Monday, June 7, 2010

Setia Eco Half Marathon 2010

This event was held simultaneously at SP Setia’s properties in Setia Alam (Klang Valley), Penang and Johor Baru (JB) in conjunction with World Environmental Day on Saturday. I heard from Vincent that the Penang edition only had the 3.5km while the Klang Valley one featured a half mary, 10km and 4.5km Fun Run. I am not too sure about the JB edition.

Since I was not too sure if my foot could hold up, I signed up for the Fun Run and it turned out to be anything other than fun! First up, the distance was 5 km (5.08km on my Garmin and 5.05km on Kei Ming’s newly minted device) and secondly, it turned out to be a very competitive affair, especially for the guys. Meyya finished in 21 minutes and he was 7th whereas Kei Ming and Suresh came in a minute later and they were placed 10th and 11th respectively. I crossed the line at 25:51 minutes for 2nd placing. Aw shucks! Especially since I was leading up to the final km. Anyway, 5.05 min/km is extremely fast for a Fun Run – I had expected to go at 6-7 min/km.

The route took us through the Setia Alam housing estate and was relatively flat except for 2 spots – an uphill climb to the traffic lights about 500 meters from the start and a gentle climb at the end of km 4 where the 10km and 4.5 km split up. As this was a new development, the houses spotted freshly painted exteriors, lots of barren land ready for construction, half-constructed houses, scarcely planted shrubs etc. The last item was not such a bother since the early flag off (6:30 am; 7:00 am; 7:10 am) meant that most runners would be back or at least completed a substantial portion of the run before the sun came shining out. In the end, this did not happened as the skies opened up about 7:30-7:35 am. The headwind in the last km was pretty strong and it was a quite difficult stretch for me.

The prize giving took a bit of time to get to and I was getting agitated and requested for it to be passed to Julie – hopefully I can collect it from her on Wednesday. I am not expecting the hamper to be substantial but we will see what we end up with.

Some of the good things about the Setia Eco Half Marathon 2010:
a) Early start and on time to boot!
b) Relatively flat and easy route.
c) Great organizing.
d) Sufficient marshals at tricky spots.
e) Finisher medals and certificates for all categories.
f) Free flow of food and drinks – bean curd, oranges, watermelons, bananas, Gardenia bread, Vico malt drink, Revive isotonic drink.
g) Easy to locate race venue.
h) Online registration.

Now comes the “not so good” things:
a) Lucky draws should be interspersed with prize giving since most prize winners would have finished the run and some of the slower runners (who may be holding the draw numbers might still be on the route). This was my pet peeve having to wait more than 2 hours after my run and was still waiting to collect the hamper. I gave up after the 2-hour mark.
b) Better security – the truck parked next to mine had its window broken and this was on the highway and home stretch route!
c) Running vests for all categories instead of limiting it to the competitive categories, after all, Fun Run runners do sweat and running a tee can bog them down.
d) Ice packs at medical stations. Ok, I could not even spot the medical station at the finishing point but when I asked one of the medics for an ice pack, she replied that they did not have any. This is certainly a first for me being used to seeing even doctors at Singapore races.

All in, it is still one of the better-organized local races.

The outer edge of my right foot was super achy and tired over the weekend because this was the first time I pushed it since the fracture but I am glad it responded to the challenge. I had a consultation with Mr Soon on Saturday evening and the ointment he applied stung to the max but it sped up the recovery.

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