Sunday, 21 August 2016

Ignite The Runner In You PUMA Night Run, Shah Alam

Touted to be the biggest PUMA Night Run event todate, anywhere; ten thousand runners (including me and my family) made our way to Dataran Kemerdekaan Shah Alam on Saturday evening to participate in PUMA Night Run.

It's the first time PUMA Night Run was held at Dataran Kemerdekaan Shah Alam as their first two editions were held at Setia Alam. Unfortunately, my personal opinion is: Shah Alam is not exactly the best route to accommodate 10K runners; especially not during a busy Saturday evening. In a residential area. Full stop.
There were two waves for the 10K category:
  1. 10K Competitive (Men & Women) with A1 & B1 bib numbers
  2. 10K Recreational (Men & Women) with A2 & B2 bib numbers
Despite the many reminders by the emcees that only runners with bibs starting with numbers A1 & B1 to enter the pen for the 8.00pm flag-off, I saw quite a number of runners with A2 & B2 doing so too. There were RELA members (two of them) manning the entrance of the pen area and understandably both of them cannot check all those who were pushing to enter.

Understandably that is, until one of them pulled me back and ask for my bib. The one with bib B1 got pulled back and a throng of A2 and B2 entered without much problem. 
Flag-off was at 8.00pm and it took me about 4minutes to cross the start line. 


What running? I know that these type of run has many runners who were out just to have fun but when 80% of them were already strolling (walking) from the start line; it makes for a hugely congested running path.
Some thoughts for both organiser & fellow runners:
For the Organiser:
  • They lack the foresight on how 10K crowd would be like, thinking that coning off one lane of the road would be enough. One lane road for runners are not enough for the volume they had!
  • The control of those flagging-off for competitive and leisure run can be improved. Otherwise, what's the point of having the two waves? And no, two RELA volunteers to check on 5 thousand bibs (assuming that's the number of those doing the competitive run) wasn't enough.
  • Lack of safety and traffic marshall all throughout the 10K route. The organiser had effectively closed off most of the entry/exit point of residence in Seksyen 11 and part of Seksyen 6 (other areas were affected too but not as bad as Seksyen 11); yet they didn't place marshall at all the junctions. While some drivers were patient. some were not and I've heard about runners almost being knocked down by cars. 
  • I only managed a 23min for 3K yet for a pace that is slightly below the 8min/km; I never did managed to see the 8min pacer balloons. A friend who wanted to chase the 7min pacers didn't see the ballons even after 4K! And he started way in front of me!
  • Dark road stretch at KM6 and KM7 were not addressed.
  • Weird placing of water stations (first one was at KM4) and water ran out for stragglers. 
  • Shah Alam at 8.00pm is simply not the venue for a big run that PUMA Night Run saw.
  • Some runners didn't step on the timing mat at KM5.5 mark because there wasn't any volunteers reminding and guiding them towards the mat. A number just walked on the pavement completely oblivious about the halfway mark timing mat. 
  • Don't just go for numbers when quality simply wasn't there.
For the runners:
  • Runners used both lanes and some "stupid" runners thought that running and getting a PB is far more important that their own safety that they enroached the road where traffic was not blocked and cars were zooming past them from the opposite side. You call Pokemon-go players stupid and time wasting? These runners are even stupider wei!
  • If you have no intention to run from the start, please refrain in registering for the competitive category next time or if you hold a A2 & B2 bib numbers and also didn't plan to run, refrain from entering the pen before your allocated flag-off time. No, I'm not talking about how fast you can run. You can run a 9min/km pace for all I care, but you can join the competitive category if you want running and improve your timing. You have my admiration and respect. BUT if you are already walking at 100 mtr, hold hands, chat - that's is not competitive. Spare a thought for those who actually want to run. Don't block the road. This is not a Pasar Malam outing.  
  • Don't shout at volunteers and the medic team. They are there to help us. And if you are tired and do not want to walk anymore, the medic has the right the refuse you to board the ambulance. Being tired (but still able to shout at people) is NOT an emergency, dai lo.  Board a bus la. Volunteers already apologised profusely when they ran out of water at one of the WS. 
  • Oh yeah, dude running in the middle of the road at KM2 point - spitting on the road is not cool. Swallow your "kahak". If it's gross for you to swallow it, it is much more gross to have it on my shoes. Bodo.
But as I joined the stragglers (I gave up on making any effort to run after 3K because it seems pointless); I saw that most "runners" were just happy pounding the tarmac -  walking. 

