Friday, March 31, 2006

More Photos at Kuching


To view additional photos taken during the trip to Seberkas RH Marathon, please click here.

Photos are by courtesy of Miss Yeoh SC, an avid photographer.

The photo album contains following shots:
Kuching Town
Permai Rainforest Resort (beach and waterfall)
Sarawak Cultural Village

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Saberkas RH Marathon, Kuching

Part 1 contains 77 photos taken by KC before the Race. Please click here to view.

Part 2 contains 62 photos on the journey: the flight and the Race. Please click here to view. Photos by courtesy of Weng.

Part 3 contains 108 photos taken by KC at the finishing area. Please click here to view.


The Saberkas RH Marathon held in Kuching on Sunday morning, 26 March 2006 was almost a perfect race of high standards if not because of a few mishaps that happened towards the end of the race.

I truly enjoyed myself and have lots of good times in running this race. It began with the process of coming to Kuching and going through the pre-race activities such as meeting other running friends in Singgahsana Lodge; collecting of race entry packs; going for sumptuous seafood dinner together; putting up a night in a dorm for 10 guys that reminded me when I was in my Form 4-5 school days.

According to the announcement, there were 11,000 runners participating in the Race of various categories spanning across the wide spectrum of distance from the full marathon down to 5km runs. The response was fantastic! Staging an event of such magnitude and variety was a great challenge that require great amount of commitment and enthusiasm from the various departmental Heads, organizing committee members and down to the volunteers working together as One Team for that One Race.

I liked the course. I was running half marathon this time because I planned to trek Gunung Santubong the next day. Running on this course was like running in a countryside. There were many stretches with huge, leafy old trees planted in the middle of roads. There was very little traffic, which was superb for runners.

We ran past an outdoor stadium with many Malay houses on the opposite of the road. There were quite a number of children with a few “mak cik” (auntie) sitting by the roadside of higher ground watching the runners ran past. I presume it was an unusual sight seeing so many runners that morning.

At one point, there were a few Malay “pak cik” (uncle) clapping hands that gave us the much needed support. One runner told me later that he heard the pak cik commented that the fast Kenyan runners’ legs were as slim as arms. Another local runner responded that with our fleshy legs, that was why we could not run at blistering pace to take the lead.

There was drizzle at about 10km mark that was welcomed by runners as it cooled our bodies.

There was no shortage of drinking water and 100 Plus drinks for the entire half marathon course. That was a mark improvement over the KLIM 2006.

When I was about 1 km approaching the finishing line, I was amazed with the number of 5km runners. There was huge crowd of them walking slowing scattered all over the road blocking other runners. Most of them were school children who were walking their way back while only one or two runners were running. I have to run in criss-cross pattern to avoid running into them.

My timing was as expected: 1 hour 55 minutes. It was truly an unforgettable run for me running this course the first time. For sure, I will be back next year, if the Organizer were to organize another marathon race.

Here are my observations on the Race:

Registration and Payment
It was simple and fast performed via online. It set high standards for organizing this race.

Complimentary Bus Service
Outstation runners were provided with free bus transport taking runners from the designated hotels to starting area for collection of race entry packs. On Race day, to ferry runners to and fro the starting area.

Race Entry Pack
Every runner is given a T-shirt of yellow and green: the corporate colour of Rimbunan Hijau Group which is the main sponsor of this Event; a Power Bar, a bag for carrying shoes, and almost 10 food and beverage coupons. All these were given free to half marathon runners since there was no registration fees required for this category.

Bib Numbers
The bib numbers were made of water-proof material and one of the pieces has the perforated slip for identification of baggage, if a runner chooses to deposit his baggage.

For full marathon category, a runner is required to write his personal details at the back of the bib number for use in case of emergency.

Baggage Service
Deposit and retrieval of baggage were very simple and swift. For a runner to deposit his baggage, it takes only a few seconds. What was most thoughtful of the Event Organizer was that they even built wooden shelves with shelter to keep runners’ bags instead of leaving them on the field subject to rain.

Power Failure
The power at the Baggage Service areas went off at 6am. There was no jeers and wolf-whistle as runners were all discipline lot. I then walked to the centre of the bridge where the starting of full marathon was in progress. Within minutes, I saw a few VIPs were arriving and at that moment, I could count there were about 30 cameramen busy taking photos using SLR cameras!

The announcer was charging up the mood of those presence by playing lively music interwoven with interesting and motivating announcements. Unfortunately, the second power failure struck a few minutes after the first one causing the entire staring area in darkness. When the time was nearing 6.15am -- the start time of full marathon -- the announcer played the song: nothing gonna stop us now. It was most appropriate to the occasion. At 6.15am, I saw Mr. VJ of FTAAA, flagged his arm and the VIP pulled the trigger of the gun. “Bang” the full marathon race was initiated and about 500 runners charged forward.

Road Marshals of 10km Race
Many of the lady runners were not happy as the road marshals directed them to a wrong turn that required running an extra 4 to 5km distance. The runners actually verified it by the duration they took or by electronic distance measurement gadget they wore.

