Monday 14 March 2016

Surviving my first Men's Health Urbanathlon: First-person photos

My body is aching in places I've never before after yesterday's Urbanathlon.

Fourteen kilometres, nine obstacles.

I was in the eighth wave, so I was flagged off at 7.51am.


There are three "walls".

We're supposed to run up the final sloping wall and climb over it. I tried that. I hit my nose against the wall. But I got over it.

Obstacle #2: Side Walk

I fell off just before reaching the end of the last frame, but the volunteer waved me on.


The one I dreaded the most and trained for the hardest.

I fell off a quarter way and went back to queue for retry. There's supposed to be a 5-minute penalty if you don't complete an obstacle.

What makes this obstacle difficult is that the crossbars are diagonal, which makes them awkward to grab. I had trained only on regular monkey bars, which are parallel.

For my second attempt, I put on my gloves. My first attempt was without gloves because I thought I could get better grip with bare sweaty hands than with wet gloves.

I celebrated when I made it half way, but once again, fell off before I reached the end. I was very disappointed with myself.

It was a long way between the third and fourth obstacle.

Obstacle #4: LATERAL MOVE

This was the other one I trained for. In this case, the training paid off. I thought I performed my best at this obstacle. The gloves were crucial here.

Obstacle #5: LIFT 'N' LOAD

We were lift a 20kg sand bag over barricades. But when I got there, no one was doing the sand bags. Runners were just going over the barricades like hurdles.

I fell going over the last barricade. Another runner asked me whether I was okay. I just scraped my right knee a bit. No broken skin, but I got some sand on me.

Obstacle #6: MAZE RUNNER

It looked easy, but I took longer to complete this obstacle than I should've.

I couldn't decide whether to crawl on my knees or on my feet. Other runners just ran through the maze by bending down really low.

Obstacle #7: NETWORK

This was fun. I discovered I enjoy rope-climbing.

Going over to the other side.

Running on the track outside the Sports Hub to the second last obstacle.


This is like IPPT with five crossfit stations.

Box Jump – 10 sets

Alternate Lunge Jumps – 15 sets

Overhead Squat – 10 sets

Sandbell Overhead Swing – 10 sets

For some reason, there was no wall throw station.


The idea was to finish the race with a big splash, but it turned out to be a long queue instead.

At this point, it was clear that your timing for the race didn't matter since you spend so much time queueing. It would be much quicker to take the five-minute penalty.

More rope-climbing. Woohoo!

This where I screwed up again. We're supposed to zipline to the pool at the end. I had never ziplined before. I just grabbed the rope and stepped off.

Without any forward momentum, I just hung there. The volunteers tried to pull me to the pool, but I was so heavy, I just made it to the edge of the pool and let go of the rope.

After that, crossing the finish line was a bit of a non-event.

I got my finisher T-shirt, medal, two bananas and a can of 100 Plus.

I didn't queue for the free food because I had done enough queueing for the morning, but I drank lots of water and 100 Plus.

I saw Glenn Ong on stage and he saw me. I went home after that.

The race was tough but surprisingly, quite forgiving.

A photo posted by SM Ong (@sm_ong) on

Below is a slideshow of all the photos taken with my Autographer camera from flag-off to the finish line: