Singapore Marathon 2008

I THOUGHT I should’ve learnt by now.

“How well you prepare for the marathon is as important as how fast you run it.” I know.
The Singapore Marathon was the third full 42km marathon I competed in.
The first one I did was in Kuala Lumpur. My preparation was bad. I began training only 2 weeks before the race, and I completed it in 6 hours 30 minutes.
The second marathon I did was in Penang. My preparation was also bad. I remember sleeping only 2 hours the night before and suffered a bad cramp very early into the race. My finishing time was 6 hours 25 minutes. A slight improvement.

Compared to the first two, my preparation leading up to race day was considered not bad lah.
I had begun training like four months before the race. Somemore I trained like crazy.
People in Kuching are so used to seeing this fat boy running by the side of the road sometimes early in the morning, sometimes late in the evening, no matter if it’s rain or shine.
Bloody hell, I stuck to my training plan so closely that I even packed my running shoes in my luggage and forgot to pack my underwear.
The only thing setback I faced this year was my workload in the office which has increased tremendously. My sleeping pattern had gone completely out of whack. Still, I always made the conscious effort to dedicate some hours for my run.

Four months of heavy training and it has finally come down to this.
I woke up at 3:30am on Sunday, ate some multigrain bread and bananas before making my way down to the Esplanade. Once again, I checked through all my essentials I had in my bag. Shoes – checked. Vaseline – checked. Energy gels – checked.
As I boarded on the bus going towards Esplanade, I put on my earphones and took out my iPod.

Only to see this.

I had done everything right up to this point. EVERYTHING. And with 50 minutes left till the race starts, my iPod ran out of juice!?
Why am I so stupid I accidentally left it playing overnight!

The door on Singaporean buses has a cock

Shit lah. I needed my iPod to run. Without my iPod, I dunno what the hell I’m gonna do.
No iPod didn’t just mean no music.
No iPod also means no pedometer, no clock, no motivation towards the latter part of the race when I definitely would need something to take the pain off my mind.
I specifically loaded up Kanye West’s Stronger for that purpose, and bloody hell I’m gonna lose that too.

I was pretty much left with two choice: (1) Take a cab back to my guesthouse and miss out on the start of the race, or (2) Run without an iPod.

I chose to (2) Run without an iPod. God help me.
How the heck I’m gonna keep myself mentally entertained for the next 6 hours is gonna be fun. NOT. *Borat accent*

As I got to the Esplanade, I faced another challenge.

The Singapore Marathon is the biggest race I have ever took part in. There were 50,000 runners competing in various categories, with 15,000 alone doing the full 42km marathon.
It was so dark and there were so many people that I couldn’t even see where the starting point is.
It didn’t help that there are so many ERP gantries in Singapore. And ALL of them look like the damn starting point!

Damn tulan.
I was starting to worry a bit when so long after the gun went off, I still hadn’t see the starting line. I was so slow to start, the Kenyan runners were already running back the opposite direction BEFORE I even reached the starting line.

Err… sorry a bit hard to see them.

Anyhow, I finally managed to cross the starting line and worked myself up into rhythm.
I’m in the race!

The Singapore marathon starts at the Esplanade, loops around Temasek Tower, back past Suntec City, up to the Golden Mile Complex, then all the way down the entire stretch of East Coast Park before turning back to City Hall.

Even without music playing in my ears, I thought I was doing quite well. I didn’t have my iPod or watch so I can’t tell the time.
Instead, I used the clock on my camera to keep track of my progress.

I ran past the gorgeous Singapore Flyer early in the race. The next time I saw it would be in full daylight, towards the end.
The first 10km, I finished it in 1 hr 17 minutes – just in time for the break of dawn.

No aches in the ankle, no stiches on the sides, no soreness in the muscle. I was running not too fast and not too slow. In fact, I was still on track to finish the race within my target time of 5 hr 30 mins.

Running in Singapore was quite an experience.
There were so many runners and was constantly surrounded by people. Unlike in KL where I was always one of the last few, I never felt alone here.
But having many people sucks also because I kept having to avoid bumping into people. It’s not easy resisting the urge to whack them slow-walking idiots not considerate enough to move to the side and let others overtake.