Insufficient Medals
Many of the half marathon runners did not received the finisher medals. The medals were wrongly distributed to the 10km or 5km school children. The innocent school children were always attracted and excited by the medals.

One Pacesetters lady runner who ran half marathon bought a medal from a school kid for RM 10 since she did not receive one. Later on, when another lady wanted to buy, the price was instantly raised to RM 50. The kids there were very enterprising.

Marathon Village
The arrangement of the Marathon Village was well planned. A 4-lane bridge running across a pool with the centre of the bridge as the starting/finishing line. The booths associating with the Race were on the right whereas the exhibition booths were on the left. A concert was going on performed by local artistes. Behind the exhibition booths just by the slope, there was also a tele-match in progress.

By KC

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Marathon Runners

Note by KC:
Next posting is on Wednesday 29 March evening.
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Here are four hilarious running stories before we take on another marathon challenge on Sunday 26 March at the Sarawak Marathon 2006.
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I find that the story below on Personal Best (PB) was most funny. The PB stuff can not simply be used for any occasion other than running or competitive sports. Otherwise, the consequence could be quite damaging.

I was very concerned with my PB timing when I first started running 10km. But after countless number of runs where my timing was hovering around 50 minutes -- plus-minus three minutes -- I just do not bother about my PB timing anymore.

Another type of runner that really impressed me is The Shuffler runner. It is true that when they run, it is like gliding along but their speed is very fast. My personal experience is that before I could realize, the Shuffler runner is way ahead of me.

Read on and be amused …

Extracted from the book: How to Run a Marathon
By Tony Benyon and Kevin Macey


The Charity Runner

Watching the London Marathon on television, one frequently sees a clown running backwards while tossing a pancake in the air. This apparent lunatic is not plucked from the field by men in white coats because he is running for charity. The aim, more likely than not, is to raise money for some piece of medical apparatus or a new hospital, of which he, if he does not train correctly, will be the main beneficiary.

The majority of these runners indulge in the minimal amount of preparation for their runs. Their efforts appear to be focused on the fancy dress costumes they will wear to hobble in around the course. In most cases these consist of schoolgirl or nurse's uniforms for either women or men.

While watching a race, it is quite common to see grown men dressed as Vikings holding a replica longboat, waiters running with trays full of drinks, Mickey Mouse and even Superman rushing on their way.

As the race progresses highly comical scenes can be witnessed: Vikings riddled with cramp and hardly able to limp let alone loot, pillage and rape; Mickey Mouse slumped on a pavement outside a bar awash with beer; or Superman running into 'the wall' and staggering in anguish as though someone had slipped some Kryptonite into his tights.


The Personal Best

Wearing a shock-proof and water-proof digital watch complete with a lap timer, a stride timer and an inhalation and exhalation timer, the PB takes to the road. A smile curls his top lip when he realises he has reached the first lamp post on his regular training route in a personal best time.

Pounding along the road wearing his 'Sub Four' T-shirt, nothing is capable of breaking his concentration if he thinks a personal best time is possible. Houses may be burning, people may be screaming for help and eccentric millionaires may be giving away bundles of fifty pound notes, yet through it all the PB will not falter in his rhythm.

With his eyes permanently flickering from side to side he boils eggs, mows the lawn and reads newspapers in ceaseless competition with the clock. His manic and exaggerated behaviour has resulted in his marriage breaking down. His wife long since gave up trying to persuade him to aim at endurance records rather than speed records in the matrimonial bed. A breathless 'It was a personal best for me, how was it for you?' is a question she never wants to hear again.

The Iron Man

The Iron Man is so called because of the extreme amount of pain he can take without complaining. If his legs were to be suddenly severed at the knees he would not drop out of a race. He would merely grit his teeth and complete the course still hoping to get near his personal best without making any excuses if he fails to do so.

Dressed in a sweat-soaked running kit complete with head and wrist bands, the Iron Man trains over extreme distances each week. While he is running dogs break their fangs on his calves, mothers pull their children out of his path and badly parked cars are left with dents in the shape of track shoes across their bonnets and roofs.

His unshaven face and the scars on his knees (from countless cartilage operations) give him the appearance of a badly wounded war veteran. The image is further enhanced by the manic staring eyes of a man who has been on one mission too many.

Floods, Arctic conditions, nuclear strikes and the earth tilting on its axis will never stop this man from his regular training runs because the Iron Man can crack walnuts with his eyelids. He works as a cashier in the High Street Bank and answers to the name of Dorian.


The Shuffler

The extraordinary thing about the Shuffler is how he appears not to be running at all and yet completes the marathon consistently in less than three hours. He is in his fifties, bald, wears pebbled glasses and is an engineer. His insignificant appearance makes it all the more galling when he pads silently past you within sight of the finishing line.

While you are riddled with cramp, have hamstring trouble, crave a visit to a toilet or are suffering spasms, the Shuffler glides past you as though he is standing on a pedestrian conveyer belt. No matter by how much you break your personal best, he still breasts the finishing tape before you.

