Great Runs in Singapore

Mark Lowenstein
Sep 16, 2016 · 9 min read

Singapore is the world’s only city-state. With a population of 6 million, Singapore gained independence from Britain in 1963. The country is a global commerce, finance and transport hub. It is small, about 2/3 the size of New York City, measuring 50 km from east to west and 27 km from north to south, with nearly 200 km of coastline. Singapore has an active greening policy, which has covered the island with tropical plants, parks, and parks.

Despite its density and many high-rises, Singapore is a pleasure for running. There are lots of lovely paths and parks, and a very active running scene. Highlights include some spectacular waterfront running around the marina, the extensive East and West coast linear parks along the water, Gardens by the Bay, and the Macritchie Reservoir loop. Another running note: many of Singapore’s running spots are well lit at night. We’ll try to point those out. This is helpful, as there are not late sunsets due to Singapore’s location close to the equator. Singapore has an excellent public transportation system. You don’t generally need a car to access great running — in fact, Singapore is known for its expensive congestion pricing. The best way to get around is the extensive MRT system, which is a combination of trains, subways, and light rail. Here’s a link to the MRT MAP

Singapore has a tropical climate — hot and humid. Temperatures are hot and hotter, relatively evenly distributed throughout the year. High temps are generally 29C-32C (near 90F) and rarely below 25C (77F) at night. It’s almost always humid. There is rainfall on 1/2 to 2/3 of days throughout the year, with tropical downpours, but rarely all day rain. Be cautious of the heat and humidity. Hydrate and run early or late if you can. Day length is consistent throughout the year, due to Singapore’s location near the equator.

The Routes

This is a fantastic run mainly along the water, taking in some of Singapore’s major arts and cultural sites and unique architecture. We have designed two runs along Marina Bay, nearly all of it on dedicated paths. The short run is 3.4 miles, which does a loop around the main Marina Bay. One can start anywhere, but a central point is the Coleman Bridge. Head east along the Singapore River. Sites along the route, in order along the run, include: the elegant Fullerton Hotel; Arts House Performing Arts Center;Victoria Theater; Parliament House; Asian Civilization Museum; the futuristic Esplanade — Theaters Along the Bay; The Float, the world’s largest floating stadium and Stage; the Helix Bridge, modeled on DNA structure; the flower-shaped Arts Science Museum; several spectacular waterfront restaurants along the western side of the museum; and Merlion, the iconic conic, 8.5m-tall statue with the body of a fish & head of a lion, shooting water from its mouth.

The “long run” is 7.2 miles,, which we recommend be done counterclockwise. adding the larger section along the Bay. Start at Marina Blvd. and Raffles Quay, and head toward the Art Science Museum. The path then skirts the Gardens by the Bay, to the Marina Barrage (a dam in Singapore built at the confluence of five rivers). Then run along Marina East, enjoying the paths by the golf course, up to Singapore’s sports complex including the National Stadium, Aquatic Center, the Singapore Sports Hub, the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and the Kallang Theater. The final section comes back along the western edge of the Marina, heading past the Singapore Flyer observation wheel, along the water’s banks. Add-on options include East Coast park, accessible from the paths along the eastern part of the marina, and the paths in the Gardens by the Bay.

Waterfront — Downtown Core to Stadium

This is another version of some waterfront running in Singapore. It’s easily accessible from hotels and offices in the central business district. Make your way down toward the Helix bridge, and follow the waterfront promenade toward Kallang. There are water views most of the way, and pleasant footpaths and foliage. The pat ends near the Merdeka Bridge. On the return, there are great views of the skyline. This is a good run to do at night.

Our route is a there and back. Add some mileage by looping around Marina Bay (near the Sands hotel).

Gardens by the Bay and Fort Canning Park

Gardens By the Bay is top visited sites in Singapore. Opened in 2012, this is a spectacular 250 acre nature park, consisting of three waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden. There are also numerous indoor gardens and conservatories (Flower Dome, Cloud Forest), for which ticketed admission is required. It is possible to run among the outdoor trails, although it is crowded at certain times and might be frowned in the interior walkways. The best running — and where biking is permitted — is along the the waterfront promenade in Bay South and the perimeter of Bay East Interim Garden. One can do about 2 miles in the gardens.

A great run is to combine the Gardens by the Bay with Fort Canning Park. Fort Canning Park, an iconic hilltop landmark has witnessed many of Singapore’s historical milestones. The hill once sited the palaces of 14th century Malay Kings and served as the Headquarters of the Far East Command Centre and British Army Barracks. This is one of the few places in Singapore to do some hills. There expansive lawns and lush gardens, great for running, and some good stairs.

