Sunday, April 01, 2007

KLIM 2007 – a Non-runner’s Report

Please click here for complete photo albums on KLIM.
I asked a few runners before Kuala Lumpur International Marathon (KLIM) 2007 on Sunday 18 March 2007. I received quite similar answers: “Die, die lah, did not have much training this time.” Well, these are the brave runners – gals and guys – who dare to take up a full marathon challenge as though they are running a 10km race. Bravo!

In my opinion, the lack of training could be due to the extended Chinese New Year celebration or the recent constant rainfall that hamper training schedule.

I notice one good development of runners in KLIM 2007: the runners are upgrading their category. For example, a runner is running half marathon formerly, run full this time; non-runners, run 10km. Well, mixing too much with full marathon runners, it is not surprised that they will run a full marathon – which is the ultimate objective in running – one day.

In photography, whenever a new, state-of-the-art camera or lens hit the market, the photo “kaki” (members) would like to use this phrase “poison your mind” to influence or encourage others to buy the new equipment (obviously better) that will eventually burn much bigger hole in the pocket. I hope it is not the same situation as in running.

Coincidently, a few days before KLIM, I was sending out emails inviting runners for a trekking trip. One runner responded: “KC, you wear outdoor trekking shoes more than the running shoes nowadays.”

On KLIM day, while I was taking photos for the event, surprisingly, quite a number of runners asked me when I would resume running to recover from the heel pain. After a quick analysis, it has to be after my 17-day trekking trip in Nepal starting from May 23.

Moira, after her half marathon race, came to chat with me while I was in the thick of action taking photos at the finishing line. She came all the way from Penang with her friends. It was a delicate situation as turning my head away to focus in the conversation would mean missing that opportunity to take photos for a friend or Pacesetters runner.

I was glad that she took a photo of me. It was a funny situation that both Jason Lee and I take thousands of photos for runners, but we never take photos for each other. I began to realize the problem when I wanted to publish Jason Lee’s most recent photo for a job well done.

True to a runner’s fighting spirit, Meng (penguin-2) was right there running in this event. Just two weeks before KLIM, he tripped and fell during Circuit Training Run at Lake Gardens that awarded him with 17 stitches on his head. He said that the timing in KLIM this time, 4 hours 29 minutes, was the worst among all his marathons so far.

Chee Wee (penguin-11) told me a funny story: he lost four kilograms of weight running in KLIM. On that morning, he woke up to prepare breakfast only to realize that there was no more oats. So he ate only two pieces of biscuits and ran the full marathon. He did not even take the Power Gel distributed at 30km mark. His body system could be converting his body fats or reserves into energy to sustain the journey. So, to loose weight, run a marathon! To loose more weight, run more …

One point needs mentioning: those runners that did not train much were all returned to the finishing line. Despite enduring much pain and muscle cramps, I still did not hear any swearing – for quitting full marathon.

Event Organization – The Good

Without doubt, KLIM 2007 was a well-organized event. I heard that with the abundance of water stations and drinks, the runners were most pleased with the organizer on handling the refreshments. The handling of finisher medals was systematically and orderly carried out. Two thumbs up for the organizer!

The Not so Good

Starting time: Have you been to a running event 15 minutes before the start of a race only to see a deserted ground? I empathize with a number of runners who showed bewilderment or frustration when they arrived at the starting line. The event for full and half marathons started half hour earlier from the original time, i.e. 5:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. respectively.

About 30 runners were seen arriving “late”. There were two runners who arrived at the starting point at 5:05 a.m. for full marathon. Effectively, they were only 5 minutes late. But in actual fact, they were 35 minutes after gun off. Nevertheless, that did not stop them and they proceed into the darkness.

To give those “late” runners a rousing send-off, the spectators actually cheered and applauded them to give them the encouragement.

I met one runner at the Pacesetters tent that he was not running because he did not want to run alone. So, I told him to wait for a while, and run with another “late” runner.

Usually, start time is postponed to later time to accommodate the arrival of VVIP to grace to occasion. However, to start the races half hour earlier than the original stipulated time was something quite new.

Announcer: Enough comments have been said about the two announcers. The male announcer spoke in a slow and dull tone – always think very hard of what need to say; whereas the woman announcer spoke too loudly and always treat runners like a school teacher addressing pupils. At times, both spoke in sarcastic voice.

Atmosphere: There were times that the entire Dataran Merdeka was as quiet that we could hear a pin dropped. The organizer missed the opportunity to present a good impression to all those that were there in the event. They could charge up the atmosphere to be more upbeat and interesting so that it was worth all the effort to go there participating in this international event. With Josie, Wong and Eng. Notice the do-re-me in height. Photo by Jackie.


It was a successfully organized event considering that there are noticeably more runners this time in all categories. Dataran Merdeka was tastefully lighted up as though we were in fairyland. It was a memorable event and I truly enjoyed myself busy taking photos or conversing with other runners. See you in next KLIM.


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