A clue to the Shuffler's success appears to be his leg action or lack of it which has been perfected so as to expend a minimum of energy. His legs never bend at the knee, neither do his feet ever leave the surface of the road by more than half a centimetre. In fact, wet conditions can be a danger to him. He risks losing control by aquaplaning.

If you should wish to run in a similar style to the Shuffler, do not spend money on an expensive pair of designer running shoes; carpet slippers will do just as well.
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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Sarawak Marathon - Here We Come

I believe most of us who are going for the Sarawak Marathon would progressively pack their luggage as departure date is this Saturday morning, 25 March.

For runners in Tony and Vivian Ngok’s group, we have to pack more gears. First would be running apparel and shoes for the Sunday morning marathon race; trekking apparel for trekking up Gunung Santubong the next day. And lastly, swimming gears for relaxing at the Damai Beach Resorts.

As you can see, the coming weekend is packed with activities: from the hill top to the sea deep, not forgetting running a marathon on the plain. The effect is scaled down a little; otherwise, it would be “from the mountain top to the ocean deep” …

According to the email notification from Tony, the brochures say:
All manner of attractions are here: sleepy fishing villages, primary rainforest, superb seafood restaurants, an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, a "living museum" and luxury beach resorts. On a clear day, the Santubong area offers spectacular sunsets, as the sun sinks slowly into the sea framed by Sarawak’s rolling hills on one side and scattered islands on the other.

Wow! That sound idealistic and a perfect place for holidaying after the marathon race.

As I understand from Tony, we will be putting up the first night at Singgahsana Lodge staying in dormitory type. A total of 10 boys and girls would be in one dorm. For runners, I think that would not be much problem as we have conditioned our bodies to be very adaptive to the environment. For those who are used to only one person per hotel room type, this would be another good training ground to condition oneself to be closer to your running friends.

However, there would be a slight problem as runners do snore at night. If there are two runners snore from either corner and you are sandwiched in between, that would be like stereo-sound effect. Worst still, if there are from four corners of the room, that would be like surround-sound effect. Depending on the intensity, it would either be DDS (Dolby Digital Sound), SSS (Sony Surround Sound) or THX effect. Whatever is the sound effect, one thing is certain: that you would stay awake the whole night be entertained by the orchestra.

According to the emails notification from Sonny Ng with The Organizer, there will be free transport service to ferry the runners at Harbour View Hotel (which is a short distance from Singgahsana Lodge; no problem at all for runners) to and fro the starting area to collect bibs on Saturday and on Sunday morning – the race day. That is very thoughtful of The Organizer.

The Sarawak Marathon is actually the first full marathon organized by The Organizer. The experience they gain arising from staging this event would be of valuable to hold notable and bigger events in future. Following Singapore’s footstep, it is indeed an excellent move to attract tourists to Sarawak. For sure, about 100 runners from Pacesetters Club would be spending money there for the extended holidays.

BTW, effective Thursday 23 March, two days before we depart for Kuching, Air Asia would be operating from the new LCC Terminal (Low Cost Carrier) located next to KLIA. A new shuttle bus service will ply between the terminal and KL Sentral half-hourly, charging RM9 each way.

To those runners who are going for this run, wishing you good times there and achieve your PB (personal best) timing. For other runners who will miss this run, I hope that we could meet again next year for another Sarawak Marathon stint.

By KC

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Power 10km Run Photos

I was taking photos back-to-back: first was the PACM annual dinner on Saturday 18 March. Then the Power Run on Sunday morning, 19 March.

Part 1 contains 50 photos, at the starting area. Please click here to view photos.

Part 2 contains 101 photos, with our friends in high running actions. Please click here to view photos.
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By KC

Monday, March 20, 2006

MU Run

Standing at the stage waiting to take photos of the next lucky draw person, I was scrutinizing for interesting subjects in the Power 10km Run held at Dataran Merdeka on Sunday 19 March. A group of youngsters caught my attention. They were in the process of unfolding a big banner. There were about 20 of them busy positioning themselves while their cameraman was standing in front getting ready for photo shot.

Ah Ha! I found something for my next subject. I walked there steadily, which was about 30 feet away. They were most happy to see another cameraman appeared from nowhere. Even their cameraman was quick to join their group for photo shots. So, I lent a hand and took a few photos for them.


As you can see from the banner, this group of youngsters are MU (University Malaya) students. There were there at the Power Run to promote the MU 10km Run which is this Sunday.

For those who were graduated from MU or if you come to know any of the MU friends, you may want to give your support to this race.

Staging a successful running event is a tough challenge involving people and various logistics. Besides, all activities have to be carried out with military precision in timing. Since they are students learning to stage a runner event, we should be tolerance in case the event is not organized according to our requirements. A runner should not be surprised if there are no mobile toilets, Power Gel, Isotonic drink, water vapour cooling station, etc. What is important is to give them chance to learn the leadership and organizing skills.

