Type: Back and forth along a section of East Coast Park over 16 hours
Terrain: Concrete/tarmac pathways.
Check Points: Every 2.5km with food and drink. The mid-way has the most food (sandwiches, pot noodles, watermelon, and more) and loads of toilets along the route.
Scenery: Sea, airplanes, ships, people having BBQs, restaurants. Between 7 - 11pm expect a lot of people on the pathway from the Event Site to U-turn Point 2
My nutrition: During an ultra I like to eat protein, fat and some carbs. During the night I had 2 Tai Pao (big buns) filled with chicken, egg and fat bits + 2 cliff bars + 2 crackers + 4 cups of coffee (3 in 1) + an ice lolly someone passed me (thank you).
My "little monkeys", originally wanting to create a mural with dragons attacking people, were persuaded to change it to a less violent picture with a "How to Train Your Dragon" theme. Time passed quickly as we painted, and the time to venture into the Twilight zone soon arrived.
Going the Distance
Now prior to the event the question of "Going the Distance" seemed to take on a poignant reminder of recent historic events: the passing of a leader, Lee Kuan Yew (LKY), who led the country to its current position and the significance it enjoys in the world today. The relevance to this particular event being the limits of time to achieve distance. As LKY demonstrated stamina to stand for progress!
The Number 91
LKY was the first Prime Minister (1959) and the founding father of the economic success of Singapore, passed away on the 23rd March 2015 at 3:18am at the grand age of 91.
Tyre Boy (Ah Siao) had earlier on sent out an invite to a number of folk to join him to run 91 km for LKY. The organisers put up a special 1km turning point for anyone wanting to achieve the distance. The possibility of running that within 16 hours with a tyre on tarmac paths was very slim unless it rained (Tring the tyre glides on wet paths). Tring normally completes marathons in 7-9 hours.
As it so happened it turned out to be a relatively warm, humid night, where temperatures felt in the late 20s and parts of the pathways were sticky. After a 91 second silence to mark LKY's passing, the event started. I reflected on Singapore and the days that have been spent mourning the death of this very special leader.
Have been told that the 1st 3 deputy prime ministers that served with LKY also died when they were 91. Here's what I found:
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The Number 65 and a Bit of Singapore History
When Singapore was thrown out of Malaysia on 9th August 1965, LKY had to regain credibility and created a vision for Singapore to strive towards - to be a multiracial, clean, green country.
Days earlier I had joined the thousands to pay my last respects to LKY at Parliament House. Waiting in line for 4 hours, one lady commented on appreciating LKY but found the many rules and regulations tiring.
I could not hold back and reminded her that these rules have greatly reduced corruption and keep Singapore clean, such as banning the sale of chewing gum, penalties for littering, spitting, and not flushing.
Rules like these were necessary to transform Singapore from a 3rd world Asian country with little resources to a 1st world and 1st class business hub. The surrounding countries should be on a more advanced standing, unfortunately the inability to change has caused those countries to progress at the pace of a tortoise.
Some Stats and facts:
- In the UK, it costs the country £60 million/year to clean up chewing gum off the streets (source: Local Govt Association)
- Spitting can spread airborne diseases like tuberculosis
Generations of Singaporeans feel a sense of accomplishment and belonging due to Singapore to where it is today. The astute LKY was a visionary and an intelligent leader, in my opinion, the greatest leader in all time.
The lady agreed, perhaps to close the conversation and stop my "nationalistic jabber", adding that when she traveled out of Singapore, it was a pleasure to come back to a place where things worked and she could always find a clean toilet!
The number 50: Singapore has reached their 50th year of independence.
Back to the Event
As the night forged ahead, I went into ballad mode, singing all sorts of songs. At about 3:18, with my mind reflecting on LKY's dedication to Singapore, I was singing the national anthem. At the U-turn pt 2 (see map at top), the volunteers had become a choral group, and their angelic voices blended together to continue the anthem.
I have always appreciated the greenery within the city however would like to see Singapore be far more green. Around the different coast lines, plastic trash drifts onto the beaches. The white dots seen in the picture is the result of the degradation of disposable polystyrene cups and bowls and we know the marine life are ingesting these polystyrene plastic bits. Additionally of about 0.7 million tonnes/year of plastic waste is produced in Singapore, only 10% is recycled. The rest is burned and goes to landfill.
Was happy to see we were encouraged to BYO (Bring Your Own) bottles to this event. Would be great if participants were also encouraged to carry their bottle so that check points would not have to provide plastic cups at the U-turn points. Furthermore participants might be encouraged to BYO cups to contain hot liquids so that polystyrene cups would not have to be used.
- 16 participants completed 91 to honour LKY.
- One participant completed 90 km - LKY was PM until 1990
- 3 participants completed their distances of 50km and 45 km in 9.1 hours.
- 51 participants completed their distances of 50km - the number of years Singapore has been independent
- 9 participants completed 65km - Singapore was given independence in 1965.
Thank You List
- To the many who signed the tyre as a pledge to reduce their single-use plastic garbage. It is easy to do by bringing your own cup, cutlery, plate and bottle to all events (Steve, Andrew, Eric, Priscilla, Henry, Sam, a number of volunteers and other runners).
- To the high fives, salutes and thumbs up from participants, as well as conversations with Henry, Sam, Andrew and Eric to keep me entertained.
- To 2 supporters whose names I've forgotten who passed me a coffee and the other passed me a delicious popcicle.
- To Aunty Jo, my most excellent friend, who kept me upright in the Singapore marathon in 2006 - my first marathon ever. Thank you for letting me encourage you to complete 65km. It was an honour to have completed the last 5km with you.
- To the wonderful organisers, volunteers and photographers who worked throughout the night, looking after us all.
- To Ripley for sorting me out for this event.