBirds Hooray!

The group then went to Marina Square Foodcourt for brunch and kopi, to refuel the 'hungry' and tired bodies. Certificates Of Achievement for Ops Kingfisher were given to the trainees as a sign of their 'passing out' and for a job well done. The Running Guides were not forgotten too, as they were recognized for their selfless commitment to helping the Kingfishers & themselves achieve such sterling results at The Army Half Marathon. We Ran The Bay! FatBirds Have Shown The Way!

This Facebook Video of Ops Kingfisher 2010 Journey from Kingfisher Joe Tan says it all. Thanks for The Memories!

Photo SlideShow From AC Leong
Facebook Photos from Mohan1, Mohan2, Mohan3

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