Safety measures cause of delay at SCSM, say organisers

Participants in the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon queuing to deposit their belongings near Wheelock Place before the race on Sunday. The delay was just one of many glitches runners were unhappy about.
Participants in the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon queuing to deposit their belongings near Wheelock Place before the race on Sunday. The delay was just one of many glitches runners were unhappy about.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/AH BEN

Organisers of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) have apologised for several glitches during Sunday's event and said that some of the problems were due to tightened security measures.

Some participants had taken to social media to vent their frustration about poor organisation at the various baggage deposit and collection areas. There were also complaints about connectivity issues with the SCSM's mobile app, which was supposed to provide live tracking of runners' progress along the various race routes, and participants not getting finisher T-shirts in their preferred size.

One of the main gripes for many was having to wait up to two hours to deposit their belongings and another long wait to collect them after the race.

Facebook user Naga Sayee posted on Sunday night on the SCSM's page: "ALMOST Waited 2 hrs and manage (sic) to reach the starting point only at 06:00am. never waited so long in any race before. expect higher standards for SCSM."

Another runner, Lin Jincong, compiled a list of 10 complaints from his Ekiden team. "(We were also) given wrong finisher shirt size and staff was unsure if shirt was unisex... Mobile app tracking did not work at all, timings only showed up half a day after the race," he wrote on Facebook.

When contacted by The Straits Times, SCSM organisers Ironman Asia said yesterday that the bottleneck was a result of additional security measures deployed this year, which required all runners to empty their belongings into transparent carriers before deposits could be made.

"In light of the current global climate, the decision for additional security measures this year was taken as a precaution after ongoing close conversations with the Singapore Police Force," it said. "The safety and security of all participants involved in SCSM is and always will be our top priority."

It added that after being alerted to the delays, "we immediately deployed additional manpower to manage the security processes. All baggage deposits were completed by 5.50am and the last runner crossed the start line at 6am.

"To ensure runners were given the full 7 hours and 30 minutes to complete the race, cut-off times were extended across all points throughout the route including the finish line".

The Ironman Asia spokesman added that finisher T-shirts were given to all participants who met the cut-off time of 7hr 30min on a first-come first-served basis and apologised to runners who were unable to collect the size of their choice.

Ironman Asia also acknowledged connectivity issues with the SCSM mobile app, but said the issues were rectified before the end of the race.

The 16th edition of the SCSM, which featured the full marathon (42.195km), half-marathon (21km), 10km, Ekiden and Kids Dash categories, drew 48,400 participants and was sold out for the first time.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2017, with the headline 'Safety measures cause of delay at SCSM, say organisers'. Print Edition | Subscribe