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13-14 Apr 2024
Marina Bay
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Singapore

Let’s race… Singapore T100

Tempted to take on Singapore T100 but not sure what to expect? Find out everything you need to know about racing this tough - but epic - 100km middle distance triathlon from an age-grouper who's been there and got the finisher medal.
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Jenny Lucas-Hill

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After completing the 100km age group race in 2024, long distance triathlete Jenny Lucas-Hill gives you the lowdown on what to expect from the T100 'festival of triathlon' taking place in the heart of Singapore. From the pre-race logistics and insider tips for taking on the challenging race course. To the must-see spots to hit during your post-race vacation. Get ready to add Singapore T100 to your triathlon bucket list.

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When the opportunity arose to get a last minute place on the start line of the age-group race at Singapore T100, it was a no-brainer to say yes – despite my trepidation about the humidity and my lack of heat prep. Because as far as iconic locations go, the backdrop of Marina Bay is one of the most special race venues going.

With age-groupers having the opportunity to experience the exciting 100km race format, and take on a very similar course to the world’s best pros. Singapore T100 brings with it a ‘festival of triathlon’ atmosphere. The race village quite quickly becomes a ‘who’s who’ of triathlon. And the city itself has so many contrasting corners to explore. This is an unforgettable race experience, well worth battling the heat for.

Kick race season off in epic style in the heart of Singapore

Location - Swim, bike and run in the heart of one of the world's most iconic cities

Awe-inspiring sky scrapers and the unique architecture of Marina Bay set the backdrop for the Singapore T100. This is a city of contrasts. It’s a fast-paced bustling metropolis. Filled with futuristic buildings, technology and innovation, weaved amongst the vibrant culture of China Town, and lively Hawker street food markets. But this non-stop city is also one of the greenest in the world. The ultra modern and super stylish are seamlessly blended with tranquil green spaces that feel a world away from the hubbub of the main streets. But in reality are just a few steps away.

The race itself gives you the unique opportunity to swim, cycle and run in what would usually be the top tourist spots. You’ll start your day by jumping into the incredibly warm water at Marina Bay near the helix bridge, filled with a slight sense of the surreal as you swim underneath the Benjamin Sheares Bridge and past the Art Science Museum – with the iconic Marina Bay skyline creating an impressive backdrop. The bike course is tough, but rewarding, with the steep climbs up and over the famous Benjamin Sheares Bridge you’ve just swum underneath rewarded with fast descents and exciting hairpin turns as you cycle on closed roads that would usually be teeming with traffic. The run course takes you along the edges of Gardens by the Bay, a welcome breeze coming in off the water – if you’re lucky. And once the hard work is done, this not-so-concrete jungle has plenty on offer for that well-deserved post-race vacation.

Why race... Singapore T100

As I crossed the finish line at the 2024 event the main thing that went through my mind, other than being grateful to have survived the heat, was: “I already want to go and do that all over again.” So what is it about this race that has me genuinely considering going back for more?

1
Incredibly fun, but challenging, bike course.
2
City centre course creates an electric atmosphere.
3
Well organised with great support for age-groupers.

Course - Iconic landmarks and an electric atmosphere

The course at Singapore T100 offers a unique perspective on this spectacular city. But be prepared to dig deep, work hard and break some serious sweat. The humidity, and the climbing on the bike, make this a pretty tough middle distance triathlon. That hard work is well-rewarded though, with epic scenery and a course lined with spectators to cheer you on. And, in my experience, T100 do a great job at looking after the age-group field to make sure everyone – regardless of experience-level – has a fantastic time out on the course.

Swim - 2km

The inaugural race at Singapore marked a moment in triathlon history, with the first ever triathlon swim taking place in Marina Bay. This is definitely a race where you can leave the wetsuit at home with confidence, with water temperatures upwards of 29 degrees. The course in 2024 took you underneath the Benjamin Sheares bridge, before doubling back for a long straight before you turn back towards Marina Bay to swim into T1. A rolling wave start was implemented - spread over the space of 90 minutes. We made our way down to the start pontoon in waves according to our age group, entering the water two at a time. That meant there was no 'washing machine' effect at the start of the swim. That super warm water temperature means it's important to take it steady in the swim - go off too hard and you'll quite literally be cooked before you even exit the water. “The swim course in Marina Bay was beautiful and more than once I had to remind myself to stop looking at the scenery and get on with the race!” – Jess B, 2023 100km participant.