And being behind, I noted that all along the route, I didn't hear any honking from the cars that passed by. A few cars patiently waited for a clear path but as there were no marshals, they were unable to continue their journey. 

A little girl shouted words of encouragement from a car and then we heard more words of encouragement as we passed an apartment complex. 
Anyhoo, it was nice to bump into friends along the route - a few wondered why I was standing by the roadside and not running or taking photos; and later met a few more friends at the finish line.
And Son, after a few month's break from running in races; finished his 10K last night. So proud of him. ^^

Will I do PUMA Night Run again? I don't know.

The technical team has to buck up.
The Shah Alam route is not exactly the best route (to put it mildly) for ten thousand runners. Especially not on a Saturday night. You all don't know ah, we Malaysians like to go out at night? 

Friday, 19 August 2016

The Tale Of Twincity Marathon

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, wrote Charles Dickens in the Tale of Two Cities.

For most runners who did the Cyberjaya Twincity Marathon which was held on January 24th, 2016; that was perhaps exactly how they felt as they completed their respective categories. All the hard work they put in during months of training leading to race day, battling fatigue running in the hot and humid course and finally the elation and a sense of accomplishment as they crossed the finish line and handed their hard earned medals.

Cyberjaya Twincity Marathon offered 4 distance categories:
• Full marathon (42km)
• Half marathon (21km)
• 12K
• and 5K fun run.

The generous 8-hours cut-off time for the full marathon category and 4-hours for the half marathon made this event appealing for runners especially those who wanted to do their first full marathon. The route gave runners a chance to explore Cyberjaya and Putrajaya on foot. It was also great that the organisers provided a number of pacers for both the full marathon and half marathon categories to assist runners to run and meet their target finishing time.
Dato' Faris Yahaya (fifth from left), the managing director of Cyberview Sdn Bhd who ensured Cyberjaya Twincity Marathon a successful event since 2014 is also a runner and had participated in a number of international marathons. Faris started running in full marathon in 2009 and he had not looked back since.

It is his intention to turn Cyberjaya Twincity Marathon into a signature event for the country and be known all over the world. He believes that a marathon can put a city’s name on the world map and he not only wants to elevate Cyberjaya as a global tech hub but also as a city that promotes healthy living practices.

Dato' Faris did the half marathon in Cyberjaya Twincity Marathon this year. Now, how many MD of a company that hold a marathon event who also ran in it?

He is also proud of the fact that from only two runners among his old batchmates at Malay College Kuala Kangsar (including himself), there is now a group of twenty who are running and ten of them did their first half marathon at Cyberjaya Twincity Marathon! Equally inspiring to know, two of his friends; Salimin Saidin and Ismadi Ismail managed to lose 20kg and 10kg respectively through an active lifestyle. A great achievement for a batch of 48 year old, old boys from MCKK!
Another running group which Dato' Faris is a member of; the Gaited Community had more than 15 of their members joining the full marathon, 10 members did the half marathon and a few more did the 12K.
The full marathon category was flagged off at 4.00am, followed by half marathon category at 5.30am, 12K category at 6.30am and finally the 5K fun run category at 7.00am.

The early flag-off time spared most runners from running too long under the hot sun. The organiser, mindful of the need for Muslim runners to perform their Subuh prayers in view of the early start, had provided suraus located at water stations (WS) from KM9 onwards. The WS at this marathon event provided something “extra” for full marathon runners, apart from the standard water, isotonic and fruits. There was a WS that provided freshly made roti canai and teh tarik for full marathon runners at KM33.5! Furthermore, we were not only served with water and isotonic, we also enjoyed “air jagung” and “sirap bandung” at the WS. We were also treated with ice cream Malaysia at the last WS, located just 2K away from the finish line and it was heavenly.

A few notable runners during the Cyberjaya Twincity Marathon whom I managed to contact:

Dr Liau Kok Keon, a paediatrician and of the Skyhawk Marathon Club Melaka which had successfully organised the Skyhawk Nature Run in Melaka a week before Cyberjaya Twincity Marathon ran in the full marathon category together with his wife. Both are avid runners and it was Mrs Liau’s (Dr Jess) first full marathon and paced by her husband, she managed to complete her run in 5 hours and 37 minutes!
For G. Suresh Kumar who had competed in several racewalking events both local and overseas such as the 15th Australian Masters Games held in Adelaide in 2015, where he bagged gold medals for 1500m, 3,000m and 5,000m; he was happy to complete his second full marathon after 10 years in 4 hours 31 minutes by racewalking. This was his first attempt at racewalking the marathon distance and he did it faster than most runners who did it by running!

