When choosing a half marathon to race, it’s important to consider a few things before signing up:
- Where is it? It is easy to get to? Will there be transport ? Can you park easily? Who are the organisers?
- What is the course profile like? Flat, hilly or out and back laps?
- How many people have signed up? Will the course be crowded?
I am always looking for races that I can bring the family along and find something for everyone to enjoy – The IJM Land Half Marathon!
On race day, hometown- what a treat! I still woke up ridiciously early to start fueling and stretching, but without travel and parking to worry about. I was way more relaxed race morning than usual. My two girls, Anjali and Amisha ran the 10 km and Hubby and I signed up for the 21 km half marathon. We couldn’t have asked for better weather conditions for the race. It was incredibly a gorgeous day!
I just love the energy of races, it is so special and I love to see running brought so many people together to share such a positive common goal. “Run together, Bond stronger” This world needs a lot more of that!
Ohhhhh…the crowd for 21 km today was fit and fast! We were entertained by Chan Wah School for their drum performance and then few minutes later, the trainers from S2 Club led the crowd with their energetic warm up session. After a few more announcements, the organisers surprised the participants with 21 shots of awesome fireworks display (probably woke the whole S2 Neighbourhood up) and the countdown started…..3, 2, 1 and the 21 km half marathon runners were flagged off on time!
The course took us through Mydin, then we made a left turn towards Macdonald’s which had a straight and flat route and the wind seemed to be in my face the entire time. The rest of the course was paved and nice wide road. The roads were well condoned off apart from some “impatient” drivers which were honking to pass through the runners.
Then, we headed into IJM Land sales office, the first check point. After that, there was a gradual uphill grade that led us into S2 Heights.The first few KM of this race were pretty chill as they featured a lot of flat and downhill. This was a huge tease for ALL.THE.HILLS that you have to run to get back to the finish line. No matter how you slice and dice it, you are going uphill to get back. The hill steepened. It was definitely a pace killer. A series of other small hills after that made the thought of that finish line even sweeter.
Most of the course took us through S2 township and residential areas. Hometown races are also fun because you see so many people you know out on the course, either spectating or running. I loved the serenity in the early miles. The light was beautiful, all was quiet except the pounding of runner’s feet and the air was crisp.
At the 16 km, OMG! It was like stairways to hell…and the hills are alive!! Like a lot of things in running, it is mental, your legs will run up that hill if you tell them too! Seriously, it was lots of hills and stairs! “Learn to love hills”- sounds crazy eh, but if you say you hate hills, they will be mean and evil to you…..So, I embraced the hill, said I loved it, talked myself up and over it. All the way up that hill, I said things like ‘nearly at the top’, ‘Good girl’, ‘it is not so bad’….I may be running or walking slowly, but at least I am still moving- This part was like “The Tortoise and the Hare” mentality. I passed so many runners on my slow crawls up the City Park Hills leading into the Dinasaur park because they were walking and then off they went down the other side like the hare passed me like a gust of wind…It was all about mental strength!
Having the home-court advantage gave me the extra push I needed to finally get to the finish. I’ve run up and down that route hundreds of times and I feel like I know every crack in the sidewalk, every bump in the road, every tree, bush along that final stretch. The familiarity was somehow comforting and I managed to cross the finish and saw my daughter with a big smile on her face, snapped my photo crossing the finished line. After crossing the finish line, I realized that the climax wasn’t the finish line, it was the journey itself!
I have nothing but amazing things to say about IJM Land Half Marathon 2017. The course was execellent! A mixture of flat roads and yes! The amazing hills..they were alive! LOL! The support from friends and spectators was amazing. The staff and volunteers were beyond amazing and awesome. Water and isotonic and yes bananas! were well organised and plenty. The corrals seemed well managed and spacious with lots of porta-potties. Markers and signages were well placed. The organisers did a tremendous awesome job with traffic control and marshaling. Runners safety were their priority and that was good! There were plenty and ample of parking and the safety of our cars were well guarded and well organised. The only down side, I might be acting a little picky with this one but I thought that the 21 km route should not have been on the same 10 km fun run route. At this particular route, many fast and elite runners were blocked and they were trying to zig-zag their way to keep pace and speed. However, the atmosphere was absolutely superb- free cotton candy, free pop corn, lots of freebies, drinks, booth and activities! WOW! What a medal! And what a storm! I love the bling and this year, I also bagged an awesome 21 km half marathon finisher -tee! Woot…woot……I will absolutely be back to run the IJM Land Half Marathon again!
A huge kudos and congratulations, good job to each and everyone of you for actually being out there running, walking-crawling instead of just sitting on your couch! You all did awesome! RUN TOGETHER, BOND STRONGER!
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