When I first heard about the District Race, I have to be honest that I raised my eyebrows slightly as I wasn’t sure what to expect. In fact, I even questioned whether I should participate in the race at all. Having completed the District Race Singapore 2018, I have to be upfront that I truly enjoyed the race and it is definitely one of the best race events that I have participated till date. With over 80 virtual checkpoints and challenges spread over five districts, there was never a dull moment and the best part is that I get to spend some meaningful time with Jacqueline to explore Singapore’s many nooks and crannies.
My experience as an Outdoor Educator/Outdoor Teacher has given me a bit of an advantage for the District Race as I often bring my students on learning journeys to the 5 districts of the race. Armed with the knowledge of how the route was going to be like and the kind of traffic conditions that we were expecting, Jacqueline and I skipped the Chinatown, Uptown, and Downtown districts and explored the Gardens and Kallang districts instead. This was despite the fact that the checkpoints in the Chinatown, Uptown, and Downtown districts were pretty nearby to each other.
Just so you know, there was no set route or distance for the District Race Singapore 2018 and the goal of the race was to collect as many points as possible in two hours. Thus, crossing the finishing line with the best timing was really not the intent of the race and for Jacqueline and myself, we actually walked throughout so that we could see, hear, smell, touch and connect with Mother Nature at the Gardens District. Having said that, the District Race is suitable for beginners and professionals alike. If you have been cooped up in the office and have not been exercising much, the District Race is a good avenue to kickstart your fitness regime. If a healthy dose of competition is what you are after, District Race’s gamification approach will definitely spur you on.
To sum up, I totally love District Race because:
- I did not have to jostle with other race participants for running space.
- I got to plan my own race route and set my own pace.
- I was able to explore the places around the checkpoints without worrying too much about time.
- I had the opportunity to spend meaningful time with my race partner without any pressure to cross the finishing line in the best timing possible.
- Most importantly, I really like the Adidas event tee-shirt!
From a business perspective, the District Race has got potential to scale up and while I am not exactly sure how much it cost the organisers to execute this race event; I am pretty sure it was not as logistics/manpower intensive as other race events that I have participated in. Some observations that I noted are as follows:
- There were not many signages/banners put up as the District Race is pretty much self-directed. All the virtual checkpoints and challenges could be found on the District Race App and this gave participants the opportunity to pre-plan their route before race day. Some costs in terms of printing signages/banners and engaging people to put up and take down the signages/banners before and after the race would have been reduced.
- Although Event Crews were placed at strategic points to aid with the race administration, I do not see the race needing much manpower as there were no hydration points provided. Thus, with the reduced number of manpower needed to execute the race; there would also be some cost savings as well.
- When race participants completed a set number of checkpoints, they received pings on the District Race App that rewarded them with some attractive promotions from the Race Sponsors. This is definitely a great way to market some of the products and services from the Race Sponsors and it may actually help to boost the sales of relevant products and services!
Being the world’s first urban exploration race which uses Augmented Reality and location-based technology, the District Race will be launched in Hong Kong, Australia, USA and Western Europe subsequently.
Given the opportunity, I will certainly join future District Races! Being an avid explorer myself, I will even consider flying to other countries where District Races are planned so that I can also plan a holiday there at the same time.
Kudos to the race organisers and their team for such an excellent and successful race. It has been such a long time since I enjoyed a running event where the ultimate goal is not about crossing the finish line but really to get outdoors and see, hear, and smell what the place has got to offer.
I give the District Race two thumbs up!