Singapore Marathon cap upped from 53,000 to 60,000 runners
Despite the increase in participants, organisers are confident of avoiding a repeat of last year's furore
More people are expected to lace up their running shoes for this year's Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) on Dec 5 and 6.
At the event's public launch at Plaza Singapura yesterday morning, organisers told The New Paper they would cap the number of participants at 60,000 this year.
The event drew about 53,000 runners in 2013 and 2014.
Despite the expected growth in numbers, SCMS event organisers Spectrum Worldwide are confident of avoiding a repeat of last year's drama.
Then, a furore developed after some runners, who were redirected to a shorter route by marshals because they did not pass a certain distance by a specified time, still ended up with finishers' T-shirts and medals despite not completing the full 42.195km race.
Spectrum Worldwide chief executive officer Chris Robb said: "We've taken on board the feedback we've heard (and) people will still be diverted.
"Rather than take people off the route if they are behind time... we'd rather let them finish the event."
He confirmed that those who finish "unofficially" will not get finishers' T-shirts and medals.
"It (diversion) is very standard in marathons all around the world," said Robb.
"I think it's only fair to the (slower) participants, not to put them on buses (and) take them off (the race), and allow them to finish, be it unofficially."
He added that, while the race route is pending final approval from authorities, he expects "very minimal changes" from last year.
The most significant change is having the Kids Dash event on a separate day from the main race.
The Kids Dash will be on Dec 5 at the Sports Hub, where the Dec 3-9 Asean Para Games will also be held.
The other SCMS categories (Marathon, Half-Marathon, 10km and Ekiden) will be run on Dec 6.
Sport Singapore chief executive officer Lim Teck Yin said: "Given the (SCMS) is on the same weekend as the Asean Para Games, this tie-up enables us to bring families down to the Sports Hub to do the Kids Dash and also partake in the Asean Para Games carnival at the Sports Hub.
"What we want to feature is the whole idea of unified sport and giving our families and children a chance to play and understand the type of sports people with disabilities partake in, with the modified rules."
The theme for the 14th edition of the SCMS is "This year, we race as one".
Robb said this concept of "charity and personal achievement" helps the event retain its identity as the "people's race".
Last year, the SCMS raised in excess of $370,000 for charitable causes.
This year, there will be more than 180 beneficiaries for the fund-raising efforts.
At yesterday's launch, the first 200 registrants were rewarded for waiting in line with a 50 per cent discount off registration fees and a commemorative golden bib.
The first person in the queue was believed to have been there from Wednesday morning, more than 24 hours earlier.
The launch also saw the first "Digital Queue" winner crowned.
The Digital Queue is an initiative started this year, allowing participants to get ahead in the SCMS registration process by using hashtags on social media, and earn points based on how active they were online.
The top-10 ranked participants will begin the race from the start line, while the top 100 will get to run their chosen category for free.
*Those interested can sign up for the various categories online at register.marathonsingapore.com to enjoy "super early bird" rates. There are also various discounts for Standard Chartered Bank cardholders, runners who competed in last year's SCMS, and those above 55 years old.
They'll be there...
The martial arts instructor, 31, is also known as "Ah Siao" (Hokkien for Crazy One) for dragging a 9kg tyre in full marathons to raise awareness for the Bone Marrow Donor Programme.
Lin takes between six and a half and seven hours to complete a marathon.
The veterinarian, 37, runs to raise awareness about multiple sclerosis, a condition she was diagnosed with in 2010 that causes muscle weakness, loss of balance, vision disturbances and extreme fatigue.
She won the 2013 Singapore Health Inspirational Patient Award, and will attempt to complete the 42.195km SCMS race.
The veteran national runner, 65, set the national 10,000m record at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. He bettered it in 1973, and it stood for 41 years until SEA Games marathon champion Soh Rui Yong broke the mark last year.
The 1971 Sportsman of the Year last ran the marathon nine years ago, but will try to shape up for another crack at it.
... And a handful of "Superheroes"
Don't be surprised if you see Catwoman (Jenap Said, 55), Wonder Woman (Fia Permadi, 43), Zorro (Francis Chia, 53) and Batman (Ben Swee, 39) along the 42.195km route.
All avid runners, the quartet added colour to the SCMS launch and will don their outfits again on Dec 6.