Date: 13 May 2012
Venue: Kolej Kedua, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
Distance: 5km (Garmin: 4.28km – cocked up distance due to going to “Holland”)
Timing: 20:23 (Garmin)
Pace: 4:46 min/km (Garmin)
This was a small run organized by the students of Second College in aid of cancer research and charity. Plain simple, no frills run around the university campus. It was probably overshadowed by the previous night’s PJ Dawn 2012 but hey, it was a good effort; plus it was for charity.
This was a loop course starting from the college with a larger 7km lap for the Men and 5km for the Women and Disabled categories. The course winds around the campus and was practically pancake flat except for the final 800m. The announced flag off time for the Men was 7:45 am but they only eventually went off at 8 am. Next came the Women about 5 minutes later.
Super crowded at the start point but since I was taking this as a warm up for my strength training session plus I had finished a 10 miler the previous day, Carol and I hung back about 4-5 rows back. We tried moving to the left hand side of the road…probably managed 1 foot. Like I said crowded. We were caught off guard at the flag off – still chatting . The first 500m consisted of weaving, dodging and running on the footpath/grass area. Oh well, warm up cardio for strength training. So after weaving through the ladies, we ran smack into the guys/backpackers. Not too much of a congestion since we had the entire lane/road. Started ticking off the earlier/faster ladies.
There was a hydration station along this section – 500ml bottles were handed out. Skipped this as usual (I don’t usually stop for runs under an hour or at least I’ve not mastered the art of drinking and running concurrently…without making a mess). Soon the college building was in sight and this was where the guys were directed to a left turn. I was running mostly with the guys from km1.5 onwards…so after the guys turned off and with the college building in sight and no lady runners in front, it was a sprint to the finish line, right? Oh, it helped that the road was a gentle slope DOWNWARDS!
Km4-4.3 a.k.a. “Holland” section
Sprinted to the finish since I saw the banner “TAMAT”. Guess what…apparently I missed a left turn before the banner. And I wasn’t the only one. Geezz…so the “correct” route was a left turn uphill (it didn’t look that menacing…steep but it was pretty short e.g. 200m – I had warmed up earlier on this portion) around the college building and finishing downhill in the other direction. Not sure when the organizers realized the mistake because after I had changed, I saw the straight road to the banner blocked off with traffic cones and volunteers stationed at the junction to direct the ladies uphill. In all, I wouldn’t mind running that loop…if the marshals (who weren’t there when I came in) had been there and directed me.
Oh well, taking it as a regular warm up cardio session cum recovery run. All’s well.
a) Super low registration fees (RM15!!!!) and the registration and fees can be done online.
b) Race day bib pick up.
c) Very helpful and accommodating organization team – Zhi Hao answered my queries and even sent me a map to the college.
d) Plenty of water and breakfast though I think handing out 500ml bottles at the water station was a bit of waste because most would only take a gulp or 2. So hydration station at start/end point and one along the route (5km; not sure about the 7km) and brekkie was choc bread sponsored by Gardenia.
e) Nice smallish expo at the finish – booths by Makna, AIESEC (promoting the HIV Awareness Run) and food/drinks stalls in aid of student welfare.
f) There was a partial road closure around the university and the guards/volunteers did a great job on the whole.
g) I do like supporting runs for charity and efforts put in by the student.
a) Lots of room for improvement – I felt that a lot of things, items, set up were done just before the actual event/item. Consider
• Long queues for race bib pick-up and collection of goodie bags – the organizers should have anticipated the crowd and opened up more counters
• Goodie bag could have been handed out immediately when runners crossed the finish line rather than have the emcee announce that it’ll be handed out after the Closing Ceremony (more on this in the following point) and then to have the actual handing out before the ceremony. So everyone was queuing up under the sun, rather than congregating for the prize presentation – and which prize presentation cannot start without a “sufficient” crowd. “Do – you die, don’t do – you die”.
b) Late start to the flag off and prize presentation on account of “waiting for the VIP”. Oh come on, I think we’re past the days of looking up to and putting VIPs (or politicians for that matter) on the pedestal. A 7:45 am announced start and 9 am prize presentation is exactly that – 7:45 am and 9 am; not “…akan bermula bila-bila masa lagi…” which was repeated at 9 am, 9:15 am, 9:25 am and it was still “…bila-bila masa lagi…” when I left at 9:40 am.
c) Lack of signages or rather obscure ones and volunteer direction at km4.3km hence resulting in some of us running ahead to the finish line (hey, it said “Tamat”) vs turning left and doing a loop around the college before finishing. That’s my “Holland” story.
d) The flag off times between the categories could have been more spaced out – 5 minutes is way too short not to be stuck with the back packers from the previous category.