Sunday, October 30, 2005

From Penguin to Sunshine Runners

“How come you don’t have pot belly one?” My friends and Pacesetters runners would jokingly ask me this question at times. Well, it is indeed a valid and interesting question as runners who are serious in running would eventually burn away the extra fats in the body and becomes slim. Worst still, for excessive running such as embarking on marathon races, one could actually shrink in body size.

After much thought, it is timely to look for a new identification. The Penguin name associates with fat, pot belly, clumsy and slow moving which does not agree with my beings now a days that I have worked hard to evolve to fit runner. Besides, I am not so sure whether this name put the ladies off.

When you log on to this weblog, did you notice any differences? Yes, the weblog name has been changed from Penguin Runners (KL) to KC & the Sunshine Runners. On the left sidebar, you would see the names of running friends and their personality’s quotes instead of the Penguin numbering. New friends are included, so are names have been dropped.

This similar weblog name is mooted from the famous band in the 70’s -- KC & the Sunshine Band -- whose songs are still being played frequently over the local radio wave.

All enthusiasts who enjoy outdoor quests are constantly associated with nature and sunshine. For example, after running in dawn for hours in training runs or in marathon races, it would be reassuring when we see the first ray of light over the horizon radiating warmth.

The process

The process of identifying a new name was quite interesting. Let me share with you: Though I am not a gambler, I know that the Racing pages in the newspaper provide excellence reference for names. The racers are actually very creative in naming their horses in the various races. While going through the list on the SundayStar Racing pages, the name “Sunshine” caught my attention. Yes, it would be refreshing to be addressed as Sunshine Runners.

Besides the original Sunshine name, I thought that it would be in vogue to precede it with “myOne” and it became myOneSunshine. So, I sent out emails excitedly to my learned friend to seek for opinions. The response was that though it is excellent idea to reinvent the weblog to give it a fresher look and feel; however, the myOneSunshine was a quite mouthful to read and pronounce. Besides, it sounds similar to the name of a popular bank loans. I was even asked that there was a popular band in the good old days with the partial name of Sunshine: was it coincidence or intentional.

On Thursday 27 October 2005, the following piece of news in the Star newspaper caught my attention: Aishwarya Rai – Bollywood icon and superstar in India – is the most prominent cover girl not only on magazines but on firecracker boxes also as India gears up for Deepavali on 2 Nov. I pondered for a moment. That was a clever move by the firecracker makers to endorse her and associate their products with someone who is famous.

On the same evening while on the way home after office hours, the song “Please Don’t Go” by KC & the Sunshine Band was played over the radio. This Band emerged as the most successful disco group of the 1970s. They produced a lot of fun records. The songs didn't have any serious messages, but they had a lot of charm. There was just good times, put on the dancing shoes, get up ... and dances to music.

Similarly in running, we do not need to have serious messages. We just have to put on the running shoes, run and enjoy the good times. And at that instant, it struck me that why not call the new name as KC & the Sunshine Runners as my initial is also KC. That evening, I sent out emails to ask my learned friend again. This time, it was with positive responses.

Do we disband the Penguin name? Imagine we are wearing long pants with tight fitting 33 inches waistline. It would be mismatch if the waistline had gone down to 32 inches. We would then buy new pants and belts while keeping the old pants in the wardrobe; just in case one day that we would expand the waistline again. So, to cater for the different conditions, I think it is good to be called Sunshine Runner now while maintaining the Penguin Runner name.

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely…

… a beautiful song by late John Denver.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Simon and Alona's Wedding

Note by KC:
After reading many postings on running and cycling, I think it is refreshing to read something different. Let me take you to a different type of reading – to see what it entails in a Chinese wedding. For those bachelors who are thinking of getting married, you must read this posting.

For those who are not ready yet, it is good that you know what is expected of you. At least you are prepared for this occasion. For example, kneeling on your knee, you could be expected to sing a love song to win the heart of your loved one. At least when you go for karaoke sessions with your buddies, you would probably choose a more difficult posture instead of just sitting down to sing. Alternatively, sing it to your buddies.

