SCMS can be a global icon, says new organiser

Runners take part in the the 2015 Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore.
Runners take part in the the 2015 Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

With a new organiser on board, there are aspirations for the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) to join the likes of world-famous races like the Boston, New York and London marathons.

Singapore's biggest running event, which attracted about 50,000 participants last year, will benefit from the wide network of athletes which new organiser Ironman Endurance Asia has across the globe.

As such, the main goal for this year is to raise the international profile of the event, according to Geoff Meyer, managing director of Ironman Asia.

The 47-year-old Australian said: "We have a huge global reach and a loyal following. We have about 750,000 athletes competing in more than 260 events globally. We've got millions of them on our databases and we hope to spread the word about SCMS.

"When the event is launched, we'll put it on the Ironman website where it's a global carousel.

"We want to make the Singapore marathon to be in the same vein as Boston, New York and London, and make this a global icon."

While specific details on what changes participants could expect at this year's event will be unveiled only at the race's official launch on July 7, Meyer is committed to improving the athletes' experiences.

Noting the perennial bugbear of route congestion, he said: "We will have these congestion issues alleviated. We need to fix these things."

Organising the event will be akin to operating out of Ironman Asia's backyard, with the organisation having set up their Asia headquarters here.

There will be about 25 staff, with 22 of them retained from previous SCMS organiser Spectrum Worldwide (SWW).

Meyer will be relocating with his family, including his two sons, aged nine and 10, from their home in Queensland to Singapore by the end of the year.

Among other plans in Ironman Asia's pipeline are to organise more triathlons in Singapore and other parts of Asia, including Sri Lanka and Japan.

An Ironman triathlon comprises 3.8km swim, 180km bike and a full 42km marathon, which could take more than 17 hours to complete.

Meyer said: "We're going to expand in Asia as well, we see Singapore as a centralised place to do that. It's not just going to be Ironman races, but half Ironman too.

"There's duathlon that we'd love to bring it here as well. An ITU (International Triathlon Union) World Cup or World Series would also be great for Singapore."

He added that Ironman, backed by its Chinese parent company Dalian Wanda Group, is in the process of clearing the outstanding debts which SWW owes to vendors.

Meyer said: "Hopefully once the creditors are paid off by the end of the month, we can start to focus more on organising the race."

Alvin Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2016, with the headline 'SCMS can be a global icon, says new organiser'. Print Edition | Subscribe