Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Brooks Half Marathon 2012 – 5km

Date: 11 March 2012
Venue: Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Distance: 5km (Garmin: 6.17km)
Timing: 29:21 (Gun); 29:18 (Garmin)
Pace: 4:44 min/km (Garmin)
Result: 1st (Women Open) (all results here; results and pics on Tonton’s blog here)
Website: Event info on The Marathon Shop
Last year’s recap here.

Definitely a much improved event from last year and kudos to the Taman Bukit Jalil Running Club. This is one of the bigger events in town and judging by the support from both the runners and sponsors, it looks like they’re here to stay. There were one or 2 competing events this weekend but most runners were definitely here, even some as far as Penang and Singapore.

This was an loop from the stadium and the same as last year’s, including the “exciting” praying-hard-some-motorist-on-the-MEX Highway-doesn’t-make-you-road kill. Oh but the consolation (some consolation) is that the bus terminal has shifted. No major hills unlike the half mary route – the usual road rollers and elevation.

Unlike the half-mary and quarters, the 5km started from outside the stadium, probably because this was a non-chip category. There weren’t many runners for this category but the was certainly more than a handful of top competitors for the men (only MO and WO for the 10km and 5km vis-à-vis sub-divisions for the 21km so the competition was keener in the former). With fewer participants, I found myself closer to the front – not my ideal (I like hanging back towards the middle to avoid getting caught up with someone else’s race). Oh I was surely slow because I was trailing Chia Ee and by trailing I mean, like 50-80 meters back until after the first km. BTW, what is it with the local councils and street lights? I nearly tripped (like 2-3 times) because portion of the perimeter of the road leading to the highway was not lighted.

Highway and we ran into the back runners of the 10km (same route until the split at km5), including some couples who were “dating”. How does a date on MEX highway sound to you? Oh well, at least they cordoned off an entire lane (makes you feel lucky, doesn't it?)this year and the 20-30 min buffer between the categories meant no dodging. I think I was Liyanna after km2 and was running with a guy in a red tee (Fulcrum something something on the back of tee) in km3.

Hydration station around km4 and the former bus terminal in km5. This was also the split for the 5km and 10km: the former to the right and the latter to the left.

Longest km of my life! Thinking that we’ll be finishing at the car park like last year (course was slightly longer last year too), I was looking out for the turn off and I kept running. And running. And running. Don’t be PANSY, we’re close; c’mon pick it up; pick what up???; I’m half-dead etc etc. I think my internal monologues can be brutal sometimes all the time.

Hey, we’re close to the end edge of the car park…where’s the turn off??? Crap…finishing at the stadium but this would mean running around the b***** track -not my favourite because you see the finishing chute and you’re miles away (feels that way anyway).

Heading into the stadium and around the track (snapped these post run)

a) Major improvements from last year and generally well organized.

b) Different flag off times and sufficient buffer for the various categories to minimize congestion.

c) Early start – you’re done and dusted by 730-8 am and have the rest of the day (and weekend) at your leisure.

d) Upgrade to one lane closure (vis-à-vis last year’s emergency lane only) but it doesn’t beat a full closure, especially for the portion along the highway.

e) Good traffic management post-run: finishing chute, water, finisher's medal, finishing cert and you’re hustled out of the stadium for post-run grub and the expo.


f) Addition of red bean dessert soup for post-race grub to the usual soy bean curd and bun. Vegetarian friendly bun – something I could eat! Hydration station here too if the bottle given earlier wasn’t sufficient – this was also the same station if you need a sip pre-run.

g) Better managed race bib collection, location-wise (at the Curve) and ease of pick up but there could be some improvement (see below).

h) Patrols in the car park.

a) The major bummer for me was the prize presentation event. Seemed like a state of disarray or maybe it was just for my category. Chip in with your comments. Some gripes with this

• Later than the 8:30 schedule; unfortunately I was banking on this (going by precedent) to get out of the area early to meet Michael at 10 am. 8:40 am – nothing happening. 8:45 am – still nothing. 8:50 am – maybe, “we’re starting soon “. 8:55 am – finally!

• Very little order organization – the emcee was just calling out the bib numbers 5 minutes before the awarding of the prizes. A better management system – MPIB Run 2012 where they lined everyone up (even though it felt a bit school kids like).

• Cordoning 3 sections of seats for “VIPs and sponsors”. Even the podium finishers were supposed to sit in the 2 sections flanking this area – and I guess we’re supposed to jump the fence to make it onto the stage to get the award when the time comes. I distinctly remembered hearing the announcement that those with placing cards were allowed into this area; nah, got shooed off by the crew and security guys. Wanna guess how many seats in those 3 sections were eventually taken by the VIPs and sponsors? Less than 1 row.

• There wasn’t the usual pomp and splendor of the actual award event – very different from last year. Then again, we had Julie as the emcee and we’re probably spoiled by her standards.

With Chia Ee waiting and waiting (photo credits to Tey)

b) Race bib collection – again, we had that usual queue up at least twice issue. (1) check your bib number – not too sure why it would be difficult to include the bib number in the race confirmation; (2) queue for the bib; (3) queue for the tee; (4) queue for the runners’ guide. Notwithstanding that (2), (3) and (4) were along the way; consolidate these?

c) Traffic getting into the car park; I was early (5:20 am for a 6:45 am start) but it took me a good 15-20 min to get into the car park. Culprit: parking collection at entry vis-à-vis at exit last year.

d) Street lights! See above rant.

e) Course ran slightly longer (1km for all categories…so we’re about even). Even without running the tangents, most times, the route is about +/- 200m.

f) While the post-race traffic management was good (finishing chute > separate categories > water > finisher's medal > cert), things were a bit more disarray after that because runners were ushered out of the stadium through the grandstands...from 2 narrow gates from the track. Definitely a congestion mirroring those on our roads.

Photo log (photo credits to Tey):



Teh Tarik Drinker said...

i would have to agree that the street lighting could have been better that day. at the starting point I even stepped into a port hole without noticing!


Sue's Ramblings said...

Easy solution: event date set well in advance...so there's really no excuse for the organizers not to work with the local council to ensure that the street lights are working or lighted on that day for that particular window period.