Date: 31 July 2011
Venue: Desa Park City, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Distance: 5.5km (Garmin: 3.66km) (no need to blink or rub your eyes since Jeff’s Garmin also returned the same distance – 3.71km)
Garmin Timing: 17:17 for 4:44 min/km
Result: 1st placing (Women Veteran)
The past weekend was a busy one, race and events wise since most organizers were trying to “cram” as much in before the fasting month (August). Runners were spoiled for choice: Men’s Health & Shape Run on Saturday and 3 events on Sunday – Admiral 5A Klang Run, adiNation Breakfast Run in Bukit Jelutong and Segambut Welfare Charity Run in Desa Park City.
I really like small local neighbourhood runs and my experience so far has been positive. I’ve never signed up for the local Shape Run because it’s expensive and comments from previous editions were less than positive; so far it has only been the Singapore edition and it’s an all-ladies affair. adiNation – did the first leg in March so it was a case of “been there, done that”. Admiral? Zero inclination of getting lost in Klang (let’s not forget the New Year Run in Taman Andalas, shall we?). The obvious choice was Segambut.
The flag off was delayed by about 30 minutes because a lot of runners were still coming in; then again I did have a headstart on this possibility after having called ahead on Thursday to find out if I could pick up my bib on race day. Come to think of it, a lot of runners did this; plus there was a lack of directions to the race site from the main entrance. Oh well, since it was overcast day, I doubt many of us mind. The first km was a straight down the road past the commercial area/supermarket/bank before a slight uphill at km2. It was a minor slope and then a downhill, like a really downhill which I enjoyed. It was also here that the front pack was heading up that same slope. Groan…which means my time is coming up. The first ribbon/checkpoint was at this u-turn and since it was early in the race (read: energy overdrive), I powered up the slope before turning right. Kms 2 and 3 were at the undeveloped portions of Desa Park City, so it was a bit boring since all around you were fields and more fields.
There was some trudging a portion of unpaved road but this was probably for 10 steps at km2.5. Soon after, we came upon the second checkpoint and very soon after that, marshals directing us to the home stretch. Eh so soon? It’s only about 10-12 minutes since we started. Oh well, then let’s just get this done and over with. I spotted the every smiling, helpful and generous Tey with his camera about 10 meters before the “Finish” banner and tried to look as if I was enjoying the run and not dying of a cardiac. Operative word here is “tried”. Ahhh…
Had a fabulous time catching up with everyone, trading “war stories”, recapping the run post-race. On the whole, it was a great event. Kudos to the organizers.
a) Well organized. I was surprised that there was a lot of support for a small race – the volunteers to runners ratio was probably 1:3. On hand were members from the charity (lots of them), Rela members, St John’s medical team, Sai Baba group etc.
b) Race registration was super breezy – you can do it online and if you missed the race pick up the previous weekend, you can still do it on race day. Oh did I forget that the registration was el-cheapo? RM25 nets you a dri-fit tee, swag and a finisher’s medal. Wait till you hear about how that RM25 is stretched on race day…read on.
c) FOC food and drinks at the finish point. The Sai Baba group set up shop with Herbal Tea, Soy Milk (warm/iced), water and refills of veggie pau! Yo-Juice (new name in town, local business) dished out ice cream while the Milo truck handed out what-else-but-Milo! Now I dare you to tell me that the RM50-55 for the Shape Run would be more worthwhile! Freebies wise, I mean.
d) Plentiful of marshals, volunteers, Rela members and even the Desa Park City security guards along the route; there was no road closure but traffic was extremely light. I think there were less than 3 vehicles during my run. Another thumbs up was the number of marshals at the check point – 5 (I think) – less congestion and if you miss one, run ahead to the next one. Take note Taylor’s College team!
e) Everything was done and dusted by 9:30-9:45 am and I had plenty of time to make it to the gym. I guess the super under-distance run coupled with the drizzle during the speech/prize presentation helped things along.
a) Race route was nothing to shout about; sure we flagged off at the park and ran down the streets past some super pretty and expensive looking (alright, that neighbourhood is upscale and every house there is expensive looking!) but that was that. After 1.5km, it was through the yet-to-be-developed Desa Park City (hence the light traffic) and all around us were fields and fields.
b) The finishing point could be better managed and controlled. Perhaps some cordoning into lanes for the various categories. Same goes for the “registration” table for the podium finishers. This was grouped together with the handing out of the goodie bag – so it was a bit chaotic. The small number of runners made it manageable but I think this could be improved – separate counters/tables for podium finishers and all runners.
c) Not sure if the under distance is a pro or con although had we known it was a short race, we could have pushed ahead from the start instead of conserving some energy for the did-not-happen-km4 & 5.
d) Running on sidewalks. So not good – it’s hard, has no bounce and unresponsive. You guys know how much I want to feel/read signals from my foot. Plus the sidewalks are narrow and makes overtaking difficult. I did try running on the parallel asphalts but the marshals and Rela guys kept asking me to keep to the track.
e) Don’t think I remembered any hydration stations along the route? Or am I mistaken? Not that I take in anything for runs under 1 hour but I do know of runners who hydrate often regardless of distance.