Everytime we approached a drink station, it’s a total nightmare. Whole bunch of human bodies just swooped in to grabbed all the drinks.
But then I saw something funny. Some runners were actually queuing up to use the loo!
How law-abiding are these Singaporeans! Marathon racing time is way too precious to be spent queuing for toilets. At every other race I’ve been to, people just don’t care and pee behind a tree.
Not like the police gonna run 42km to catch them.

By the time I reached the 21km halfway point, I was clocking in at 2 hr 53 mins. That’s a tad slower than the Borneo Marathon I did a few weeks ago. I needed to pick up my pace.

I was beginning to feel a bit sore in my legs. The volunteers passed me some analgesic gel to rub on my knees, but that only helped temporarily.
To take my mind off the pain, I observed the people around me.

It’s nice to see there were so many people of all ages, races, shapes and sizes doing the marathon.
There were 15,000 of us doing the full marathon. Most of us weren’t expecting to win anything, because we weren’t competing against each other. We’re competing against ourselves.

A majority of runners there are lean and mean.
Luckily, I wasn’t the only fat one doing the full 42km. There were plenty others bigger, fatter and meatier than I am, and they’re all doing the full 42km!

The girls who ran in the marathon were quite good too. And dammit, they’re yummy. Who needs iPods when you got so many girls in short shorts?
When you’re tired, your mind can’t think straight and every girl in short shorts looks pretty.
Even Rafidah Aziz can look like Amber Chia.

I am Amber Chia!

Truth is, I had never seen so many sweet sexy women in pony-tails and mid-riff baring outfits blazing past me. I couldn’t even keep up with them. Whoever thought Singaporean girls are all lazy princessy barbie dolls waiting for the next angmoh to pick them up have obviously got it wrong.
Those girls were really good.
They must’ve got their training from walking through all those shopping malls.

I was happily running along when disaster suddenly struck at the 28km mark.
The first sign of cramp creeped up on my right knee. It was a mild one. I ignored it, hoping it’ll go away eventually.

No such luck. Instead the cramp on my knees spreaded out to my ankles, my calves and thighs. With every step, the pain got worse and worse. I wanted to go on, but I couldn’t.
It was almost like that Christina Aguilera song. My heart is saying let’s go, but my body is saying NO!

I concluded that I have officially “hit the wall”.
It was truly a depressing sight looking at the people around.
By the time I passed 33km, everyone around me was slowing down to a slow lazy crawl. Some were even lying down flat on the side of the road, preferring to forfeit the race even when it’s only less than 10km to go. Nobody had any motivation left in them.

He was so hungry, his ass started eating his shorts

I tried to stay positive despite all these, pushing and limping and trotting along. I overtook whole bunch of people albeit at a much slower speed. My leg muscles begged for mercy and all I wanna do is go home.
With the pain, the cramp and the fatigue overtaking my entire body, my mental willpower was the only thing that kept me going.

I kept on running and running. And somewhere along the side of the road, a supporter smiled at me and held up a sign.
It read:

Almost instantly, tears began flowing down my cheeks. I was so moved that I cried like an idiot for the next 20 minutes, wiping tears off along with my sweat.
Of course, those were merely words of encouragement meant for the marathon runners. But I was touched because it related so well to the situation I am in.
I was extremely depressed after having ended a stressful relationship where my pride was constantly being assaulted. Seeing that sign gave me the self-confidence I needed so much to move on with my life.

I knew I’ve missed my target when by 5 hr 30 mins, I was still at the Singapore F1 race track.
It’s 3km left to go.
As more and more runners fell around the F1 race track like crashed cars, I gritted my teeth, forcing myself to take that one step at the time.

“Go-go! Go-go!” I chanted as I jogged.
I imagined myself as Lewis Hamilton driving a Ferrari. Exept I was probably more like Lewis Hamilton driving a Kancil.

After what seemed like eternity, the end was finally in sight. From 42km, now it’s just 200m left to go.
The crowd was cheering. The music was pumping. A rush of adrenaline took over me as I surged towards the finishing line.
And I crossed at 6 hr 15 min.

YES! I have completed the Singapore International Marathon!
Oh how I love the feeling of crossing the finishing line after 42km. This never gets old. 🙂

I ran 42km and all I got was a medal and this lousy T-shirt!
Just kidding, I still love you adidas.

