Energizer Singapore Night Trail was a climbfest. It was one steep climb after another along the Mandai Trails with mostly unpaved roads as its surface. It’s a lung-busting run that also came with a lot of shut up legs moments as the climbs were endless and steep. The regular trail view was replaced by a symphony of headlamps, which guided the runners in the pitch black of the night. #ESNT2015 was definitely a challenging race that gave thousands of runners a great run.
I was scheduled for a board meeting and annual general meeting in Singapore by the end of April and the first thing I had to check was if there would be a run that coincided with my visit. Lucky me, Energizer Singapore Night Trail was happening on the same weekend. I’ve been in International Runs in Hong Kong, Singapore and even Angkor Wat but what I like about Energizer Singapore Night Trail was that it’s on trails. I really like to experience a trail race in a different local so it was a no brainer that I registered for the race and took the 12K distance. I’ve been on trails mostly this summer as we’ve trekked the Tanay Maysawa Trails in Tanay Rizal a few weeks ago and did 24K Salomon Xtrail Pilipinias 2015 in Morong, Bataan just last week. I have pegged this race as just a feel good run and just enjoy it as I’m clueless on what type of surface and terrain to expect during the race.
Race Route and Elevation
Race happens is Mandai Trail in Singapore with the first 7K happening on the outer trails and the remaining 5K in the inner trail. The elevation starts of with a climb with some short descents going to the first kilometer. The climb resumes until kilometer 2 before another short descent until 2.5 kilometers into the race. The race goes on another climb with short descents in the next 2 kilometers before the longest steep climb going to the 5th kilometer. The race then goes flat for about 500 meters before going on a really steep descent on the next kilometer. The race then goes on an ascent again in the next two kilometers before an alternating long climbs and descents towards the end of the race.
The gunstart for 12K was 8 PM so I left my hotel at around 5 pm towards Woodlands MRT, where the shuttle service to the venue is available. I arrived early just to get the feel of the venue and luckily there were also free food (Banana, Ice cream and Water). The 18K runners were let go in two waves starting at 7:30 pm and we’ll have our gun start after 30 minutes. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect in this race but I just kept a mental note to enjoy the race and rest if I had to. The pre run festivities were lively with dynamic stretches handled by Fitness First Singapore and the host were interacting with their audience.
I was excited to start the race and as gunstart came, I went on to start fast on the uphill terrain. This proved to be a wrong decision as less than 1 kilometer into the race, I had my aching shin splints. I am familiar with the situation so I know that I just need to allow the shin to recover and warm up and then I can run with my regular pace. The problem was the climbs were making it tougher for my legs to recover. I’ll go by feel from hereon. I’d walk on the steep parts to recover and run the descents to catch up some time. The other thing I noticed that most people had the lung and leg power to run the uphill so even if it hurts, I’d try to run half of the climb and recover half way. The climbs were steep which made it tougher on the legs and the lungs. The descents were short before the climbs resumes, which meant shorter time to recover.
The surface were mostly unpaved roads that was uneven. That also meant that the surface is not so technical, which meant this is a fast course if you can endure the climbs. This was a climbfest as one climb led to another and another. The cycle of climbs continued for a few more kilometers before we entered Hill 265 was a climb along a hill. Somehow, this was the point I was waiting for as having my Newton Boco AT would be an advantage since it had a better traction on dirt road and surfaces. There was a queue on the people using ropes navigating the steep hill. I went on with the tougher part which is to take the steep and slippery hill without the ropes. It’s a bit harder since you can’t pull yourself up but at least, I didn’t have to queue. It was challenging here because of the incline and had to go for a few short stops to catch my breath.
All climbs do come to an end as after the climb, it was about halfway to the race and there was a long descent. I took advantage of this to speed up and went on kamikaze mode on the descents, which was about a kilometer into the race. By this time, there were no longer any pain to manage as my shin felt better. After the long descent, it was time to climb once again. This time, I went on with run walk intervals on the climbs except for the steep climbs which were purely walking and catching my breath. By the 8th kilometer, there were alternating steep climbs and sharp descents which was a real challenge. It was a crawlfest on the climbs and suicide mode on the descents. I had to conserve energy on the climbs and let it all out on the descents. It was exhausting too as every descent would be followed by another long climb until midway the 10th kilometer.
The remaining 1.5 K of the race were mostly downhill so it was time to give one final push as I made a fast descent and upon seeing the finish line, I sprinted towards it to finish the race. It was a real struggle going over the climbs again and again but this was a great challenge for the legs. I didn’t bring my hydration bottle and it’s a good thing there were hydration station every 2 to 2.5 kilometers in the race. They also gave out Gu gel at the 10th kilometer, which I didn’t use since I usually have trouble sleeping when I take gels at night time. There were free food after the race too. I sure would want to do the trail during day time and check out the views but I also did love the symphony of lights coming from everybody’s headlamp here. I hope I get to try to race in Singapore again the next time.
Outfit of The Race
- Race Top: Berghaus #TaleOfTheTrail Design by Breakout Design
- Shorts: Under Armour
- Shoes: Newton Boco AT
- GPS Watch: Suunto Ambit 2S
- Head Lamp: Fitletic
- Visor: Under Armour
- Calf Sleeves: 2XU
- Socks: Nike