RUNNERS GUIDE: How To Survive The Men’s Health Urbanathlon

Sunday, 19th February 2012 – 14km, 9 Obstacles and a Very scenic route around town, the Men’s Health Urbanathlon 2012 kicked off to an amazing start. The weather was surprisingly very very very nice – cloudy with not a chance of meatballs plus the cool morning breeze was ever present throughout the whole 14km route. Perfect weather for a run. Like totally.

Once again, I was not only there to witness, but most importantly, experience a run/race unlike any other. Besides it being an ALL-GUYS AFFAIR, the Men’s Health Urbanthlon 2012 was my FIRST Urbanathlon and yes, I had the opportunity to run alongside Singapore Blade Runner. What up. 😀

Scenic route - The run by the Singapore River at ~0800H

Thinking of taking part in future Urbanathlons? Well, here’s a quick “HOW TO SURVIVE THE MEN’S HEALTH URBANATHLON” guide:

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1) DON’T JUST RUN. BUT WORKOUT TOO!

Train up, or be run over by the obstacles

The Urbanathlon requires more than just your running or stamina. Because of the 9 obstacles that is peppered along the 14km route, it is also important to to train your upper body and your grip strength too. Prelude to the Urbanathlon, i was practicing Muay Thai, BJJ and doing my Strength & Conditioning at EVOLVE MMA. Intense cardio sessions you might say but i also pair it up with my own trainings in the gym (eg. chin ups, squats etc)

If you are new to running and/or had never run the Urbanathlon before, i suggest you do short interval trainings (30secs sprint, 60secs jog) or run up the flight of stairs in a HDB flat to build up on your cardiovascular system. 14km is NOT a short distance, neither is it too far. But nonetheless, you would have to train for it as every race condition is definitely different. Furthermore, you want to cross that finishing line strong don’t you?

2) SLEEP EARLY, EAT A LOT. LIKE REALLY A LOT.

Bowl of Marcoroni Beef Soup which i had twice in a day, before the race day.

Well, like all races and runs, its always good to have adequate rest to allow your body to be at its optimum level at race time. I slept at 0300H when the race was actually at 0730H. Car-razy! For one thing, its not a great idea to be in a state of rush to get to the starting point you’ll just tire yourself out. Secondly, rushing means there is a higher chance that you might forget to bring along your important stuffs to the race (eg. race bib, wallet etc). D’oh!

Food is also important. Just like in any other race, its good to carbo load up or have proper meals the day before. You wouldn’t want to be all drained out of energy when you’re half way completing one of the Urbanathlon obstacles do you? Remember, although the Urbanathlon does not require you to carry your field pack ala Standard Obstacle Course in the Army, 14km is gonna burn quite a lot of calories I’d say!

3) LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.

Nicoll Highway MRT Station - say whuuut?

Ok, so this might come across as a duhh-i-know-its-important point, but seriously, not many people take it seriously. It is important to know where the race village AND starting point is. ESPECIALLY if you’re new to it and is getting there by your own vehicle. Parking can be quite a pain in the ass especially if you cannot find a nearby parking lot. With 2,300 runners taking part in this year’s Urbanathlon, its best to come earlier and snap up the best lots in town. Or at least one that is pretty near to the race village.

I’ve never been to Nicoll Highway MRT Station before (seriously, who has?!) but after some researching done, i could park my ride at beach road which is just a 5 minute walk away.

4) WHAT’S A RUN WITHOUT A BUDDY?

Happy Runners 😀

BORE-RAN! (“BORING” with a strong Eastern European accent)  Some of you might be running for fun while others want to beat their Personal Best. Nonetheless, runs such as this Urbanathlon would be much more fun if you have a buddy beside you. Some of the obstacles might see you slow down, take a tumble or simply need some help/motivation. And nothing would be better than knowing your buddy is right there helping you complete it and finish the race strong together.

Now that being said, if you have no one to run with, come early and mingle with the rest of the runners. Chances are you might just find someone who having read this guide, would do the same thing – looking for a running buddy. And hey presto! You got yourself a new friend. 🙂

5) DON’T BE A FISH. DON’T GET CAUGHT IN THE NET.

Network your way up, only to have you go down back again. (Pic from MH site)

“Ahhh… the fish net, kids play.” you might say. But it is probably the hardest and most time consuming obstacle for me during the race (besides the Down & Dirty, but we’ll get to that later). As you can see, you would have to climb the bouncy rope web to get to the other side of the truck – easy peasy – but with 5-10 others Urbanathletes scampering across the rope web, it kinda shakes the obstacle thus it gets you off balance.

Tip: Train your core (doing planks, sit ups etc) as well as hit the gym working on the cable machines as well as the giant yoga ball. I must also add that despite running and climbing on one leg and one prosthetic blade, Singapore Blade Runner managed to complete this tricky part of the race. BRA-VO!

6) DON’T RUN WITH YOUR SPANKING NEWLY-BOUGHT SHOES…OR ELECTRONIC GEARS

Chocolate covered mud pie shoe. Naice. (Pic taken off MH's FB Urbanathlon Album)

Its not because I’m worried that you have not broken into your shoe but because the last obstacle had the most Urbanathletes getting Down and Dirty in 2 containers filled with mud and water. Soaking your legs (up till your thighs) in mud might remind you of the facial mud mask that you had with your GF/wife over in Bali, but i would not recommend anyone to stick their face in them. Although the mud does indeed feel refreshing and invigorating for the tired legs, wearing your latest branded running shoes in them certainly does not (after you come out of the containers).

It would certainly have been better if the mud-concentrated container was the last container so people would be sporting really muddied legs as they cross the finishing line just 750m away! And ouh, DEFINITELY, DEFINITELY a 2nd or 3rd set of D&D obstacle would be great as Singapore Blade Runner and I (and probably along with 50 other runners) were practically waiting 20min before we got jump in the pool…of mud. Yay!

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With those 6 tips, i hope you will be better prepared for next year’s Men’s Health Urbanathlon 2013. Just 6 tips this time round because the run as really great. Till then, Guten Tag! 

Completing races with friends: Priceless

To those who wants to know their results/timings: CLICK HERE!

Some of the photos taken during the event.

1st Obstacle - Easy peasy lah!

Scenic route - Dont look back in anger

Tyre-d out?

SBR and I completing the race!

The Adidas Speed Cell Truck: Are you F50+ fast?

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*Photos taken are by NubPiktograf. And shall in no way be reproduced, copied, saved and use for any other media or personal publication without consent.
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2 thoughts on “RUNNERS GUIDE: How To Survive The Men’s Health Urbanathlon

    • Hahaha. My exact sentiments too. However, after going for this year’s Urbanathlon, its no wonder that 2300 signed up for it. Its really really fun and the route wasnt very mundane or “typical” of a Singapore running events route (i.e Nicoll Highway, Kallang, CBD etc). The race is peppered with obstacles that changes its pace making it exciting. 🙂

      Just saying. 🙂

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