Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon may be moved to June

The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) could be brought forward from its traditional December date to June from next year.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu told The Straits Times yesterday that this is being "talked about" and would be discussed with race organisers to see how it would fit in with the World Marathon Majors (WMM) series.

She said: "If we can establish that in the calendar, and if the other corporates, hotels and agencies are used to a certain timing, we can work towards de-conflicting better."

Last year's SCSM from Nov 30 to Dec 1 saw the flag-off times of the 42.195km marathon, 21.2km half-marathon and Ekiden relay shift from their usual pre-dawn starts to 6pm on Nov 30 to boost its chances of being listed among the WMM.

But this drew flak from the public after an unprecedented convergence of three other events resulted in some motorists being stuck in traffic snarls for over two hours. Couples holding wedding banquets in town also ran into issues as guests and vendors were unable to make it to the functions on time.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth year-in-review 2019 media conference, Ms Fu said "we really empathise with the people who had been inconvenienced".

"What I can commit to Singaporeans is that all the agencies and the organisers and ourselves, we are treating this event very seriously," she said.

"We're looking at all the feedback closely, and we will do our utmost to do better in the next series."

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, Mr Geoff Meyer, managing director of Ironman Asia, which organises the SCSM, said that it will "continue to look for ways to enhance the marathon across several aspects".

 
 

However, Mr Soh Rui Yong, who won the Singaporean Men's marathon title, said: "June is possibly the worst time to hold the Singapore Marathon, given that May and June are usually the hottest months of the year. This will heighten the risk of heat injuries."

Mr Gerald Gan, an adjunct lecturer in leisure and events management at the Singapore Institute of Management, said "there is no good time" to hold the marathon unless it moves away from the city centre, stressing that better planning of logistics, timing and the route would help.

He added: "Unfortunately, there is no win-win. Someone has to compromise... it is about mitigating the amount of exposure in terms of all of these inconveniences to the public."

In her review, Ms Fu also pointed to the progress made over the past year in sports excellence, sports participation and opportunities for persons with disabilities to play sports.

While 2019 was a successful year for Singapore sports, Ms Fu admitted that "there's so much more that we can do before we can really call ourselves a sporting country".

"It's definitely a work in progress and we'd like to see more Singaporeans supporting sports, believing in the values of sports, and participating actively in sports," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 17, 2020, with the headline 'StanChart marathon may be moved to June'. Print Edition | Subscribe