After the horrible 1.5hr queue, in a non air-conditioned area partially in the sun, to collect my race pack… and considering it is the 1st time such a “race” is held in Singapore, I didn’t have high expectations for the race. Even so, the event on Saturday 26 October 2013 managed to disappoint me further.
Instead of having an entire wall of text of where the organizers went wrong (aside from the race pack collection – have already whined about it enough), let me try break this down into shorter segments.
#01 Lack of clear directions to the registration site
It was basically follow-the-crowd after getting off the Sentosa Express at the Beach Station. There were NO signs whatsoever pointing to where participants to head to, and it was quite a significant distance to walk in the “blind”. The reporting place was stated in the pre-event email, but yeah… like everyone knows where the Sapphire Pavilion on Siloso Beach is, right? Organizers could have been more helpful.
#02 Long and unnecessary registration process
Just why is there a necessity to register again when we have already collected our race bibs & life lines during the race pack collection? The queues were also badly managed with misleading boards at the queue heads. Baggage was also deposited at the same time. We just handed over our stuff, that were put into bags secured by cable ties (good move here btw) by the volunteers and placed into a pile onto the floor. One look @ how it was done, I knew there was gonna be an issue later. And there was…
#03 Terrible baggage collection counter
It was just one loooong counter which participants cluttered around. We were to hand our no. bibs to the volunteers, who will then go search for our bags in the pile I mentioned earlier. It was a HUGE pile. Looks kinda like a landfill, if you ask me. No numbering system… and heck, it wasn’t even placed according to waves! What made it worse was, as the morning finishers were collecting our bags, the afternoon participants were just arriving and depositing their bags. Into that same very pile. Sure, there was a queue leading to that counter area, but once we are past the queue, it was pretty much a free-for-all. Took me close to 2hrs to finally obtain my bag, and longer for my friend cos they couldn’t find his. Oh… to top it all, the queue was in the sun.
#04 Long wait for shuttle bus to start point
Look. There are like 100 people for each wave, and there is only ONE shuttle bus from the registration area to the start point? Fail. Sure, I’d have walked the distance in the heat, if only I knew where it was. And oh ~ the queue for the shuttle bus was in the sun too. Spent more time waiting around the entire day than on the race course.
#05 Race route not closed to public
The race took place along the Sentosa beaches, mostly on the sand with some portions on the pedestrian walkways. Either the route was not closed to the public or the area was not cordoned well enough – there were people walking on the pavement that we “ran” on, there were people sunbathing beside where we crossed on the sand… etc. This is inconvenient, and potentially dangerous, considering there were a lot of “panic moments” (refer to #06).
#06 Too many bottlenecks and clustering
While most of the clusterf**king is caused by participants being overly cautious and scared, there are portions of the route that were kinda narrow – think a small path lined by trees blocked by 3 zombies, and that was very dangerous. There were a lot of panicking going on (stupid humans). Shoving, crashing into each other, tripping each other… etc. were rampant during the “panic moments” when the zombies started chasing the “humans”. The waves could have been made significantly smaller to counter this.
Just FYI, there were injuries. I’d have directed you to their facebook page to read the comments by fellow participants but guess what? Organizers deleted them all. In light of that, I can’t be arsed to even link their fb page. Guess they can’t handle negativity much, eh?
#07 Mediocre obstacles
Anyone who thinks the obstacles are difficult really needs to get off their lazy asses more. There were 5 “stations”. The first being a maze. O-k-a-y. Worst station of all tbh, cos I did feel a little catastrophic in that wooden structure with people walking so slowly in front of me. Then there was a huge puddle of water… was that to simulate a river crossing or something? It served no purpose except to get my feet wet. 3rd was a short crawl segment on the sand, under some ropes. Then came barriers that participants have to scale over – the barriers were the same types used during road constructions, no biggie for the average jaywalker. Finally… it was a slope that we have to scale with the help of roads + a slide down into muddy water on the other side. C’mon, where are all those cool stuff that I’ve seen in videos?!
#08 Poor sportsmanship & cheating everywhere
It seemed that the humans were out to kill each other than the zombies coming to get the humans. Yeah, everyone was supposed to “work as a team”. Pretty sure this doesn’t include stampeding your fellow humans (refer to #05) and not offering assistance when one of your kind fell. What irked me the most was that there were many who had their life lines tucked into their shirts or rolled up till only 1cm showed below the t-shirt. Mind you, am not being a sore loser here – I did get my survivor tee, and I was unscathed despite having my ‘teammates’ crash into me at least 3x. There should have been more race marshals present to penalize the cheaters.
Wearing the “Survivor” tee, posing with the Grim Reaper (who was actually part of Sentosa’s Spooktacular)
#09 Too few zombies
Perhaps this is more of an issue with my expectations. I was hoping to be chased by a mob of zombies. I honestly don’t see 4 zombies (max that saw – some parts had as few as ONE zombie) as a horde and I didn’t get chased. At all. While I understand that the zombies are actually human who do get hot and dehydrated under the sun, and hence have to work in shifts, I did expect MORE than just a few at every point.
And then… there was also the Good
Well, not everything was bad about the Race. The volunteers, clearly short-handed, did an awesome job considering the conditions they were made to operate under.
Yep, that’s all the positive I can say about the disappointment that was RTD’13. It just seemed like a poorly run money making gimmick. Keeping fingers cross that Run for Your Lives Asia in Janurary would be handled better. That being said, I think it would be better for me to just stick to the REAL races. Enough of such “fun events” already – and yeah, this is the 2nd time I’m saying it, and am hoping I won’t have to devour my words again.
PS. For those who are thinking of defending the organizers saying that the turnout was huge, well, the Shape Run I attended the day after attracted 10,000 participants [source] and that ran like clockwork.
PPS. Unfortunately, as my phone was in my bag at the deposit area the entire time (and long after), I am unable to provide “proof” of the mess – so you just gotta take my point of view for it!