There were actually heaps of freebies given out to the race finishers. I grabbed my free 100 Plus and nutrition bars, then went straight off to the massage tent.

The masseuses in the massage tent are all volunteers. Their humility warmed my hearts.
Imagine 15,000 marathoners, all smelly and dirty after running 42km getting into your tent, and then you’re tasked with rubbing and kneading their sweaty (and in my case, hairy) legs.
You can’t get anymore humble than that as a human being.

Eventhough the massage hurt so much worse than the marathon!
I was over the moon that I finally completed the marathon in one of my favourite cities in the world.
Of course I’m disappointed that I missed out on my target. But hey, at least I improved my time, eventhough it’s just 10 minutes. Next marathon, I’d do better!
I can’t write a blog entry on my marathon race without at least mentioning Eddie, a friend of who motivated me to compete in my first marathon three years ago. That marathon changed me as a person.
Thank you again, Eddie. 🙂 Next time I’ll heed your advice and not wear new shoes one week before my race!
Eddie has been trying to get me to sign up for his favourite event – the Los Angeles marathon. He even gave me a shirt that says “LA Marathon In Training”.
But I don’t think I’m ready for such a challenge yet!
Personally, I’d wanna first achieve 42km in less than 6 hours before buying myself a ticket to L.A. Perhaps I’ll target to run with Eddie in L.A. in two years time. 2010, my friend! 🙂
Meanwhile, I’m content with getting this for completing the Singapore Marathon.

You can’t appreciate how beautiful this medal is until you’ve done 42km.
To conclude this entry, here’s a video I made from my journey through the Lion City.

For now, I’ll take a long good rest, drink some Guinness, and look out for another city to do my next marathon in 2009.

According to Google, “Kenny Sia” was among the top ten most searched bloggers in Malaysia in 2008.
That could only mean one thing.
After four years of blogging, people still do not know my web address is at!

131 Replies to “Singapore Marathon 2008”

  1. some of the pictures ain’t up. and that sign did indeed sound motivational, at least, i would be motivated too. ya kno, thanks to you, i myself have actually picked up running, it’s nothing much but since i’m a heavy smoker and pretty overweight, im taking it slow and i’m hoping to be able to run 30 minutes straight ( or 3 miles ) by the time of week no.9…i’m on week 4 now

  2. Hey, great effort! It’s wonderful that you have the motivation to push your limits; most people don’t even think about running marathons and the sort. Keep it up!

  3. oh man…
    no music?!
    ah well you got some girls to stare at that’s all that matters 😉
    congrats on completing the run!

  4. The winner completed 42KM in 2 hours?!
    Why do I feel like it’s genetically impossible for us to beat that? 🙁

  5. Congratulation Kenny.
    Wow,a very motivating entry.
    The sign by the supporters there are really encouraging, makes me wanna continue what I always wanna do. er, not running of course, but other sports..
    Thanks Kenny.

  6. Once again you have overcome the odds with willpower and determination !! Be proud, Kenny, you earned it. 🙂

  7. Yay thanks for the medal picture ! 😀
    That strange underwear-looking-gap thingy in the medal, looks like it could function as a bottle cap opener…. xD

  8. Hey…well done. i could play 2 hours of intensive basketball or badminton, but i’d die after completing only 2km in any running event.
    *dunno if it was intentional, but lewis hamilton drives for mercedes mclaren, NOT ferrari! hahahaha

  9. wow… it’s awesome!
    your pain which doesn’t kills yo motivation really touched my heart.
    Even though i faced the disspointment for completing the time target but by completing the event is really a SOMETHING.
    well done!

  10. Congrats…
    But your video is not up yet.
    And I wonder who took the picture for you at the finishing line? Or did you go across the finishing line for the second time just for the sake of posing after you found someone to take your picture? xD

  11. “Pain is temporaty but Pride lasts forever”
    and Kenny cried like a baby, that was Funny!
    fyi, became popular search cos most of us dont bother to type yr domain, we prefer to google for “kenny” and the first result is your website. Easy!

  12. Been quite awhile since i’ve read a blogpost that moved my heart and inspired my mind here.
    KUDOS for completing the 42KM marathon with sheer willpower alone! But yeah, having an Ipod would help SO SO much! I know lol!

