Date: 3 March 2013
Venue: Taman Shamelin Perkasa, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Distance: 7km (Garmin: 8.67km)
Timing: 46:45 (Garmin)
Pace: 5:23 min/km (Garmin) (yo! What happened here???)
One phrase sums it up: could have been so much better.
This was Hopson’s choice after failing to register for Brooks HM and UM and it wasn’t a do-or-die situation to run this particular weekend. Hey, I do know of folks who “must” run every possible event or weekend. No kidding. Anyway, my excuse for late registration – torn broken hip in October, so no early registration (no matter how attractive early bird sign ups are!) until my review at the end of the month. If the hip feels ok-ish 2 weeks before an event, sign up then.
Ok, enough of ramblings. YMM Run 2013 is the inaugural event organized by the Youth of Malaysia Movement in conjunction with the unveiling of their new building in Taman Shamelin Perkasa. It was an out-and-back course to be flagged off at 7am from their new premises taking runners around the Cheras neighbourhood. Point to note: YMM; more about the definition of the Y later.
Switchback about 100m from the start (simple waving of the flag and “Go”) and the front runners were already zipping through even before I could weave through the crowd. Hmmm…odd, I thought we were supposed to run up the bridge (one of the local girls had earlier described the route based on her runs around the area – hey I needed all the info/landmarks I could get just in case I get lost; I had an inkling that there weren’t going to be sufficient marshals). At the same time, Eugene asked the traffic police if we were supposed to run below or on the bridge. Oh well, just follow the crowd and try to keep someone in sight. Past Dora before km1. Km2 – run across the road (at your own risk!) and proceed up the elevated road and then zip down. This was also the edge of the town – shoplots on the left.
Km3-4 was the long never-ending road, a busy one too since I’m guessing it’s one of the major arteries of Cheras. We also had to run across a few intersections on this stretch. There was also the construction of the MRT line on the left; I’ll leave it to your imagination on the condition of the road. Km5 was up and down one of the side roads and I nearly missed a left turn. That’s why I slowed down!!!! I would rather keep pace with someone in front rather than going ahead and getting hopelessly lost. Believe me…that was a real possibility since that area is new-to-me. When the first hydration point is past km4 and the checkpoint is around km5, you’re probably running the wrong route.
Absolutely the wrong route because we were nowhere near the start. Was getting worried if this was going to turn out to be a 10km or more event. Right, change the strategy: conserve the tank; keep the guy in front of you in sight. Eugene definitely ran the “wrong-er” route because I saw him popping up in front of me around km7+ and he’s a faster runner than me.
Oh before I go one, let’s clarify. The “wrong” route we ran was due to the lead marshal’s guiding the runners on the wide-of-the-mark planned route while Eugene’s (and probably a few more) “wrong” route was missing a junction (or two!).
If you thought the previous section was busy, wait till you run this stretch – this was Jalan Cheras or maybe it was Loke Yew (see, told ya I’m not familiar with the area!). Fear for your life zip lining and weaving traffic!
Since we “missed” that bridge at the start notwithstanding that pimple at km2, how about throwing in a long one at km8…and I still had no friggin idea if I was going to finish at km9, 10, 11, 12 etc.
a) Helpful organization team – my email inquiries were answered within the day.
c) Post race grub – water (sponsored by Magnum 4D) and buns which you can help yourself to.
a) This was a run organized by and for youths. Now the definition of youth may vary among organizations etc but generally, 35-40 is the cut off mark or rather the maxed out cut off. It was clearly stated in the application form as well as on their FB page that all participants should be below 40 years of age. This was not enforced! Look, I’ve no issue if you do really want to run (notwithstanding the rules; my preference is you don’t but hey, you’re the one breaking the rules, not me) but if you do place, please do not have the audacity to accept the prize. It just makes a mockery of the definition of “youth” and abiding by the rules. Just so if you’re wondering or saying I’m a sore loser, I’m not. I’m not a professional runner; I’ve a day job and runs/events are weekend hobbies if you like and I probably make more in my professional capacity. I lose out to a better and faster runner – no problem but only if everyone plays by the book. Yes, I’m slow but WTH.
b) Route management. Given the heavy traffic on the major arteries in Cheras (including the b****y highways), they could have planned the route a little better. I’m not from around the area but surely there could be less congested roads in the neighbourhood?
c) Marshals. Enough said. Insufficient. Standing at the wrong corner and not visible to runners. Don’t get me started on the lead marshal – clearly there was a miscomm or maybe he’s not from around the area as well.
d) Gathered from Chia Ee that the prizes were to be collected from their office on Tuesday. Hasn’t happened yet. If and when it does, I’ll let you know.
All in, significant room for improvement. I can’t decide if this is par for course with the Carbon Free Run? Your vote?