Saturday, August 17, 2013

Hat Yai Nature Run 2013 – 10.5km

Date: 11 August 2013
Venue: Hat Yai, Thailand
Distance: 10.5km (Garmin: 10.7km)
Timing: 57:41 (Garmin)
Pace: 5:23 min/km (Garmin)
Result: 2nd AG

Previous years’ recap here and here.

Same 3 categories on offer: HM 21km; QM 10.5km; Fun Run 5km. This annual event (believed it was the 19th this year?) was put on by the Faculty of Computing of Prince of Songkhla University and it’s been a great experience for most of us who have been there. Slight change to the out-and-back route this year though – the start and finish was at the Sports Complex (probably in anticipation of a higher turnout?) – about 2km each way while keeping the middle portion similar.

There were noticeably less participants this year probably on account of higher air/bus/rail fares and accommodation costs due to the long Raya break and Queen Sirikit’s birthday falling right smack on the same weekend. Plus the previous attraction of 10 trophies for AG wins were reduced to 5 (remaining 5 received a souvenir – complementary towel) and the reduced AG categories (something like 10-years instead of 5-years and capping it at 50 years and above for women and 60 years and above for men). Sorry, can’t verify the latter but that was the hearsay from the crowd.

This race was to gauge how much tired legs can do (been running everyday since Tuesday and one of those involved a 10 set stair climb; another was the “heaviest and most intense Leg Workout to date”). Turns out, not much and every step of the way felt like a death march. Solution: train, train, train.

First km was super congested and we were confronted with the steepest (at least to my eyes and legs) hill on the course. Different route this year and makes for a nice change (if you believe and eat hills). Second km was the same one as the FMS-PSU i.e. parallel to the main road we used to run on. Good call in terms of traffic management.

The same ole same route as the previous years and the FMS-PSU one. Spotted Jasni just after km4; think he was in 3rd and soon the lead pack came up. It was slightly short of 5km but who’s counting. Grab the ribbon from the volunteer and head back to the campus.

Repeat above. The usual rolling hills and mid way thru, we were directed to cross the road to be on the same side as the one we came from. There were still some runners heading to the turnaround and there were some very near misses!

I.e. km1-2 route/scenery

Wheels fell apart – something seriously went wrong with the hip flexor; there was a sudden loss of power where I couldn’t even feel my legs or stand. I knew if I took another run step, I’ll just face palm. Not sure how this sudden weakness came out. Ok, I do know or at least suspect. Sunday = 6th consecutive run day and doing DH on Thursday (plus that 10 sets of stair climbing) and Saturday wasn’t that great an idea after all. Oh well, train, train, train.

Back to the route – slight detour after the steepest hill climb (hey, it’s still that same god forsaken hill, only the opposite side now!), we ran around the lake – this was close to 800m by Uncle Sonny’s estimate. The longest 800m of your life…you see runners on the other end and you keep going and going and going and yet, still not there yet! The path was narrow and congested with the 5km walkers. Eventually the 5km-ers turned right to their finishing line while you had to run along to the front of the Sports Complex where the finishing chute was. Or in my case, run-walk. Extremely disappointed but a good lesson learnt. Back to the drawing board: train and stretch (probably pencil in a stretch session with Michael every week).

Photo credits to Pom Sport Shutter


a) Well put up event. I guess after running it so many years, the machine is well oiled.

b) Hydration stations about 1.5-2km apart; there were 4 along the QM route. Also at the start/finish.

c) Post run grub included porridge/gruel, fried noodles, dough fritters, watermelons, soy milk.

d) Love the Thai hospitality and they had plenty of volunteers and road marshals out there – critical especially when you’ve so many AG winners to tag and the route wasn’t closed to traffic and many intersections.

e) The slight modification in the route this year provided a refreshing change for those who have done this event in the last few years. Plus the split of the 5km finishing allowed the competitive runners to run thru the finishing chute unhampered and receive the finishing medals; another bonus was easier tagging of AG winners.


a) Isotonic drinks are not typically served in Thai races or at least for the smaller events which I’ve run; so if you need them, please bring along your own.

b) Roads not closed. Generally and as with the other races along the same route, this isn’t really a problem on a Sunday morning. However, I would point out that dashing across the road to head to the opposite side on the return journey is a risk – both in terms of oncoming traffic or any behind you. Plus you run smack into the slower runners heading to the turnaround.

c) No distance markers and given the slight change in the route this year, the previous years’ chalk/paint marking on the road was irrelevant. Could be an issue for those without any GPS-enabled devices.

d) AG wins – see story above. Not really a pet peeve of mine since I’m just there for a weekend getaway; the run was secondary. I could understand the frustration of some of the runners though and the draw of this event in the previous years were the many AG categories and top 10 finishers in each AG receiving a trophy.

e) I thought this year’s mini expo aka sports gear and attire pasar malam had less choices and pickings or maybe I’m bored with it?

f) Not a fan of the narrow path along the lake when all 3 categories merged; I ran on the road parallel to the path for about 200m before the split finishing.

Photo log:

Swag – not much, just a vest (or if you prefer, a tee). This is typical of Thai races and for that price, can’t complain much

Photo credits to Leong Kwan Weng

Finisher’s Medal

Great shot of the group by Sean

Some pics by Kah Wai

More pictures from Sean here, here, here, here and here; Pom Sport Shutter; Uncle Wah Sing, Leong Kwan Weng, Loh Kah Wai

No comments: