SINGAPORE: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon will involve a "unique alternative race format" with virtual and possibly "physical components", its event organiser said on Monday (Aug 24).
In a press release, event organiser Ironman Group said that these components are being explored "depending on regulations to replace the traditional road race".
The race format will allow runners to take part in the race "safely and virtually", said Ironman Group, and they can still enjoy the "signature finisher experience", complete with the finisher photo.
"With the health and safety of the runners, community and supporters being of utmost importance, race organisers will continue to work closely with relevant Government agencies for the unique race format for the 2020 Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon," said the organiser.
VIRTUAL CLUB PLATFORM LAUNCHED
In order to help runners stay active and train for the December marathon, the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon Virtual Club (VC) platform has also been launched.
The platform, which is free to join, includes weekly races and challenges, an online store with redeemable rewards, training and nutritional resources, and performance tracking.
"Runners can track their training data easily, compare themselves against their peers across local and global leader boards," said the press release.
"They can also improve their performances through the nutrition and training guides available and join themed weekly challenges and races to build up their training mileage for the race at the end of the year."
Part of the platform is the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon Virtual Racing Series, where a total of 15 races will allow runners to gear up for the "grand finale", said Mr Geoff Meyer, who is Asia managing director for Ironman Group.
"That will build every week, all the way down to that weekend in December where we call it our grand finale," he said at a virtual news conference on Monday.
As part of the race day, the physical component could involve participants running on treadmills or clocking their runs outdoors. And there will be an augmented reality course "through the heart of Singapore", said Mr Meyer.
RUNNERS CAN CREATE AVATARS FOR THE VIRTUAL ROUTE
For the virtual reality component, runners can create avatars who can navigate through the virtual marathon route in real time, competing with fellow runners, said the press release.
Given that planning for the race is still ongoing, more details will be shared soon, said Ironman Group.
“We would love to be launching a 50,000-person event running through the streets of Singapore, but obviously this is not to be the case in our current environment. The safety of our athletes, volunteers, staff and all Singaporeans is our priority," said Mr Meyer.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong said: “The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon will be a unique experience this year. With the launch of new innovative solutions, we will be able to continue training and connecting with fellow runners and athletes from around the world."