BIke - 80km

The 80km bike course is challenging - but tremendously fun. In 2024, the age-groupers completed 5 laps of 16.5km with a total of 700m of elevation. The closed roads offer up super fast, smooth tarmac which you can make the most of on the fast, straight descents and wide flats. But don't forget to pack your climbing legs. You'll go up and over the Benjamin Sheares bridge multiple times per lap, which means some pretty steep hills to tackle. Thankfully those climbs are short as well as sharp. Pace them well and you'll be picking your way through the field with ease. Make sure you have the right gearing for this course - my rental road bike was fine going up the climbs, but didn't have enough gears to be able to carry the speed on the downhills and the flats. It's definitely TT bike-friendly, and if you can hold your aero position as much as possible - you'll be flying. “It was pretty remarkable that we were able to ride these roads that would otherwise be impossible to ride.” – Ashleigh Gentle, PRO triathlete.

Run - 18km

The 18km run is where the heat and humidity really takes hold. Leaving something in the tank on the bike is essential to be able to run well out of T2, and making use of the ice and sponges at every aid station is vital to keep your core temperature down. The course is a multi-lap out and back which takes you along the waters of Marina Bay and around the outside of the botanical paradise that is the Garden by the Bay before heading back to the event village and right by the finish line as you head out on your next lap. Expect a great atmosphere, as crowds of people line the barriers - cheering on the age-groupers while they wait for the PRO racing action later in the day to kick off. Manage yourself well in the heat, and you can run strong all the way to the finish line. "Because it’s scenic around the marina, it (the run course) has got to be one of the best in the world. To have a view like this as you are going around; it gives you motivation and inspiration to keep going." Female AG winner, 2024.

Race training & prep

Singapore is going to be a hot race – that’s a given. But you also need to factor in just how draining the humidity is. This isn’t the manageable dry heat most of us will be used to. It can feel borderline oppressive at times, so doing as much as you can to prepare for the humid conditions in training is key.

In an ideal world, we’d all be able to go and do an extended training camp in a similar climate. But for most of us that’s just not feasible, so you might need to lean more on indoor training to simulate the hot conditions. In the days leading up to the race, staying as hydrated as possible is vital. If you’ve never been to Singapore before, you’ll be shocked by how much you sweat just sitting outdoors, let alone doing any form of exercise! Bring plenty of electrolytes with you, so you can stay topped up and avoid having any dreaded cramp issues during the race.

The other factor that makes Singapore T100 an epic challenge is the climbing on the bike. My Garmin clocked 700 metres of elevation gain in total, which is fairly significant over 80 kilometres. The climbs are mainly short and sharp. Incorporate some VO2 max intervals and short hill repeats into your bike training to get used to the spiky efforts you’ll need to put out multiple times per lap during the race.

Finally, make sure you’re ready for a non-wetsuit open water swim. Barring any freak weather that dramatically drops the water temperature, you can almost guarantee that you’ll have to do without the added buoyancy a wetsuit gives you. Work on your body position in the pool so you won’t have ‘sinky legs’ slowing you down on race morning.

It’s also worth noting that for the 2023 and 2024 iterations of this event, you had to provide evidence of having completed an open water swim of 1500m or more at a pace of 2:30/100m or faster within the year prior as part of the registration process. On race day, participants had to complete the first 200m of the swim within 5 minutes. The course is straight forward and the water is calm, so for most that should be doable.

Travel & accommodation

Travelling to Singapore is straight forward, with Changi Airport being one of the busiest and most well-connected airports in the world. And as far as airports go – Changi is pretty spectacular. In fact, it’s often referred to as a tourist destination in its own right – with gardens, indoor waterfalls, art exhibitions and interactive activities alongside 100 eateries and plenty of shopping opportunities.

