On a recent weekend in September, Paul Martin ran 5km with more than 1,000 other runners around the world, exploring the rocky sea cliffs of Singapore’s Labrador Park. The next day, he raced 10km around Marina Bay, finishing 29th out of over 800 participants.

Undeterred by social distancing rules and race cancellations wrought by Covid-19, Martin continues to pursue his passion for travelling and running — virtually — via the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) Virtual Club.

“The Virtual Club motivates us to keep it going and not stop running,” says Martin, a four-time finisher of the SCSM, the annual marquee marathon and IAAF Gold Label Road Race held in the first week of December every year with over 50,000 participants. “There’s always something to look forward to; it’s motivating to have new challenges, races and routes each week.”

 

 

Launched on August 24, the SCSM Virtual Club is a free and all-in-one engaging and rewarding platform that includes weekly races and challenges, an online store with redeemable rewards, training and nutritional resources, and performance tracking.

Engage and race safely with both new and experienced runners in the global running community anytime, anywhere. Click on the SCSM+ tab to tap into a wealth of running knowledge on topics such as general fitness, nutrition, running, reflections and competition. Join time- or distance-based challenges — catering to all fitness abilities — to rack up reward points and redeem exclusive SCSM Virtual Club merchandise at the online store.

Each week, the SCSM Virtual Racing series offers competitive races of progressively further distances to help participants get into shape for the SCSM 2020 race weekend on 5-6 Dec. Race individually against others, or form a team with friends or colleagues to spur each other on towards the big day.

A total of 15 virtual races will be held, and finishers will receive a digital finisher badge for each race they complete. For a more tangible keepsake, there’s also the option of purchasing an official finisher bundle of a medal and a specially-designed SCSM face mask for each race.

More than just a training and competition programme, the SCSM Virtual Racing Series celebrates Singapore’s unique running routes with ‘Tour de Singapura’. Categorised into four themes — Action Seeker, Culture Shaper, Explorer and Foodie — the routes are a fantastic way to rediscover Singapore’s places of adventure, cultural landmarks, iconic attractions and culinary gems.

Stride out into the sunset (or sunrise) while you soak up the urban nature and modern marvels of the Marina Bay area, such as Gardens by the Bay and the ArtScience Museum. Pace yourself as you make your way down the 2.2km-long Orchard Road retail paradise — be prepared for multiple pitstops for the latest fashion trends, luxury labels and world-class eateries. Haste not through the cultural quarters of Kampong Glam, Little India and Chinatown where hip meets heritage. Log a few leisurely miles through lush green spaces like the Botanic Gardens and Southern Ridges.

“I travelled a lot pre-Covid-19 and appreciate different sights,” says Martin. “The ‘Tour de Singapura’ gives me a chance to explore new running routes in my own city. Besides, it’s always nice to see familiar faces at races — and now virtually to see familiar names in the virtual leaderboards!”

Joining a virtual club or training group can be a very powerful source of motivation and support during this time of pandemic, says Ben Pulham of Coached, SCSM2019’s official training partner.

“A lot of runners focus on races as their goal, but there is far more to running than races,” says coach Pulham, a former New Zealand national triathlete. “Running is a superb vehicle for improving health and quality of life, but also provides a great social connection.”

 

 

The SCSM Virtual Club welcomes all, no matter where in the world you live. A simple registration process helps runners connect their preferred activity tracking app to the web-based platform. Sign up at http://www.sgmarathonvc.com.