The local sports industry took another stride towards assembling a full and vibrant events calendar with yesterday's announcement that the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) will return to its full physical format this year for the first time since 2019.
Up to 50,000 runners across four categories - 5km, 10km, half marathon and full 42.195km marathon - are expected for the Dec 3-4 event.
Priority registration opens at 10am today for SCSM 300km Club runners and participants of the full marathon in 2019. Public registration starts at 10am tomorrow.
Before the pandemic, the annual SCSM which goes through the Central Business District typically drew about 50,000 runners and about half were foreigners in 2019.
The 2020 edition was fully virtual with over 12,000 participants, of which 37 per cent were overseas runners. Last year, it was a hybrid format with 4,000 runners in the Ekiden (team of four), 5km and 10km events at The Float @ Marina Bay involved in the first in-person mass participation event here since the pandemic.
The half and full marathon were offered only in a virtual format, as were the 5km, 10km, kids 1.5km and 3km categories.
Jeff Edwards, managing director of Asia for the Ironman Group, said: "We have full confidence that this year's event will mark the safe return of mass participation events as we come back bigger than 2021, with more in-person race categories and a mass start."
Lim Teck Yin, Sport Singapore chief executive officer, said the event "reaffirms our commitment to bring mass participation events back". He added: "Running has featured as one of Singaporeans' most popular physical activities over the years, with more people taking it up in the last two years.
"The SCSM will once again bring new and experienced runners, families and friends together to challenge themselves, train, and bond towards a year-end goal."
Since Singapore's reopening earlier this year, the country has added several marquee sports events like next month's Standard Chartered Singapore Trophy featuring English Premier League clubs Liverpool and Crystal Palace, while the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix, cancelled for the past two years, returns in October.
One of the world's largest e-sports tournaments, Dota 2's The International, will be held here for the first time later that month.
Singapore Tourism Board CEO Keith Tan said: "As we welcome more visitors back to Singapore, premier sporting events such as the SCSM 2022 will reinforce our position as a leading destination for sports in the region and boost our reputation as a vibrant business and lifestyle destination."
While Singapore has largely eased restrictions, it saw a 23 per cent week-on-week increase in Covid-19 community infections, mainly driven by an increased spread of newer Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, the Ministry of Health noted on Tuesday, adding the surge is likely to continue.
Participants at this year's SCSM can sign up for the Double Up Challenge, where completing the 5km or 10km race plus the half marathon or full marathon will earn them a special medal. A new logo, featuring Singapore's most famous icons the Merlion and the Orchid, was also unveiled.
Avid runner Eric Wong, 52, plans to sign up for the half marathon but is cautious about mingling with so many runners in such close proximity. He added: "Runners are very happy it is back because it's been so long. With people cheering you on, the energy and vibe are very different and that's what Singaporeans are looking for."
Organisers said prevailing safe management measures will be in place, road closures are expected with more details provided soon.
• Visit singaporemarathon.com for more information.