On the other hand, you could be entering into delicate situation for singing love songs superbly. You may have to explain later to your girlfriend (soon to be your wife) why you were so good in singing love songs and declare whom the songs were previously sung to.

The best man, Han Ng, and bridegroom, Simon, both are Pacesetters runners. When Simon was actively running half marathon, Meng (Penguin-2) and I were still running in 10km races. Though Simon is younger than me, he is actually my senior in the Pacesetters Club.

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage.~ Lao Tzu

Written by Han Ng

A few weeks before Simon’s wedding, he asked me to be his best man and the Master of Ceremonies for the wedding dinner. I remember pondering the question: ‘how difficult can it be?’ Boy, was I wrong! I didn’t expect the bridesmaids would be so creative, and I also didn’t realize the evening banquet was packed with so many interesting activities. All those really made me think twice about planning such an elaborated wedding day. Not to mention the aftertaste of wasabi still lingering in my mouth.

Auspicious Timing

A few days before the wedding day, Simon reminded me to be early. On the evening before the big day, Simon reminded me again to be early on his wedding day.

‘No problem,’ I said. ‘Is 8:30 a.m. OK with you?’

Simon gave me a funny look and said, ‘we leave my house at 7:00 a.m.’

I was thinking, ‘Yes problem. That means I have to get up at 5:30 a.m.!!! I don’t even get up so early for work, dude. It’s only when I do more serious or important things like the Sunday run or a marathon that I get up before 6:00 a.m. However, I haven’t been doing either of those in more than a year.’

Simon explained to me that the journey from Ukay Perdana to USJ on a Monday morning could be heavy with traffic. We would better leave early so that we could pick up the bride at the auspicious time.

All I remembered before I went to sleep was, WAKE UP REAL EARLY, JAM ON MRR2, EARLY, JAM ON KESAS, EARLY, JAM IN USJ…

I did get up real early the next day, and reached Simon’s house at 6:30 a.m. The situation in his house was a little chaotic as everyone seemed busy doing something. I met the other ‘heng tai’ (brother) for the first time. We were a little unsure what to expect for the next few hours as Simon didn’t have the time to brief us on anything other than being early.

The Convoy

When we finally departed from Ukay Perdana, the time was about 7:25 a.m. – prime time for morning traffic jam. Aside from keeping all seven cars closely together, I had the extra challenge and responsibility of transporting the video cameraman. At times, I had to drive next to the bridal car so that the cameraman can take a shot of Simon waving his hand. Other times, we had to drive slightly ahead of the bridal car on the fast lane to take a frontal shot of the car.

It was a good thing the cameraman was skillful to complete all the required shots on the first take. It was more than a little blood pumping to have to zigzag your way through the morning traffic with half a cameraman sticking out of your car window. Five minutes into the MRR2 traffic and we lost sight of the other six cars. Haha… the rest of the journey was smooth sailing as I didn’t have to synchronize with the stunt shots. All I had to do was to flow the traffic until we joined the caravan of “ribboned” cars near USJ.

It was in USJ where I met the third ‘heng tai’, Michael, who waited for us a few streets away from Alona’s house as he stayed in the area. In the course of meeting Michael, we wandered around the residential area of USJ 6, and even managed to pass the bride’s house completely before Simon realized he had missed his destination.

While Simon was waiting in the bridal car for the bride’s entourage to welcome him, we asked all three of the ‘heng tai’ to join him in the car. Simon told us that we have to learn the lyrics of a love song right there and then, in case he was asked to sing. He popped a music CD in the player and asked us to memorise the lyrics of a Michael Learns to Rock number. The three of us looked at each other and started laughing. There was no way we were able to do that in less than five minutes. We quickly wrote the lyrics of a popular Teresa Tang’s song and told him that we would sing along with him.

