I started jogging in 2019. When the Covid pandemic hit, I jogged a lot more. Exercise allowed me to go out of the home; if life is put on hold, the least I could do was – running to stand still (my life motto, it seems).
In 2022, between a hectic period at work and contracting Covid (which meant a recovery period), my running volume dropped. Perhaps it was just waning interest making the time/ effort seem more onerous. And so, I looked for different places to jog, and found that I really enjoyed being amidst big trees. This small city-state does not have much of forests or trails, but I began checking out more places.
I love running at Gardens By the Bay, but it is more of a garden and the routes around it does not offer much shade. I tried Changi Bay, Tampines Eco Green, Punggol Park, Botanic Gardens, Labrador Park, Hort Park, Fort Canning… and finally, I decided to give Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and MacRitchie Reservoir a try. I quickly realised that they were not suited for jogging (for me). I am the sort who worries too much when it is a slippery downslope. They became places to walk for me.
These places are a little further for me, and I worry about it being crowded and so I went during weekdays on my days off.
And those days off were almost magical. I love hearing the crunch of my feet on the trail; I love how once you enter the shade under the big trees, it is a different world. There was so much to pay attention and yet, nothing to really pay attention to. You have to be careful of boars and monkeys, and put on a lot of insect repellant but being in nature, and walking yourself among big trees, this activity pleases me so. I don’t think of anything in particular, and I end up smiling to myself. I perhaps check my route to see I am still headed the correct way but well, I am fine if I end up slightly off-course. I take walks that are around 5 to 8 km, and average around 15 min/km. At this speed, a 8 km route takes around 2 hours. It seems like a big chunk of time to spend (because you also have to add travelling time to/from the park) but I can only say that I don’t regret the time spent.
Currently, I think the MacRitchie Reservoir area (see images below), starting from Windsor Nature Park is quite a pleasant route for me. It is not too difficult and is interesting. I do see (relatively fit) elderly people on the trails. Of course, I also see very fit people running within the trails and I am always full of admiration when they run past.