Running in Singapore
By Pris Chew
Pris Chew is a regular marathon runner and a sports blogger in Singapore at www.prischew.com where she shares not only her running experiences, but also race strategies and tips from experts in the running and sports field, mainly through interviews. She started running marathons for health reasons and realized that she was addicted to running when she finished her first marathon at the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore in 2013.
Singapore has a very vibrant running culture that has been growing and expanding rapidly especially over the past few years, with more and more Singaporeans recognizing the health benefits of running. There are races being organized almost every week in Singapore throughout the year, with more than 100 races taking place each year ranging from non-competitive fun runs and shorter races that are generally targeted at beginners, to competitive road races, marathons and ultras.
Both road and trail races are available in Singapore, with some of the more well-known trail ultras in Singapore such as the MSIG Action Asia series which made its debut in Singapore last year, and The North Face series. The road races in Singapore generally take place in the city and showcase some of the most scenic sights around Singapore, such as the observation wheel known as the Singapore Flyer, the Esplanade durians and the three iconic towers of the Marina Bay Sands. Running past all of these are truly a sight to behold.
There are two official marathon races in Singapore that are popular amongst runners. These are the day-time Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore that traditionally falls in the first week of December and the night-time Sundown Marathon that usually falls in the last week of May. These are both large marathons, with for example, last year’s edition of the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore attracting over 50,000 runners coming from all ages and walks of life. The oldest runner to finish the Full Marathon there last year was 85 years old.
Registration fees for races in Singapore can vary, from about SGD20 to 30 for some of the smaller community races to about SGD90 to 100 for the two major marathons in Singapore. But you can get discounts to run in these races, by looking out for early bird promotions and so register early in order to get cheaper race fees.
One thing that must be noted about running in Singapore however, is the tropical climate with its unforgiving heat. Between about 8am to 4pm every day, it can get very hot and humid, with temperatures soaring above 30 degrees Celsius especially from April to August when Singapore is at its hottest. Because of this, many runners in Singapore do their runs in the early mornings, around 5am or 6am, or in the evenings, from 5pm onwards, when the weather cools down. Due to this, it is necessary for those from temperate climates to come early to acclimatize, or you will suffer in the Singapore heat, especially when attempting a full marathon race.
Running clubs in Singapore are also widely prevalent, with different running clubs catering to runners of all abilities – that is, whether you are a fast runner targeting a podium placing or simply out to meet other running buddies and interact with like-minded people on a fun run. Clubs meet on both weeknight evenings as well as during weekends. No matter which part of Singapore you are staying, there will be a club that is close by.
Many of the running clubs also treat running like a gathering of friends rather than purely a run, so you may sometimes be asked to join other members from the running club for food or drinks after the run. Accepting these invitations is usually a great way to get to know more runners in Singapore.
Local websites such as RunSociety has a good calendar of running events in Singapore.
Thanks to Priscilla for this post – the 4th in a series about “Running Cultures in Countries”. My readers really enjoy these informative and interesting articles and look forward to reading about more countries. All runners around the world have an open invitation to submit an article about “Running in Their Country”.