StanChart Marathon offers augmented-reality & virtual-reality formats
Race organisers introduce augmented reality tech, which enables runners to create avatars and compete with others on virtual routes in real time
Covid-19 might have prevented Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) participants from pounding pavements alongside 50,000 runners like they did last year, but they can still race against each other virtually in this year's event.
Race organisers Ironman Group yesterday announced augmented reality (AR) formats for this year's edition, which is from Nov 27-Dec 6.
The AR formats - 10km and half-marathon - allow participants to create avatars and see themselves competing with fellow runners in real time on running routes that take in iconic landmarks like Orchard Road, Little India and Chinatown.
Registration is free and runners must complete their selected distance in one setting.
Participants can take part in the AR formats at 12 ActiveSG sport centres, where 60 treadmills will be available for booking for this purpose.
Alternatively, runners who have access to smart-device compatible treadmills can also complete the AR races by using the Rouvy app.
Said Geoff Meyer, Ironman Group's managing director for Asia: "The 2020 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon will be a race like no other...
"I am proud of the team and our partners for rising to the challenge, presenting runners with a unique and innovative world-class experience. We look forward to having people around the world participate in the race virtually and safely."
The Singapore Tourism Board helped curate the AR running routes and its chief executive Keith Tan hopes that this version of the SCSM will inspire runners from across the world to see the real thing when mass- participation events resume in the future.
He said: "We're excited that runners from all over the world can experience the sights and sounds of our beautiful city virtually this year. We hope this will inspire them to visit us in person, in time to come."
Avid triathlete Aloysius Ang is familiar with the Rouvy app, having set up his bicycle to do AR rides in front of his 55-inch television at home.
The 39-year-old, who works at a financial institution, told The New Paper: "It's an interesting experience, like cycling through another part of the world.
"The reason I tried out Rouvy AR is because cycling at home is safer and there are fewer starts and stops...
"If the treadmills in the ActiveSG sport centres have big screens, I would be attracted."
Besides the AR formats, the SCSM also offers virtual race options for 10km, half-marathon and double-up challenge (both distances). This allows runners who prefer an outdoor setting to clock their distances with a tracking device.
Participants who want the traditional goodie bag with a runner's singlet, an SCSM bottle, backpack and medal have to purchase the Grand Finale race entitlement package for $60-65.
They will also be eligible to attend the Grand Finale Celebration Experience on Dec 5 and 6 at Gardens by the Bay, where they can collect their goodie bag and commemorate their race achievements against photo backdrops of their choice.
Meyer said that the SCSM's extended format this year due to Covid-19 restrictions has seen 80,000 participants take part in the SCSM Virtual Club and SCSM Virtual Racing Series, which were launched in August.
He also predicted that the 15-week SCSM could have 150,000 participants in total this year, adding: "The augmented reality, the virtual concepts will never replace the physical event - 50,000 people running side by side...
"That's what people want to enjoy the most. But I think this technology is a great adjunct and we can run it parallel. And I believe as a training tool, as a motivator... it's a great addition."