So this morning, this happened:
I heard from several running friends that the Great Eastern Women’s Run (5K/10K/21K) was one of the best races in Singapore. This is the only female-only event in Singapore (or perhaps that I’ve seen ANYWHERE) that refuses to play up the “girlie” part of a female-only race*. The shirts are red (not pink!!!!!), the message is health and fitness (not glitter!!!), and the execution is solid. Although I opted not to participate this year, I will not make the same mistake next year.
So I did the next best thing to running: I went out to cheer. The weather was a bit iffy – rain threatened all morning, and some parts of the course did get a bit wet/misty at times. But the overcast skies and cool breeze definitely made me wish I was racing!!!
I spent the first part of the morning at the 14K mark on the half-marathon course, and of course had a blast cheering for everyone. I loved seeing so many strong, intense, fierce looking lady runners! The two funniest parts of the morning were:
1. Several times, ladies running past greeted me by name, “Hi Holly!” with enthusiastic waves. I cheered and waved back – I suppose they know me from the blog and/or Run With Holly Facebook page – but I have no idea who most of them are. I felt mildly famous, but wish I knew your names so I could have very specifically cheered back at you!
2. “Aren’t you supposed to be at Marina Barrage?” This was the most common question I got all morning. Marina Barrage is my usual cheering spot, for several reasons: It’s 4-5K from the finish, there’s not much else going on so encouragement is welcome, and the absence of housing means I can cheer as loudly as I want. This morning, I just decided to do something a bit different. Seems that I’ll have to do this even more in the future, just to keep you all on your toes! 🙂
When most of the half-marathoners passed, I decided to go across the river to cheer for the 5K, which was still going strong. Unfortunately, the best way to cross the Kallang River was for me to walk back to the subway and travel one stop. This was a bit pesky, but I hustled and managed to get across before all the runners finished.
The fun part about a 5K is that the distance is accessible to many people, and I saw ladies of all shapes, sizes, and ages out on the course, including an 80 year-old woman, walking with her daughter? grand-daughter? – so cool!
I opted to hold the sign this time (rather than prop it up – the drizzle was making things a big soggy), and was overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response it received. After last week’s “glam” kerfluffle, I wanted the sign to remind all the ladies out on the course that their physical and inner strength is what make them beautiful. But I saw so many smiles, fist-pumps, and cheers in response to a few simple words, that it was my heart that melted. There were so many requests for photos that I should have made TWO signs! When a woman came up to me and said, “See these goosebumps? That sign just gave me these goosebumps,” I almost cried.
The overwhelming response left me feeling conflicted: Part of me was overjoyed that I could help spread such a powerful message; another part of me was a bit sad that such a message still needs to be spread.
The extra bonus of my 5K cheer spot was the most active, energetic group of race course volunteers I’ve ever seen in Singapore. These young ladies formed a mini cheer corridor, pulled out every language they knew (including English, Mandarin, Singlish, and Malay), and even ran next to some participants for a bit. They were awesome.
The flood of runners turned to a stream, to a trickle, and then…the morning was over. I packed up my sign, grabbed a parting shot of some Kalang Park roosters (don’t ask me…):
and headed home. I won’t lie: I was planning to go for a run when I got home. But after two days full of early mornings and lots of cheering, I opted for a shower and a long afternoon nap instead. Sorry I’m not sorry. Now, I’m catching up on some work, writing some blog posts, and about to go find myself some dinner. [Cheering is hard, hungry work.] Enjoy the remainder of your Sunday!!
Congratulations to ALL Great Eastern participants. You ladies did a fantastic job this morning!!!
*If female-only races leave you feeling a little funky, check out this post by Fit and Feminist (yes, I love her just a little bit): My Problem With Women-Only Races Is Not The Women-Only Part. You’re welcome.
Did you run the Great Eastern race this morning? Tell me about it!
Did you run another race this morning? STILL tell me about it!
What makes YOU beautiful (please think outside the lines of ‘traditional’ beauty)?
[Men, you can answer this question, too. I think those of you out this morning supporting/cheering/pacing/sherpa-ing for your wives/daughters/siblings/friends were beautiful for your dedication, commitment, and love.]