Overcoming Hurdles

Sure enough, before we were even allowed to enter the front yard, Simon was asked to sing a love song. Fortunately, Alona’s sister-in-laws didn’t object to the heng tai singing along. At the end of the song, Simon was asked to get down on his knees and declare his love for Alona by shouting at the top of his lungs, ‘ALONA, I LOVE YOU!!!!’ We passed the first of five tests.

The second test was a session of 99 counts of push-up’s which the sister-in-laws were willing to ‘discount’ a little due to time constraints (thank goodness for good old fashion Chinese tradition). We were led into the house and up to the door of the bride’s room.

Next came the much dreaded food test. The moment Simon took the burger handed to him, I smelled trouble with WASABI all over it. I could smell the nasty Japanese torture concoction three feet away. Before I could do anything, Simon took a bite and that was the end of the smile on his face. I knew the rest was up to the best man and the heng tai. I took the killer burger from Simon who was then gulping down the drinking water. The three of us each took a piece of the green monster and started eating away.

Well, it wasn’t long before the three of us were fighting with the groom over the glass of water. The whole thing turned real ugly, man. Have you seen four grown up men trying their best to open their mouths real wide to release the wasabi toxic fume, and at the same time, trying our best not to let our natural optical lubricant take the best of us -- ‘We are all real man! We are not afraid of wasabi.’ It was a good thing the banana slices kinda neutralized the poisonous effect of the wasabi. And if anyone said they saw us dumping the rest of the wasabi burger in the trash bin, he’s a liar, man! We didn’t even notice there was a pink trash bin with the cute little bunny next to the bathroom. And if you did find traces of the wasabi burger in the trash bin, Simon probably did it!

With our victory over the tiny Japanese killer burger, Simon again declared his love for Alona on a certificate with Alona’s family members as witnesses. The last test was the Hong Kong’s tradition of passing the red packet to open the door to receive the bride. Simon and his brother came prepared. The red packet was too thick to be slid under the door, and the bridesmaid had to open the door to accept the red packet, which opened the door to eternal happiness.

At that moment, I think the three of us were actually happier than the special couple as we know our job as best man and heng tai was done. The remaining was the customary tea ceremony in the respective houses and the many photo sessions which followed. One thing which was rather unusual was the journey to Tin Hou Gong temple before we returned to Simon’s house. The wedding couple thanked the higher order for bringing them together and promised to treat each other with respect and love. Well, I was just glad that I wasn’t the one having to stand under the hot sun in the thick 3-piece suit with a big smile for the cameras. My job was done. Wait…. There was still the dinner banquet where I was expected to be the Master of Ceremonies. That’s another interesting story which I shall share with you some other time.

To view the wedding dinner photos taken by KC at Concorde Hotel, please click here.

By Han Ng

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Nike Women

Returning to Bukit Aman car park after the 20km training run on Sunday 2 October 2005, we were pleasantly surprised to see a big crowd there. On that morning, Pacesetters Club had set up a few booths to facilitate the registration of 30km runs; distribution of free T-shirts; sales of running related merchandises. Not forgetting Nike Sales was there to promote their latest products on running.

Looking at Adrian (From Nike; whom I know later) taking photos at those gathered there, I regretted for not having brought my camera. We struck a conversation about online blogging. Immediately after that, Amanda, the Marketing Manager, came to enquired whether I come to know any lady runner. Without hesitation, I recommended Miss Chantelle – Pacesetters Club’s “leng lui” (pretty girl).

The rest was history. Chantelle was chosen as the representative for Nike Women. The good news was that Chooi Wan (another lady runner that runs with Chantelle) too was chosen as another representative.

They are to detail their running experiences so as to inspire other lady runners to run. The timing was perfect as Chantelle is participating in the Singapore International Marathon (on 4 Dec 05) for the FULL marathon category. All her training experiences would be very useful to other runners, especially the lady runners. I hope that more lady runners will take up running after reading their running experiences.

