The District Run kicked off its global debut today as 3,000 urban explorers in Singapore gathered at The Meadow @ Gardens by the Bay to attempt the race for the very first time. My 6-year-old son Asher and I were among the group who participated.

The race uses Augmented Reality and location-based technology to bring about a different running experience. In two hours with no set route or distance, participants are flagged off in batches and spread out our five districts – Gardens, Chinatown, Downtown, Uptown and Kallang.

To participate in the race, you have to download and register an account on the District Race app beforehand. Flag off is down by scanning a QR code on your phone and then you are off to explore on your own for the next 2 hours.

There are over 80 virtual checkpoints featured in the race and participants can strategise their route to complete it in the fastest time possible. Each checkpoint reached will garner 100 points and the goal is to collect as many points as possible.

This is the first time I am running with an app and it was fun to check the live leaderboard to see who is leading as you race. When you achieve milestones like collecting a certain number of points, you get to unlock rewards with the app like S$3 off cashless payment with Mastercard for instance.

Overall, the experience was pretty good. This is the first fun run I have participated in whereby I do not have to waste a lot of time waiting for the mass flag-off which usually starts late. The staggered flag-off timings with crowd control managed by the app worked really well and because late-comers get penalised with points deductions, everyone show up on time.

This race is best enjoyed when you join with a large group of people to strategise with or compete against each other. I saw many such groups of people having a great time. As there is no set route or distance to be covered, it is ideal for all ages and for all fitness level. You can sprint all the way or leisurely walk to each virtual checkpoints, as long as you get out there moving!

I like the concept very much and will definitely join the race again if they run it again in Singapore next year.

District Technologies is the creator and owner of District Race. District Technologies is a joint venture between Singapore-based Exceed Sports and Entertainment, an industry leading sports, lifestyle and technology agency, and Lightweave, an Australian-based experiential technology agency leading the way in virtual reality, augmented reality and new technology.

After its debut in Singapore on 3 March 2018, the District Race will be following up with subsequent launches in Hong Kong, Australia, USA and Western Europe.