By Les Tan
A section of the 12,000 marathon runners at the start of last year’s marathon. Will it get more crowded this year? (Photo © Les Tan/Red Sports)
June 5, 2008 – The organisers of the Singapore Marathon received a sponsorship funding boost earlier this week when Standard Chartered Bank nearly doubled the sponsorship fee from S$1.05 million to S$2 million for this year’s version of the Singapore Marathon. In 2002, there were only 6,000 runners at the event. Last year, the numbers hit 40,000.
For those of us who have run this event, I’m sure you would have noticed the increasing numbers resulting in decreasing space. Two years ago, I decided I wouldn’t run the 10km event anymore because it was too crowded. While not as bad as the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge, running in a straight line with space to breathe was a problem, I recall. The next year, 2006, I ran the 21km and found it a lot more comfortable.
With 40,000 running the 2007 edition, the 21km looked like it had become too crowded as well. While I did not run it because I was a photographer at the event, the 21km seemed crowded because the end point looked like the start point – packed. An acquaintance said it felt more crowded in the full marathon as well.
The organising chairman of the race, Loh Lin Kok, said: “It is our goal to attract (the) world's top runners in the next few years for the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon to be one of the world's top 10 marathons.” To reach top-10 status, it is probable the organisers will have to pay appearance money to world class runners to ensure that they show up at the Singapore marathon. Singapore is not top of mind as far as marathons go. The elite runners usually just focus on top-tier events, namely, the New York Marathon, the London Marathon, the Berlin Marathon and the Boston Marathon.
The organisers indicate that they expect to break last year’s record registration figure of 40,000. There was no mention of capping registrations at 40,000. If the numbers do exceed 40,000, that would mean that each category route (42km, 21km, 10km) will get more crowded, assuming routes remain the same.
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