  13. Wow! Amazing job! Kenny way to go! Congratulations! This is such a moving post. I was so happy reading that you got past ‘the wall’ and without your ipod as well! Omg! Reminds me of that movie ‘Run fat boy! run!’ Again congrats!

  14. Thank you very much, Kenny for completed the run. I’m very proud of u. 2ndly, thanks for sharing tis real story & your experience in d run. It’s a great motivation to myself to move on in life.
    I read out this post for mom who is eating kuehtiaw for lunch while watching tv in d living room with me. Mom was very impressed tat u didnt give up when u reached 33km. We were guessing whether u wil giv up d race or not. My tears suddently drops when I see d signboard written “The pride you’ll gain is worth the pain”. And I know you’ll continue d race.
    Proud of u to finish d race at d end with ur determination. I’ll remember tis story always as encouragement to myself, and nvr give up.

  15. Congratulations, Kenny!
    I took part in the StanChart Marathon too. This is my first time, glad to be able to finish it although the timing is bad, 7 hours, 1 minute. I will train better to improve the timing for the next year marathon. Cheers. 🙂

  16. kenny, congrats…
    but i never knew that hamilton was in ferrari…. owes thought he was in mclaren…. wakakaka…:P
    but anyways, congratulation on completing the 42KM…:)

  17. Thanks for sharing this. Though not the first time you blogged about it, still inspiring. 🙂 It encourages me on my own ‘marathon’ (metaphorically speaking)

  18. Hi Kenny,
    Congrats for finishing the marathon! You’ve inspired me to sign up for the Adidas Sundown Marathon in Singapore in May next year. If Kenny can do it, so can I!
    Interested in joining? 😛

  19. Hi kenny!! *cheers* *claps* CONGRATS!! u finished the race.. wow. 42KM?!! i know, it’s not easy.. not easy at all..
    On another note, i think YOU are the one who deserve better. *sigh* sometimes, life can be really unfair.. i don’t know the what actually happened but i hope u will be alright. Otherwise, you’re not Kenny Sia. The guy whose blog that i enjoy reading no matter how annoying some of your blog posts r sometimes =P
    Take care!

  20. Hey Kenny, you have 9 pictures on, showing your triumphant pose as you cross the finishing line! Go and key in your bib number to see.

  21. Kenny u rock. No Ipod and u still did so well. If it was me i think i can’t even complete the race. I think i saw myself in the video o0
    Do come back next year 😀

  22. wow kenny 🙂 you’re so inspiring. congratulations! hope to see you when i’m in kuching later this month! love love.

  23. “Whoever thought Singaporean girls are all lazy princessy barbie dolls waiting for the next angmoh to pick them up ” Lolz, you’re talking about Xiaxue right?
    Anyway Congrats on your achievement.

  24. great job kenny! you have a wonderful blog and i hope you continue writing. all the best for the next marathons and hope to see you in spore again…

  25. thanks kenny!
    I came to your site after getting bored and irritated after studying, and this post was exactly what I needed. If kennysia (or any human) can complete 42km without an ipod plus a leg cramp, I guess studying is not so bad after all.=)
    btw, congratulations!!!

    wish me all the best!

  27. This post inspire me enough to comment 1st time.
    After all, Kenny is just a human being leaving his iPod out of juice and wear new/unfamiliar attire on an important event.
    Kenny brings us together with the training schedule and I felt confident you will finish the race before hand.
    However, this post guides me through high and low. I can feel the pain in 28KM and nearly surrender the race while reading. “PAIN IS TEMPORARY. BUT PRIDE LASTS FOREVER.” just push me to hope that Kenny will not guide me to stop. Finally I can see Kenny pose for finishing. RESPECT!!
    But then, while struggling, still taking picture. Double RESPECT!!!
    But but then, got video with commentary somemore. Truly Champion of Champions wearing the LV Championship belt.
    The champ is really here. Thank you Kenny from the bottom of my humble heart for this great post.

  28. Good 4 u kenny. I can’t even run that far nowadays. At this young age, i should be able to do that but the only sports that i took at the moment are playing futsal which i can play around 30 minutes only.