This is the first time where a lady friend who runs with us is taking up the full marathon challenge. To make things more exciting, she is doing her first full marathon in a foreign land. Of course, the Penguin Runners are giving her the support. Our Mountain Sifu, Tony (Penguin-3), is doubled-up as her trainer to ensure that she crosses the finishing line within standard qualifying time for her maiden marathon race.

To read Chentelle’s and Chooi Wan’s blogs in Nike main website, please click here.

Note: To “remember” a web site for retrieval later, in the Internet Explorer, click Favorites, select Add to Favorites.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

Invitation To Trek Mt Kinabalu - 2006

I am pleased to announce that Tony (Penguin-3) is organizing another adventurous trip of trekking up the peak of Mount Kinabalu next year from May 25 - 28, 2006. He has climbed up Mount Kinabalu for more than 10 times and the most recent climb was on 27 August 2005.

This trip in May 2006 would assist him in preparation for the Mount Kinabalu Climbation challenge in Oct 2006 where each racer is to run up and down the peak within short qualifying hours.

Currently, he is on members recruitment drive. If you are interested, please email or call Tony before 30 Oct 2005. Please hurry, as seats are limited.

Hand phone: 016-274 2213

Fees: RM 950 per person.
This is a non-profit amount as he organizes the Mount Kinabalu trips based on passion for the climb. This fee is based on the low airfare and the fee would be reduced accordingly if he can get promotional rate.

Tentative Itinerary:
May 25 - Leave KL to KK. Stayed at Mesilau Bishop Rest House
May 26 -Trek via Mesilau route up to Laban Rata Rest house (put up a night in hostel bunk beds type)
May 27 -Trek up to the Peak and descend same day. Stay at Poring Hot Spring
May 28 - KK town for 2 hrs shopping and back to KL

Minimum requirement:
You must be healthy and have positive mindset. Trekking up Mount Kinabalu is challenging and required considerable amount of fitness and effort.

Maximum number of trekkers: 14
Small group is preferred for focus attention. Consideration for safety of the trekkers is the prime concern of Tony. He would engage sufficient mountain guides and porters to assist the trekkers. To-date, seven places have already been taken up.

A series of hill trekking would be organized by Tony five months leading to the actual climb. You are recommended to participate at these training events. Popular hill trekking destinations: Gunung Datuk (Seremban), Gunung Nuang (Ulu Langat), Gunung Irau (Cameron Highlands), etc.

Quotable quote by Penguin-1:
Being Japanese, they must climb Mount Fuji once in their life times. Being Malaysians, we must climb Mount Kinabalu once in our life times.

So, are you inspired to take this challenge?

To read the previous stories and to view the spectacular photos of Mount KK:

For 2005 climb, please scroll down the postings in this blog or click Achives for August on the left bar.

Please click here for story and photos for 2004 climb.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Powerman Duathlon 2005 Photos

I met the official photographer of Pacesetters Club, Mr. Chan Wing Kai, on 2 Oct at Bukit Aman car park after the Sunday morning training run. I was anxious to know the photos taken by his new Nikon D70 digital SLR during the Powerman race on 25 Sep 2005. He was most kind to give me a CD-ROM containing about 60 photos taken by him.

To view photos taken by Mr. Chan (which have been re-sized by me for viewing only, not for printing at photo shops; resolution quality was set to 'medium' to compress each photo size), please click here.

I would appreciate it if you could inform your friends who appeared in the photos too. Those that I recognized are: Jason Tiang, Thomas Ng, Lay, Lok, Agnes, Carmen.


According to Mr. Chan, he found it difficult to recognize the Pacesetters Club members when they were riding the racing bicycles at fast speed covered with helmets and sunglasses. I agreed with him. I actually encountered the same problem while I was at Bukit Aman car park cheering and taking photos for the bikers during the Kuala Lumpur Duathlon race in March 2005.

At that time, my requirement of taking photos was slightly different: I was supposed to identify the “leng lui” (pretty girls) bikers from the handsome guy bikers. I faced the same problem too when the bikers put on helmets and sunglasses. It took me numerous attempts to guess them right eventually. It was easier as I could rely on the differences of biological structures. I presume Mr. Chan’s task was much difficult having to identify the Club members from the other racers based on intuition and without any special identification.

