Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Marathons in Malaysia in 2014

Run 42km in Malaysia


1. Malaysia Women Marathon (16th March 2014)



Gave this run a miss last year even though I badly wanted the dog tag medal. The reason why was because MBF was not confident that she could run a full marathon yet. However this year she is ready and I will be pacing her the whole 42.195km. The FM finishers will again get a dog tag or a bracelet 'medal' to go with a finisher skirt. The guys will get something equally exciting. It's supposed to be a surprise. Hint: Mine will most definitely have to be big. Those wanting to know more and register can visit their website at http://mwm.my/

2. Island Ocean Marathon (tentatively April 2014)



Last year was the first time this marathon was run at Langkawi Island. It is part of The Marathon Series from The Marathon Shop. This is a straight 42km event with limited slots. Last year it was open to only 1,000 participants. Those who signed up for this marathon and also the River Jungle Marathon, and completed both got a bonus finisher t-shirt. Last year only 500 men and 195 women went home with the bonus t-shirt. At the time of writing no date has been set yet for this marathon. It will most probably be again held in April. So keep a lookout for it. Those wanting to know my experience running it can click here. IOM makes for a wonderful runcation too.

3. Borneo International Marathon (4th May 2014)



Am sure many of those who ran BIM this year will feel like the 2014 edition is coming up so fast. I don't blame you. Last year due to unforeseeable circumstance it was run on 25th August. For many years now this was the only full marathon on the island of Borneo. Many from Sarawak would run it.  Next year the running climate will change with the introduction of the inaugural Kuching Marathon.  Those who don't like running in overly crowded marathons like SCKLM and PBIM might want to give BIM a go. This is also a nice excuse to visit Kota Kinabalu. While there go visit the islands or maybe climb Mount Kinabalu. Click here for my experiences there. Those wanting to visit the official website: http://borneomarathon.com/

4. Kuching Marathon 2014 (17th August 2014)


This is the marathon everyone who loves running in Sarawak will attempt. It's always nice to see another marathon crop up in the running calendar in Malaysia. Sarawak being such a big state has great potential for all sorts of runs. Hopefully the inaugural Kuching Marathon will pave the way for many more runs in the hornbill state.  Towns like Sibu and Bintulu have organised half marathons this year. Kuching's most famous run to date, the Spring Live Active Run, will yet again be run next year, for the third year, and will again feature a half marathon.  Please click here to visit the Kuching Marathon website.

5. River Jungle Marathon 2014 (tentatively September 2014)



Am hoping this run will be in early September again, but there is a possibility that it will clash with a new run in Penang, that is even bigger. RJM is part of The Marathon Series. Just ask those who have run it and they will sing it's praises. Last year due to public demand they added 200 more slots to the existing 1,000. Runners were prepared to run it even if they didn't get both medals to combine as one big medal. Both runs have been called boutique marathons as there is no cut off time. Don't be fooled, as the hills along Hulu Langat are challenging indeed. RJM is an ideal setting for runners to lose their FMV.  Click here to learn about my experience running it.

6. Sultan Mahmud International Bridge Run (tentatively September 2014)



This year saw SMIBR become a full marathon. Some 128 runners braved the FM distance. Am not sure what will happen this year so am going out on a limb and a prayer on this one.  Yours truly has never visited Trengganu, let alone run at Pantai Batu Burok. We will see if next year it will again have an FM again. The more the merrier I say. However I will have to think long and hard before attempting this run because of the logistics involved. Those who want to know more about this year's run can visit their Facebook page.

7. BSN Putrajaya Night Marathon (tentatively 4th October 2014)


Yours truly is very skeptical that this will be the actual date. Go to my blog post to know why.  The probability is very high that it will be run after SCKLM.  Either way it will present a nightmare for runners wanting to run both marathons. BSN PNM was where I achieved my best FM time ever even after friends and fellow runners told me how humid the conditions would be and also how tough running at night would be. Click here to know more about my experience running it. The road conditions are excellent and so too were road safety. This marathon is still much smaller than SCKLM and PBIM. Those who want to know more can go to their website: http://www.bsnpnm.com/

8. Standard Chartered KL Marathon (12th October 2014)



Skipped this marathon last year to save my legs, and am glad I did. A lot depends on when PNM is run, whether I will consider to attempt it next year.  Because of the late gun time and the cut off time, it will be more challenging to run this after PNM. However it is inconceivable that I will give this marathon a miss two years in a row.  Those wanting to know more can visit their website: http://www.kl-marathon.com/

9. Penang Bridge International Marathon (16th November 2014)



This year PBIM was the biggest marathon I ever ran in. Whether having so many people run a marathon is a good thing, I leave it to the constant runner. All I can say is that I lost my FMV on the Penang Bridge last year, and I ran it again this year. Next year this marathon will be run on the new bridge. I am so looking forward to how they will be doing this. Those wanting to know about my experience this year running it can click here. Those wanting to check out their website: https://www.penangmarathon.gov.my/


Potential Good News...


