Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bidor Half Marathon 2013 - 10km

Date: 28 April 2013
Venue: Bidor, Perak, Malaysia
Distance: 10km (Garmin: 9.78km)
Timing: 53:30 (Gun); 52:55 (Chip); 52:58 (Garmin)
Pace: 5:25 min/km (Garmin)
Result: 10th (WO); 8th (all Women); 97th (overall – oy, we’ve gotta do something about this!) (all results here)
Website: www.facebook.com/BidorHalfMarathon 2013 link

Inaugural event for me but this event has been going on “since the beginning of time”. The annual event (probably the biggest one for the town) was changed into once-in-two-years race last year. Bidor is a small charming town just outside Ipoh and about 1.5 hours from KL – a backwater town but that’s the beauty of it and despite the “development”, “modernization” of the country, it remains very local where everyone knows everyone and there are just 2 main roads in town.

The event was organized by the Bidor Running Club and featured 2 competitive categories: 21km and 10km and a non-competitive 3km Fun Run. The routes are an out-and-back from Dewan Muhibbah/town hall with the 21km sharing their last 10km with the 10km-ers. This last 10km took runners up (literally) to near the waterfalls (major tourist attraction).

Route map from their FB page




Previous editions were well organized and hence they’ve been attracting increasing numbers of runners, even as far from Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong and China.

This was last minute entry for me – only registered on Saturday afternoon!!!!! after pottering around the room after lunch/tea (also another last minute thingy – got them off Ronnie on Friday). Definitely an impromptu decision because I ran with Kenny earlier that morning (through a cemetery or this II close to one – story for another post) and was planning on cheering and supporting friends and taking a weekend retreat. See, there’s this thing called a stress fracture that I’ve been nursing for the last 6 weeks (yeah, “ngam ngam” on Saturday) and 6 weeks is really just the bare minimum standard recovery time for a fracture (ok, another story for another post; golly I owe you guys so many posts!). I was literally standing 20 meters from the start pen, holding the bib, 2 minutes before the flag off and was still in 2 minds about it.

Let’s move on.

Km1-2
Stood really far back with Mrs Lee since this run is not and will not be about expectations on time or pace; if things turn wonky, I was going to turn back at km1 or km2 etc. Crowded start as usual and compounded by the single narrow lane. This section took us out of town; caught up with Yen Erl about a km in and soon the first hydration station appeared. Flattish route.



Km3-4
First climb and since this was an out-and-back, I knew it was gonna come back and haunt me. I was mistaken (to my horror later)…km3’s climb is a blip. Downhill on the next km.

Km5
OMFG! The longest km of my life! And it was upwards all the way; no rollers; every time you turn a corner hoping for a respite and all you see is another looming climb.

Km6-7
Finally coming off the monster and the race leaders were making their way back. You make a loop around Kampung Chini (second hydration point and first checkpoint). I kinda like this section or maybe I’m just too much a city person.

Km7-9
Endless stretch of road with nothing for company except rubber and oil palm plantations on both sides. Plus that cow or horse dung, manure on a particular stretch. It got a tad boring and I kept wishing for the run to be done, well especially on that hill climb at km8-9…you know the one which was km5 earlier. Passed Liyana at this stretch.

Best or worst comment heard while you’re struggling uphill (relative term since I was taking it real easy for this run; the times are prove positive!): “bo lat” was what one guy said to his friend. Yeah dude, that’s so not the thing to say while I was huffing and puffing my way up!

Km9-Finish
Turned into a residential area and ran past the hotel and saw Kenny who was on his way back to the hotel. Thanks for the shout out. The last 3 km was shared with another lady from MAS – thanks for the company and pacing.


Photo credits to Jamie Loke



Pros:

a) Fantastic organization by the Bidor Running Club. I’ve always believed that when a run is organized by runners, there’s an edge to it.

b) Plentiful of encouraging volunteers, police and Rela personnel. The route was only partially closed to traffic but you wouldn’t know this because every time a runner ran past, the volunteers, police and Rela gave us priorities – to the extent of telling off a motorist who honked or the motorcyclist who attempted to ride through. As this is a major event for the town, the townfolk were 99.9999999999999999% obliging. Another reason why I like small local races.

c) Quick bib pick up – in and out in under 3 minutes if you had pre-registered. They were also accepting registrations on Saturday for certain categories – so it was a matter of trying your luck if you had missed the registration earlier.



d) Ample even copious of post race grub and the variety too: nasi lemak or was it bihun?, hard boil eggs, local kueh eg curry puffs, Ketayap, sliced cake, sweet potato/banana kueh, watermelons and they didn’t limit these. Now, just be nice and polite and take sufficient for yourself; no need to “tapau” and from my observation, everyone did so.


e) Time chipped! Was surprised that a small local run implemented this – definitely the way to go to avoid disputes etc. Plus the results and e-cert were available by Sunday evening.

f) Hydration stations were about 1.5-2km apart and at the finishing point, you could even have your fill of H Two O (I know Lionel had 3 bottles because he was overheating).

At the finishing


g) I liked the way they carried out the lucky draw. Instead of the usual, drawing out the numbers, calling once, calling twice, redrawing etc (yawns zzz), they drew the numbers, wrote it on the whiteboard next to the stage under the various prizes and if you hit jackpot, collect your “winnings”. Sure beats the humdrum (yawns zzz) of waiting and waiting and saves time – especially for those runners who’re still out there when their numbers were called.


h) Route – long stretches with only rubber and oil palm estates for company with a village thrown in at the midpoint and a housing estate at the end. Now this may only be applicable for me – I found it refreshing after the more than a few runs in the city. It reminded me of the Hat Yai Nature Run.

i) Separate start routes for the 2 competitive categories with the merging on the last 10km for the 21km ie the 21km-ers ran the same 10km as the 10km-ers.

Cons:

a) One lane under the arch for the start. I understand that this was a time chipped event and they need to put the timing mat but just 1 lane (of 2) for 21km and 10km?!?!?! Granted that the 21km-ers were flagged off 5 minutes earlier and even without any latecomers, opening only 1 lane was insufficient. Would it really cost that much more to have the timing mat extended? NB the other lane was reserved for the 3km Fun Run.

b) I wished they had water made available to runners prior to the start; I asked for a sip and wanted to grab a cup but was told “no”. Most of us would have ran, jogged, walked to warm up and having a sip would be a welcome to parched lips (or is it just me?).

c) Sporadic distance markers or maybe I didn’t notice them – I remember seeing the “12km” (probably for the HM), “3km to go”, “1km to go” and naturally “Finish”. This is more for those (majority) without GPS-enabled watches and need to keep pace.

d) Perhaps some improvement for the post race management. Instead of having the Hotlink booth in between the swag (medal in bag) and water booths, have it next to the post-run grub station. Then you’ll skip having to dodge the queue at Hotlink and need only queue up once. Also include the water bottle in the swag to save a few volunteers (possibly to be deployed elsewhere?)

Photo log:

Swag, Event Tee



Finisher’s Medal



Around the race site




Friends




Runners close to the finishing and some podium winners











From Moey


2 comments:

Redhead Running said...

For coming off a stress fracture woman, you kicked some major butt! Well done!

lkn said...

Well done sue, you are great. we noted your suggestions and comments about Bidor Half marathon 2013. We will improve the shortcomings and do better in the next run.