I found getting around the city itself was surprisingly easy. The mass rapid transit (metro) system is really straight forward to navigate, and you can tap in using Apple Pay or a contactless bank card (most major banks are accepted) so you don’t have to worry about getting a specific ticket. I used the MRT to get from the airport to my hotel. To travel around the city all week, and even to get down to the venue on race morning. If me and my famously terrible sense of direction can negotiate it, pretty much everyone else will do so with ease.

With Singapore being such a big city, there’s no shortage of places to stay. I was in the China Town area, which was only around 15 minutes away from the race venue on the MRT, or around a 25 minute walk. There was a great Hawker street food market nearby, and it was only a short walk to other areas of the city. Of course, the Marina Bay Sands resort is a choice if you’re after a touch of luxury!

Spectators - Support your athlete, get inspired by the PROs

What makes the T100 series special is that it gives participants the opportunity to be spectators, too. Unlike other races, where the PROs will be miles up the road while you tackle your own event. At Singapore T100 you can smash your own race, then watch the best in the world go head to head on the very same course.

Your support crew will have an abundance of opportunities to cheer you on during your race. From the scenic waterfront of Marina Bay, to the multi-lap city centre bike and run courses. The event village has a family-friendly ‘festival’ atmosphere. And of course the huge variety of shops, restaurants and attractions in the city itself mean there’s no shortage of things to do to pass the time.

T100 also have a live tracking app so they can get updates on your progress and make sure they’re ready and waiting to see you cross the finish line. Once your own race is over, it’s well worth sticking around to watch the PRO racing as the course layout means you can see them multiple times per lap. If you need some time out of the sun, you’ll also find several screens in the event village showing live footage of the PROs out on the race course, so it’s easy to keep up with all the action while you take a quick break.

Race-cation - Lively culture and stunning architecture

Once you’ve recovered from the excitement of all the triathlon action, it’s well worth spending a few extra days to really explore the huge array of things to see and do in Singapore. At first, it just feels like a big, busy city. But there’s so much more to it.

Head to Merlion Park to catch a glimpse of Singapore’s majestic Merlion sculpture – a mythical half-lion, half-fish creature. Take a stroll across the Helix Bridge, with its unique form modelled after the double helix DNA. For shopping and nightlife, visit CHIJMES – a former Catholic convent school now home to shops, bars and restaurants. And of course, if the views of the city from the race course weren’t unique enough, take a ride on the Singapore Flyer. 165 metres above the ground, this observation wheel offers panoramic views of Marina Bay and the city.

Art lovers should take a trip to the Civic District to visit the National Gallery Singapore. Housed in the historic former City Hall and Supreme Court. This 64,000 square metre state of the art museum is the largest visual arts venue in Singapore, showcasing over 8,000 Singapore and Southeast Asian art works.

Away from the museums, take a tour of some of Singapore’s diverse neighbourhoods where you’ll find lively street art and wall murals. From bird-inspired artworks in Tiong Bahru. To historic depictions in Chinatown. And vivacious Central American-inspired wall art in Haji Lane, where you’ll find the Blu Jaz Café, a must-visit for music lovers.

Race participants will have had the chance to get a glimpse of the Gardens by the Bay on the run course. But a return visit is a must to really appreciate it. Head down in the evening, and you’ll catch a light show at the Super Trees. Best appreciated from up on the OCBC skyline – as long as you don’t mind heights! A lot of sections of the Gardens are free to explore, but some of the ticketed attractions are well worth doing – including the breath-taking Cloud Forest. Here you’ll find the world’s tallest indoor waterfalls, and a mountain adorned with some of the world’s most exotic plant species.

There’s so much to do and see in Singapore, you might just struggle to fit it all into one trip. I only just about had time to scratch the surface of what this city has to offer, and I stepped onto the plane to flight out knowing that I definitely want to return some day to see more of it.

Kick race season off in epic style in the heart of Singapore

Swim, bike and run around some of the most famous landmarks in this iconic city. Secure your spot for Singapore T100

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