Yours truly might be accused of being overly optimistic by putting down marathons that might not even be run next year. I however have faith The Marathon Series will be run again. It's just that am not sure when. When I know when, my constant runners will know too. The Sultan Mahmud International Bridge Run is also a gutsy inclusion on my part. We will just have to wait and see how things will turn out. Who knows the Taiping International Marathon might make a comeback too. Jokes aside, whether I will run it is another story altogether though. What is for certain is that there is going to be more runs in Malaysia. It's up to us runners whether we will support them or not. Hopefully the registration fees will not be drastically raised. Am all for running for charity, however I will question those runs that keep on upping their fees each and every year. Runners have to be protected too. Not all of us have a bottomless pit of a wallet.

Now for the potential good news. A big bird, who is not yellow in colour, told me that there will be a marathon in Johor come 20th June 2014. What I heard is that it will be a Sundown run. However I was later told that the distance would only be 21km. I know it's all iffy, but still, anything is possible. Also a run has popped up in the Penang running calendar on 7th September 2014. It just says Penang Ultra. The big bird tells me that this will be a 50km, 84km and 100km run. So if it does happen then those not insane enough to go for the ultra will have yet another FM to run. Ten potential FMs in Malaysia isn't too shabby. For those who need a regular dose of full marathons, just jet off to our neighbours. They have enough marathons to keep all of us happy too. Am so looking forward to what next year brings. Here's me hoping that my constant runners are feeling likewise. Happy running always and a Happy New Year!

Monday, 30 December 2013

Thirsty Runner 2014

We Run For Water

7km and 3km Fun Run

Thirsty Runner 2014 - We Run For Water is all about increasing awareness and educating the general public on the importance of water sustainability.  In conjunction with World Water Day 2014, the Water and Energy Consumer Association (WECAM), is organising this event. This water themed run is the first of its kind in Malaysia. To find out more about WECAM, follow them on https://www.fb.com/WaterAndEnergyConsumerAssociationOfMalaysia .

This event will be held on 22nd March 2014 at Dataran Petaling Jaya, Selangor. For more information about this event and also to register for it please click here. The reason why I am highlighting Thirsty Runner 2014  is because of the unique 'medal' they are giving each finisher for the 7km run (See below). If I lived in KL I would most definitely be running this. However two trips to KL in March is more than enough for me.  Who knows those in other parts of Malaysia might be there at this time and want to give this event a try and collect this unique 'medal.'

Who wants a tiny pail to add to their medal collection?

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Performance Sportz Duathlon 2014

3km run/30km cycle/7km run

Universiti Malaysia Sabah

Anyone who has run the Borneo International Marathon will be familiar with this route. I cannot pretend to know anything about duathlons, since I don't cycle on anything more than a gym bike. However the interest is really growing even in my hometown of Kuching. The temptation to get a bicycle for me is very big, and we will see what happens next year. For now I will give this event a shout out for my friends in Sabah. They running enthusiasm is infectious. The same applies to duathlons and triathlons. Those wanting to know more about this event can go to their FB page. The early bird, or first 100 sign-ups has passed, but that doesn't mean those who want to give it a try cannot sign up. One thing for certain is that if I were living in Kota Kinabalu and someone would lend me their road bike, I would give it a try. It's just too tempting. The closing date is 10th January 2014. Contact is 088-212268. So make up your minds quickly. 

Year in Review - 2013

Five Full Marathons in 2013

Looking back on the year I truly wonder how I managed to do what I did. I am fifty. Not exactly a picture of fitness. My tummy is the first thing that stands out, after my big head. I am not a fast runner. Never will be even if I lose weight, which I undoubtedly will next year. Five full marathons in one year. Inconceivable! And a Marathon Maniac too boot. I joined that insane bunch of runners thanks to Mohan Marathon. One look at that singlet of his and I said to myself, "I want one too!" Am that sort of guy. When I set my mind to it, I will find a way to do it. No distance is too great. I have to believe that. After this year I think I can do anything. I proved to myself it is possible. Impossible is a word not in my dictionary. Why should we put limits on ourself? For that matter why should anyone? Running has made me many friends and also has helped me improve my health tremendously. How I wish all my friends ran. Hopefully if they read what I write in my blog, they too might give it a try.

