A Weekend at The Bintan Marathon 2019: Here’s What Went Down 

A Weekend at The Bintan Marathon 2019: Here’s What Went Down 

Race, relax, swim, repeat.

When my husband told me that he had signed up for yet another marathon, I hardly batted an eyelid – his insatiable thirst for competition (and the err, occasional wins) have seen him participate in at least twenty races in the past few years, with the ever-obliging spouse a.k.a me rah-rahing for him when he crosses the finish line at the end. 

This time though, it wasn’t in Singapore, but on the beautiful Indonesian island of Bintan where we’ve spent a couple of lovely holidays before. I was actually a little excited at the prospect of squeezing in a quick weekend vacation, and the fact that the prizes were really generous – cash prizes across the five categories added up to a princely S$100,000 – only fanned our anticipation for the Mandiri Bintan Marathon.

On 7 September, the race day, we found ourselves at Plaza Lagoi, where the race village was located. Plaza Lagoi is a new-ish massive shopping mall catering to tourists (read: Singaporeans) and it reminded me of an outlet mall in the outskirts of California in the ‘90s… well, that’s a story for another day. 

My husband’s 10KM race was set to start at 9am, long after the scorching sun had vaporised the last remnants of a cool morning away… it was HOT.  I’m happy to report that the acrid weather was the only point worth grumbling about, with the event running like a well-oiled engine so far – even the race pack collection the day before was a smooth process, unlike many other infuriating experiences we’ve had in Singapore. 

According to my husband, the scenic race route was definitely a welcome change from the ones flanked by buildings in Singapore. Bintan’s terrain is an interesting mix of flat roads surrounded by open spaces, with some knee-busting hills. It was a tough race for him, with the double whammy of a cloudless sky and searing hot tarmac. However, there were thankfully some respite in the form of run-through sprinklers located along the route, and plenty of hydration stations. 

For all his efforts, my husband came in sixth, with the gazelle-like Kenyans dominating the podium as usual! Post-race, all the participants were treated to fresh coconuts, a delicious alternative to the usual sugar-laden isotonic drinks. It was a great race, and he would definitely return for next year’s edition, which will take place from 4 – 5 July 2020. 

Where we stayed: Bintan Lagoon Resort

Image credit: Bintan Resorts

Since it was our first time in the Lagoi area, we stayed at the centrally-located Bintan Lagoon Resort. It was a huge compound and vastly different from Trikora Beach Club, the only place we’ve stayed in for all our holidays in Bintan. 

It was no doubt a family-oriented resort, but it ticked all the right boxes for us, from proximity to the race venue, great choice of in-house dining options and a yummy buffet breakfast. Speaking of which, breakfast was a little chaotic, which was expected it was packed to the rafters with fellow race participants squeezing in a quick bite. The choices were generous, and I thought the Indian selections were outstanding.

I had initially thought that being a family resort, it would be near impossible to find a spot for a nice stroll without falling over kids running around, but we did – and it was almost right in front of our room! Outside the Nelayan restaurant was a private beach with fine white sand and crystal clear waters… and nary a soul in sight. 

Image credit: Bintan Resorts (Facebook)

We caught the sunset with cocktails from Nelayan’s bar, a perfect way to round up our mini holiday. Tip: Bintan’s beaches are home to pesky sand flies, and since we were silly enough to go insecticide-free, we ended up bites that itched for a solid two weeks. 

All in all, it was an awesome “run-cation”, and we’d probably repeat the same itinerary (race, relax, swim and sleep) next year. 

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Fiona Chen
Fiona Chen

Fiona is a beach person who can't swim and a mountain lover afraid of heights.

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