Yahya Iskandar and his wife Nasa Zaidul; who are a fixture in the running events in Malaysia flew all the way from Kuching, Sarawak to participate.

Both are members of the Marathon Maniacs club and had done numerous marathons.

Apart from the full marathon and half marathon categories, there were also the 12K and 5K fun run categories. In the shorter distance categories, a number of runners were seen running in it with their families and having fun together.
Mimi Sadina Abu Samah ran in the half marathon category. Her 12 year old daughter, Ariana Safiyya Azmir joined the 12K and Mimi’s mother did the 5K fun run. Mimi’s mother, Aziah Mohd Sharif caught the running bug first and it was later shared by her daughter and granddaughter. At the moment, Aziah chooses to run in the fun run category that are less than 10K but who knows, perhaps she’ll upgrade to farther distance in the future? At 62, Aziah certainly proved that there is nothing stopping her from being active and leading a healthy lifestyle! This family certainly showed that running is a great way to bond and be healthy together.

The next Cyberjaya Twincity Marathon is planned to be held in January 2017. Dato' Faris wants to have the marathon as the event to kickstart the New Year and new resolution for runners.

See you in 2017.

Footnote :
Perhaps this is a weird time to publish this post about an event held in January.  I stumbled on it again a few days ago. That's why. And seem so sayang never to get it out.

I wrote it after pitching the idea to a newspaper editor before the event itself, got a green light to do it and swiftly went to work by approaching one of the organising team member to have access on race information, invited runners and also official photos.

After much work and hours spent, sadly the article got shelved (I never got a rejection but was told the article I wrote is being put on KIV).

But in writing this, I learn a lot and anyway, another article I wrote titled "Sisters Are Running" did get published later in February.

A heartfelt thank you to Dato' Faris Yahaya for spending time answering my questions for this post in January, shortly after the marathon, despite his busy schedule.
Thank you too to everybody who had helped and participated in the conception of this article and also for their consent to use their photos.

If possible, a humble request to the organiser for the January 2017 Cyberjaya Twincity Marathon – an access for media (not only for the mainstream media but also for us “picisan” bloggers and key opinion leaders) to have information on the run and their invited runners apart from the run itself; other than what little information we could glean from the registration portal and facebook page/website.
p.s. I’m planning to do my full marathon at Cyberjaya Twincity Marathon. Sponsors are greatly appreciated and welcomed! Muahaha

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Another "Win" In The Bag

After the nice run at Jog For Hope 2016 last Sunday; in which I finished fifth, I had another nice surprise.

It was for a run I did two Sundays ago, at Standard Chartered KL Marathon (SCKLM) 2016.

The race organiser had an SCKLM Media Challenge and runners from different media houses "competed" to vie to become the winner in their respective categories.

The winners are determined by the fastest time in their respective categories during SCKLM 2016 on Aug 7th.

There are only be one winner selected in the following categories:
  • Full Marathon (Men’s and Women’s)
  • Full Marathon (Men’s and Women’s Veteran) 
  • Half Marathon (Men’s and Women’s)
  • Half Marathon (Men’s and Women’s Veteran)
  • 10 km (Men’s and Women’s)
  • 10 km (Men’s and Women’s Veteran)
Look who won her category!

I was informed about the win on Monday and of course I couldn't miss the media appreciation hi-tea and prize presentation that they held.
 I totally love this medal!
With the other Media Challenge winners during the prize presentation.

It's so awesome to be standing on the stage with podium winning runners who also part of media and participated in the media challenge.

Thank you Standard Chartered KL Marathon, Dirigo Events and Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia for the award and also for the nice hi-tea session.

Hope I can "compete" again next year!

(Though I think it'll be tougher to win next year because now everyone wants to join the challenge! LOL)

Monday, 15 August 2016

Jog For Hope 2016 By Taylor's College Sri Hartamas Pre-U Students

Jog For Hope is an annual jogathon organized by the pre-university students of Taylor's College Sri Hartamas. The main objective is to raise funds for charitable organizations and societies so that they are able to continue carrying out their purpose and help the community. This year, funds obtained will be donated to Kirtarsh Handicapped and Disabled Children's Home, Special Children Society of Ampang and Sweet Care Welfare Society.