I lost my FMV at Penang Bridge International Marathon last year. It was truly an experience I will never forget. I went into it prepared. Maybe a bit too prepared. However nothing counts more than experience. You have to run it to experience it. 42.195km will never be easy. For me it's at least six hours of shuffling. Why do I run it and continue to do it? Well that's easy, I really enjoy it. It is my happy place. I am truly alone when I run. It's just me and my body performing in unison. What I put into it I get out of it. It's the same with everything in life. You train for it and then you do. However for me there's a lot of mental strength needed for long distance running. You might have the legs for it but your mind might let you down. My mind never let me down through thick and thin. I knew I had found my second true love the moment I finished my first full marathon. I know come next year there will be many aspiring FMers in Kuching. Do learn from my mistakes. I will make many. I am open to suggestions on how to improve myself too.

Next year I intend, body willing, to challenge myself. I am going to put myself on the line and say I will try for twelve FMs. Some of those runs may be ultras too. I will not go crazy and do what I know I cannot just yet. So TMBT 100kms or TNF 100kms are out of the question, at least for next year. If it was a straight road run I would consider, but maybe later in the year. It all depends on my body. I realised towards the end of this year how much wear and tear my legs had taken. What I can tell you for sure is that no shoe is too expensive if you want to run a full marathon. However you must choose the right shoe for you. This is through trial and error. It helps if you have an expert to help you out. Things like weight, pronation, running style, all play a part in choosing your shoe. I found what worked for me and used it for four full marathons, PBing in two of them. Of course in the coming year I might try other shoes as I attempt to go even longer. We are so lucky that we have so many runs to choose from in Malaysia.

Island Ocean Marathon

This was my first FM of 2013, and my second FM lifetime. When the inaugural IOM appeared on the horizon I was so excited. This was just the excuse I needed to visit Langkawi Island. None of my gang from Kuching joined me. By most marathon standards in Malaysia this must be considered a small marathon. Only 1,000 slots were available. It's a straight marathon. I may have gone alone but the runners there made me feel so at home. Made new friends in the process. Kudos to The Marathon Shop people for making this an incredibly fun marathon to run. There were surprises along the route. We were treated to everything from chilled coconut water to ice cream! There was no cut off so everyone just enjoyed themselves. That didn't mean the route wasn't challenging. It was all about rolling hills on the way back. The heat was totally unbearable too. However we had enough gels and isotonic drinks to keep us going. This is a must run marathon for anyone thinking of a runcation. If I could I would love to run this sort of race every year.

Ready to rumble

Borneo International Marathon

Talk about the most postponed marathon ever! The elections and some other hiccup meant that what should have been run on May 4th was actually run on August 25th, two days shy of my 50th birthday. I went into this run having already run the 10km route in training with MBF and so knew a bit about it already. We also drove as much of the route as we could, even through the university. As much knowledge of the route always helps. BIM was a much smaller run than PBIM, but of course bigger than IOM. The usual suspects were there. We met up the day before the run. Took lots of pics too. This was a different sort of run for me. I met friends and also made a pitstop at an Orange (Think Sabah's version of a 7-Eleven). For the last 10km I just chatted up a storm with some guy. That's me for you. In fact all my effort came in the first 21km. After that I just enjoyed the route. So it came as a big surprised that I did a PB. I will not think of what might have been. Instead I will just treasure the memories of what was.

Mohan and me

River Jungle Marathon

Eight days after BIM I attempted RJM. The route had been changed because of landslides. Let me tell you it was hilly! This was the second FM in the Marathon Series. Those who ran both would get an extra finisher t-shirt. So it was two FMs and three finisher t-shirts. Trust me when I say that that finisher t-shirt is a rare one indeed. Ran it with MBF. It was her first FM, so I promised her I would run all the way with her. Met up with the usual suspects again. Mohan helped us with transport, for that I am so very grateful. In our group, MBF included, there were three FMVs. We all had the time of our lives. There were all sorts of fruits at one water station. Durian was even served. I ate as much as I could. The fresh coconut returned too. MBF had the FM experience of a lifetime. We came in at a really slow time, but I wasn't too worried about that, as long as we were still standing at the finish line. The crew took really good care of us. Isotonic drinks flowed freely. We could eat all the food we wanted. This could just be the most addictive full marathon in Malaysia ever!

