Tuesday, September 3, 2013

SAFRA Singapore Bay Run: Dads For Life Father and Child Challenge

The T-shirt with the running bib attached.

Daddy participated in the Army Half Marathon last weekend, but the 5.15 am flag off was not our cup of tea. Instead, we met him after his race at 8.00 am at City Hall MRT station. Daddy had signed A up for the Dads For Life Father and Child Challenge, an 800 metre run from Esplanade Drive to the finish line at the Padang.

The Father and Child Challenge starting area early in the morning at 4 am.

We took a few photographs upon meeting up in the hotel lobby and made our way to the start line. We were about an hour early, and had the chance to pose for photographs with 'Disney Characters' in front of The Esplanade before proceeding to the start line. There, run volunteers distributed balloon clappers to the delight of the kids. The clappers were to link father-child pairs during the run as part of an attempt rewrite the Singapore record for the largest number of linked father and child pairs running together.

Batman brings out the little boy in Daddy...

Our daughter preferred the princesses. No Batman for her.

The start area was still relatively empty about half an hour before the flag-off at 9.00 am and we took the opportunity to cheer on the runners passing by the other side of the bridge as they finished their half marathons. K was too short to look over the barrier and had to be piggy backed. We managed to wave to some of our friends as they passed by to conquer their final kilometre.

Where's everyone? We take the opportunity to snap a few pictures with the starting gantry.

As it got closer to the flag-off, father and child pairs started to stream in and a crowd began to form at the starting area. The emcee reminded us that this was not a race, but a chance to run together and an attempt to set a new record. Fitness instructors led the participants in a quick dynamic warm up routine and the emcee took over rev up the atmosphere by an interactive song and action activity. It started to get very sunny and on hindsight, we should have hung on to our water-bottles instead of sending it to the finish line in Mummy's bag. We promised K that she'd get her turn to run with Daddy (or Mummy) when she was a little older.

The Guest-Of-Honour interacts with the participants.

Fathers and their children gather round the stage for a quick warm-up routine.

"Hands in the air"

Superheroes pose with the children at the start area.

The race is flagged-off with streamers.

The run was flagged off by Member of Parliament, Dr. Mohamad Maliki Osman with an air-horn a midst popping of party streamers. He and his son were also part of the run. The crowd numbering more than a thousand daddies and their kids did not leave much room to break into a stride. A and Daddy pretty much strolled the first 200 metres, broke into a jog for the next couple of hundred metres before succumbing to the heat. It was a brisk walk to the finish, weaving in and out the crowd of fathers and children in red T-shirts.

During the walk / run, the runners from the other categories (half marathon, 10 km, 5 km) were concluding their race, resulting in a human traffic jam characteristic of Singapore's most crowded mass running event. At the finish, father and child pairs queued up to collect their unique finisher medals, drinks, and an ice-cream treat for the children. Despite the heat and fatigue, I must say the daddies (including our very own Daddy) did a good job to wait their turn, setting a good example of patience and civil-mindedness for the young ones by their side.

The human traffic-jam at the finish chute.

A shares her ice-cream with her younger sister.

We did not stick around to soak up the carnival festivities as the sun was high and we had to rush off to church. It was an interesting experience, but not for those who prefer to stay away from the crowds. It would be better if the run could start a little earlier, but then again the unexpectedly hot weather was not something the organizers can control. Next time however, we might have to prepare sunscreen, sunglasses and caps for a little more protection from the sun. Still, it was a unique experience for A as it was her first time participating in a 'race'. We have always been the ones cheering Daddy on, so being able to be in the heat (literally) of the race adds a whole new dimension of meaning for the girls. We are game for more of such races. Of course, minus the heat this time.

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