Details:

Date: Sunday 26 March 2006
Starting Time: 7.15am
Venue: Padang Varsity University Malaya
Fees: RM 10

Contact Person: Mr. Yan Ching Lun
H/P: 012- 769 9638

Email: clyan1@perdanamail.um.edu.my

Alternative Contacts:

Chan Lee Siang: 012- 583 7032

Wan Sakeenah: 012- 241 2616

Email: larigngemilang@yahoo.com.my

Website: www.consis.um.edu.my

By KC


Sunday, March 19, 2006

PACM Annual Dinner

Here are the photos taken by KC during the Pacesetters Club annual dinner at the Dynasty Hotel on Saturday 18 March 2006.

Part 1 contains 93 photos, please click here to view.

Part 2 contain 72 photos, please click here to view.

The much awaited Pacesetters Club’s annual dinner was over amid serious announcement interwoven with funs and laughter. It was an evening where Pacesetters runners, sponsors and friends get together for a fun-filled and entertaining evening.

The venue for the annual dinner was held at Dynasty Hotel, Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur. The theme for the evening was blue and white. True to the theme, the setting in the hall was almost blue and white: tables and chairs, simple curtain at the entrance, even the soft drinks served during the function was blue from Pepsi Ice.

There were fewer tables with lesser turn-outs compared to last year. I presume Saturday 18 March 2006 was clashing with Formula 1 happenings and another famous pop group from Hong Kong was performing at Genting Highlands.

The dinner was the most appropriate occasion to announce the new line-up of the EXCO which was just been nominated and accepted a few hours earlier at the same venue. I was sitting at the same table with the capable SH Tan and she assumed two roles: Secretary and Footloose editor.

Annual dinner is also the perfect place to give reorganization to those outstanding runners and appreciation to the sponsors which support the Club for staging numerous running events. Equally important was the get together of the members for the camaraderie.

One of the highlights of the evening was the selection of finalist for Pacesetters Idol. Arising from the qualifying rounds, five finalists were identified from the earlier screening. The five of them were: Jacky Lo, Low Kim Houn, Garrette Yap, Ng Wei Han and Miss Crystal. At one time, the four guy idols were sitting together in one table. That seemed like the four heavenly singers can rival the pro in Hong Kong.

The most hilarious moment was the performance of Elvis and Wong Fei Hong by Alden Yap and Kelvin Ng respectively. Their performance had the audience in stitches when Elvis’s fly was opened and Wong Fei Hong had to sidetrack to assist him to zip up his pants.

By KC

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Dazzle With the STARS

Speakers’ Dream Toastmasters Club, where I served as the 6th Club President two years ago, was having a special wine appreciation event on Monday evening, 13 March 2006. Alex Ly, the Business Development Director of Wine Gourmet Singapore Pte Ltd, arranged for five wine-making experts from Austria to bring out the awareness of drinking wine and to promote their wine.


It was really a special evening as attendees were treated with a special presentation by Celine Teh, DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) on “SNIOP”. One of the illustrations was the 4-minute mile record achieved by the legendary Roger Bannister.

Later, Simon Soh, ATMB (Advanced Toastmaster – Bronze) presented his winning speech during the recent International Speech Contest (Club and Area levels). Then it was the comedy skit by Loggie and Montie. This time, they came out with the latest edition of Version 8.3 with more hilarious stories on Samy Velu.

The most awaited moment would then be the wine tasting experience. The four gentlemen took up pole position – three tables were ready with chilled wine. Some of the wine bottles were slimmer than the usual ones that we see. While I was holding camera busy taking photos, a few of the lady toastmasters’ members unanimously recommended me to try one light yellow wine. One sip would recognize the distinction – it was sweet and smooth, very pleasant to drink.

When wine-tasting session just started, the intensity of conversation by members was lower. However, after many glasses of tasting, I could see the members’ faces were turning red; they were excited and the intensity of conversation and energy level increased. One of the Austrian experts told me that the light yellow sweet wine was a “killer” – pleasant to drink but can get high easily.

Wish you were there too.

To view 131 photos taken by yours truly (KC), please click here.

Alternatively, to read the detailed story, please click here or click Speakers’ Dream Toastmasters Club at the left sidebar of this web site.

Note: Speakers' Dream Toastmasters Club was formerly called IBBM KL Toastmasters Club (Institute Bank-Bank Malaysia).x

By KC

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Prelude to PACM AGM & Annual Dinner

Hi gals and guys, the Pacesetters Club’s (PACM) annual dinner is just around the corner. So, have you done the necessary preparation for this occasion? No, you do not have to do extra long runs; that would have been sufficient with the passing of KLIM 2006 more than a week ago. The preparation I am referring is about looking beautiful or smart for this dinner event. It is time to relax and reward ourselves for participating in numerous races and countless training runs.

The Pacesetters Club’s annual dinner is on this Saturday 18 March at Dynasty Hotel, Jalan Ipoh, 7pm. And the AGM is on same day, same venue starting at 3pm.