Maybe we could devise special hand signals signifying to Mr. Chan so that upon recognizing the special signals, he starts to take photo shots. This method, of course, has its flaws: it could give rise to certain degree of errors where non-Pacesetters racers accidentally raise the same signal. Worst still, a biker is required to secure two hands on the bicycle handle for better control.

Another better suggestion is to mirror the method uses in tour groups where tourists are tagged with different coloured stickers. In this case, each biker from the Club is to have a sticker prominently stick to his or her chest visible from far. In order to have freshness in stickers, it is suggested that different colours for different seasons.


One possible setback is that the faster the biking speed, there is a possibility that the sticker is being blown off by greater air resistance. Imagine the elite bikers from the Club are happily crossing the finishing line only to realize later that their photos have not taken due to missing tags.

By KC :-))

Thursday, October 13, 2005

In the Mood For Love

These few months leading to 4 December 2005, the Penguin Runners are busy training for the Singapore International Marathon (SIM) in the full marathon category. For runners who are also preparing for SIM, I presume all of us are in the mood for love of marathon.

When I ran my first full marathon in KLIM 2004, it was real fun preparing for the maiden attempt. I was nervous and did not know how much and how hard I should train. Luckily, PK Chan, a committee member of Pacesetters Club, was most kind to give me a copy of his training schedule.

Oh boy! I really followed the schedule dutifully: I ran almost every evening after work. In the months of November and December, these were the raining seasons. I even ran in the rain at night. Under the dimly lit streetlights, I was humming the song “walking (running) in the rain with the one I love” with only me and a stray dog hurriedly seeking for shelter.

It was a coincidence that months before that, I was reading a book on “How to Run a Marathon”. The book was written by Tony Benyon and Kevin Macey in 1986. This is the only book where I could complete reading it for three times. Usually, for other books that I bought or borrowed, I could hardly finish 10 pages before they were dumped at one corner of the house, citing insufficient time due to marathon training. Imagine I am still reading this book published 20 years ago!

I love to read this book because it was written with great sense of humour. The authors were able to work with words beautifully to the best effects. I have extracted a few pages of the book to share with you and hoping to spice up the marathon mood. Yeah, if you know where to buy the other books written by the same authors on running, appreciate it if you could let me know.


Contents below are extracted from the book: How to Run a Marathon
by Tony Benyon and Kevin Macey


On the surface it would appear that running is one of the most natural things a human being can do and, like breathing, it is possible to do it for free. Nothing could be further from the truth. A price must be paid.

An acquaintance of mine entered the second London Marathon and trained for it for 50 weeks. Three quarters of the way through this period he was running in his local park deep in thought. His wife had finally left him the previous evening convinced he was having clandestine meetings with a lover while out training. Their deteriorating relationship had caused him to lose concentration at work and a junior colleague to be promoted over him.

This already sad man was suddenly dragged to the ground by three Alsatians. His life was saved only by the intervention of the owner. Staggering to his feet, his nerve snapped and he cursed the owner with every foul oath known to man, and after threatening to give him a good kicking he walked away promising to call the police.

Apologetically, the stranger informed him that he was a policeman. In fact, he was a police dog handler and the foaming creatures were also a bona fide part of the constabulary. Feeling crushed by fate, he retuned home with only his obsessive thoughts of the marathon to give him strength. Alas, two weeks before the race, a cyclist ran into him and broke his ankle. In his own philosophical words, “there is always a price to pay for having a good time”.



On entering a modern sports shop you will be amazed by the rows and rows of designer running shoes. Do not make the mistake of falling in love with the ones that match your eyes or the ones that make your heart beat faster because of some inexplicable chemical reaction between you.

