Early warning system for marathon runners

The 2011 Sundown Ultra Marathon saw a turnout of some 1,000 runners. Photo: HiVelocity
Photo: HiVelocity

Early warning system for marathon runners

Organisers prepare for bad weather ahead of 100km race for 2,000

SINGAPORE — Thundery showers are forecast for the weekend but organisers of the 2013 Sundown Ultra Marathon will be better prepared for the unexpected after the cancellation of the adidas King of the Road (KOTR) race last month.

Bad weather wreaked havoc on the KOTR at the Marina Bay on Aug 11, with HiVelocity — which also organises Sundown — calling off the event due to heavy rain and lightning.

The inaugural Kranji Countryside Run held on the same day was also affected, with the 4km fun run going ahead while the 8km segment was canned.

HiVelocity Managing Director Adrian Mok said yesterday that regular checks will be made on the NEA (National Environment Agency) website, which provides the most updated weather information.

“Wet weather contingency plans will be shared on the official race website and Facebook page prior to race day,” said Mok. “Participants are also constantly reminded on the wet weather contingency plans before race flag-off and at the start point.”

Over 2,000 participants have signed up for the 100km race, which flags off on Saturday at 6pm, and is expected to end by noon on Sunday.

Held some three months after the May 31 Sundown Marathon, the ultra marathon made its debut in 2011 and is held on a biennial basis, with three categories featured this year: 100km individual, 100km Team of 2 and 100km Team of 4.

While participants at last month’s KOTR had griped about the lack of information ahead of the cancellation, HiVelocity said runners will be better informed this time. If bad weather hits before participants get to the race venue, organisers will send out SMSes to them and update the Sundown Marathon’s Facebook page to confirm if the race will go ahead. Announcements will also be made at the event site to inform runners to seek shelter and wait for the go-ahead if rain hits before flag-off.

If the NEA weather reports signal that lightning and thunderstorms are expected during the race, instructions will be given to volunteers and road marshals to inform participants to seek shelter at the nearest location. Ponchos will also be distributed at all three pit stops on a first-come-first-served basis.

But Mok stressed that, in the event of a cancellation, the race will not be re-scheduled and neither would a refund of entry fees be given.

He added: “We will never compromise the well-being and safety of our participants, volunteers and supporters as that is always our foremost concern. Operationally, it is not possible to postpone the race to another date as new applications for road closure have to be applied (for) with the authorities.

“Our refund policy is listed in the terms and conditions at the registration page. All participants should be aware that there will be no refund in the event of cancellation due to adverse weather conditions, as per standard practice for such events.”

Seasoned marathoner Tommy Tan is attempting his first ultra-marathon on Saturday and the 55-year-old was happy to hear of the contingency plans. Tan, a trainer with running outfit Team FatBird, said yesterday: “I feel more assured … Not everyone will be carrying their handphone with them during the race, so it is a good idea for marshals to provide the information. I plan to carry a poncho, but I’m hoping it doesn’t rain and there’s no lightning.”