The theme for that evening is Blue and White and the dress code is smart casual with collar. There are quite a number of variations as to how you could achieve these results: you could dye your hair blue and wear white shirt and white pants (attire for guys). That would be meeting requirement of the theme.

Alternatively, you could dye your hair white and you wear all blue clothing. Then there is the split personality type: dye your hair half blue and white; get a shirt of half white and blue. Another simple method is to wear the white Bata shoes when we attent schools last time. As you can see, achieving the theme would be quite easy.

Imagine on that evening, all that you see would either be blue or white. If there were other functions going on, we could be mistaken for navy military crew – where the uniform is also white and blue – having a celebration there.

Oh Yes! I would be taking photos on that evening. I am really excited to see how you gals and guys look other than in running vests and shorts. I believe that you would look much “leng chai” or “leng lui” (handsome guy and pretty gal) compared to when you are donning running apparels.

One request: I would appreciate it if you could shout "KC" when I am holding the camera trying to find someone to take photo. You know, I am a little shy also holding the camera walking around just like those guys selling life insurance policies looking for prospects. However, please don’t snap your finger as though you are attracting attention from waiter/waitress as that would give rise to false alarm and may actually confuse the waiter/waitress.

For those who have not got the tickets in hand, please do a final confirmation with your Team Leaders to secure the entrance tickets. It would be anti-climax having done full preparation for the dinner only to find out that you were not allocated with any ticket.

I remembered many years ago, I attended a Toastmasters Convention at the Palace of the Golden Horses Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. The free flow of beer was served at a subsidized rate. With the presence of beer, the spirits were having lifted in that occasion. I could see the alcohol really enhanced the already fluent public speaking capability of members, and Yam Seng was heard echoing the whole banquet hall.

Do you think beer would be served at discounted rate in this dinner? Better not; runners are health conscious lot. I believe many of the runners would need to start their next race 7 hours after the end of the dinner – The Power Run on Sunday 19 March, of which I would compromise on running and would be there to take photos again.

See ya. Have an enjoyable and fun-filled evening.

By KC

Monday, March 13, 2006

Follow the Leader -- If

I will be the first to admit that sheep are not the most intelligent creatures on earth, but from time to time I wonder about some of us people. When sheepherders wish to move their flock from one pasture to another, if there is a slight obstacle in the path, they let a goat lead the way, and it will be the first to jump over the obstacle. The sheep follow dutifully. Interestingly enough, you could remove the obstacle, and the sheep would continue to jump over an obstacle that no longer exists.

To a degree, people are the same way. A major cross-country race in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was to cover a seven-mile (11km) course. Two hours after the race began, there were no runners in sight, and the officials became concerned that something had happened. They set out in their automobiles to find the runners and discovered that all were six or more miles away, running in the wrong direction. Some had actually covered more than ten miles. A.J. Rogers, a race official, said the mix-up apparently occurred when the runner leading the pack took a wrong turn at the fifth checkpoint and the rest followed him.


John Maxwell from San Diego, California, says that in a lifetime, the average person directly or indirectly influences ten thousand other people. Those who are in leadership positions influence many, many more. That is the reason leadership carries such an incredible responsibility – namely, that of making certain you are heading the right direction, that the decisions you make are character-based and the route you choose is a good one. When you make a decision, that decision is going to directly or indirectly influence countless other people. Right decisions by the right people can influence people positively, so make good decisions.

Quotes:

Experience is a hard teacher. It gives the test first, the lesson afterward.

You will never get ahead of others as long as you are trying to get even with them.

Extracted from the book by Zig Ziglar: Something to Smile About.


Note by KC: When I first read this passage, which was arranged as the first story in his book, I was amused and at the same time appreciated the author for “advertising” Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He could have mentioned other races, say, in Thailand, Indonesia, India, China, Taiwan, Japan, etc., but he chose to mention Kuala Lumpur.

It was indeed a privilege to be mentioned though there was minor mishap during the race. That story would put Kuala Lumpur in the world map when readers read this popular book – whether good or bad perception. It was something like your company’s CEO chooses to call your name in the presence of thousands of other employees.

From the descriptions of the race with key words such as Kuala Lumpur, major cross-country, set out in their automobiles – do you think the organizer could be FTAAA?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sarawak Marathon

What is so special about the photo below? The road is densely covered by tall, leafy trees typical of tropical land; it is deserted with vehicle and the photo was taken in a vehicle with a Mercedes Benz emblem at foreground.
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This photo was taken not in Kuala Lumpur but in Kuching, Sarawak. It is the course for the coming Sarawak Marathon.

Photo is by courtesy of the organizer.

For marathon runners, running in this type of course is just superb – shady and with lots of clean air.

Do you know which is the next marathon within Malaysia after running Kuala Lumpur International Marathon on 5 March? Well, the answer is Sarawak Marathon, to be held on Sunday 26 March at Kuching.

For runners who will be doing half marathin in KLIM 2006, that would be a good idea to upgrade it to full marathon in Sarawak Marathon.

