November 20, 2014

Hello Kitty Run vs. Great Eastern Women Run

by Fang Tai Tai (芳太

Couples and frenzy fans waiting in anticipation

Hello Kitty Run: Rain Rain Go Away...

It was never my initial intention to join in the Hello Kitty Run (HKR) to celebrate the iconic kitty (girl or cat)'s 40th birthday on 1 November 2014. After all, my unfit runner gang of macho men does not belong to the department of cutesy affairs. They would rather run for SAFRA.

2 weeks prior, a close girlfriend of mine, J, asked me to accompany her for the run. She had no other "kakis" (friends) who's interested enough. Lo and behold, the fees had hiked to its normal rate of $75! *heart bleed

Not wanting to disappoint a friend who is a Hello Kitty enthusiast, off I go!
Ready, Set, Go!! All excited before the race

The race pack comes with a limited edition Hello Kitty plush toy. This is a plus, at least for my pre-school girls who love anything plushy. Other than the toy, the race pack looks ordinary and its contents rather disappointing.

On the day of the run, J and I headed for the starting point along Sentosa Gateway. We soon found ourselves swarmed in a sea of 17,000 HKR enthusiasts consisting of pram-pushing mothers with young children, young couples and fans who were decked out in Hello Kitty fanfare.
J and I posing for a wefie
 At 8 a.m, the 1st wave of participants was flagged off by Hello Kitty & Boyfriend, Dear Daniel. We seemed to be miles away from the starting point and people were not moving quickly enough. The initial weather looked fine that morning, but the ominous storm clouds soon came and loomed over us. By the time we inched towards the yellow arch with the iconic red bow (starting point), it was already half an hour later. While impatiently waiting for the race to start,  I could almost feel the cold front (the chill prior to a downpour).
Dark clouds looming ahead. Rain drops falling on my head!

Rain Rain Go Away...

Our darling Hello Kitty and her partner were nowhere in sight. I guess they were probably too busy seeking shelter. The emcee, already, in his poncho (now, where's ours?) blasted the flag-off horn. My gut feeling told me that this is no passing rain.  Droplets of rain started to fall, and that's when we decided to do a 300-metre sprint towards the nearest shelter at Resort World Sentosa (RWS). It turned out to be a wise choice, as rain started pouring less than 10 minutes later. J and I started the hunt for a cosy cafe within RWS to sit out the heavy rain. Most of the restaurants such as MacDonald's and RuYi Vegetarian were opened during the early hours but were however jam-packed with HKR participants who sought shelter.
Seeking some photo moments
with Halloween display while waiting out..:)
We found ourselves seated at Starbucks much later. A check with their official Facebook (FB) page saw the announcement to put the race (was it even a race?) on hold due to the weather. It further mentioned that they would be in touch with participants on how to collect the Finisher medal. The rain gradually dwindled to a drizzle and stopped.  J and I headed towards Siloso Beach via the Merlion Park to try our luck at collecting the finisher medal. We were pleasantly surprised at the short queue for collection of medals at the Finishing Point. It actually took us less than 5 minutes.(P.S: we were not aware of the earlier chaos which we came to read on FB later)

 J was disappointed that the Hello Kitty give-away snacks ran out though. We managed to scavenge for 2 cans of QOO grape-flavoured drinks. Well, at least we collected the medals!

 J giving a victory pose at the Finishing Point 
Post-race fringe activities after the weather cleared up

Frankly, there was no sense of achievement for participating in HKR as we barely covered 500 m of the 3.5 km route. I am, however, thankful for emerging "dry" from the race.
GE Women Run : Doing my 1st 10 km

I signed up for this run earlier in June, having set goal in completing my 1st 10km run for 2014.Being a GE policy holder, I enjoyed a discounted rate at $40 (*good deal*). The race pack came in the form of a handy red gym bag with many ladies-centric goodies in toll. The free Tupperware water bottle was a delight!
Received this pair of Mizuno WaveRider18 shoes just in time for the race.

The annual run was scheduled one weekend after the HKR on 9 November at the Marina Bay area. Early morning showers looked set to continue as we headed towards the starting time at 7 a.m for the 10 km race . Amid the blasting music, the emcee was able to hype up the energy levels by getting the runners to shout and wave their hands in anticipation. The race was flagged off on time as the weather cleared up for us ladies! 

With the sunrise as backdrop, ladies in red are all set to go! 
Not forgetting a selfie as I started off!
Almost half of the 10 km route was along Nicoll Highway, and the journey proved to be smooth sailing with the wet weather behind us. I was able to keep up a consistent pace at 7 minutes per km for the first 6 km of the route. I slowed down for hydration at the 2nd water point right after the 6 km  mark. The last 3 km became a challenge to beat bottleneck when we were joined by other 5-km run participants who shared the same route. As tracked by my RunKeeper phone app, my pace slowed to 8 plus minutes per km along this stretch.

Scenic run along Nicoll Highway (near Kallang)
The finishing point is nicely located at the The Float@Marina Bay. As it came within sight, some enthusiastic ushers at the last km of the race singed along to urge us on.

"Give me a Five!" shouted the young folks as they gestured their palms towards the participants for a "Five". I thought that was an encouraging gesture.

* Huff & Puff*
While running towards the Finishing Point, the view of the Marina Bay greeted us.

Eager to complete the race, I did not even pause to take selfie with the scenic Marina Bay as a backdrop. I finally stepped across the finishing point with an official timing of 1 hour 18 mins 25 seconds.  This moment was captured by their time-based photographers, and personally sent to my mailbox 4 day later.
Can you spot me in a white cap and pink Waverider18 trainers
holding a green towel? 
Did I mention that the queue for my finisher medal was a breeze? The collection came with a usual complimentary fruit, bottled water and an isotonic drink.

Once again, the GE Run 2014 organisers have delivered another successful event.


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