Venue: Dataran Shah Alam, Selangor
Distance: 22.7KM (22.21KM by Jamie's Garmin Forerunner 205)
Shoe: Nike LunarTrainer+
Before going into the race, I just have to mention about the race kit collection which happened 2 days ago. It's by, the worst race kit collection ever in my entire running career! It took me around 4 hours to collect 30 kits, which 29 is behalf my friends. It could have been longer if Andrew had not answer my call for help. Thanks my friend. I don't see any issue on collecting 30 kits but the collection system was based on categories which didn't allow bulk collection which consists of another category. Therefore, I myself had to queue one category after another which I had to do 5 times. And to add matters worst, each category had only 1 line each. Imagine the mens category which always sees the most participants! It took me an hour plus just to collect 6 kits for the men open category! They only increased the line by 2 or 3 an hour plus later when they actually realised the problem but still, it didn't help much as the collection itself is already a slow process. So what was the problem?
1) Collection based on categories, and not in bulk categories.
2) Collection is done manually by hand which had to be go through one by one.
3) Vest to be collected seperately from the bibs.
4) Participant's name not in the registered list.
5) Not allowed to collect race kit if name and IC number were not written on collection card.
The chaotic scene during race kit collection day...
Now, to the race. No target for me. I'm taking this as a training run so I'm going easy. I don't think my fitness level is up there yet after just returning from my rest period so this will be my first test run. My plan is just to pace with Jamie for as far as I can. And besides that, I'm actually putting my new Nike LunarTrainer+ to test here. So I'll be doing different things as I run to get the feel out of it. I know it's a bit risky putting on a new shoe which I only ran 4KM in it, to run a half marathon, but I have the Injinji Tetratsok to protect my beloved feet.
I arrived at the venue as early as 5.15am to find myself a good parking spot which I did in a hotel. Met up with Lionel and his dad too and had a chat while waiting for Jamie who arrived shortly later. We were both in need of the toilet but sadly to say, none were spotted and so we had to resort to the "nature's" way. As the starting time ticks nearer, we did our warm up and stretch before checking into the starting area. Together with Jamie and Lionel, we placed ourselves at the back of the pack. The race started 5 minutes late at 6.50am due to the late arrival of the Selangor Chief Minister. Started with a comfortable pace and still managed to chat with some of the runners around. Lionel however took off and was not seen throughout the race. As for the condition, it was just great with a light breeze blowing.
The first 5KM or so brought runners into some industrial area. Traffic wasn't a problem here as it was still early. The first refreshment station appeared here which was rather early. It was packed with runners and was under man power. I did not stop as I was carrying my own water bottle. I slowed down a little while waiting for Jamie to have his drink. As I later exit this area, I found myself at the Selangor's Aquatic Center. I bumped into Eugene here and had a short chat before I left him. This is where our first hill climb appeared. Not very steep and quickly it was over. While descending, I did some plyometrics using my calf muscles to propel my every stride. The responsiveness of the shoe was just amazing! As I arrived at Bulatan Kayangan, it was a long straight and flat route ahead passing by Concorde Hotel and the Shah Alam Mosque. Shih Ming tap on my back and we managed to pace for a little while before she took off. She was also wearing the Nike LunarTrainer+ and it really looked good when the 3 of us were running side by side at one time. Shortly later before, I bumped into Keat Seong who was already struggling with pain on his leg. I told him to just think of his recent Gold Coast Marathon as he did an impressive time over there.
Next up at the 11.5KM mark according to Jamie's Garmin Forerunner 205 GPS sensor came the another refreshment station. Surprisingly, it was labelled as 10KM. But anyhow, this station was only man by one person. It was suicide! It's clearly that he won't have enough time to get the cups ready with the drinks for the pack of dehydrated runners coming in. Luckily, I still had my water bottle with me. Kept running and soon was at Padang Jawa. This is where the problem starts. It was a industrial area and traffic was pretty heavy here. Crossing the roundabout was a problem and not forgetting the fumes. I had to spit numerous time to keep my throat "fresh". And so it kept going like this till I was back at the Shah Alam town area. Throughout the journey, I've lost count on the number of roundabouts and hill climbs.
At the final 3KM or so, my throat was really dry and I needed a drink. I had earlier finish up the water I brought along. But at the final refreshment station, it was packed with runners, some of them even stood there to drink like they were having some picnic. Not wanting to waste time, I continued on. And as I aprroach the final roundabout which was around 1KM till the finish line, I was glad I was still with Jamie. I was thinking that it wil be great to cross the finish line together. But suddenly, he increased his pace. I tried to follow him but at the final hill climb, I lost my momentum and had to return to my normal pace. As I approached the finish line, Shih Ming who had completed her run cheered me on from the side. Thanks my friend! And so I crossed the finish line just roughly around 20M behind Jamie at position 86 clocking 02:00:24! Sharp on the spot of the qualifying time as the gun went off just shortly later as I was rewarded a finisher's medal and a certificate of participation. .
With Lionel here who completed his run in 01:46:33...
With Yen Erl and friends after the run...
Front view of the finisher's medal. Same old design from last year...
Rear view of the finisher's medal...
The certificate of participation...
Overall, I enjoyed the route although it was tough. However, I can't say the same for the management of the run. I only saw 2 distance markers along the way both which are really off. The refreshement station was a major upset which I didn't bother to stop at any of it. Traffic control was just OK but safety barriers or cones should have been allocated around to separate the runners from the vehicle lanes. So in the end, I have to say that the quality of the event has dropped significantly compared to last year.