Monday 30 November 2015

Running the Jubilee Big Walk: I could've been first, but I didn't wear the T-shirt

Why walk when you can run?

My goal for the Jubilee Big Walk yesterday was to be right in front at the starting line so that I could run 5km distance without a mass of slow walkers in my way.

The flag-off was at 7am. About 25,000 participants were expected.

When I took the MRT train at six plus, I saw passengers wearing the Big Walk T-shirt.

Alamak! That meant there were going to be many people ahead of me. I was screwed.

When I reached Dhoby Ghaut, it was raining a little. Because of the drizzle, many people were seeking shelter instead of waiting at the starting line.

That made it easier than expected for me to manoeuvre my way through the sparse crowd to the front.

I couldn't believe I actually did it.

I was in front at the starting line!

Mark Lee was there too. I wanted to take a picture with him, but he was with his daughter (I think) so I didn't want to bother him.

More importantly, I got to see Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong make his way to the stage and flag off the walk. I think this was the first time I ever saw the PM in person.

A video posted by SM Ong (@sm_ong) on

I was surprised I seemed to be the only person who decided to run the Big Walk. I was way out in front on my own.

It was surreal to have the empty St Andrew's Road all to myself.

Although I had my number bib on, I made the mistake of not wearing the Big Walk T-shirt. Instead I wore my own sexy Skins sleeveless compression top. So the road marshalls weren't sure if I was a Big Walker especially since I was running (not walking) and alone.

I paid for this mistake at Gardens by the Bay. The road marshalls didn't tell me to turn when they should have and so I kept running straight ahead.

I suspected something was wrong when I stopped seeing any more Big Walk signage. So I tried to double back but got a little lost. It took me a while to finally find my way to the finish line.

I thought I was first to cross the finish line — until someone told me I was second or third, but definitely not first.


So someone else must have run the Big Walk too. I wasted all that time wandering around Gardens by the Bay and let them beat me to the finish line.

If only I had worn the Big Walk T-shirt, it would have been the first time I had come in first in any race (even though the Big Walk is not really a race).

Maybe next year.