Sunday, February 07, 2010

Observations During the Safari Zoo Run

Yesterday, I participated in the Safari Zoo Run '10. It was a run of intermediate distance (6.2km) through the Night Safari and the Singapore Zoo. The route wasn't perfect, with some uneven terrain near the end, and a lot of slopes (minor and major) during some parts of the run. Still, despite my relative lack of training (consider 4 years of no exercise and perhaps 4 weeks of running prior), my run timing was more than satisfactory from my own perspective (42 mins).

Though the attraction of the event was ostensibly being able to view the animals while running, I actually found the fellow runners to be of more interest. Some observations made during the run:

1) The Japanese Trio: There was a group of three Japanese runners, each armed with a digital camera. One of their member would sprint perhaps 100m ahead, and take a photo when the group caught up. Another member would then himself run 100m ahead to take the next photo. In such a leapfrog fashion, they managed to capture photos of themselves during the run. It was quite amusing, and the Japanese runners appeared to be quite enthusiastic and jolly about the entire affair, posing and waving for each photo-take. It couldn't have been an efficient method of running, though; I probably left them behind after perhaps the 1 or 2 km mark.

2) The Tudong Runner: There was a Muslim woman running with the tudong headdress. I do not recall whether she was wearing the Safari Zoo dry-fit running tee; but in any case, running with a piece of cloth covering the head doesn't exactly seem very clean or hygienic. However, I do wonder if a specialized running headdress for Muslim women has been invented; I imagine that a headdress made of dry-fit microfiber (the stuff they make running tees and shorts out of that manages to absorb and evaporate sweat fast) would be better than one made of ordinary cloth.

3. Mother and Child: The Safari Zoo run was partly catered for young runners and the family, hence there were a number of parents running with their children. At around the 1km mark, there was a mother chastising her son (while running) for not adopting the proper running technique, while giving her son pseudo-advice (it's a short distance ! Before you know it it'll be over). If I were to be in the shoes of the son I'll be fairly irritated; I might have been motivated to run faster just to shake her off. Furthermore it is a waste of energy to talk while running.

4. Constantly Overtaken: The runners were dispatched in waves spaced about 5 minutes apart, probably to ensure that the running paths are not clogged with runners (which often happens during runs where bunches of runners can form, much like traffic jams). I was in the second wave. I probably overtook all the people that were slower than myself within the first two kilometers; for the rest of the race, I was constantly being overtaken. But, for the same reason, I could have tried to raise my speed as a result, hence I was faster than I expected (I was expecting 45-50 mins, based on some prior training).

5. Jacked Prices: After the run I went to the convenience store in the zoo, just to take a look at the prices. They were indeed inflated. A bottle of green tea usually costs about $1 at the right places; in convenience stores, they cost $2 (due to the 'convenience ' factor); at the zoo, it costs $3. I am intrigued; the traffic to the zoo couldn't have been poor. The rent must have been high, then.

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