March 25, 2012

Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park - Park in Concrete Forest

This run is the start of the group run as I managed to drag the asses of my lazy friends out for a workout.The idea started as we were chugging beer (I was drinking expensive coke as usual) at a pub along Orchard Road.

PES E Guy (Me),"Hey guys, I have been doing some running recently. Shall we go for a run on weekend?"

Lazy girl,"I bought a new set of running attire and haven't got chance to use it yet!"

Big bone guy (BBG),"To be fair, let's go Bishan park which is in the middle of Singapore and near my house!"

The alcoholic,"Bishan Park just below my flat! Great, lets go!"

BBG,"Lazy girl confirm will fly our kite. She prob won't wake up in time!"

Lazy girl,"I am committed!"

The alcoholic," If you don't turn up, you will treat us to a round of drinks!" 

And our dear friend didn't turn up due to work commitment..... We are still waiting for a free round of drinks...

The Starting Point. Mcdonalds

It was a sunny sat morning as we gather at Bishan Park Mcdonalds and the place was already full of families munching on high calories Mcdonald breakfast. After a short warm-up we jogged westwards towards the bigger western segment so that we can get more mileage out of the whole area. We don't intend to cover a long distance as my friends were not that fit at the time and I had a nagging pain on my knee.

To get to western segment, we would need to cross a major road which will disrupt the running momentum and it also gave slow runners like me to catch up since my friends whose pace averaged 6min/km. We were running in a clockwise direction.

The Traffic junction at Marymount Road
The park was a bustling hive of activities that morning. The play area is colorful and interesting to see and I saw quite a number of kids clambering up and down the obstacles. Coincidentally, there was an event "Singapore World Water Day" being celebrated in the park at the Western park area. There were performances, activities and plenty of school kids out in the sun, whom my guess was that they rather stay at home with their computer games. There was a small muddy stream following through the park which I was most unimpressed. I remembered that a "waterfront" park was promised by the prime minister during his election campaign to allow residents of Bishan and AMK to enjoy "waterfront" life style. In my opinion, the word "waterfront" is used too loosely these days... Here is the description I found from NPark:

"One of the highlights of the park is the stretch of Kallang River that used to run in a concrete canal but is now a naturalised, meandering river teeming with life. The result of a joint collaboration between NParks and PUB, under the latter's Active, Beautiful and Clean Waters Programme; this river brings park users closer to the water to enjoy its beauty and serenity, and to appreciate the flora and fauna that flourish in the park because of the waterway."

And I was thinking that the highlight of the park is the McDonald.... 
Colorful installations along the run route

World Water Day and a bunch of kids blocking the running track
There is a small skating area for kids who want to pick up blading and seems like the kids were having fun falling down. Being an amateur skater myself, the floor looks quite rough for any smooth skating experience, but for the entrepreneurs running the skating lessons, any small patch of empty space is enough to conduct lessons. After-all, they are beginners, you don't expect them to travel for than a few feet without falling on their asses.

Rugged open area for newbie skaters
 Towards the end of the run back at Eastern segment of the park, there are quite a number of shops situated within the parks. From what I saw, the commercial buildings are made up of pubs, restaurants and spas. The free parking area is just conveniently in front of these buildings so this will be a pretty friendly spot for car owners to hang out.

The spas, pubs and eateries
A short run back to Mcdonalds will more or less complete the entire 4km circuit but, my right knee was already killing me so i did not complete the last fee hundred meters.

Overall, Bishan AMK is truly what i would call a heartland park. Instead of trees, you are surrounded by tall HDB estates, giving you the feeling of jogging in a concrete valley. There are not many killer kids on wheels and most of the people I met were engaged in serious strolling or running. The running path is by no means a straight path and has numerous curves and twist, so make sure you are not distracted by pretty girls while running, or else you will be running into a ditch or muddy patch. It's hard to maintain an uninterrupted run with the traffic junctions and curved paths for a prolong 10km jog though the shortfall is compensated by the numerous coffee shops around the HDB, making this area a good place to do hang out with friends after a good run.
Accessibility :  Bus 55 from Bus interchange or Bus 13 at bus stop opposite MRT. Can take a short warm up run from Bishan MRT

Parking: 2 small free carparks. Numerous HDB carparks around the park. Free on Sundays

Type of tracks: Asphalt

Elevation: Very Flat
Location: Bishan Park, Singapore


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