April 2, 2016 by Soo Ee
I wanted to take a bus to the hotel. I hadn’t consider this wasn’t Singapore when I planned my route – everywhere was going to be too far away.
The hotel, D’ Boutique was nothing fancy though it looked new and nice. I saw a few eating places located in close proximity. No other food places were within walking distance of my hotel. There wasn’t any shopping malls or supermarkets around.
After I checked in, I waited at the reception to find out how I could get to Paya Indah Wetlands, the race venue, to collect my race bib. I overheard this French couple speaking to the receptionist about going to the wetlands for a race the following day so I asked them. The lady said she could get their race packs on the race day as she had emailed the organisers and informed them. I had done the same thing too but was told I couldn’t collect the race pack on the day itself.
I did not know how far the race venue was from out hotel so I seized the opportunity to ask if we could share a cab there.
I was given a huge room which came with cable TV, nice showering facilities and a king size bed. Glad for cable because it really seemed like a ghost town here. There wasn’t anywhere of interest to go to.
The couple messaged me later that night to say that they were going to advance book a cab instead. They felt it was risky to do so given it was so early in the morning. I did not want to risk it too but it was not available on either Uber and Grab and to book one through the hotel meant additional charges I was hoping to save on. They were nice people. I thought about their offer to share and decided to get a cab in the morning. The deciding factor was that I wanted to reach the venue earlier than 6.15am but they didn’t.
The next day, I arrived at 5.54 am. It was so dark outside I could see the stars in the sky. I could hear the sounds of creatures and nature all around. I had to walk another 1 km to the race venue. I had stopped the cab ride too soon. The walk was nice though. Cool and breezy in the morning.
According to signs put up along the way, this area had crocodiles and hippos!
The race started a little past 7.30 am. The running ground was relatively flat, with its share of mud and grass. I could hear birds chirping and the sound of the gentle breeze. The sun was creeping up slowly. There was a good mixture of tarmac and trail, mostly trail.
I made a mental calculation of all the females I passed on the trail and turned my head on a few occasions to take a peek at their bibs to see if they were in the same category as me. Towards the end, when I didn’t see any other ladies in my line of view, I started to pick up speed. I had a feeling I was going to be on the podium. I was right when a motorcyclist rode up to me and announced on his radio “Women veteran #4 ”