Shoes that look wonderful but don't fit can be dangerous because they cause sores and blisters. And if they are too big and you have a high running action one could fly off and knock out a pedestrian's eye. Even worse, your shoe could fly through the open window of a passing truck and stun the driver causing him to crash into a supermarket killing hundreds of shoppers. Would you want this on your conscience?

The types of shoes on sale are incredibly varied; there are shoes fitted with stabilizers, computers, digital grips, graphic equalizers and countless other electronic gadgets. In the future when you put on your running shoes they will automatically sink hypodermic needles into your feet to place you in suspended animation while the shoes complete the race for you.

It is important to remember to buy your shoes in the afternoon because this is the time of day when your feet are at their largest. I'm not sure of the right time of day to buy jogging bra, but similarly you should try on both shoes because one foot is also larger than the other.


Runners sometimes elect to run in shoes without socks, but less frequently run in socks without shoes. The purpose of the sock is to offer the foot protection from those parts of the shoe that rub against it. But it is essential to keep your socks clean because if they get stiffened with dried sweat they can cause as much damage to your feet as shoes and also screw up your social life.

If you wear double-soled cotton or woollen socks but find you have to stop every two miles to squeeze out the excess moisture, then you should change to a synthetic material that dries out faster.

Sadly, socks have been known to break up marriages, and anyone cursed by particularly moist or pungent feet should remember to put their socks out at night, preferably in a sealed plastic bag. If you toss them out of the back door without sealing them up you will wake in the morning to find several stunned cats on your door step.

However, their pungency can work to your benefit. Horticulturists claim that some socks buried in a flower bed act as a superb deterrent to slugs.

The fashion of the moment is the short sock, but it is believed manufacturers will soon be bringing out the long sock which will offer the professional runner more room for carrying advertising.


Baggy knee-length shorts are a thing of the past. Today's thing is maximum leg exposure, shorts with thigh-high splits at the sides or even more recently, shorts that look increasingly like swimming trunks. Doubtless runners will soon appear on the streets in jock straps and G-strings; they will be luminous, of course, to help night drivers.

The ideal pair of shorts must not be tight around the waist but secure enough not to drop to the ground after the wearer has taken half a dozen strides. A runner without confidence in his or her shorts can suffer a spiralling anxiety effect which can increase the pulse rate alarmingly.

The material shorts are made of cannot be too light in weight. Hand-knitted shorts absorb moisture and will drop to the ground during heavy rain. Synthetic materials are lighter, less abrasive and dry more quickly. They also come in the most delightful colours which makes accessorising more fun and provides you with a better chance of matching your eyes.

Men mainly wear swimming trunks or a jock strap under their shorts while women prefer cotton briefs. As yet the boom in split crotch lace sporting panties has not materialised; which doesn't mean to say it won't.


Wearing a string vest during the summer months will give you the appearance of a seasoned runner. Even more modern is the vest with the mesh midriff and the satin strip across the chest. Not only is it the poseur's delight but it also stops jogger's nipple while still allowing the navel to breathe.

Try to avoid wearing 'Sub Four Minute' vests while you are still at the staggering stage; even stray dogs will spot you as a fake. It is also advisable not to wear vests with such slogans as 'Marathon runners do it for hours on end' otherwise you will become instantly unpopular with the serious runners whom you may want to impress.

However, in these days of sponsorship it is quite acceptable to wear vests that carry some form of advertising extolling the virtues of a local garage or restaurant, but avoid any products that may encourage people to stop you in the street while you are running and ask you for brochures. Having your training runs interrupted is not beneficial.

Greengrocers' advertising should never be accepted. It can be a great embarrassment to a woman if she has to run through the streets with 'Ripe Melons' written across her chest or for a man to have 'Fresh Fruit' emblazoned across his; a training run can easily turn into a pursuit.

Next month, the effect of marathon running on your SEX life and SOCIAL life.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Introducing a New Penguin Runner

Hi Everyone,

I am pleased to announce the latest Penguin member – Penguin-10. His name is Eric Teo and he is a Pacesetters runner with the Bukit Gasing Area Group.