Been there and done that


Putrajaya Night Marathon

PNM was my first night full marathon. In fact this was going to be my first weekend double out of Kuching. I had done shorter runs like this, and even attempted two short runs in one day. However this time around I would run an FM on Saturday and then King if the Road 16.8km on Sunday. I wasn't the only one from Kuching doing this. Even MBF went for 21km at PNM and 10km at KOTR. It drizzled during PNM. Things just clicked and I ran my first sub-6. I know many people had told me how tough the run would be, but to my amazement I did so well. This was also the first time I ran an FM without music. That was a big turning point for me. I was so high from my finish that it was hard to come down and get ready for my next run a couple of hours later. Suffice to say it was a disaster, but I finished anyways, and for me that was all that mattered. It was a sort of unofficial ultra for me. The experience was so worth it. Who knows next year there might be a repeat.

The one with the belly is me!


Penang Bridge International Marathon

Twas my fifth FM of 2013 and my sixth FM lifetime. Returning to Penang was so nostalgic. It was like I never left. This time we didn't stay near Queensbay Mall. Instead we were in Georgetown, at Little India. Nothing beats playing tourist and eating all the local delicacies in the name of carbo loading. The beginning of the race was run in the rain. The route was wet. I didn't even bother to bring my camera with me. I was running injured, but my painkillers helped to a point. I truly thought it would be a dismal performance on my part, but managed to come in just after 6 hours. That in itself was a victory of sorts for me. My mental strength pulled me through this time. Two tough PBIM experiences. Next year it will be the new route. Am lucky that I have been able to run the old route twice. That helped me a lot since I remembered the route completely. Scary how our mind doesn't forget such stuff. It's like it's branded in my consciousness. Penang will always be close to my heart. I so look forward to visiting the island again for another run.

First time running as a Marathon Maniac

What's in store for me next year?

Well. my dear constant readers, know what's on my mind now. I have already put it to print. Twelve. That's my magic number. The 12x12 club beckons. I know I cannot match some of my friends, especially Marathon Maniac #7618. His legs are just too young. I am only in competition with myself. Last year I always seemed to be the oldest guy in my group. What's more I was always finishing last among them. That never deters me. At least I started, ran the race, and finished it. I have a whole rack of running tops and t-shirts to prove that I have been there and run a particular race. My dad introduces me to his friends as, "My son the marathon runner." Yes, he is proud of me, the man who never ran competitively till he was on the way to fifty. Every medal I bring home I show him. He doesn't have many years to live with his heart problems, but thankfully his cancer is in remission. I know he is proud of his bookworm and computer addict son.

My dad and me

It's never too late too start. It's easy to make excuses. Look at me. I usually weigh 95kg. I have weighed as much as 105kg. I can bring my weight down if I train hard enough. However I have food issues. I just eat too much. So something has to give. My belly is the proof. I get a humongous kick from doing what I do. Am so glad am able to share it with others through my blog. I know there are many out there who dream of running long. Start slow. There is no rush. Train well. That is the most important thing. Learn from others who have done it before you. Marathon running is never easy. If anyone says it is, that person is lying. I am constantly learning new things. Not all of them will work for me. Like picking the right pair of shoes, it is trial and error. The more I run the more familiar with my body I become. I also enjoy the experience even more. The turbo snail in me is happy. Till next year I bid all my running buddies adieu.

My dad's favourite pic of me running

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Momentum Run Series Medals - All four!

Who will collect all four?


I know it's been raining like crazy for a while now. One look at these medals though should be motivation for anyone to go out and run whenever the sun peeps out. So keep your running shoes in the car just in case that happens. The Momentum Run Series shows what is possible when a small group of running enthusiasts get together to organise a run. Am hoping this is a wake up call for others to organise such runs in Kuching. We have the runners to join such events.  All we need are the events! Merry Christmas to all my friends who celebrate and happy holidays to the rest.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Momentum Run Series 1 - Race Report

Wet wet wet!

My cats weren't happy. Neither was I. It was raining big time when I awoke early Sunday morning. I was half expecting to see dogs fall out of the sky. I think my cats were worried the same thing would be happening too! We were supposed to report at 5.30am at MBKS complex for the first Momentum Run. Being a bona fide FMer I took it in my stride, preparing myself for my 15km run like usual. After the Penang Bridge International Marathon I hadn't planned to run again till next year. However the Momentum Runs had come along. Yours truly will support any run in Kuching, regardless of distance. I had put on weight and was definitely under-trained, no thanks to my pesky foot injury. Suffice to say I was feeling much better after testing my legs out a couple of days before the run. That though meant nothing, for come race day anything can happen. The rain only served to makes things worse.

