[Picture Credit: CNA fb]
I took part in the 5km Hello Kitty Run on Saturday and can safely say it was the best and worst run I have ever taken part in. It was a Hello Kitty fan’s dream come true and a runner’s worst nightmare. Let’s start with the horrifying bits first:
1) 17,000 runners of all ages and varying levels of race experience
I was in the second ‘wave’ of runners and it was frustrating having to wait till 8.14am before I could finally move. Flag-off for the first wave was at 8am, then the emcee tried to “entertain” us while we waited and perspired.
I could not see what was happening on the stage – I could hear talk about cupcakes and Kitty and Daniel and whatnot, but it was such a pity. I did not see any of it!
And when we were FINALLY ready to go, some people with their selfie sticks and phones and cameras were just refusing to budge till they took their photos with an inflatable balloon kitty.
THEN, when I finally get my chance to escape from that sauna among a throng of people, there are kids and inexperienced runners getting into my way. Someone running in front of me would suddenly stop and turn around to look for a friend/family member/Kitty(?!) and I have to do my best not to run straight into him/her.
2) That ambulance
I have never been in a race whereby an ambulance suddenly comes from behind, with sirens blaring, and I have to give way to it. Utterly ridiculous. And those fans with their selfie sticks were definitely not going to give way till they had gotten their pictures.
It was definitely not a good time to have a heart attack or some life-threatening injury, because by the time the ambulance reaches the person, he/she would most likely be gone.
3) Hello Kitty balloons, sculptures, arches, distance markers, etc
People were just stopping for pictures at ALL of these “attractions”. I have NEVER seen anyone stop for a picture with a distance marker before, but it was commonplace at the Hello Kitty Run. There was definitely no way to clock a personal best timing for running, and I was doing more running sideways, by trying to dodge people who suddenly decide to turn around for a selfie.
4) Really icy cold water
I stopped at both water points. And was given really cold water. I pity the folks with sensitive teeth.
5) Inexperience in handing out medals
The organizers have absolutely no clue as to who has taken a medal and who hasn’t. I am not surprised at all that some runners had the chance to take more than their share of medals.
In other runs I’ve taken part in, someone would put a tick on our race bibs to signify that we have collected our medals. For the Kitty Run, you can take a medal, then go queue again for another. No way that could be stopped. ;)
I managed to complete the run pretty fast, even overtaking some of the people in the first ‘wave’. I collected my medal without a hitch. There were kitty cookies and mineral water and a canned drink for each runner too.
When I emerged from the (portable) toilet, it started to drizzle, then it really poured. I decided to just run back to the bus bay where there were shuttle buses to take us back to Vivocity.
I got totally drenched and decided not to wait for the bus, and to take the tram back to Vivocity instead.
What was amazing about the Hello Kitty Run:
1) The tee, the Hello Kitty plushie and the medal
It is definitely the prettiest, cutest and most treasured medal I have in my collection. I think the only thing the organizers got wrong was the naming of this event. It should have been called the “Hello Kitty Big Walk” or something like that.
It was definitely not a “Run”. It was a massive gathering of Hello Kitty fans in celebration of Kitty’s birthday with many photo opportunities along the route.
2) The amazing decorations!
I have never taken part in a more ‘kawaii’ run. There were kitty balloons, bubbles and even some (Japanese?) Kitty song being played. And there was supposed to be an awesome Beach Party, which I did not stay for because of the rain.
And now, for the millionaire dollar question: Will I take part again if there is another Hello Kitty Run / Walk?
Sadly, yes. I’m a sucker for these things.
What would I do differently next time?
1) Get to the starting point as early as possible so I am ahead of the pack
2) Carry a bag to contain all the Kitty goodies at the end, and include a poncho in case there’s bad weather