Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Standard Chartered Brunei Half Marathon 2012 – 10km

Date: 8 April 2012
Venue: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam
Distance: 10km (Garmin: 9.96km)
Timing: 49:03 (Gun); 48:58 (Chip); 48:59 (Garmin)
Pace: 4:55 min/km (Garmin)
Result: 3rd (Women Open) (results here) (all results here)

It was supposed to be a combined trip to see these lovelies

with a run thrown in for good measure. This is probably the smallest of the StanChart series – first time the 21km option is included (previous editions featured the 10km, 5km and 2.5km) – but it attracted a lot of runners from the region. Two things contributed to that: 21km option and more widespread publicity. There were about 4,000 runners for this year’s event.

This was a loop starting from the Sultan Hasanal Bolkiah Stadium (Stadium) with the 21km-ers being flagged off at 6am followed by 30 min intervals for the other categories. The 10km event started at 6:30 am and I started about 5-7 rows back. I remembered the lesson from last week and told myself to hold back instead of blowing up and ruining everything.

This is not an event for you if you can’t or didn’t train on hills – the entire course (not just the first half) were rollers. And more rollers than I’ve ever encountered in any event. You go up one, come down one and see the next one in the horizon…which comes up sooner than you can catch your breath. I. KID. YOU. NOT. I think there was at least one for each km; while they weren’t steep (e.g. Bukit Tunku, Puchong or Sheares Bridge like), some of them were a bit long. And if you’re like me a.k.a. race up and get it over and done with mentality, you might peter out pretty quickly. Definitely glad to have held back and remembered Ronnie and Jamie’s advice: small short steps i.e. higher cadence on the upslopes.

That and some silent cussing (sorry! I know it’s Easter but but but…). I was running most of the route with the guys and could see a girl upfront (probably about 100-150-200m; hard to miss since she was in neon bright pink – cool colour BTW) whom I had no intention to chase, pick off maybe, just so I don’t get lazy.

Timing mat checkpoint came up but it was still some way to go. Hey, if you’re only doing 10km, 5km is very far. Well, it is to me! Play along please.

Crap…the 21km leaders passed me at km5. Makes you feel so INADEQUATE when they started earlier than you and then pass you and you’re only halfway through. Oh, they run effortlessly and you’re there huffing and puffing and trying to control your breathing and soaring heart rate and burning quads. You get the idea. If you don’t, please go out and race against our national runner, not even the African descent runners.

Have I mentioned the rollers? Yeah, they were still there and I felt them even more towards the end. No matter how aggressive (aka run out fast) or conservative (start slow), fatigue will creep in in the last bit. Oh, just me? Ok, this is more crap than I thought!

Right, the fatigue…some but at least it didn’t come as early this week and I didn’t tank. Well, fervent praying help. TREMENDOUSLY. I even asked for forgiveness for the earlier cussing etc.

Prayer + Asking for forgiveness + Visualizing the lovelies. Whatever it takes.

The last km was when the 2.5km and 5km joined us but since we had the entire road, there was plenty of space. Ms Neon Pink top was still ahead but with the crowd, I would see her bobbing here and there.

Km10 Finish
Finally round the corner of the endless highway/road into the road leading to the Stadium: 2.5 and 5km to the left and the chip-timed 10km and 21km to the right. Pushed the last 100m or so – hey, I refuse to look slow and lame in the finishing pics, never mind the heart popping out feeling.

a) Well organized event. Understand that it was and will be the same team that has and will be organizing the StanChart KL Marathon. Good job guys!
b) Distance markers at every km – probably about 50m off from my Garmin but it more or less adjusted for the final number.
c) Hydration station at every 2km with water and 100Plus with a bottle of water and can of 100Plus given out at the finish line. Water was also available at the start.
d) Fantastic crowd support, volunteers and crew: pockets of cheering school and college students along the route and they even assigned one volunteer to each prize winner at the end.
e) Race bib collection at the indoor stadium (all the sport complexes are within the same vicinity) was a breeze – in and out within 2 minutes although I took longer because I didn’t have a donation card with me (my fault rather than theirs).

f) Bruneian motorists! Courteous and patient lots – they even waved back at you unlike the horn blaring Malaysian motorists. Partial road closures but well manned by the traffic police. It’s the mentality I’m telling you!
g) Results uploaded within 24 hours.
h) Post-run entertainment plus points:
• In the covered/shaded area (AWAY from the blazing sun) under the Stadium entrance.

• Great emcee/host.
• Band performance.

a) This is not a particularly scenic route – roads and highways but if it’s your first time, you could take in the bits and pieces of neighbourhood sights here and there.
b) Too many rollers for the distance. My view.
c) No post race grub/breakfast – maybe I’ve been pampered with having options e.g. bananas, buns, bean curd, cendol.
d) As the sun rises earlier in Borneo, perhaps an earlier start for the 21km? I didn’t have the heat and sun problem but a few of the half marathoners I spoke to wished the event started earlier. Perhaps 30 min earlier?
e) Bandar is not easy to get around without your own transport; those from out of town should arrange to cab-pool or have friends drop you off at the Stadium (which is not in the city center). This is a minor issue and as long as you’ve made prior arrangements, you should be good to go.

Photo log:

Swag (the 21km get more items including a water bottle and heat balm)

Finisher’s medal

Fancy Dress Winners and Liverpool Jersey Winner

Winners of the 2.5km, 5km and 10km Special Needs categories with the CEO of Standard Chartered bank Brunei

Winners of the 10km and 21km categories