Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Energizer Night Race 2011 – 11km

Date: 16 April 2011

Venue: Sepang F1 Circuit, Malaysia

Distance: 11km (Garmin: 10.83km)

Timing: only Garmin available due to clusterflubber at event: 51:59 minutes or 4:48 min/km pace

Result: 3rd placing (at time of posting; this could be withdrawn or forfeited or whatever)

Website: www.energizernightrace.com.my

Instead of the usual highs and lows of races I do, I’ll save my energy and finger power to write about my experience running the 11km. There is more than enough fodder material on Facebook, the blogsphere and the national dailies if anyone is interested to find out about the clusterflubber event without me adding on.

By all accounts, the run (not the race!) went well for me. The pacing was great and I was surprised, overjoyed even, when I recounted the Garmin to discover that my average pace was below 5 min/km! [insert dance of joy] I had expected a 55 to 60-minute finish after the prior weekend’s run, so coming in at 52 minutes was beyond my dreams.

I started with Sylvia (Moey) and as usual, she sped up but I kept to my own pace and eventually managed to catch up with her after a km. Then it was just keeping up the pace and picking off runners. I am still learning to even or negative split and by far, I am very much behind my lessons. The route was pretty flat with a few rolling slopes – I think there were 2 – and made for a great course to even or negative split. If only I could take advantage of this.

The 11km-ers were to run 2 laps around the circuit; the first one went great for me because I could see the wide open tarmac in front of me and took the shortest route possible i.e. cutting across the corners and turnings but this was a different story towards the last 3km of the run. Hey, taking the shortest route is legally permissible and that is how the certified routes are measured. When I say cutting the corners and turnings, I meant on or across the tarmac, not across the field as some runners did (I will say nothing more of these runners or their etiquette).

The last 3 km bordered on a bad dream (not nightmare proportions) in terms of congestion and it took a bit of weaving but since the road was wide enough, it was manageable. Not ideal but definitely passable unlike that of the 2XU where it was almost impossible to pass anyone for the first 4km. sometimes I do wonder if it’s worth it since I probably exert more energy doing the dodge dance.

At last the finishing gantry was in sight and I sped up but it was all in vain since there were no marked lane for finishers. Here is an excerpt of my letter to the organizers/sponsors:

I assumed it was the gantry marked “Start/Finish” since this was the most obvious), I was not given a placecard or directed to completing the race. I approached an FTAAA (?) official to inform him that I had finished to which his reply to me (including rolling his eyes): yes, so? Did you run 2 laps? Thereafter he told me to look for a table to register my name.

I spent a fair bit of time looking for this “elusive” table and when I did, it was crowded with officials handling inquiries etc. I did manage to request for the lady to put down my name after much persuasion – she asked me for my placecard. Now if only it was handed out to me, I would have gladly done it. Or if the official handing it out was stationed somewhere prominently or if such information was included in the Runner’s FAQ. It is unfair and disadvantageous that such rules are not highlighted in the Runner’s FAQ or for the officials to unilaterally change rules mid way during the event because all that was required of me was to start and finish the race.

Thereafter I inquired about my timing or how they would put it down and again, a wide look of disbelief. I even offered to provide them my timing – the event was timed on my Garmin and I assure you, I did wear that particular watch throughout the event. I approached an official a short time after collecting my goodie bag (no, I did not get my headlight earlier just in case you were wondering) and inquired about my placing and timing. The response this time was “wait for the announcement” and I did so until I left at 11pm. No announcement except for the emcee blaring, sarcastically I must add, for everyone to leave the race site.

I felt strong throughout the run but the poor handling of the finishing left a bitter note and marred the entire event for me. This could very well been a superb race, even surpassing my experience in Hong Kong but it was not to be. It will now rank at the bottom of the heap and I thought Bareno was the absolute worst. By all accounts, Bareno now feels like a business class seat on a flight.

Will I come back next year? It is hard and too early to commit even with a new organizer. That is all for now…I will leave you to troll the blogsphere for more fodder material and by all accounts, it should not be too difficult to find. I am sure it has made it to the top of search engines.

Oh wow, look at that. For someone who didn’t intend to put up a long post, I actually managed to craft “more than the requisite 2 paragraphs”!

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