In case you missed out on the first Stroller Race Singapore, mamas, here’s a race recap to let you know about all the fun you can hopefully look forward to next year!
The verdict is in, mamas: hundreds of kids and families across Singapore agree, the inaugural Stroller Race Singapore was a smashing success! And I’m not just saying that because Sassy Mama was a sponsor! Having run dozens of races across Singapore during my five years here, I’ve seen my fair share of organisational snafus, starting line gridlock, and long race pack collection waits. The Stroller Race had none of that; hats off to E3Sports for organising a brilliant (and fun!) event from start to finish.
Now of course, no race is ever perfect, and there were definitely a couple things I think could have been improved. Here are the highlights and the areas with room for improvement from the very first Stroller Race to ensure it’s even better next year:
What I liked best:
The fab, convenient course
The race was held at the Singapore Sports Hub, with ample parking and easy SMRT access, a fairly refreshing change from just about any other race I’ve run in Singapore! We started with two laps around the upstairs track, then worked our way down to run around and through the various Sports Hub and Stadium structures. The well-marked course was generally flat, with plenty of space and nice sights along the way.
The relaxed, family-friendly vibe
Parents, kids and babies mingled easily at the starting line, where there was plenty of space to warm up and stretch out. Bonus points for not playing loud, annoying techno music like most races before the start! The race placed a lot of emphasis on exercising as a family and being good role models for our kids as active parents. I really loved that message and it was so cool to see some moms and dads running with each other and switching off on stroller duty, or one parent running with a stroller and another running with an older child.
A well-organised tracking system
To ensure that runners passed through all checkpoints, the organisers handed out multi-coloured bracelets. My accessories-mad toddler LOVED this unexpected perk!
Plenty of hydration points
In Singapore this is obviously super-key, and although this race wasn’t particularly long, I’m glad that they didn’t skimp and try to get away with having just one water station (in fact they had two, or maybe even three).
The AMAZING Kids’ Races
Perhaps the top highlight of this event was the wonderful kids’ dash, which was divided up into different age groups and distances. I was worried that this would be a bit of a zoo and overcrowded, but there were maybe around 50 kids per category, which was just the right amount.
The organisers did a great job keeping the little ones under control, while there were also tons of other games and distractions nearby (balloons! colouring! A sports carnival downstairs!). My daughter was THRILLED to receive a medal, which she barely took off for the rest of the day.
What I didn’t like:
Lack of signage
We parked at what looked from the race map to be the closest parking lot (right outside the OCBC Aquatic Centre), but when we walked in toward the centre of the complex we didn’t see any signs pointing to the starting line. We had to ask about four different race officials before someone could point us in the right direction (and it was three levels up). Signs and more specific instructions on the website would have been handy.
The race was advertised as 5 kilometres (and that’s what I trained for), so imagine my surprise when I turned a corner right after the 4km mark to see the finish line. I’d prefer a distance shorter than advertised rather than a longer one (believe me, that’s happened to me as well and It’s. The. Worst.), but I also wanted to run a 5K!
The race started 25 minutes late
There were only around 30 participants in the stroller run (and I think fewer in the stroller walk and the regular 5k run), and since I basically walked the length of the course beforehand when I was looking for the starting line I know the race course was ready to go on time, so I’m not sure why the flag-off was delayed. Normally I wouldn’t nitpick this too much, but when you’ve got a temperamental toddler that doesn’t love sitting still for long periods of time, you have a greater appreciation for punctuality!
No men’s/women’s categories
On the one hand, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many dads running with their kids (I’d estimate the stroller race was 75-80% men). On the other hand, I trained hard for the race and ran a much faster time that I’d expected to (and as far as we could tell I was the top female finisher), but I knew at the start I had absolutely no shot at winning a top-3 prize because there were so many fit dads. This was a real bummer, because the prizes were really awesome! This is the first race I’ve run in Singapore that didn’t have separate men’s and women’s categories. Obviously I didn’t run the race to win a prize, but I would have loved to show my daughter that our hard training paid off and we could be winners, too.
Like I said, most of my dislikes are on the nitpicky side, though I hope the race organisers will take the feedback on board for next year! Once again it was an absolutely wonderful event that did so much to encourage getting active as a family, and I can’t wait to run in next year’s race (I just hope Maggie will still fit in a jogging stroller!).