NTUC U-Run and OMB Challenge 2011

The 31-storey NTUC building …


Before the start (Photo credit: David Ong)

It’s definitely been too long since my last race. That was the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon way back in December. So waking up this morning at stupid o’clock wasn’t the most welcome way to start the day. Nonetheless it was the inaugural NTUC OMB (One Marina Boulevard) Challenge, a 10km run followed by a 31-storey climb of the NTUC building. They also had a competitive 10km and a 5km fun run available. I was looking forward to this, it would be a test of how much fitness I’d lost in the last month and how much my ribs might hurt if I pushed hard. 

What have I got to lose! (Photo credit: David Ong)
I think there were a thousand runners in total, with staggered starts for the OMB, 10 and 5k categories, it was all very relaxed at the start. Nice to meet a few familiar runners after what feels like a very long break. Quick mass warm-up session before the start, and then we were off. 
After the first 2kms I started to realise how much fitness I’d lost .. this was hard work! It was a flat 10k route and well marked out. Distance markers every 2km and water points well spread out. I thought I was keeping a steady pace, but by 5k I’d dropped from 3rd to 5th place, and coming in to the 10k finish I was in 7th place. I think I clocked a shocking time for the 10k, somewhere in the region of 47 minutes .. but happily enough no rib or back pain. 
The transition to the NTUC staircase took just over a minute and then it was headlong into a somewhat narrow stairwell with all the other sweaty runners. You know sometimes in a race when your thoughts are of the “Why did I think this was a good idea??” variety? Well, that was pretty much my frame of mind from the fifth floor onwards! Judging from the dazed / glazed / pained (insert appropriate adjective here)  expression on my fellow runners’ faces, I’m sure they thought the same too! 
The dreaded stairs … (Photo credit: David Ong)
Hands too sweaty to pull on the handrails, quads and calves completely knackered, I climbed as quickly as I could. The cold air vents on every other floor provided welcome relief for the fraction of a second when you climbed past it, but otherwise pretty hot work! Time to suck it up, Fat bird! I managed to pass a couple of ladies and think I made it to the top in about 8 minutes … I was so puffed out I forgot to stop my watch! 5th place .. not great but I’m chuffed to bits that nothing hurts (that doesn’t normally, I mean.) Lovely cool breeze on the roof-top, with a great view of Marina Bay on one side, and lots of sweaty, puffed out runners on the other.

With Roda (4th place) (Photo credit: David Ong)
Everything was well organised and pretty well laid out .. apart from the increasingly muddy field, which meant everyone stayed on the periphery of the field and did their best to avoid caking their trainers with lovely ochre mud. 
Mud, mud, and more mud!
Slight anti-climax end to the morning when I was told that the prizes went down to 5th place … result! … and then waiting 40 minutes for prize-giving only to be told “Oh, I’m so sorry but prizes are up to 4th place .. you missed out by 30 seconds.” There was no information on prizes or placings on the website so I relied on the information I was given … oh well, you win some, you lose some. At least I still had time to get to church and fall asleep during the sermon. And there was no way I could have pulled back another 30 seconds up those stairs!

Extra loud wolf whistles to the hardy bunch from Singapore who completed the Bataan Death March 160km today, well done!! And kudos also to the runners at the Tokyo Marathon today .. especially those who’d already done the HK marathon last week as well! 

We’re ALL winners! 😉

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