Because of restrictions within the MacRitchie area, this year's MR25 UltraMarathon , just like many of its progressive runs, have had to be modified; to do a up-down along Northern Route and then onto Terantang Trail, followed by up and down along rocky Sime Trail.
I have always looked forward to this run in the final Sunday of December to burn off excesses during the festive season, as well as to meet friends and running kakis. As with last year, we have also encouraged many new marathoners (from Sunbird & NightHawk programs) to try their hands at a trail UltraMarathon.
With the high parking charges implemented at MR, I decided to take public transport this year, so the load was light on me....I left the fuel belt and powergels at home. By the time I reached MR, the race was close to starting. It was great to see many FatBirds and friends, participating and supporting alike. The JM team went to great lengths to prepare Sng Baos, sandwiches, jellies, and a host of supplementary food items. SC and his photographers placed themselves at strategic points along the route to capture nice photos of the runners and their supporters.
The sponsor and support for MR25 UltraMarathon is much improved this year, with constant flows of non-gassy Pocari Sweat and Mizuno providing the finisher tee. I took the first lap in reasonable time, and could not wait to start the second one, to burn off the accumulated festive goodies in the tummy. In the return of the second lap, Bev called out to me (she was doing a recce for her company's tree-top walk in the vicinity). After some chatting, and a few drinks, I went into Terantang Trail again...I was wondering why there were no runners in front. By the time I reached the Ranger station, I realized I have gone in again a second time...Urgghhh! I had no choice but to run back to the water point at the start of Terantang Trail. By the time I reached back to MR Visitor's Centre, I was set back by 20min at least. The supporters was wondering what happened to me..haha.
The 3rd lap was rather uneventful, other than the fun I was having saying hello to familiar faces and encouraging our runners to keep going. The rocks along Sime Trail were making my soles sore, and it didn't help when the ankles get trapped and rocked about from time to time. When I finished the 3rd lap, Bev was at the Visitor's Centre already. Since lunch was not ready, I decided to just finish the 4th lap first. I was taking it easy throughout as I have just completed the Taipei Marathon a week ago and SCMS 3 weeks back. This would be just a recovery and fun distance run for me.
Lunch was available after I finished the 4th lap. I decided to grab bee-hoon with fish-ball and sausage, althrough there was Nasi Lemak on offer as well. Bev got me a cuppa of warm coffee and I took my time to enjoy a good lunch. I rested for quite a fair bit, and continued to hang around to chat with the supporters. Soon Mohan, Sammi and Winston came in for their 4th lap completion. These new UltraMarathoners were so determined that they did not rest at all. I started with them for the 5th lap.
I didn't walk much this year, not even up most of the slopes. I adopted a much slower pace to get into the fat-burning zone. As what Botak have mentioned, my tummy is evidently larger than his and I had more work cut out for me to continue 'burning' them off haha. The 5th lap was enjoyable as we took turns to cheer on the returning runners and encouraging them to go for additional laps. As I had Bev waiting for me to go to another appointment, I went ahead to finish the 5th lap first. A light drizzle started in the final 3km, which helped to cool things a little.
Bev and I made our leave at about 3pm, leaving the other FatBird Runners to complete their 6 and 7th laps. Many of our friends did very well, especially the ladies. Congrats to Charlotte, YN, Jacqueline and Fia for completing 7 laps to come in podium. Sumiko and Lai Chee did 9 laps to claim the top 2 spots, while Paulina did a respectable 8 laps to claim 3 place. IMD Ben did solidly with 9 laps to claim 5th position for Men's. Henry Yang and Freddy Yeoh secured podium finishes in the Men's as well. Well done to all the runners who completed the minimum 5 laps to qualify for the prestigious MR25 UltraMarathon finisher top and certificate. The support team this year have been marvelous, with the JM and SC teams providing very good TLC to the FatBird and i-Runners participating. From the looks in the eyes of the supporters, it seemed that many were itching to join in for a lap or two. We should be seeing more MR25 UltraMarathon participants this time next year.