Monday, February 13, 2012

Jog 4 Pace Klang 2012 – 6km

Date: 12 February 2012
Venue: Goldcourse Hotel, Klang, Selangor, Malaysia
Distance: 6km (Garmin: 5.41km)
Timing: 26:0858 (Garmin)
Pace: 4:50 min/km (Garmin)
Result: 2nd (Women)
Website: n/a but here’s the event info found on Sports' website

Small neighbourhood run in Klang organized and sponsored by the local Small & Medium Industries Association. Typically, I enjoyed these type of events for the simple fact that they tend to be unpretentious, minimalist and have the feel-good-factor to them. Unfortunately this view came crashing down (it was a hard bump mind you!) at this event – there were a lot of shortcomings (which event doesn’t have it, right?) but my (and a lot of runners) gripe was the poorly planned route management.

Ok, let’s get down to work. This was an out-and-back route from Goldcourse Hotel in the northern part of Klang (I finally found out that they do segregate the town just this weekend!) and took us through the streets (beep, beep: heads up on this...remember this). There were 3 categories: 6 and 9km and another for school children (6km) with a 10 minute gap between flag offs for the distances (beep, beep: heads up on this). Now that I’m writing this, it feels like Bareno déjà-vu.

Here’s the Klang river that separates the north and south sides of town – the race start.

It was a small field – a lot of runners stayed away as they were skeptical of the organizer and/or technical director. A good decision on hindsight.

Stood about 4 rows back – this is real far back for a small event but I had no time goals as this was going to be another of those training/tempo runs. The crowded start probably lasted just 50m and we did have the wide expanse of Jalan Pasar like 4 lanes of it.

Remember that 10-minute gap? It means you run smack dab into the slower runners, those taking a Sunday stroll or Sunday morning date. And this was at km2…and we do have some more way to go. Now if only we had 4 lanes to “play” with, nien problem but no, the organizers thought it would be “nice” to throw in a pedestrian bridge at this point. No stairs, just flat cement all the way and WINDING UP like you’re in a car going up one of those elevated car parks. And the space = 1 metre wide. Right. Yeah, right. Now if that 10-minute gap was like 30 minutes or so, I wouldn’t have wound up playing American football or rugby dodging everyone. Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of either sport. I appreciate they organizers thinking it would be wonderful to throw in such a historic bridge but it just turned out to be plain shortsighted. Oh wait, not all was negative here – I bumped into The Running Couple and Dannie did cheer me on just before the ascend. Here’s the pic he took.

Now that we’ve got to the top…(beep, beep: heads up) why I thought the pedestrian bridge was: the top bit was tiled, like those you typically find in homes and after the overnight shower, slippery. No point in killing yourself over such a small event/training run, so the best thing to do is slow down although there were a couple of times, I had some near slips.

More climbing at km3 but this was “rewarded” with a long steep downhill . Whee! There was a turn off for the 6km after this – follow the “white” arrows on the black placard or so the announcers told us before flag off (beep, beep: heads up). It was wrong; it should have been “yellow”. Now I’m telling you that based on my somewhat limited knowledge (Doc PuiSan please confirm!), colour blindness are typically limited ability to distinguish between “red” and “green”, not “white” and “yellow. Volunteer marshals? Stood right there, no directions. Nada. (beep, beep: heads up). Calvin and another Japanese schoolboy (separately) made the mistake and lost a lot of time (and probably missing out on a podium finish) because of this. Heck, even the eventual school girl winner and I nearly made the mistake – good thing we were running together and had the presence of mind to “question” the marshal.

More running into town, even to the point of running in the middle of the road even around junctions and passing roundabouts. Unmanned. Need I say more? (beep, beep: heads up)

There was a final trudge up a bridge (the motor vehicle type) and Kenny and Ronnie came up behind me. Now, these guys were doing the 9km and since they ran past me, I got a bit worried that I was THAT SLOW even for a training run. Found out later that their 9km was in fact ~7.1km. There was also some good news about 800m before the end: Wong Sifu cheering and taking pics

Some pics from Victor Chong and David Goh as I was "racing" towards the finishing chute.

a) Late registration and even in the morning of the event allowed.

b) Plenty of grub post-race. These were designated for the police and volunteers but since there were leftovers, runners were allowed to help themselves. Earlier, runners were treated to Milo and Gardenia waffles (no limit!).

c) Plenty of space at race site and having the Klang river at the side made for a picturesque landscape. See the pic above.

a) Route management. See above. Enough said.

b) Lack of volunteer manpower especially at intersections, junctions and turn off for the 6km. See above. Enough said.

c) Lack of signages and the wrong colour coding announced. See above. Enough said.

All in, it became a very dangerous run for everyone.

d) Draggy host announcer – I thought it felt like I was in a school or teen event. First, there was the feet dragging with the Q&A and prizes – yes, I do appreciate that such things are necessary for audience participation and engagement but he should have just stopped after 3 or so and move on to the prize presentation or even the lucky draw. Second, there was the mess up with the announcement of the prize presentation – do you go ascending to descending – categories and then the winners? Screwed that up as well.

Photo log (photo credits to ***):

Swag – 2 different types of 3-in-1 coffee courtesy of association members?

Prize – Pensonic blender courtesy of association members?

Booth selling “looks-like-original” sporting items

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