The last time I was on Pulau Ubin when I was doing my full-time NS. That was maybe 30 years ago.
Which was why I joined the 15km King of the Trails race on Ubin yesterday morning rather than this morning's Straits Times Run which was yet another race around Marina Bay.
I've rarely if ever heard of a race on Ubin. The logistics of getting to the island alone should scare off any race organiser.
For me, just getting from Yew Tee to the Changi Ferry Terminal to take the bumboat to Ubin was like travelling to another country.
Actually, I wouldn't call it a bumboat. It's closer to what I would call a harbour launch from my navy days. The bumboats I knew back then were smaller.
After arriving at Ubin, you still have to queue for the mini-bus to get to the race venue.
But kudos to the organisers for arranging the transportation for the runners.
Arriving at the race venue:
A selfie with ex-New Paper reporter Shaffiq at the starting line. He’s much fitter and faster than I am.
Flag-off was 9am, which was rather late, which meant a rather hot race.
We back-of-the-pack runners just casually strolled across the starting line.
The first of several U-turns:
Although it was a Bring Your Own Bottle race, reusable cups were provided at water points for those who neglected to bring their own bottle.
I was fascinated by this guy who ran in flip-flops and socks.
Although it was part of the King of the Trails series of races, this Ubin leg was mostly road with hardly any trail to speak of.
It wasn’t very scenic and reminded me of the Bintan half marathon I ran two weeks earlier.
Getting my first drink of the race.
Having completed half marathons, I thought this 15km race would be relatively easy for me. I was wrong. I struggled in the heat and over a few inclines. I also blame being sick for the past few days.
People were already queuing up for the transport back to the ferry terminal by the time I reached the finish line. Many have probably reached home.
We back-of-the-pack runners just casually strolled across the finish line.
I had expected to finish under two hours, but I went way past that. Not a good performance by me today.
Despite this being King of the Trails, the post-race experience was less than royal. All I got was a lukewarm bottle of water and a Nature Valley peanut butter granola bar which was so hard to chew.
No isotonic drinks. No bananas.
I guess the organisers spent all the money on the transportation.
Riding the "bumboat" to and from the island turned out to be the most fun part of the morning for me. It reminded me of my navy days when I had take a boat to Pulau Brani.
Back on the mainland where I was surprised I had to go through a body scanner.
Joining the race was a way for me to explore Pulau Ubin which I would probably never visit otherwise and probably never will again.