Having run in light rain at this year's Putrajaya Night Marathon and again at PBIM, it basically meant I would be running without music again. This was supposed to be a sort of training run for those wanting to get some distance running experience to prepare them for next year's Kuching Marathon. Prior to this Kuching had quite a few runs that can be considered as fun runs. The ones where you can bring your toddler and grandma along too. Charity runs are usually exciting. Everyone is primed to have fun. I have been guilty of having too much fun at those runs too. Plus who can resist some of the t-shirts they give out. I must say the material this year is of a better quality and the colours are really bright too. So runners can actually use them to run. Till today I still look in amazement at my collection of running t-shirts and running singlets. How fast they multiply. I swear the cats must be secretly knitting them for me. I have not caught them at it yet.

The rain tapered off when I got to MBKS. Ate a chocolate bar and drank some energy drink. Knew there was going to be a water station so wasn't worried about hydration. Met up with friends at the building. Was told that the run would not start at 6am, The route would be shortened too. As if to make things even more exciting it started to rain heavily. We would be flagged off just after 6.30am.  The distance was now 12.5km. We weren't told that of course. All we knew is that it would be shorter. After the initial shock of getting drenched, we just ran like we normally do. Me with my trusty cap on, more to shield my glasses than anything else.  My shoes got wet inside very fast. Could feel the water sloshing around trying to get out. Since I was running on the road, grip was not a problem. There was no worries about getting wetter as I was already as wet as I could get.

Saw one guy actually walking the distance with a huge umbrella! Many ran without a cap. Pitied those wearing glasses. One person ran with a disposable raincoat on. It mattered nought. The rain got worst before it got better. Luckily there weren't many cars on the road. We got splashed by our own feet when we ran into puddles of water. The going wasn't that tough. It was just that I was heavier and also my legs weren't ready to run long yet.  So what I did was take things easy. Just treated it like another LSD run with lots of people around me. Saw one guy wearing a yellow cotton t-shirt who looked like he could be a poster boy for my blog. Didn't know they made t-shirts that big. I tip my hat of to you for hanging in there. You have more guts than all those who stayed in bed instead of joining the 380 runners who actually took part. In fact everyone who ran that morning is a winner in my book.

This is a small event. In fact only 500 slots were available. The response was so over-whelming that there were all filled in FIVE days. Being a wonderful lot, the organisers opened up 40 more slots. So after the final tally, we now know that 160 runners didn't start. I know this is a four run series. The next one will be held on 16th February 2014 covering 18km. Lets hope that those who didn't run yesterday morning will do so then. By the way, for those who don't already know, the t-shirt for Series 2 will be yellow in colour, to match the yellow medal. I already signed up for that one. There's no way I was going to delay it. All I know is that the people who organise this race really managed to keep the registration fees super low. Imagine paying RM30 and getting a Brooks t-shirt, a medal (limited to the first 300, and with an option to buy, for the other finishers), and a certificate.

At the turning point we were given a red ribbon to signify that we had actually made it that far. Then after the toll there was a makeshift water station. Paper cups filled with water awaited us. I joked with the two personnel manning it that it was mixed with unicorn tears too. Am happy to note that many runners gave the used cups to the lady collecting them. For a non-competitive run of this distance it was adequate to have one water station. Besides the conditions being what there were we didn't really need much hydration. Those familiar with the route would have known that there were two petrol stations along the way to get refreshments from. It was drizzling on the way back. The road was still water logged in certain areas. Car drivers were being relatively civil. Marshalls were at ALL road intersections. This deserves praise. I have been in other charity runs where towards the end the marshalls had magically disappeared.

At the finishing line we were treated to Red Bull and more water. There was a lucky draw. I was told that an avid runner known only as Chong, donated RM4,000 for the cash prizes. Big on you mate! This run was made possible with the help of Mayor James Chan of MBKS, City Cat Joggers Club, GSK himself, and last but not least the Revolution Run Company. There were many volunteers too who helped make the run a success. Without them it would just have been a normal LSD run for all of us. Instead we all felt like we were in an actual race. Thanks to the gang from Hornbill Pacesetters Running Club I got my new running t-shirt. Also Christopher Sia got a surprise birthday cake in a most unlikely place. This was a fun event, highlighted by the fact that many new faces braved the rain to come out and run. The three big running clubs in Kuching also came out in full force. Hopefully the other runs in the Series will be as enjoyable too.

(The first 6 pictures were courtesy of Edwin Lay, of  Edwin Lay Photography www.edwinlay.com, from Wedding Celebrations Studio (www.fb.com/qingwcs)

All pics below were from my camera:

Guess where Christopher got his cake?

Reuben Su, Christopher and me

Swinburne Sarawak Running Club