May 12, 2012

Sentosa Beach Run - Too much distractions, even on a quiet Saturday Morning

To the fable beaches of Sentosa: We are back!

Early morning sun at central beach station
The last time we were here, we were trapped in the rain for the entire morning. This time round, the weather was sunny with very little evidence of any storm clouds over the horizon. On the other hand, the weather was scorching hot and we regretting not bringing out sunglasses, sunblock and caps out for the run. Starting out at the McDonalds, we worked our way towards Palawan beach and Sentosa cover, planning to turn back when we reached the turning point for the tram and back to the other end at Rasa Sentosa.

A Map of the paths and places of interest
When I first proposed the run at the beaches of Sentosa, I was thinking along the lines of running along the beautiful beaches, watching young bikini babes frolicking in the waves and families having a good time building sand castles. Everybody thought that this could be the ultimate running experience, especially for the guys! However, what greeted us was acres and acres of empty beaches, desolated beach bars and deserted beach volley ball courts....
Empty Beaches....

Empty Beach Pubs....
Empty Beach Volley Ball Court with No Bikini Babes...
Empty wave house with no surfer dudes....
 My run took me past the u-turn point of the tram towards Sentosa Cove and that added another 2km to the run. Initially, based on the estimates from the previous recce we did during the last trip, the entire beach based on the tram ride should be around 5km but the tram ride made a turn which I missed while doing my run. It's all the fault of that squirrel that insisted on running ahead of me and distracting my attention. So by the time I made my way back, I was way over my quota of 5.2km for the day and decided to stop by the beach volley ball courts at Silso beach. The weather was getting too hot by than and I was getting pretty tired from the heat. Good thing I brought my Bandana along for the run and the sweat soaked cloth kept my head cooled even in the face of the scorching sun.

The end of the road.. Sentosa Cove ahead!

The wet bandana saved my head from being toasted!

Another problem that I did not foresee was that there was no actually running path along the beaches! The actually running path runs parallel to the main road and is on the other side of the road away from the beaches. There was nothing much on the other side of the road other than an occasion squirrel, a couple of nervous lizards and a whole tramload of waving tourists! So if you wish to see hunks & babes in action, you will have to run in the sand along the beach which is highly challenging to those who are not used to running in sand. So the choice between running in the soft sand enjoying and view while dying of exhaustion or running along the boring running path swatting mosquitoes along the way.
The boring running track....
Much more interesting "run on sand and suffer" track

The number of pubs has also multiplied greatly since the last time I was here, and that was like 3-4 years ago. There is a drinking hole almost every 500m away and it is not surprising that you will find the beaches of Sentosa to be a highly popular place with beer loving Caucasians. The beaches are also very popular with tourists from from Japan, Korea, China and India as Sentosa is one of the "must see" attraction of Singapore. Therefore, walking along the beaches of Sentosa is akin to teleporting you to another country where the people are made up of some of people from the more populous nations in the world and Singaporeans are the minority. The pubs are a fantastic place to learn about places and cultures far away from Singapore, without you needing to really visit the countries.

Bikini Bar. Only for girls with bikinis?
 Running at Sentosa is pretty steep for a cheap sport like running too. The entrance fee varies depends on how you travel to Sentosa. The most cost efficient way is to drive a car which will cost you $7 per vehicle. This makes sense if you can squeeze 5-6 heads into the car and another $4-7 for parking at the various carparks around the area. Taking the Sentosa express will set each person back by $3 which makes it quite expensive if a group of 5-6 people are going for the run. The cheapest way of course is to walk into Sentosa via the Sentosa boardwalk and paying the $1 entrance fee, but you will have to wait for an internal shuttle in Sentosa to take you to the beaches. Running at Sentosa can be suitable for runners of all categories. You can explore the hills around fort Silso if you are up for some hilly running. You can hop on a tram back to the central beach station, if you are totally unfit and can only run in one direction for 1-2km. If you want a more challenging endurance run, you are totally welcome to try some barefoot sand running and see how much you can do before plonking down at a nearby pub for some beer.

I wondered where I could rent one of these wheelies??
Pirates rest stop in a barrel... Quite creative I must say!
You can try mediation if you are not the running type
Overall, running at the beaches of Sentosa is a sensory delight. Even though we were there on a quiet Saturday morning, there was much to see and enjoy. I was so distracted by taking numerous pictures, chasing lizards and exploring small unknown paths into nowhere that I couldn't maintain a distance pace for the whole journey. Perhaps once the novelty of the place has worn off, than will I be able to concentrate on getting some speed into the run.

Location: 60 Siloso Beach Walk, Singapore 098997


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