Alan is a parkrunner from Hobart and as any parkrun fanatic would do before a trip to Europe, he started researching if he could combine his trip, with his love of a free, weekly, timed, 5km.
I do a quick search to see what my Saturday options will be. Nuremberg will be a near miss unfortunately, but Singapore emerges as an option. Initially our plans are to transfer out of Singapore on a Friday, but we add a day to make sure we are there on a Saturday. As a bonus, Singapore has three parkruns to choose from.
More Googling tells me East Coast parkrun is the closest, about five kilometres from my hotel. It starts at 7.30am. The forecast suggests it will be warm. Before going to bed I lay out my running clothes, my barcode and a water bottle.
It is parkrun day. We head downstairs for a taxi. The driver knows exactly where to go and drops us off. It is before 7am and we spot a few runners, waiting in a shelter. They too are parkrunners but it is also their first time at this parkrun. We all think we are in the right spot.
The park is busy with people. More runners appear and eventually one says, “I have done this parkrun before and it starts here”.A volunteer hammers a parkrun banner into the ground and starts placing witches hats in lines. This added confirmation relaxes and pleases us.
More people start appearing, then the Run Director addresses the gathered crowd. I keenly listen to his briefing on the course. The visitors and there are many of us, put their hands up to say where they are from – mosty the UK and Australia.
We walk to the start and the race director unleashes us. I start to run and soon realise a PB is out of the question, mostly due to the jetlag and the heat.
We run along a very wide path by the bay. On our right are many anchored ships. The park is well maintained with big trees and lush lawns.
While the park doesn’t have a stunning garden like other parks in Singapore, it is full of active people. As we run along the path we see other runners, cyclists, walkers, a couple of monks and a walking tai chi phalanx. I wipe the sweat from my eyes as I approach the turn around point on the out and back course.
I see the finish line and I head for it to get my token then get scanned. One person says to me, “lucky it wasn’t humid today”. Now I can’t complain about the heat, I think to myself. Back at our hotel the results and our results come through.
parkrun enhances my travel experiences. As well as queuing to see tourist attractions in places I visit, I also I get to do something with the locals.
Back in Hobart the following Saturday, I think back to the people in Singapore doing just what I’m about to do again. We are all different, but we are all united by our love of a free, weekly, timed 5km.
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