With his latest achievement of 1 hour 38 minutes in the Johor-Singapore Second Link Half Marathon on 2 Oct, he is by far the fastest tropical Penguins around. Together with the other Penguin Runners, he will be doing the Full Marathon in the Singapore International Marathon on 4 Dec 2005.
He is not only active in running but also a Dive Master. He has done diving at Pulau Redang, Pulau Tioman, Pulau Lang Tengah, Pulau Sipadan, etc. He should be able to expand our horizons by exposing ourselves in the underwater world for a glimpse of the beautiful corals.
With the inclusion of Eric, do you notice that generally, the Penguin Runners are tall, handsome (aheem, aheem...) and dark for being Chinese?
Have you ever wondered why is Penguin-11 (Chee Wee) came before Penguin number 10? Since the Star Wars Trilogy, the in fashion is about prequels. So more or less we are also applying the same concept.

The new tag-line: From the mountain top (Penguin-3) to the ocean deep (Penguin-10) with the other Penguin Runners cruising on the plains, we have it all.
To view the beautiful photos of corals taken at Pulau Tenggol, Trengganu on 18 June 2005, please click here.

All photos are by courtesy of Weng.

Note: The scuba-diver that you see in this photo is not Eric. BTW, how to show "leng lui" (pretty girl) when in diving?

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

21km Training Run - 9 Oct 05

It was a rude awakening by the sound of loud thunder followed by torrential downpour at 2am, Sunday. On ordinary weekend, that would be a pleasant night for extended sleeping. But knowing that I would have to do a 21km training run in a few hours’ time, I just wished that the rain could stop quickly.

It was still drizzling when I woke up. With the numerous encounters on raining before runs, I just ignored it and continue to get things ready. While driving my car to Bukit Aman at 5am, I received SMSs from Chantelle, Weng and Eric enquiring whether the training run was to be cancelled. I replied to them that I was halfway at Federal Highway indicating that the show must go on.

You must be wondering why I was so committed. Even the rain could not dampen my enthusiasm. According to plan, we are supposed to do a 30km long run next Sunday. A 20km run this Sunday was necessary in order for our bodies to adjust to the long run conditions. This stringent requirement only applies to those doing full marathon in the coming Singapore International Marathon on 4 Dec 05.

Another reason was that Chantelle was chosen by Nike to be the NikeWoman for their weblog. Which mean Chantelle has to do a run this Sunday in order for her to gather more experiences to start her blog.

While driving along the Federal Highway, the rain seemed to get heavier. I was contemplating whether I was right to push on. Reaching Bukit Aman car par at 5.30am, I could not sight anyone there. I waited in the car listening to the raindrops hitting the roof of my car almost until 6am.

All the runners that were supposed to run had arrived. There were: Chantelle, Meng, Tony, Eric, Vivien, Chiam, OngSB and two of her friends. While talking to them, I was holding an umbrella in order not to get wet. After a brief discussion, we decided to proceed with the 21km training runs. And by then, the rain was almost stopped.

Weng decided to run in his Nikon Coolpix digital camera and had perfected the technique of running with the camera. He actually strapped it at his upper arm. This is to reduce the movement and jerking effects. With the camera strapped to this arm, he seemed to run in a slightly funny manner.

The whole group was running quite slowly, possibly around 6-7 minutes per kilometers. We chatted along the way while constantly rotating buddies to talk to. The ground was still wet and the air was cool and fresh.

Taking Photos

Other than busy running, I was also busy taking photos by assisting Weng. I have run many times at the Double-hill and Hartamas areas but I could not get hold of a camera and take photos along the way. With Weng’s camera, I was really having a busy time to capture all those scenic areas on photos.

In order to take good photos with runners in action, the process involved identifying the correct backdrops, then run swiftly ahead of other runners; adjust the camera setting and select the correct position. After running up and down for numerous times, I think I could have done much more than 21km.

To capture subject in motion (i.e. running), the camera was set to Continuous mode. In this mode, the camera shoots continuously while the shuttle button is held down. Recording ceased when the shutter button is released.