This is my second year joining Jog For Hope, after doing it for the first time last year. (Race recap here)

I hadn't planned for anything strenuous for this week and next week as I want to relax and be an absolute couch potato for two weeks after doing the SCKLM 2016 HM so the plan was just to enjoy the run.

It was good that I had put aside a rest week because I somehow injured my left calf and was hobbling along from Monday to Thursday so I didn't feeling guilty for not running at all. Then I kinda gotten back pain on Thursday and I still can't bend down properly until today! At least I'm getting better already. Phew.

Anyways, it was total rest and no workout from Monday to Friday, so I decided to "test" my legs on Saturday to see whether I could run pain-free on Sunday. And then I did some squats and lunges after the run. (Clever, because I was sore on Sunday during the run! Miahaha)
Just like last year, I only collected my t-shirt and bib on race morning (registration was still open on race morning).

And just like last year, all categories were flagged-off at the same time; the 3K, 6K and 10K.  The run was supposed to start at 7.00am but we were only flagged-off at 7.20am-ish but I only started my watch after I passed the Start Line Banner at 7.25am. (We started at 7.38am last year miahaha)
I started somewhere in the middle and it took me quite a few minutes to be able to start running as most were just happily walking.

No biggie lah. Gotta understand that most were students and runners just going out to have fun for charity. I think it was after about 500m that I finally started to run.

I tried not to be preoccupied with my pace so I just run without pushing too much. But the legs felt a tad heavy and by the time I reached the first CP and water station at KM1.6, I was wishing I had registered for a 3K run instead. LOL

I took my first walk break at KM2.8 for about 100m while going up a 400m uphill section and as I got to KM3 mark, there was Hubby waiting for me.
As I run past him, he told me "I saw you walking just now" and I just stuck my tongue out at him and continued running. Hahaha

A friend; Aiza who also ran HM with me at TM Fan Run and SCKLM caught up with me at around KM6 mark.

I had forgotten the long incline from KM6 to KM7 and then KM7.5 to KM8+ and at this section, I resorted to walk breaks for about 150m each.

I didn't train at the Hartamas route so I kinda forgotten how hilly this route was!

But maintaining an even effort was good for me and I didn't really push during my run so I was just maintaining a 20min, 3K goal all the way through.
I drank a few mouthful of the N8 Endurance sports drink before the run (just about 20ml or so) and it was interesting to note that for the first time in any races; I didn't feel the need to stop for a drink for the whole 10.5K run that I did!

It was the same thing on Saturday when I did a 30min run plus a 30min walk session. I only drank about 200ml of the N8 Endurance Sports Drink and went out without any breakfast and I could last the whole hour.

I'm quite excited to try the drink again during my training session once it starts in two weeks' time and on race days too!

Aiza caught up with me again at KM9 and we ran together until we got to the finish line.

The race director had placed the finish line further uphill than last year's location so we had to do a bit more uphill for our final surge to finish. Blergh

I saw Hubby motioning me to run faster when I was about 50m to finish and he was showing with his hand my placing so I pushed forward to finish.
My placing card and timing.

I was happily surprised to finish 5th place in the Women Open 10K category! Equally happy that I shaved off 3min from last year's Jog For Hope official timing and that's with the extra uphill distance at Finish Line to boot!

A good results with the pace I was looking for (albeit it was off by 1-2sec from my 6:40min/km pace I had targeted) and I got my hills training to boot!
The prize giving ceremony later. 2 runners had already went back so only 3 of the top 5 were on stage.

All in all, a good morning. Sore thighs from Saturdays squats and lunges notwithstanding.

Now, I'll "mereput" and rest some more until Saturday's PUMA Night Run! Hahaha

And oh yeah, good job Taylor's College Sri Hartamas Pre-U Jog For Hope Team.

Congrats too, for the collection they collected for Kirtarsh Handicapped and Disabled Children's Home, Special Children Society of Ampang and Sweet Care Welfare Society. They had pledged to donate RM7,500.00 to each charity but they managed to give more! Big pat on the shoulder to them.

For next year's team, if I may give a suggestion - ensure more marshals to be placed at junctions (2015's team was good at this).

Quite a number of cars honked at runners and three cars made u-turns at the finish line area while runners were surging to finish. Not exactly a safe situation. 

