Outside the central catchment area, the big green blob at the centre of Singapore’s map, only Pulau Ubin offers enough off-road running to really satisfy long distance affictionados. I tried to figure something out that links up the most non-surfaced road/trails with the least need for paved connections:
The embed function for mysterious reasons doesn’t work so click here to go to mapometer for the route.
It needs pointing out that this route doesn’t follow the Nparks rulebook. I personally do not think running it holds any potential to disturb ecosystems or otherwise do any conceivable harm (unless you’ld take massive numbers out there), but I’m not in charge. So don’t blame me if you get into trouble….
1.5k after the start the route turns onto former kampong trails that are not on the Nparks guide map. You’re supposed to stick to those…
You’re not supposed to run on the Chek Jawa boardwalk, let alone get off it into the mangroves. I would never do that were it not for it only being on an existing and short stretch on a boarded trail to a beach (one can also stick to the boarded trail and circle back to the official mangrove board walk but then you’re in the mangrove forest way longer). From the beach there is an old rough road going to the Balai quarry. The rough road around the quarry seems to have just been bulldozed again, but where it hits the Jalan Maman, a road barrier suggests “off-limits” and this rough road is also not on the Nparks guide map….
After returning to the jetty area (and the campsite next to it) there is another kilometer through closed off former prawn farms.
At the Western end of the route, the rough roads of first circuit around the Ketam quarry are also not on the guide map, and the second circuit is on mountain bike trails.Weekdays should be fine, in the weekends be very careful….Great trail running though! Unlike many other places Singapore tries to discourage dual use (running/walking and mountain-biking) of trails, so some mountain-bikers might display an angry sense of entitlement.
Anyways, best to not do this run during busy days, to avoid drawing attention to yourself and/or run into mountain-bikers.
The route includes two short out-and-backs, the first to a couple of the weirder rural temples, the second to a very worthwhile rocky viewpoint above Ubin quarry.
The route leaves out one trail that has made it onto the Nparks guide map (from the mamam campsite back South to the main road going toward Chek Jawa. It’s a nice single track trail and you may consider including it as a out-and-back. The map above should make the most obvious way to add this (either on the way to Chek Jawa or on the way back) a no-brainer.
I always add some visual/auditory candy to my posts. This embellished version of Stromae’s hit seemed appropriate for a post on trails: