Sundown marathon spreads its wings

HiVelocity Events managing director Adrian Mok believes two factors favouring the Sundown Marathon's expansion are that it offers the full marathon and the race's overnight element. With him is Ron Sim, sponsor Osim's founder, chairman and chief exec
HiVelocity Events managing director Adrian Mok believes two factors favouring the Sundown Marathon's expansion are that it offers the full marathon and the race's overnight element. With him is Ron Sim, sponsor Osim's founder, chairman and chief executive officer.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Osim back as sponsor for 3rd year with green message; race will go to Penang and Taipei

The Osim Sundown Marathon, Singapore's first endurance running event at night, will make its way overseas for the first time, with one race in Penang in December and another in Taipei next January.

The inaugural overseas races were announced yesterday at a press conference at the Singapore Sports Institute.

This is the 10th edition of the night race, with sponsor Osim returning for the third straight year.

In addition, next year's Sundown Marathon, to be held on March 25, will also have a green message as it coincides with the World Wide Fund for Nature's (WWF) Earth Hour as it will take into account total carbon footprint, use of plastic and waste management.

Said Adrian Mok, the managing director of HiVelocity Events, which organises the Sundown Marathon: "We have been planning to go regional for quite some time, and with Sundown celebrating its 10th year, it is timely for us to go abroad to reach out to more people in different countries.

"It's the first time a night marathon from Singapore is venturing abroad, and we will mark this milestone with our first overseas launches in Penang and Taipei."

The Penang edition of the event on Dec 17 will feature three categories - 5km, 10km and 21.1km. The race will be flagged off at Queensbay Mall in Bayan Lepas.

The Taipei race will be held on Jan 14 at the Dajia Riverside Park, and participants can choose to run the 5km, 10km, 23km or 42.195km categories.

National marathoner Neo Jie Shi, who was present at yesterday's press conference, said the Sundown Marathon's overseas expansion was an "exciting" initiative that would appeal to many Singaporeans.

Neo, who was the Republic's female athletics representative at the Rio Olympic Games, added: "My running friends and I like travelling overseas for races.

"Apart from just running a race, it's a chance for you to mingle with your friends as you run together and also have a good holiday - that's the fun part."

With an estimated 130 running events held locally this year, a statistic obtained from running interest group Run Society, Deloitte South-east Asia's head of sports business service line James Walton is analysing the Sundown Marathon's expansion with interest.

"It's interesting how this will translate in other countries where the market is not as saturated (as in Singapore)," he added.

Walton believes the Sundown Marathon has two factors in its favour - it offers the full marathon category, and the overnight element of the race.

Currently, it is one of two full marathons in Singapore alongside the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore.

Said Walton: "The Singapore market is definitely saturated with runs - one of the common complaints is that there are only so many places you can run in Singapore, and it's always the same.

"Sundown still has a niche status because of the fact that it has a full marathon, which is not common in Singapore.

"Secondly, the idea of wanting to beat the sunrise has also helped in its popularity."

But the success of the Sundown Marathon's overseas races, especially in Penang, would ultimately depend on the city as a tourist destination, said Walton.

"If there was a brand new race in Singapore, you could easily fill a race because of the large local running scene," he said.

"If you hold an international race in somewhere like Penang, it starts from being a tourist experience - so that's about package deals and tying up with hotels to get people to come and take part in the event from around Malaysia and the region."

Mok is hoping to build a base of fans based on the popularity of the marathon in Singapore.

He said: "The experience that we have with the Singapore event is that we've drawn fans who are very loyal to our event - they want the finisher T-shirt that we design, the medals and our photo booth pictures.

"These are the experiences that I want the other countries to feel for themselves, so that we can attract people from those countries and build our fan base from there."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2016, with the headline 'Sundown marathon spreads its wings'. Print Edition | Subscribe