Date: 17 February 2013
Venue: Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Distance: 5km (Garmin: 4.73km)
Timing: 24:59 (Garmin)
Pace: 5:16 min/km (Garmin)
Result: 3rd (WO)
The run was part of the wider Carbon Free Sunday programme which also included a cycling event, skateboarding, 3R campaign, using public transport, street art etc. Have a look at the link above.
The run was billed as a 5km Fun Run and capped at 250 participants. Since it was a “fun run”, wasn’t and didn’t expect prizes or finisher’s medals to be offered. Point-to-point race starting at the Bangsar LRT station running through Jalan Maarof before ending at Bangsar Village II (Jalan Telawi 3, BV II).
The emcee had announced that there would be segregated starts for the MO, WO and Fresh Legs (Juniors) with the men heading off first. I missed this announcement but Carrie, Chooi Fern and most of the gals heard about it and we stepped aside to let the guys through. Looks like I wasn’t the lone ranger because some of the gals started with the guys and we tried to call them (no avail naturally…always happen in these cases, eh). Anyway, when we pointed this out to the emcee, he promptly changed his tune and said “oh well, then just start together!”.
Hmmppphhhh! Now this wouldn’t be much of an issue except for the faster runners and those gunning for podium finishes. Reminiscent of the Singapore by the Bay Run, eh? Nope, no problem for me since I had planned on using the run as a preclude to my strength training later in the morning. Really pitied Chooi Fern since she had to make a dash and push it to make up for lost time and distance!
Right…so it was time to play catch up for her – thank goodness, the first 2 km were gentle rolling hills along Jalan Maarof. I took it easy and ran at a comfortable pace aka slow but did notice that I was passing a lot of guys (and gals) on some of the elevations. Some significant road elevation heading to the traffic lights at Mickey D but nothing too demanding. Plus whatever goes up must come down. The single and critical issue I’ve with this portion is the lack of road closure. Let’s not even get to partials here. The route WASN’T CLOSED to TRAFFIC, not even with minuscule (and usually ineffective) traffic cones! Folks, this is Jalan Maarof we’re talking about here! Notwithstanding that it was 7:10 in the morning!
Once we hit the km2 mark, it was the brutal, steepest of the steepest and never ending climb to Bangsar Shopping Centre (BSC). Oh yeah, terrific section for those of you who eat hills for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m not one of you. Sorry!
The peculiar feature of this section was seeing Nick (runner up in the MO) heading back along Jalan Maarof around km2.3? So I was expecting the race leaders to come through as I plodded my way up to BSC. Odd, nada. Zilch. Well as it turns out, the race marshal were not stationed quickly enough at the turnaround for the switchback and the race leaders ran an extra couple of hundreds of metres before being redirected.
Switchback at BSC meant we were to “roll down hill” after the “arduous” climb. Yay! Running along the road parallel to Jalan Maarof, housing area. Whew – double celeb: downhill + less-to-none-existent traffic!
Flattisth-to-downhills in front of the housing with a short climb turning right to the traffic lights at Mickey D before another “rolling down the hill” along Jalan Telawi 3 to the finishing chute at BV II.
a) Great, helpful and cheerful volunteers from those at the bib collection to the finishing and expo.
c) Terrific fanfare at the finishing – the carnival with various booths, props etc were amazing. Another fantastic point was the close of the entire stretch of Jalan Telawi 3 in front of BV II. Check this out
Lots of messages like the ones above
d) Post race grub: every runner was handed a nice doggie bag which had either a sausage bun or doughnut, an apple, a Nestle bar and a Milo pack.
a) No road closure along Jalan Maarof. Nada. Zilch. Not even traffic cones to warn or eek out 10% of one lane. Sure there were traffic police and Rela members on duty but they’re only at the intersections. So 99.99% of this section is “watch out for thyself”. Now those of you who are locals or familiar with KL roads, you’ll know that Jalan Maarof is the MAJOR ARTERY of Bangsar. If anyone wanted to be roadkill or was on a suicide mission, you missed the boat coz you’re reading this now and didn’t run yesterday!
b) Messed up start. Need I say more?
c) No water at the finishing point. Really? Yes, really. Nobody told me not to dump the entire contents of my bottle at the turnaround! Nor did they warn runners to ration their precious supply because of this.
d) Late arrival of the GOH – our “mini-star”, the FT “mini-star”. Oh sorry, me bad, tardiness is one trait of a “mini-star”? Now, If you don’t hear from me after I hit publish… I made it to my 10am appointment in the nick of time, it was this II close and I made it because it was in BV itself.
e) No distance marker but this was to be expected but no route markers? This is probably less of an issue for middle packers like me since there’ll always be runners ahead but for leaders? Ok, maybe I missed these but did anyone who ran the event saw any?
f) On that same note, race marshals were stationed late at the turnaround into the road parallel to Jalan Maarof (goes to show how much effort and forethought were put in) that some of the race leaders missed the turn off and ran an extra couple of hundreds of metres. Got this off Nick (who despite this boo-boo, came in second).
All in, there’s definitely a lot of room for improvement. I’m very concerned with the lack of basics such as concern for safety, hydration at the finishing, marshals at key points, staggered-start-which-turned-into-a-mass-start.