Many of the Pacesetters runners have registered for this marathon. The support from the other sub-groups of Pacesetters such as Penguin Runners, Sunshine Runners, Pacemakers, etc was also encouraging.

The organizer actually sent in their organizing committee members to facilitate registration of runners during the Great Eastern-Pacesetters 30km Run and KLIM 2006 recently.


So, if you have not registered yet, please hurry and give your support. For a change, it is also fun and exciting that we meet at another venue for another round of friendly competition.

The line-up for the Penguin & Sunshine Runners and other running friends are as follows:

Meng, Albert Tan, Wong WS, Chew OY, Wong CT

Vivian, Eric Teo, Ong Siok Bee, Leslie Yee, Maryann

Ong Siok Leng, Yeoh SC, Carol Low, Agnes Chin, Wong CK

Theresa, Keshab, Chin KT, Sharon Cheah, Tammy Lim

Jessbird Yip, Vivian Lau, Tan PM, Lee Kim Ying, Tony Quay

Chiam, Edward Chiam, Koh Mei Leng, Weng, Mo Cheng, Janet Tan

Marvin Lau, KC.

(Total number: 33)

We intended to spend extra days there after the race. The places on our itinerary would be to trek Gunung Santubong and later relaxing at the Damai beach resorts. Currently, Tony and Vivian are working on the details. If you need to contact Tony, his handphone number is 016- 274 2213.

The cheapest way is to fly there with Air Asia. The return air fare is only RM 140; previously, it was RM 210. Please click here to visit Air Asia web site. Select destination: Kuching.


Online registration for Sarawak Marathon is just a breeze, very simple and easy. To visit the website, please click here.

For preferred hotel reservation (special discount is given to Pacesetters members), please click here. This site was obtained from Pacesetters web site.

For those who are prepared to run half marathon, the good news is that registration fee is waived (free of charge).

Full marathon – Men : RM 20
Full Marathon – Women : RM 10
Half Marathon and 10km : FOC (free of charge)

Date
Sunday 26 March 2006 at Kuching

Starting Time
42km Full Marathon: 6.00am
21km Half Marathon: 6.30am
10km Veteran/Junior: 7.00am

Qualifying Times by Categories
42km Full Marathon = 6 hours
21km Half Marathon = 3 hours
10km Veteran/Junior = 1 hour 30 mins

Reporting Time
42km Full Marathon: 5.00am - 5.45am
21km Half Marathon: 5.45am - 6.15am
10km Veteran/Junior: 6.00am - 6.45am

Race Venue
Start/Finish Point: Bangunan Baitul Makmur (previously known as Bangunan MASJA), Petra Jaya, Kuching

Organizer
Pertubuhan Belia Kebangsaan Bersatu Sarawak (SABERKAS)

SABERKAS RH Marathon 2006 Secretariat
Tel: +6082 244917

See you at Kuching.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

KLIM 2006 - Run Like Camel

I was pleasantly surprised to see Power Gel was distributed to runners somewhere approaching 10km mark. Normally, Power Gel is only dished out to full marathon runners at 30km mark. “This is delightful that half marathon runners also receive Power Gel,” I thought to myself. Another caring move by the organizer was that the water station was within sight – less than 100 meters away.

After showing my gratitude to the volunteer who handed me the Power Gel, I emptied the whole packet of gel into my mouth. I began chewing slowly, tasting and enjoying the vanilla flavour. I timed myself that when I reached the water station, everything would be gulped down the throat with water.


When I reached the water station, to my surprised, the officials said, “Air Sudah Habis (no more water).” Oh my gosh! That was a big surprise to me and also to my running friends. How could it be no more water so soon? Nevertheless, changing emotional gear from disbelief to serious note, we continued with our runs.

At the 12.5km mark, the same thing happened – no drinking water too at the sponging station. A few runners actually started looking for those discarded bottle water at the roadside thrown by other runners. It was like looking for water in desert. A few desperate runners started drinking those left over water in the bottles. My running friends were all upset. The organizing committee member in-charged of water stations really made the runners go down that low.

It was quite an experience to me trying to force the sticky gel down the throat. I have to keep swallowing saliva to lubricate the throat.

Somewhere near the Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka area, a running friend gave RM 10 to his son, who was also running half marathon, and despatched him to look for shop to buy drinks. Well, that was wise move carrying spare cash around. The people around that area must be wondering why a few runners ran off course seriously seeking for something around the Choo Cheng Kay Apartments area.

When I saw the next water station at 15km mark, I was happy and worried at the same time. Eventually, I was so excited to see that there was water in this station. Without hesitation, I gulped down almost 1.5 litres of water as I was really thirsty. At that moment, I felt that I was running like a camel – drink lots of water and later run without drinking. We then continued our journey.

Written by Tony

Note: Choo Cheng Kay apartments were infamous for its vice activities and sex trade last time.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

An Appraisal of KLIM 2006

My Personal Timing

I started steady in slow pace after gun off at 5am. After all, it was easy to run slightly slower at a comfortable pace. Besides, 42km was a long way to go. After running for 5km, I identified my pacers – Lesley and Miss Lim. Both girls’ pace was quite similar to mine. Miss Lim ran with upright body posture and bubbly bounce stride, and their pace was so consistent that both of them were running abreast most of the time.

