Athletics: Marathon sell-out marks StanChart as premier running event in Singapore

Participants being flagged off at Orchard Road at the start of the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore on Dec 4, 2016.
Participants being flagged off at Orchard Road at the start of the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore on Dec 4, 2016.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) has sold out its marathon category for the first time in its history.

Registration officially closed for the 42.195-km category on Wednesday (Nov 15), with more than 12,500 signed up, 20 per cent more than last year.

"These numbers show the SCSM is one of the most attractive races in the region, and we're working towards delivering a top-class experience for everyone at the race this year," said Mr Geoff Meyer, managing director of organiser Ironman Asia.

Attracting just 6,000 in its first edition in 2002, the SCSM will have about 50,000 runners this year across its five categories.

The Ekiden category, which sees teams of six runners taking turns to complete the marathon distance in a relay, has sold out as well, though not for the first time. A total of 400 teams, or  2,400 runners, signed up. 

The half marathon (21.1km) and 10-km categories have fewer than 200 and 400 slots remaining, while there are around 800 Kids Dash spots left.

The SCSM has almost become synonymous with distance running here, said Deloitte Singapore and South-east Asia sport business group leader James Walton.

"When you think about marathons in Singapore, when you talk to people about their first marathon runs, invariably it's the SCSM that comes up," said Mr Walton, a marathon runner himself.

"Part of the reason is that while we're seeing more 10-km types of events, there really isn't much to compare (to SCSM) at the marathon level.

"For people that really want to test themselves, the SCSM stands out as one with a good reputation for being professionally organised."

National runner Fang Jian Yong, who participated in the 2015 SEA Games, agreed that the SCSM has done well to market itself locally and regionally.

"Everyone knows about (the SCSM), even non-runners, It's called the Singapore Marathon for a reason," he said. "It's the biggest event here and also attracts a lot of foreigners."

Some 48 per cent of this year's marathon category entrants are non-Singaporean, a number that will include both tourists and expatriates here.

The SCSM is bidding to join the Abbott World Marathon Majors (WMM) this year. It is an international series featuring the largest and most well-known marathons in the world - in Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, New York and Tokyo.

But one factor that might hamper its efforts is Singapore's heat and humidity.

"A lot of racers want to run a race where they can run a good time but Singapore is not a place where you can run a personal best," said Mr Walton .

Added Fang: "The biggest concern is still temperature. Perhaps more attention could be paid to hydration, like spreading the water points a little closer."

Registration for the half marathon and 10-km categories, as well as Kids Dash is still open. Those interested can sign up at singaporemarathon.com.