SAFRA Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon 2021 – What To Know & How To Prep For It

The SAFRA Singapore Bay Run and Army Half Marathon is back! Here's how to prepare for it.

By Steve Thio        6 September 2021

The 27th SAFRA Singapore Bay Run and Army Half Marathon (SSBR & AHM) will return as a virtual event from 1 to 28 November 2021.

Jointly organised by SAFRA and the Singapore Army, this year’s event will feature a total of 4 categories:

– The signature 21km Half Marathon will return as the mainstay of SSBR & AHM. Runners will have to complete the full distance within a single attempt at any time during the 4-week virtual event period.

A new individual 21km Cumulative Challenge, which allows runners to accumulate their distance from a series of shorter runs during the 4-week virtual event period to complete a total of 21km.

A new 50km Cumulative Team Challenge, where past and present SAF NSmen can team up in groups of five to clock 50km cumulatively.

A new Families for Life 10km Challenge, where families with up to five members can team up to accumulate a total of 10km during the event period.

27th SAFRA Singapore Bay Run and Army Half Marathon finisher medal

SAF NSmen and SAFRA members will enjoy a special rate of only $5 per person across all categories. All participants will receive an event tee, while those who complete the 21km Half Marathon will also get a finisher medal. Participants will get their race entitlements delivered to their doorstep and also receive personalised e-bibs, e-certificates and e-badges that they can share on social media.

Registration is now open until 3 October 2021. Visit www.safra.sg/ssbr-ahm for more info and sign up now!

Photo: Dave Poh, Pictureart Gallery

With the return of the SAFRA Singapore Bay Run and Army Half Marathon, we speak to Ben Koh, a member of the SAFRA Running Club (Punggol Committee Team) and discussed on what to expect and how to prepare both physically and mentally for the event.

Ben started running back in 2013 to get in better physical shape after he had quit smoking, and to date, he has participated in various marathons all over the world including the 2016 and 2019 editions of the Tokyo Marathon, and the 2019 Standard Chartered Marathon in Hong Kong.

His most memorable run with SAFRA was the Annual SAFRA Running Club Road Relay in 2018, where he relished running alongside elites (runners) while matching their quick strides.

We find out more about his passion for running and get some tips and advice for those planning to participate in this years run.

Q: How did your interest in running begin?

Ben: My interest in running started in 2013 when I was first diagnosed with slight high blood pressure by my doctor. My body weight was at a high of 98kg and my BMI was way above the healthy level. I decided to make positive progress and took up a sport that was readily accessible and available – running!

It was definitely tough at the beginning but as I continued running, I met many new friends who guided and coached me along the way. Slowly but surely, I grew to enjoy the experience! It eventually led me to complete my first full marathon – the Standard Chartered Marathon in 2015.

Q: What can runners look forward to when they take part in the SAFRA Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon?

Ben: Definitely the camaraderie among runners. There will be participants whom you have never met before who will cheer you during the race when the going gets tough. This is inspiring and you can pay it forward to cheer the other runners on too.

Photo: Ben Koh

Q: What is your greatest challenge while running long distances?

Ben: The greatest challenge for me is how to pace myself at the start of a marathon. Most runners tend to run way too fast at the start which eventually breaks their race at the end – something I myself have experienced before!

Q: What health benefits have you noticed after years of running?

Ben: There are countless benefits one can take away from running. Weight loss, better skin condition and of course, better health overall. Oh…did I mention that running will make you feel and look younger too?

Q: What the best advice you can give to first-time half-marathon runners?

Ben: Number one rule – respect the distance, be it a shorter 5km run or a full marathon (42km).

Always train progressively as races of a longer distance are no child’s play. Condition yourself well before the race too! That means at least 3 months of good preparation. This includes bulking up your running mileage, strengthening your muscle groups, eating and hydrating yourself well, and getting plenty of rest.

The sense of satisfaction in finishing a race when youve been well prepared is so much more rewarding!

Q: Are there any particular warm-up exercises every runner should do before a run?

Ben: There is no particular standard operating procedure for runners to follow before a run. Some runners like to start with a slow run as a warm-up. I prefer doing dynamic warm-ups which involve engaging in different movements to prepare the different muscle groups.

Runners can do light stretches too, but remember not to overstretch the muscle as it is better to retain some form of elasticity in your muscle during a run.

Q: What should one be mindful of, health-wise, during a run?

Ben: Start slow, run slow and hydrate well. I have seen way too many runners who always try to outrun their own capabilities. Always run within your current aerobic capacity. Stressing your own engine on a regular basis may do more harm than good!

Q: And what is the best outfit/ shoes/gear for running?

Ben: There is no particular gear a runner has to wear in order to run. Before you purchase any gear, it is always better to try them on at the store. Runners should feel comfortable in their outfit and shoes in order to have an enjoyable running experience.

Q: I notice you have done quite a few interesting running videos on your FB – can you share the links with us?

Ben: You can follow my Facebook page here and YouTube channel here.

For more information and details on the SAFRA Singapore Bay Run and Army Half Marathon, visit www.safra.sg/ssbr-ahm.

Share your running tips with us at magnsman@sph.com.sg!