Running a marathon was just like cruising in a car but in much slower motion. I was running blissfully and at times paying attention to the passing traffic. I never fail to stop at water station for drinks. Depending on one’s perspective at the situation, one would say running is monotonous – running, looking around, drinking and the repeatable process is carried out countless time.

At 30km marker, the race official announced that my timing was 2 hours 46 minutes. I was delighted as it was fairly good timing (my standards) despite I was 6 minutes behind my previous timing of achieving sub-4 completion time. Doing a self-check at that moment, I was in good form -- no sign of tiredness. Somewhere at the 32km marker (opposite the Pekeliling Flats), I even caught up with Meng (Penguin-2) and we had a brief chat at the water station.

While cruising along at the 33km marker, there was a sudden pain in the left-side tendon of left knee. Oh No! I sensed trouble. Further down another kilometre, the pain was quite uncomfortable that I have to slow down at first and later walked. My hope of doing a sub-4 was immediately dashed. I was helpless and frustrated watching runners ran past me. Whenever a runner ran past, I would then try to run but I could barely run for 30 meters and then limped in pain. The final 8km took almost 1 hour 20 minutes.

Finally, I crossed the finishing line in 4 hours 22 minutes – four minutes faster than my previous worst timing. From the post-race analysis, I did not train hard enough. For next marathon, the two long runs would be increased in distance from 30km to 35km in order to condition the leg muscles.

The Event

In my opinion, the KLIM 2006 was organized in a structure and systematic manner amid certain areas that seriously require improvement. A lot of effort and time were spent by The Organizer to ensure smooth execution of the event. The critical requirements expected from runners such as ample water stations, traffic control, signage, first-aid were available.

From the scale of Level 1 to Level 5 -- where Level 5 is the highest -- in the classification of Basic, Expected, Delighted, Surprising and Unbelievable, I would think KLIM 2006 was in Level 2 – Expected. The organizer delivered something expected from runners with not much frills.

Depending on the accomplishment over the minus points, the standards would then raise accordingly. Let us hope that in KLIM 2007, our evaluation of the event could be upgraded to Delighted or Surprising Level.


Areas For Improvement

Unexciting T-shirt. The design was similar as 2003; the only distintive change was changing the year from 2003 to 2006. Oh Yes, it was blue this time!

Marketing. There was insufficient publicity about the KLIM 2006. On Saturday, one day before the race, what was published in the Star newspaper was a small photo showing AmBank staff participating in this event.

Quiet at starting time. That was below expectation. The woman announcer, who is in her 40s, could not perform this task well. She could not lift up the mood and raise the energy level of the runners. In SIM (Singapore International Marathon) 2004 and 2005, the runners were really charged up by the announcers with lively music that we could hardly can contain ourselves. I was amused with the song when runners rushed out of the starting gate: who let the dogs out …

Below were deviations from the guidelines:
Distance markers and mobile toilets (at 10km, 20km and 30km) were not visible.
The table cloth for 100 Plus drinks should be red; but out there, it was either white or blue in no particular order
. However, Meng told me that the mobile toilets were actually there in bright day light when he went home after the race.

The marathon course needs to revamp: it has been the same course when I started running marathon since 2004 (not sure before my time). Besides, certain part of the course is congested with traffic and smell from the drains was terrible.

The image of FTAAA needs enhancement.

No cheerleading teams at all. Not only it was quiet at the starting line, it was also quiet the entire course. I received my first applause at the 9km marker in a construction site along Jalan Sungai Besi. A lone Indonesean worker was clapping hands from his shack in darkness. Of course, I could not see the person.

No announcement when a runner returned to the finishing line. It would be delightful if the announcer could announce the name of the runner.

Good Points For Praising

When collecting bib and T-shirt, each runner is given eight-page guidelines on DO’s and DON’Ts on race day. The guidelines were very detail. One useful piece of information was the detailed location map on Dataran Merdeka, the starting/finishing venue. For example, a runner would quickly identify where the toilets are located, provided a runner read the guidelines.

Number of runners seemed slightly more than last year. I heard it was more than 1,000 marathon runners.

Start on time. Yes, punctuality was important as all races start on time.

There were many volunteers manning water stations and all were actively performing their tasks.

The first aid staff were very helpful and gave prompt first aid treatment when requested.

At every road junction, the traffic policemen were there to control traffic and gave priority to runners to cross the road.


As mentioned in the guidelines, there would be more water stations. It was true. I was worried that I over-drink. Unfortunately, many runners have the wasteful habits: they took the 325cc bottled water, drank a few mouthfuls and then threw them away. I heard that the slower runners later did not have sufficient water to drink.

Most of the roads along the marathon course were newly resurfaced and that gave a smooth running effect.