  29. Dude, if u didnt take all those arse shots(literally..), u probably would have made it under 6..
    Oh, wait.. Then again we probably wouldn’t be readin this if u hadn’t
    Way to go dude!! Congrats on finishing it again

  30. congrats kenny! i can finis a marathon like dat IF its a shoppin marathon! lol..hey… dat man ate his shorts watabout u den? did u ate urse too? or others ate urse? xD

  31. hey manz, u inspired me with your “go,go…go,go…go,go” chanting while you ran.
    Don think u remembered but i was the guy who kept pace you in the last two three kilometres. I was in the white singlet with orange stripe.

  32. Wow! Nice post! This post make me have the urge to start a blog like this, but not marathon, yet. 15km fund run is my limit already. LOL! You’re really a great blogger, better than some of the other bloggers who like to upload those cam whore photos which are nothing to do with the content of the post.

  33. Hey Dude, good job, sorry you didn’t quality for the $50 challenge. It takes time, 15 minutes improvement per race is sensible. On the other hand, I am dropping 15 minutes per race, 2010 we’ll probably cross the finishing line about the same time.
    BTW L.A. Marathon is the best way to see L.A. the city and it’s neighborhood.

  34. Awesome! this post really encouraged me to run more! i’ve stopped for quite a while due to work and time constraints.. but i think im gonna pick it up again.. probably see you in one of those marathons. Great Job! and all the best in your next upcoming event 😀

  35. Congrats on making it through and your improved timing!
    “He was so hungry, his ass started eating his shorts” – lol.

  36. Kenny, you’re DA MAN! Congrats on completing the marathon. Way to go!!!! And best of luck with your “life marathon” too: may you find joy, fulfillment and an abiding love with the person who’s just right for you inside and out.

  37. OMG. pui kia, also can finish it
    you are the good example to tell all..we can do it.
    when thinking Marathon, please think Kenny ,,he can do it,, you also can…Lai oh

  38. I gasped out loud at the part where your ipod ran out of battery right before the race. I for one am hopeless at jogging without music to keep my mind of the fatigue. Good on you for finishing the race, with an improved time, without the ipod. Mind over matter 🙂
    I like this post 🙂 very heart-warming and motivational, and a few parts struck a chord with me.

  39. Omg Kenny!
    Well done! You did finished it!
    *salute salute*
    Its just so heartwarming reading this post and it just hit me and made me to have a sudden urge to train for marathons too! Good job! 😀

  40. This entry is both motivational and funny. Gee, you inspire me to pick up jogging again.
    I shall made it my new year resolution to start on a exercise regime.
    Thanks Kenny.

  41. Kenny, just in case u miss in ur email
    Share your overseas marathon experience
    If you are one of the 2,700 overseas participants at SCSM 08, this is your chance to win one of three limited edition Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2008 adidas polo t-shirts. Just tell us, in not more than 250 words, why you feel that this event is one of Asia’s top marathons and what are the contributing factors that make this event experience an unbeatable one. The three winners will have their stories featured on our event website.
    Simply send your entries via email, along with your name, age, nationality and country of residence, to by 31st December 2008.

  42. no need to be depressed abt someone who is sucking out ur energy every single day lor. easier said than done. but u know that it’s better finished than not what

  43. I was bz moving from macau to S’pore recently… So i didn’t read ur blog for almost a month. However, u never failed to make me enjoy reading all of ur previous blog. It always remind me of food, frens in M;sia. BTW, u really loose some weight after the marathon…good job, keep it up… Ur blog is the best thing for me to kill my time without any regret. Thanks Kenny:)

  44. This is an amazing post Kenny.
    I believe it would inspire many, in different ways , for each and every individual.
    It certainly did for me, but in what way specifically I do not know. Reading it, I felt goosebumps and my hair stand.
    Keep it up.

  45. Congratz to Kenny. To be frank, you own my full respect. nice to meet u n let me introduce myself. My name is Ken Wong n im a Malaysian. I decided to train for marathon just a week ago. Well, just by coincidence, I found your blog while Im doing research on marathon training on the net. Your Blog is surely an encouragement to me. Hope to be friend with u.

  46. Good job but u need to improve yer time despite being already in 42k is an achievement. 3rd mara and 6++ hours needs seriously improvement dude. Celebrity status or not, who u kidding? Sorry gotta be hard on u for this. Long distance running is no kidding n u gotta give running that respect. Hope to hear a much improved time the next mara. Good luck!

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