Date: 18 May 2013
Venue: Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
Distance: 5.5km (Garmin: 5.77km)
Timing: 29:53 (Garmin)
Pace: 5:10 min/km (Garmin)
Result: 2nd (WO)
Previous year’s recap here.
The second installment of the event but with a twist – night run! It was a looped course around the campus with the guys doing the 6.7km and the ladies, 5.5km. The route is also a change from last year’s though you probably won’t see much given that this is a night event and the “superb” lighting we have (this is a general statement!).
The run was organized by Kolej Kedua in aid of the Diabetic association. Flag off was scheduled at 8:30 pm but not without preceding with the “opening ceremony”. “short” speech, briefing and warm up session. The organizing team exceeded their KPI – we were off at 8:15 or 8:20 pm!
It was a small race with about 280 runners of each category registered (spotted the name list at the bib collection counter) with an attrition of maybe 5-10% (?). The ladies were to head off followed by the guys about 3-5 minutes later. I was trying to put myself towards the back since I had done 14.3km in the morning and the top of my foot was sore and swollen (strapped too tightly I think). First km was crowded and I tried to run at the edge of the road but it seems the slower ladies were at the right hand side! Some weaving until we passed the Astaka. Naturally with a short gap with the flagoffs, the guys were upon us even before we got to the junction: “Open Men – turn left” and “Open Women – turn right”. The sign was small and there were no marshals giving out instructions; most of the guys naturally assumed it was the same route and followed the ladies. To their folly. And to their loss. Could have been the lead marshal’s fault too since after about 1.5km, they led the guys back to the other end of the road and started hollering to those on this side to follow suit. Don’t think the few running with me heard or care.
Straight out to and pass the main gate (without going out), along the roundabout and we were at another gate. Much better after the gate because the previous stretch/section was vehicle heavy and even with the street lights, it was suspect if motorists could see us. Know why? It was a “rule” that we don the event tee. Which. Was. In. Black. They might just have asked me to lay in the middle of the road.
This was part of the stretch I ran in the HOPE event last week – straight out in a fairly closed road. First checkpoint where they handed out the first rubber band. Overtook Amelia here. Also lots of pics from the event photographer who was on a bike and had the company of a lead marshal (on a bike) for a bit. Beats me why there were none in front of Amelia coz usually there should be at least one for the lead runner; some events even have one each for the first few runners.
Km5 - Finish
Second checkpoint just after km4 I think.
Trouble started when the lead marshal spoke into his walkie talkie about turning around and getting the next runner (I assumed it was Amelia). So there I was told to run, keep left and follow the cones. Naturally the cones drop off half way but I saw a group of marshals at the turnoff close to the canteen of some sort and they waved me along. I thought I saw the lights of a motorcycle ahead and followed those lights – BIGGEST. MISTAKE. OF. MY. LIFE. I made a left turn (ie followed the road, right?) and sort of went about the canteen and came back down (it was a sloped round) to see the same marshals who had earlier directed me into the road. My heart fell to the road and I knew then whatever lead I had was gone forever. A bit of consulting with the group and finally one of the guys on the motorcycle told me to tag along with him (this was after he consulted the group on the route! FTW!!!!). Horror of all horror and while I could a gal-whom-i-assumed-was-Amelia upfront, there was no way I could have closed the gap.
Ended up as second woman…and a RM2,000 loss. Do I cry or laugh about this? Hey, it wasn’t all too bad since I did this on fatigued legs after the morning’s semi-longish run. Can’t say the same about the hips and quads the following morning though.
a) Well put up event vis-à-vis HOPE; I’m drawing comparison between the two since both are events organized by UPM student bodies. What they did better:
• It wasn’t draggy! Despite 4 speeches (which were thank goodness short or relatively). All in, the run finished roundabouts 9:30pm (last runner) and with the prize presentation (even with 30 podium finishers/medals up for grabs for each category) and handing out of souvenirs to the sponsors and support crew, we were done by 10:30pm.
• Emcees were pretty good – spoke in Malay and English and the instructions eg places for prayers etc were loud and clear.
b) Late registrations (on the spot on event day) were accepted and race day bib collection – this is very much appreciated since the university is pretty far for most KL or PJ-based runners.
c) Post race traffic flow went well – swag and water were handed out after the run and the large compound area allowed everyone to mingle or head to any of the sponsors’ booths/van.
d) There was one hydration station along the route and you get another bottle of water after the run. Post run grub included a bun.
a) The noticeably lack of marshals at key checkpoints and signages (and those available were too small). No lead marshals for the front runners.
b) The first stretch of the run was along the major road of the campus and the roads weren’t closed to traffic (not even partial). Coupled with the black event tee and sparse street lighting, it was just too dangerous.
c) Event tee could have been in a brighter colour and sweat wicking (dri-fit). They ran out of smaller sizes when I picked up my bib and I was swimming in the size “M”. This was at 6:45pm. Anyway, I knotted it upfront.
d) No distance markers – not much a problem for me since I had the Garmin.