Announcement of timing at 10km, 20km and 30km markers by race officials. That was not an easy task if the announcement was to continue for hours.

It was cooler in the morning before 8am. Running SIM in December 2005 was hot.

Just before the 30km marker, Power Gel was distributed to runners 20 meters before water station. That was a better idea as the gel needed water to gulp down the throat.

We are lucky to have beautiful backdrop at Dataran Merdeka as the starting and finishing venue. Besides, there were a live band and the drums. There were many booths set up at the field too.

One area that was delightful was the Nike mini pools filled with ice cubes for runners to soak their tired legs. However, a few runners would think that hot water would improve blood circulation but not cold water.

Yes, The Organizers were thoughtful to engaged four maseours for runners that required good massage. My sympathy went to the two lady maseours who have to tend to long queues of guys mostly having leg pain problems. So, when the leg pain was subsided, the hand pain (of the two ladies) would intensify.

Distribution of goodie bags for completing the marathon. It was a noble idea something for runners to take home though there was not much in the bag. Otherwise, one would go home with two bunches of bananas (empty handed with five fingures pointing downwards that look like a bunch of bananas).

By KC

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Free Cheese and Mousetrap

Year ago, Paul Harvey described how Eskimos in the frozen North kill wolves. They take a razor-sharp knife, dip it in blood and freeze it. Next, they bury the handle of the knife in the frozen tundra with the blade sticking up. Wolves, attracted to the scent of blood, come to lick the blade. The cold numbs the wolf’s tongue and by the time it reaches the blade, it is unaware it is licking a sharp edge. As it begins to bleed, it licks even faster until ultimately it bleeds to death.

In many ways Paul Harvey was describing the way young people are lured into drug and alcohol traps. Early on, some drugs and alcohol make a person feel good and they enjoy the feeling. After a few “trips” on those drugs and alcohol, however, they begin to lose their sense of perspective and the drugs have less and less effect. This leads them to indulge in stronger, more potent drugs – and he or she is “hooked.”

Interestingly enough, the wolf and the drug addict have another thing in common. Each wanted the same thing; namely, to give little or nothing and get a lot. A more successful formula is to give a lot, and you will get a lot in return.

Remember – the “free” cheese is in a mousetrap

Extracted from the book by Zig Giglar: What I Learned on the Way to the Top.

Note by KC: Contrary to the above thought-provoking passage, luckily, this is not true with running. In running, the more we run, the better and stronger. So, keep running, and don’t stop. Avoid all drugs and easy on alcohol.

Next, more report on KLIM 2006.

Monday, March 06, 2006

KL International Marathon 2006

Phew! I finally resized all photos showing happenings at Dataran Merdaka for KLIM 2006.

For those who are new viewing photos from Yahoo Photo album, it is always faster to identify a starting photo and then click View Slideshow.

To view 113 photos painstakingly resized and added with captions, please click here.

By KC
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Lyrics have been modified from "Power to all our friends" by Sir Cliff Richard.
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Better description to suit the occasion: marathon massage session ...
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Sunday, March 05, 2006

KLIM 2006 - 5 March

Photo album:
Part 1 - At the starting line (41 photos), please click here.

Part 2 - In high running action (108 photos), please click here.

Part 3 - At Dataran Merdeka ... Work is in progress.

Thanks to Steven (Penguin-5) for taking those marvellous photos.
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To be continued ... By KC
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Friday, March 03, 2006

You Can Do It

Below are the extracts of emails exchange between Penguin Runners on Friday, 3 March:

Initiated by KC:

Yesterday evening was a good weather for running. I managed to do a 7km run with OK form only. I should be able to stand at the starting line on Sunday morning at 5am for the full marathon race. My target this time is about 4 hours 15 minutes (KLIM 2005 timing was 4 hours 7 minutes; best timing was SIM 2004: 3 hours 51 minutes).

Reply from Meng (Penguin-2):

Aiya !!! Why so humble? You can do sub-4 (completing a full marathon within four hours).

We all should set the target higher, i.e. to do a sub-4 whenever Champion Chip is to be used in a full marathon race. There are not many full marathon in this part of the world which uses Champion Chip. At this point of time, there are only three; namely KL, Singapore and Bangkok full marathons.

In addition, there won't be many opportunities for us to do a "recorded" sub-4 where timing is accurately monitored by the Champion Chip. The not so advanced method is to take timing from the display in common digital clock at the finishing line which could give rise to lag time problem (when clock is ticking at gun off, the runners at the back of pen take some time to reach starting line).

Aim high and you have nothing to lose. After all, you are not challenging against anybody but your own limitation. Always have a positive mindset that "You can do it" or "Just do it". If we fall flat, we would not be too far from target.

Anyway, one of the fun factors in full marathon is to enjoy the torturing or suffering during the run. The human body has limitation but the power of mind is limitless.


Reply from Tony (Penguin-3):

KC just be humble himself lah. We would never know on the race day, he can surprise us all.... from nowhere comes KC with his biggest smile. To all the marathon runners at the starting line, you can do it. Cheers!