SINGAPORE – A sea of blue took off from Nicoll Highway at 5am on Sunday morning for The Straits Times Run at the Hub 18.45km race.
Feeding off the energy that resonated across runners and accompanied by a soundtrack of excited whoops and cheers, the runners set off under a replica of the ST's inaugural July 15 1845 edition, in honour of the paper’s 170th anniversary.
Before the start of the race, many of the runners took pictures, enjoying a morning under the clear skies - a rare reprieve from the haze that has blanketed the island for most of the week.
Participants had gathered at the Sports Hub as early as 3am – way before the first flag-off at 5am– to get a good starting position for the race, or simply because they were too excited to fall asleep.
Admin executive Zai Yusof, 53, said: “If I look forward to something, I cannot sleep. And I don't want to miss this.”
With the PSI levels dropping to a moderate range of 66 to 77, runners took in a clear view of the sights along the race route, which took runners past some of Singapore’s most iconic landmarks such as the Singapore Flyer, Marina Barrage and Gardens by the Bay.
"We never have a chance to run along the Marina Barrage area, so we are looking forward to the scenery and I think it'd be beautiful," said financial analyst Ting Lee Yen, 27.
In the opening stretch, runners ran to the beat and tunes of the 1960s, as acoustic band Shuk and Fren played songs from the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley.
Along the route, participants were taken on a journey through the paper’s history, with photo backdrops featuring displays of ST’s headlines on some of Singapore’s most memorable events in the past. More than 20,000 people are expected to throng the half-day fiesta, which concludes with a carnival inside the National Stadium.