Sunday, June 28, 2009

KL Marathon

I was trailing behind a girl runner at the Cheras stretch of the KL Marathon. Started at 6:15 a.m. on Sunday 28 June, I was running in the half marathon. She was wearing a cap with her hair tied in pony tail. Wearing a dark red top and black running short, her movement looked graceful and pleasing to the eyes.

With her body leaned slightly forward, her stride seemed strong and swift when running. After a while, I decided to overtake her. A few seconds later, I heard someone was calling my name: “KC”. When I turned my head, the girl who was ahead of me was Chantelle.

Chantelle training for 20km run

With thousands and thousands of runners, it is not easy to look for your friends in a sea of runners. In term of numbers, the KL Marathon organized Standard Chartered – the maiden attempt in Kuala Lumpur – was a big success. This year, the official colour of the event was green and blue mirroring the official colour of Standard Chartered Bank. If you are not aware, bibs with green label is for full marathon while blue is for half marathon.

The Bibs
This is by far the most advanced bibs that I have seen. The chips, using RDIF (Radio Frequency Identification) technology, is actually imbedded behind the bibs: a simple tag that activates your timing at the starting point, and stop your timing at the finishing point. With the simplified procedure, the cumbersome way of paying deposit and later collecting them is considered old fashion!

The Weather
The weather was most ideal for running this morning. Other than the slight drizzle at the start of full marathon at 5:00 a.m., the sun only came out strong at 11:00 a.m. when the full marathon was officially concluded.

The Traffic
Enough has been said in the past years of KL marathons organized by FTAAA about the notorious stretch of traffic along Jalan Loke Yew, Jalan Cheras area where the road is chocked with heavy traffic. I was surprised to see that this is the main route (attraction) for this new KL marathon.

Water Stations
According to Alexis, the Mount Everest Base Camp trekker (this October 2009) who is running in the full marathon said that there was no water at the last three water stations. I could empathize with her what it is like running a full marathon when there wasn’t enough water, and the organizer did not honour their words.

Distance Marker
This is very confusing. Chantelle and I did not believe the number that we saw. But we should think that the distance marker is for full marathon (and not half marathon category). Only when I see a 35km marker, I would then know that we have another 7km to go (35km + 7km = 42km for full marathon). For some, after running for many kilometers, it is not easy to compute at that moment.

The Trekkers and Marathoners
The Mount Everest Base Camp trekkers who are taking part in the full marathon are AB Tan, PK Chan, Alexis and SC Yong; save for yours truly (KC) who is running in the half.

I could see that she improved very much in her running. With a slimmer body, it is evident that she has spent much effort to train. A few years ago, while we trained for 20km run, I was doing the talking when running. This time, she could run and talk quite effortlessly. I was pacing with her and I could see that she is a strong runner now. She and another seven runners will be going to run in the Gold Coast Marathon this coming Sunday (5 July) and this will be her third full marathon attempt.

The photographer
After taking many photographs of runners in action, Jason Lee is participating in the run himself. It is indeed an incredible courage that he is attempting the full marathon. This time, we have CS Wong (click here for photo album; part of the KL marathon photos are ready) who was there to take photos. He has upgraded his camera to one of serious pro grade and better then Nikon D200 SLR.

Chee Wee running in the previous KL marathon (filepix photo courtesy of Jason Lee)

Mei Ling
I met Mei Ling at the starting/ending area. She was very active in running and trekking previously. She actually planned her route and took LRT and cheered her husband who is running in the full marathon. She could tell me that Chee Wee (another penguin bro runner) was also there running.


Other than the glitches of long delay in collecting the bibs and race package on Friday 26 June that caused much unhappiness among the runners; other than the distance markers and also insufficient water for the full marathon runners, there is still room for improvement. Maybe the expectation is high since Standard Chartered has successfully organized in Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Nairobi. Well, we hope the organizer can raise the standards of KL Marathon on par with the other marathons. BRAVO to the organizer for staging this massive event.
click here for official website on KL Marathon.

Written by KC


Yin said...

Good seeing you greeting us at the finishing line :)Just completed my very first half marathon today! Now limping around...kaki sakit :P wonder didn't see KC Lee, he was running too :)

Shiek Eng Meng said...

Wah, nowadays a lot of mention on Chantelle ... of course lah, pretty girl mah.

Anyway, have fun with the marathons ... wish I could run like you guys.