SINGAPORE — The organisers of last week’s Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) have apologised for the inconvenience caused after numerous public complaints on the massive traffic jams that occurred during the races on Saturday (30 November).
This year’s marathon – the 18th edition sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank – was held in the evening for the first time, with many roads in the city area being closed to traffic from as early as 2pm for the 6pm race start.
With other major events such as the concert by Irish rock stars U2 at the National Stadium and the Christmas Wonderland at Gardens by the Bay held at around the same time on Saturday, massive traffic jams ensued.
Some of those caught in the jams took to social media to voice their displeasure at the disruption caused by the marathon. Facebook user Selwyn Koh wrote a post which has been shared more than 4,000 times, saying that organisers cannot simply close roads to make way for a run on a Saturday evening, as it would affect a lot of people.
“To my friend who spent close to 4 full hours in a jam travelling from Sentosa to Fullerton Hotel, I feel for you. To my other friend who had to wheel her harp down Nicoll Highway while rushing for a performance, I feel for you,” he wrote in his post.
“To another friend who was stuck in a taxi with a full bladder only to reach her destination with a $55 fare, I feel for you. To the lady in a lovely gown who was a wedding organiser at a wedding I attended last evening and had no choice but to park somewhere else while making a dash to the hotel with bags of wedding photo albums in tow, I feel for you.
“To the organisers of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, for heaven’s sake, please don’t organise a Saturday evening race again. Have some compassion, even if you don’t have a brain.”
Others defended the event, backing the race to become an iconic event for Singapore and blaming the lack of sporting culture among Singaporeans.
Stopped short of shifting evening races
Addressing the complaints, SCSM organisers put up a post on their Facebook page on Wednesday night, thanking the public for their feedback regarding the traffic conditions. Nonetheless, they stopped short of promising to shift the evening race times for future SCSM editions.
“We have read all your comments and feedback, and we apologise for the inconvenience caused. SCSM 2019 has presented many learnings for us to grow this race even further, to become one of the most renowned races in the world,” the organisers wrote in the post.
“In the last 18 years, SCSM has grown significantly to what it is today. We continue to take strides towards our goal of becoming an Abbott World Marathon Majors race, joining the likes of Tokyo, Boston, Chicago, Berlin, London and New York.”
Planning took almost a year
The organisers added that planning for the inaugural evening marathon took almost a year, with an “extensive stakeholder outreach programme”, which began in January.
“Full traffic studies in consultation with various partners were done, with over 230 stakeholders contacted and advised with solutions for alternate routes mapped out for race day,” they said.
“Extensive road advisories were disseminated via media outlets alongside SCSM’s digital channels, and roads were reopened progressively to minimise inconvenience caused to road users.”
The organisers insist that the public feedback would help them get closer to their goal – making SCSM a race not just for runners, but for Singapore.
“On Saturday evening, we saw an unprecedented number of spectators cheering their loved ones towards the finish. We hope to see Singapore not only embrace the sport of running, but also celebrate the triumph of the human spirit over adversity,” they said.
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