StanChart Marathon organisers apologise for inconvenience posed by road closures but say emergency services were not hindered

Organisers of this year's Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon said they had held discussions with the Singapore Police Force, Singapore Civil Defence Force and Land Transport Authority about the routes.
Organisers of this year's Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon said they had held discussions with the Singapore Police Force, Singapore Civil Defence Force and Land Transport Authority about the routes.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Organisers of this year's Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) have apologised to people who were affected by the road closures during the Dec 3 event.

This comes after a doctor wrote to The Straits Times Forum page, alleging that lives were "endangered" because of the road closures around Raffles Hospital in Bugis, which was near the race route.

A spokesman for Ironman Asia, the race organiser, said: "We offer our sincere apologies to those affected by the closures for the marathon... We've begun reviews of the race and will be making improvements to the overall experience for both runners and the wider community."

But Ironman Asia stressed that it had held discussions with the Singapore Police Force, Singapore Civil Defence Force and Land Transport Authority about the routes this year.

In a first, this year's edition took runners through Singapore's heritage districts of Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam.

The spokesman added: "We also engaged hospitals affected by these diversions to develop alternative routes and direct access to accident and emergency (A&E) drop-offs for patients, doctors and emergency services.

"Access to Raffles Hospital on the morning of the marathon was facilitated through Rochor Road, in reverse flow towards North Bridge Road.

"Access to the hospital was available to all vehicles. An agreement was also made to facilitate access to the hospital for all emergency vehicles, from all directions, including through closed roads.

"We also made sure that all routes and access points were approved with the hospitals and communicated prior to the race through facilitation plans and traffic advisories."

On Tuesday (Dec 12), Dr Chan Wen Yan, a visiting doctor at Raffles Hospital, wrote that race personnel who were manning the road blocks near Raffles Hospital "did not allow patients and doctors access to the hospital, even though it was an emergency".

According to Dr Chan, patients had to alight from their vehicles "several blocks away and continue their journey on foot" to the hospital, while a pregnant woman had to give birth in the hospital's A&E ward instead of the labour ward, without her obstetrician's assistance.

While Raffles Hospital declined comment, ST understands that its emergency services were not affected by the road closures and diversions, and the pregnant woman gave birth in the labour ward, not the A&E department.

The complaint is the latest that the marathon organisers have had to contend with this year. Participants have voiced their unhappiness on social media about issues such as baggage deposit, the SCSM mobile app and sizes for the finisher tees.

This year's edition drew 48,400 participants and, in another first, both the marathon (12,500) and half-marathon (12,500) categories were fully subscribed.