At the downhill about one kilometer from the Petronas station, I saw a young lady running alone twice in the opposite direction. I took a few photo shots of her and she was very friendly to put on her best smiles and V-sign. I was a little concern with her safety without the company of male runners.

At one point, I was taking photos for every runner that I met. Surprisingly, all responded with smiles and V-sign too. As I said before, all runners are friendly.

One of the focal point for taking the photos was Chantelle. At times, in order to capture the best view, she actually had to reverse her running direction in order to have the correct backdrop.

On the way back, we turned into Laman Tunku and returned by the Double-hill route. At that time, the pack consisted of Chantelle, Meng, Weng, Eric and I. By the time we reached Bukit Aman, guest how long we took for this run? Almost three hours! Last week, running with Meng and Chee Wee in serious mood, it took us only 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Singapore International Marathon

I have the opportunity to talk to PK Chan, one of the Club Committee Members who is responsible for the bus transport and hotel accommodation in the Singapore International Marathon. According to him, there are only 10 rooms left from the bulk booking with Hotel Peninsular at Singapore. And for the two coaches arranged by the Club, there are only 14 seats left.

Weng’s camera registered almost 400 shots for this morning’s training run. I was really having a hard time identifying and selecting the best shots at home. And after the screening process, only 72 photos were selected.

To view the 72 photos painstakingly chosen for you, please click here.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Mt. Kinabalu Climbaton 2005

When Tey Eng Tiong, a Pacesetters runner, returned from the Mount Kinabalu Climbaton on 02 Oct 05 without announcing his triumph promptly, I knew that his results would be the same as his two previous years’ attempts – DNF (Did Not Finish). I admire and salute him for his courage to participate in this race. As for me, I have not even got the courage to stand at the starting line let alone compete in the race.

Kinabalu National Park was designated by UNESCO as one of the most important biological sites in the world. The focal point of the park, of course, is the majestic Mount Kinabalu; a towering mountain at an imposing height of 4095 meters (13,435 feet).

Even before the start of a climb, the Kinabalu National Park Headquarters (or the base), is standing at an elevation of 1,563 meters (5,000 feet). Which means a racer has to climb 8,435 feet (13,435 – 5,000) to reach the summit – Low’s Peak. Genting Highlands, the popular hill resorts in Kuala Lumpur, only stands at 6,000 feet tall!

To many people, not reaching the peak is considered failure. But to TeyET, there is no failure; instead, to certain degree, a success to him – without failure, there would be no success. He would have learned or found out three different approaches to be in better control of the situation when he does this fourth attempt next year.

Tony (Penguin-3) and I and 10 other friends trekked up Mount Kinabalu on 27 Aug 2005. On the average, it takes 45 minutes to one hour to trek one kilometer up the mountain. From the Timbohan base to the Low’s Peak, the total distance is 8.75 km. Under casual trekking conditions, we would require at least eight hours to reach Low’s Peak. The champions in the race took about two hours to reach the peak -- really an amazing feat!

It is indeed a different ballgame when racing in the Climbaton as each racer is required to run up the mountain swiftly. Another obstacle would be the thin air due to the high altitude that would tire a racer very easily. Worst still, with the quick ascent and descent, one would contract high altitude sickness problem.

With more than 10 experiences trekking up Mount Kinabalu, Tony is interested in the Climbaton. He is considering joining Tey in next year’s Climbaton challenge. They will both train together and challenge the peak together. It is indeed a good idea as both of them would motivate one another to achieve their goals.

We wish them good luck and no DNF record.

Photos and website links:

All photos are by courtesy of Tey ET. Please click here to visit Tey’s weblog. For easy access to his weblog, I have established a link from this Penguin Runners weblog. Tey’s weblog is unique as he also writes in Mandarin. He works as a reporter in one of the leading Chinese newspaper.

To view 135 great photos taken by KC, please scroll down the pages on Mount Kinabalu report.