July 28, 2012

MacRitchie Reservoir - Hardcore Runners Recommended

We thought we were ready for MacRitchie after so many weeks of running around different parts of Singapore. We were wrong.

Our Startpoint. The Jetty
MacRitchie Reservoir is probably one of the oldest and favorite running spot for Singapore runners and I probably do not need to even blog about it as most runners would have, at one point of time, done a run at MacRitchie Reservoir. The last time we did a run at MacRitchie Reservoir was during our High School days, when we were forced by the school to go for a cross country run. 

Map of the running routes at MacRitchie Reservoir
 By the time we reached the carpark at 8am in the morning, the carpark is nearly full and we managed to snatch the last few slots at the multi storey carpark. Normally, there are lots of other slots in other parks we been to and it is rare that we seldom could find a carpark slot this early in the morning. The reservoir is bustling with activitie. There are students doing various cross country training from established schools around area. There are older looking folks in running clubs singlets training for the next upcoming marathon or competitive runs. There are families and elderly folks doing strolls and walks enjoying the scenery at the same time. 

We were planning for a 6-7km run around MacRitchie Reservoir with no particular route in mind. Just turn back on hitting the 3km mark. So we started running in a clockwise direction and not long before, we hit the dirt track and it is not just simple dirt track, it is a narrow, uphill uneven dirt track.  There are hordes of other runners doing their workout and it becomes a juggle for space along the narrow trails of the reservoir. The long distance up and down hill run saps stamina quickly and I have to dodge muddy puddles and tree roots, that can potentially ruin your running experience. 

The dirt track. It narrows considerably as your go deeper
Choose between the narrow broadwalk or the uneven dirt track
You will probably fall into the reservoir if you
try to dodge the overhanging branches
On hitting a junction which allows you to go deeper into the reservoir with more uphill dirt track or a track that turns into Lornie Road and run along a nice smooth pavement while sucking in fumes from the heavy traffic along the road, I decided that my ankles had enough of the uneven ground and turned towards Lornie Road. It's a transition from boring green forested landscape to boring road with zooming cars. Without any interesting landscape to keep me distracted, and I lent my earphones to lazy girl (Who forgot to bring hers...) I focused on the next up and down slope. 

Along Lornie Road. Car fumes killing my Lung Cells!!
After the Lornie Road run, I was back at the start point, and moved on to explore the east side of the reservoir. Once past I ran past the dam, it became a runner's nightmare. There were hordes of students dragging and preparing their canoes and some of them  were doing oars workout along the narrow running path. A simple run just became a Kung Fu/Martial Arts training circuit, where you have to dodge swinging oars, jump over canoes, squeeze through idling students nursing cans of 100-plus and somersault past other runners who were forced to a walk by all the activities along the path. At the end of that circuit training, an uphill dirt track welcomed me again. By than, I had obtained quite a painful abrasion between my toes and I decided to turn back to the start point to wait for the guys, short of my targeted 7km run.

A nice cafe right on top of a knoll near the carpark
The MacRitchie Dam
The pump system that release water from the dam?
I am sure there is a more modern set of them somewhere else
Caution ahead. Lots of canoe paddles!
Very interesting workout station before the eastern dirt track
BBG reached the end point soon after, cursing at the upslope and uneven paths, and somehow injured his soles (He is flat footed like me, but he uses heel strike run) along the way. Lazy girl, got lost in the maze of trails and ended up at Adam road.. She limped back to the starting point 30 mins later nursing a sprained ankle, thanks to the uneven trails again. We were feeling sorry for ourselves by than and agreed that we were not ready for MacRitchie yet. Personally, I am more of a scenery runner and the boring forested paths and sweating stoic hardcore marathon runners are not particularly exciting. 

The canteen at ther park. Lots of students!
A Much nicer illustration of the running paths
We ended the run with a high note, by complaining to everyone on the whatsapp chatroom and retreated to a blissful breakfast at Thompson road, gossiping about the latest sex scandal to hit the Lion City. 
Rewarded ourselves with a very good breakfast!

Location: MacRitchie Reservoir, Singapore


  1. quite sad u dont get it. the joys of trail running. the ground beneath your feet. Nature naked before you. what more can u ask for

    1. Some Pocari Sweat and free Bananas along the way will be nice!

  2. a very depressing review of running at Macritchie...

  3. You have to understand the satirical nature of the post. We are a bunch of unfit city folks from Singapore who will complain at the sight of a cracked pavement. Imagine running on dirt, sand and pebbles? Haha.

  4. Used to run here three times a week a few years back. Until the monkeys took over the place. :(

    1. The monkeys are getting aggressive these days :(


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