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Press Release: Stand By Me - Charity Orchestra by JCI and UMMC

Junior Chamber International Petaling Jaya (JCI PJ) Stands By University Malaya Medical Centre Childhood Cancer Trust Fund with “Stand By Me”Concert by Kuen Cheng High School’s Wind Orchestra
Shah Alam, 6 August 2016 – The Junior Chamber International Petaling Jaya (JCI PJ), in collaboration with University Malaya, UM Medical Centre, and Kuen Cheng High School, is pleased to present "Stand by Me", a charity concert performed by Kuen Cheng High School’s Wind Orchestra. This year, the young musicians will perform to raise funds for the University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) Childhood Cancer Trust Fund. The orchestra was led by the illustrious Dato’ Wong Chee Hwa (D.K.S.D) (A.D.P).

JCI PJ Organising Chairman K.C. Har said, “The Stand By Me concert aims to help and support families with children that suffers from cancer. Every bit of assistance means a lot to these families. We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all our partners and supporters for your kind effort, support, and contributions.”

“The Stand By Me" project is one of JCI PJ’s annual signature events and the organisation have been organizing various fund-raising projects since 2013 for the JCI PJ-UMMC Childhood Cancer Trust Fund. This is the first time they are collaborating with international awards winner, Kuen Cheng High School Wind Orchestra, formed since 1971. We hope that by organizing this meaningful event, we are not only supporting children with cancer but to create awareness on childhood cancer. We are overwhelmed by the time and commitment that these extraordinary youths have put into this concert. This is not only a platform for them to showcase their talents but more importantly, to empower youths to contribute towards positive change,” added Har.

According to Professor Hany Ariffin, Head of the Paediatric Oncology Unit at the University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), “Childhood cancer is highly curable with 75-80% of children obtaining long-term cure. Given the likelihood of treatment success, we hope to give all our young patients, especially those who cannot afford treatment, the opportunity to achieve this.”

This charity fund-raising event aims to raise funds for childhood cancer patients who are undergoing treatment at UMMC, a leader in the management of childhood cancer. Since the 1970s, more than 5000 children with various types of malignancies have been successfully treated. Being a tertiary referral centre, UMMC receives paediatric cancer patients from within and outside Klang Valley. The majority (64%) of the patient families have household incomes of less than RM4,000 per month and 12% live below the poverty line.

The concert, held at the Shah Alam Royal Theatre, was made possible with the support of venue  partner Majlis Bandaraya Shah Alam, strategic partner Selangor Youth Community, and design and marketing partner The Bridge. 
The charity concert was graced by Professor Dr. Hany Binti Mohd Arrifin, Professor and Consultant Paediatric Oncologist and Haematologist, Madam Tan Tat Chin, Vice Chairman Board of Director Kuen Cheng High School, Madam Chong Siew Fah, Vice Principal of Kuen Cheng High School, YB Pn. Rodziah Binti Ismail, Selangor State Assembly Woman for Batu Tiga, Pn Noorul Ashikin Mohd Din, General Manager of Tourism Selangor, and Pn Elya Marini Binti Darmin, Setiausaha Dewan Negeri Selangor.
About JCI PJ:
JCI PJ is an award winning chapter and has been awarded the Most Outstanding Local Organization in Malaysia since 2009. JCI PJ emphasizes on giving back to the community and believes that serving humanity is the best work of life. Since their existence 35 years ago, it has then grown to greater heights of its existence and its fantastic results can be seen in four areas of opportunities, namely Individual, Business, International and Community.

About University Malaya Medical Centre Childhood Cancer Research (UMMC):
Over the past 50 years, UM has pioneered many milestones in our Malaysian medical history. UM is the oldest university in Malaysia and was the first teaching university in the country. UMCC is the leader in the management of childhood cancer. The cure rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common childhood cancer is at 81%. The Stand By Me concert aims to help and support families with children that suffers from cancer.

About Kuen Cheng High School Wind Orchestra
Kuen Cheng High School Wind Orchestra is the performing orchestra for this event, led by the illustrious Dato’ Wong Chee Hwa (D.K.S.D) (A.D.P). It was formed in 1971, almost 40 years ago. The orchestra comprises of talented and enthusiastic members who are passionate about musical performances. They are the winners for the international wind band competition for Chinese schools(Gold Award) for both 2011 and 2013.


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