4,000 Runners Celebrate Return of In-person Races at Singapore Marathon Grand Finale

Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon's Virtual Run Club reaches 55,000 unique runners with over 130,000 race participations, as Singapore's marquee running event celebrates 20-year partnership with Standard Chartered Bank

Image via Malek Roslee / SportPlus.SG

5 December 2021, Singapore - There was plenty to celebrate at The Float @ Marina Bay this weekend, as the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) ushered in the return of the biggest in-person mass participant sports event in Singapore since Covid-19 hit Singapore's shores in early 2020.

The Grand Finale held over this weekend witnessed 4,000 in-person participants, and is part of a bigger effort since SCSM launched their Virtual Club last year, which now has over 55,000 unique runners - with the Virtual Club offering races and weekly challenges that runners can take part in at their own time.

Having faced a tumultous two years following the cancellation of physical events across Singapore, organisers Ironman Asia have been quick to pivot their engagement strategy for the running community, with key objectives for this year's race firstly to bring back in-person racing as soon as possible in a safe manner, with the other being, to celebrate a 20-year partnership between the Singapore Marathon and Standard Chartered Bank.

Image via Malek Roslee / SportPlus.SG

Faced with a ton of challenges and an ever evolving situation, this year's race was split across four sessions over the span of two days. Each session accommodates a thousand runners who are further broken down into groups of 500 that are flagged off at different timings. In a specific time belt, the runners are further split into groups of 50 and only three runners are released every 10 seconds, with the safety of participants and members of public at the forefront of planning considerations.

Santoz Kumar, General Manager of Ironman Asia, shared: "When you look at the entire model, we created a lot of space, time and distance between the runners, not only to cater to the safety of the participants, but because this year’s course is on public path, we had to make sure that we do not overcrowd or overload the pathway as well. So the rolling start or the staggered start of three runners every 10 seconds really helped with that."

To further ensure the safety of everyone amidst the ongoing pandemic, participants were all required to take a self-administered Antigen Rapid Test (ART) before the event. Masks had to be worn at all times and could only be removed after the individual had been flagged-off. On top of a medal and goodie bag, masks were also provided for each participant right at the finishing line.

Saturday morning's sessions featured the Toyota Ekiden relay, with the 5km event taking place later in the day between 4pm - 9pm. The 10km event is held on Sunday over two separate sessions, 6.30am - 11am, and 4pm - 9.30pm.

Image via Malek Roslee / SportPlus.SG

Excitement of First Run with Community

Despite the limitations that existed for this year's in-person Grand Finale, many participants enjoyed the excitement of being around other members of the running community for the first time in a long while.

On his first ever race experience at SCSM, Amit, Regional Sales Head of Hexagon said: "This is my first time participating in the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon in person. The experience has been fantastic. Especially during tough times like the pandemic that the entire society is going through, it's a great opportunity to meet fellow runners in person, and also to cheer each other on."

SCSM 2021 was also the first large-scale in-person sports event for many of the seasoned participants. For content creator Cheryl Tay, seeing the finish line at the race venue brought back fond memories of past editions of a race that she had taken part in.

Tay shared: "This morning when I arrived at the race venue, I actually had goosebumps when I saw the finish line, it was very nostalgic. In a race like that you usually run harder, push yourself more with so many people around and I haven't ran at this kind of intensity for a very long time."

Nelson Wong, co-founder of Superhero Runners who sported a Superman top agreed, saying: "I miss the running community, the atmosphere, the adrenaline, crossing the finishing line this is what I miss the most. I've been waiting for this for about two years already, it feels so good to be back."

For Calixtus Lee, a student from the Singapore Management University (SMU) says the feeling of achieving something out of group effort was what stands out the most for the Ekiden relay.

"It's an opportunity for me to catch up with my friends and do a race together. Especially with the Ekiden relay, where it’s a group effort so I think it just adds on to the significance and how important the event is."

Image via Malek Roslee / SportPlus.SG

"It was very enjoyable, the first time that we’re able to gather in large groups as a sporting fraternity," Lee added. "It’s something that we sorely miss, in all our different sports as well."

Ngee Ann Polytechnic student volunteers who helped out at the event also echoed the sentiments, and were grateful for the great opportunity for them to witness and experience the planning of a large-scale sporting event in a time like this.

Those who wish to take part in this year's SCSM still have the opportunity to do so, as the Virtual Race runs till 12 December 2021. Interested runners can visit sgmarathonvc.com to register.

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