Wednesday, July 01, 2009

KL Marathon (4)

My Last Hurrah In Full Marathon
Written by Josie Yap

Fellow runners and friends asked why Standard Chartered KL Marathon (“SCKLM”) 2009 is my last marathon run. Well, to me, 3 times is more than what I expected. Having run my first in 2007 in Singapore, it was supposed to be a one-time experience. But I couldn’t resist the temptation to sign up in 2008 – again in Singapore. And then this year, there I was, signing up again on the very first day of SCKLM registration. I wouldn’t have signed up if it was not organized by Standard Chartered Bank after hearing all the shortcomings when it was organized by previous organizer over the past years. After all, Standard Chartered has been doing a good job in Singapore. Thus, the expectation was high.

Doubts quickly crept in after all the chaos during Race Pack collection on the eve of SCKLM. My friend, Angie was given a Half Marathon Bib number even though she registered for Full Marathon category. It was fortunate that she realized the mistake when she went to redeem the free Power Bar and got her right Bib No. Another fellow runner, Mr Wong started queuing up since 11am on Friday under the hot sun, got wet when it rained. By the time he got all the Bib Nos for different categories somewhat 3 hours later, he had come down with flu and fever. He was lucky to recover just in time to run on Sunday 28 June. I was one of the lucky ones who were fortunate enough to collect the race pack in a quickie.
L-R: Eng, Meng, Weng, YouBL, Chiew Hong, Steven, Panny, William
I reached Dataran Merdeka on Sunday morning at 3.50am. If one expects a carnival-like atmosphere just like in Singapore, then one would be disappointed. Runners were greeted with silence except for voice of the announcer. I guess no one bother as everyone were busy catching up with one another before the race started. I was extremely happy when it started to rain because the biggest enemy in all my runs is the scorching sun. The drizzle continued at the gun off until 2km or 3km into the run. It was a perfect weather. My target is to complete the run in Sub 6 hours, just like my previous two marathons. Running with me was Dannie, pacing with me from the start. As it was his first time running full, he was determined to complete the run and Sub 6 hours is good enough for him for a start.

With a slow and steady pace, it was a comfortable run from the beginning. Reaching the water station at 17.5km, we were caught by surprise when the volunteers said they have ran out of cups. This is definitely the first time I came across a running event where water stations ran out of cups. Well, at least they have not run out of water yet. Gulping down 100Plus and water from 2.0 litres bottles without touching the mouth was no easy task and definitely very unlady-like…J. But who wants to take the risk with the Influenza H1N1 virus threat?
The signature landmark, KLCC, is at the background

At 20km, it was time to get some deep heat cream onto my legs since it was washed away by the rain. To our dismay, we were informed by the St John Ambulance staffs that they have run out of deep heat cream. Fortunately, Dannie brought along a small tube of deep heat cream and the St John Ambulance staff was good enough to put on for me. The same cannot be said about some St John Ambulance staff who refuses to rub oil onto runners’ legs even though they had their gloves on leaving runners no choice but to wipe off residue on their clothes.

After the water station at 25km mark, there was no water station in sight till 30km mark. Obviously, water station at 27.5km has run out of supply and same goes for water station at 32.5km. Obvious reason was the route clashed with 21km category causing the shortage. Some runners were seen carrying the 2 litre bottle of water or 100plus which hampers one’s movement but what choice does runners have as their trust in the organizer has been broken and not dare to take the risk of waiting for the next water station. If not for the beautiful weather, runners would have been in danger of dehydration under the hot sun.
Running along the long stretch of Jalan Damansara was quite a frightening experience with the runners running together with speeding vehicles separated only by the cones placed. It was a relief when we approach the more familiar routes of normal 10km running events near Jalan Parliament.
From 30km onwards, we struggle with minor cramps and tight muscles leaving us no choice but to alternate between walks and slow runs. Slopes that we would normally run up like a charging bull becomes killing slopes.

Reaching the 39km marker was a mix of emotions as one can hear the loud noise from Dataran Merdeka and yet knowing that there’s another 3.195km to go. The 1km distance of Jalan Raja Laut before we see the turning into Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman seems never ending. We met Mr. Tai by the roadside who was so kind to hand us water to drink. We also had to be cautious along these well known busy roads as traffic police and volunteers seems to have gone out of sight. The encouragement we had was some onlookers who clapped their hands and cheered us on.
Dannie and Josie
From a distance, the Finishing sign at Dataran Merdeka was the most beautiful sign throughout the whole run. With full concentration and determination, we ran slowly but steadily towards the finishing line amidst cheers from fellow runners and friends. It was a tremendous feeling of relief and exhilaration that I managed to finish my last marathon before 6 hours. It doesn’t matter that it was a close one with only 8 minutes to go. Runners who knew me very well know I never have enough training and have never attempt to train up to 25km, let alone 30km to prepare for a marathon. So, to be able to complete the run is an achievement. From now, I will concentrate more on half marathons which I can really enjoy….:-)

Despite all the complaints and whining, I can look back and laugh over it as all these are fond and sweet memories of my 3 full marathon runs. Although SCKLM has its shortcoming, it was my most comfortable and relaxing run out of my 3 marathons. Never once, any negative thoughts wander into my mind during this run as compared to my previous 2 runs in Singapore when feelings of despair and regrets crept in especially under the scorching sun.

On a more serious note, basically as runners, we only want :-
1. Hassle-free race pack collection so that runners can reserve their energy and relax before the run.
2. Enough drinks stations during and after the run.
3. Empathy from the organizer on the welfare and the safety of the runners during and after the run.
4. Hassle-free medal and finisher T-shirt collection. Not to forget, correct size of Finisher T according to our running vest size as stated in our registration form.

If the organizer cannot even carry out their responsibilities or keep their word to meet such basic needs of runners, then runners will think twice about joining the same event in future.

Written by Josie Yap
Posted by KC

1 comment:

dannie said...

that's the lady who took away my 42km "virgin" run !!! hehehe... thanks JOSIE !!! u are great running partner...