There are lots of options here. Permieter of Gardens by the Bay is ~ 2 miles, and Fort Canning is ~1 mile around. Use the Marina trails and the Helix footbridge as a connector. Make the run even longer by doing the Marina Bay loop.

East Coast Park

East Coast Park is one of the most popular places for running and biking in Singapore. A paved, flat path runs 6+ miles from the Marina Bay area near downtown, heading east toward the airport, paralleling the East Coast Parkway. There are water views and lush greenery the entire way. Sections pass along a public beach. This is not a remote park. It can be crowded.

The route option is pretty straightforward. The path runs along the park, nearly 6 miles. One can continue eastward along the Changi Coast Walk path, for another mile or so. There are numerous recreational activities in the park. Much of the path is lit at night. More info about the park.

Macritchie Reservoir

Macritchie Reservoir is a wonderful nature trail getaway only 10km from the downtown core. This 6.5 loop around a nature trail offers great variety: a path by a golf course, trails edging along a man-made reservoir, a treetop walk along a suspension bridge, and paths through lush vegetation. There are other recreational opportunities in the park, especially on the reservoir and in the park on the southern end. Keep an eye out for the macaques!

West Coast Park

This is the signature run in the west coast section of Singapore. A lovely 5k loop that provides great views of the water. It is just south of the National University of Singapore, and parallels the West Coast Highway. There are myriad facilities in the park, including shelters, restrooms, a playground, and a wildlife marsh, connected by a boardwalk. There is a tunnel connecting the two sections of the park.

Singapore River

There is pleasant running along the Singapore River. It’s possible to go about 3.8 miles one-way from the Parliament area in the downtown core, heading west toward the Queenstown Stadium. Of course, you can shorten the run by starting near where you are staying, or turning around at some point. There are pedestrian ways along both sides of the river, in most sections. Then better initial section is on the northern side, then cross the pedestrian bridge to head to the southern side at the 1.7 mile mark. The path turns into the Alexandra Canal Linear Park, which is a very pleasant path. This path is well lit at night.

Bedok Reservoir Loop

Bedok Reservoir is a lovely foliage and waterfront run in the eastern section of Singapore, toward the airport. This is one of the more popular recreation areas in Singapore. It is about 4.3k (2.6m) around the reservoir, which was originally a sand quarry. There are numerous path options in the park, some paved and others gravel. There are water fountains and bathrooms. The path is fairly open, so be cautious about the sun and heat.

Pandan River Trail

The trail along the Pandan River is an flat, straight 3 mile shot. Paved, with river views most of the way. The trail is also known as the Ulu Pandan Park Connector. It runs from the Buona Vista MRT stop in the east to just past Clementi Ave. Two miles to the east is Singapore Botanical Gardens (not connected by a path).

STAY

Most of the signature hotels in Las Vegas are located on the Strip. The most elaborate ones, such as the Bellagio and the Wynn, are toward the southern end of the Strip. If you are determined to run in Las Vegas and want to avoid the Strip, try to stay at one of the hotels (Bally’s, Aria on the Strip, Hard Rock Hotel, Alexis Park on E. Harmon Ave.) near E. Harmon Ave., which is decent for running and takes you over to the UNLV campus. Another option, if you don’t need to be right in Las Vegas, is to stay at the Red Rock Casino Hotel, 17 miles away. They have great rooms, restaurants, a nice pool and fitness center, and are within a few minutes of Red Rock Canyon (car required). Among the Strip hotels, the ones with the best fitness centers are: Bellagio, Wynn, Mandalay Bay, Aria. There’s also a Canyon Ranch at the Palazzo hotel. Most of these hotels charge a (mandatory) resort fee.

Near Henderson and Hoover Dam, there’s a great Westin resort with excellent fitness facilities and proximity to fabulous running opportunities.

Running Stores and Group Runs

IRUN 313@Somerset
313 Orchard Road, Level 4, #04–05/06
Singapore 238895
Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday 11am–9pm
www.facebook.com/irunsingapore

IRUN Queensway Shopping Centre
1 Queensway, #01–04
Singapore 149053
Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday 11am–9pm
www.facebook.com/irunsingapore

Events

Singapore Running Calendar from JustRunLah

Singapore Running Calendar, from Run Society (a magazine devoted to running in Singapore)

Major Events

Running with the Devil. A race in the Mojave Desert designed to test heat endurance.

Great Runs

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