Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Great Race 2014

Royal Brunei Airlines' 40th Anniversary Charity Race

Yours truly must admit to smiling when he found out about this "The Great Race". It was like, why have I not heard about it before if it is a "great race"? Now I know why...  Lets hear what the organisers have to say, shall we? "In conjunction with Royal Brunei Airlines' 40th Anniversary, Royal Brunei (RB) is organizing a charity race for the public called "The Great Race", and it will be the anchor event for RB's Corporate Social Responsibility initiative. The Great Race will take place on Sunday 19th October 2014. With six different categories, The Great Race will be a different experience from other marathons as it is a marathon with challenges tailored with an aviation concept.  RB has appointed Green Brunei and Brunei Paralympics to be the beneficiaries for The Great Race 2014. The proceeds from The Great Race 2014 will assist Green Brunei to move forward with the Mangrove Rehabilitation Project along the Sungai Damuan at Kampong Bengkurong, and likewise, Brunei Paralympics with their activities."

First of, there is a Corporate Team Challenge. I guess we can give that one a miss. The events where the money is are the 5km Short Haul and the 10km Long Haul. There's 3km Happy Flight for the fun runners that of course comes with no prize money. What I do know is the 10km event comes with 4 obstacles. Online registration has already started. All registration will end on 19 September 2014. Those wanting to learn more can visit their website by clicking here. Those who want to register can click here Please not that this event is only open to Brunei residents with a Brunei address. Now it seems really ironic why they call it a great race. Oh well, those who want to run in Brunei can always join the inaugural full marathon there.

Charity Walk with Happy 2014

A truly happy walk for charity

Last year I joined the Charity Walk with Happy, and had an enjoyable experience. Click here to find out more. This year the charity event is back  and their target charity is S.O.S. Kids Kuching. Click here to visit their Facebook page. Registration ends on 6th September 2014. So those who have not registered for this 5km fun event please do so quickly. It will be held on 21st September 2014 at the Taman Le' Park (formerly Kuching Integrated Recreational Centre) at 6am.  RM20 gets the participant a t-shirt and lots of goodies, plus snacks and drinks. The Lian Hua Seng, or Happy Rice people, take good care of their participants as can be attested from last year's event. This charity event is ideally suited for those who are not ready yet to run 5km and want to give a walk a try. Those needing to know more can visit their website. The official registration form can be seen below.

Marathon Maniac #9696 - Nasa Zaidul

Kuching's first female Maniac

Yours truly was with Nasa Zaidul on the eve of her first full marathon, the River Jungle Marathon, on 31st August 2013. She had trained really hard for it, yet all the doubts were there. What I can tell you about her is beneath that diminutive exterior is one determined dynamite of a lady, who will face any challenge head-on, and do whatever it takes to succeed.  I promised to run with her the whole way, which I did, and she found that it wasn't as tough as she thought to run 42.195km, coming home in 7:10. However she had to admit this wasn't something she would like to do often, preferring instead to run the shorter 21km distance, which she did in several other races. However the urge to run a full marathon distance emerged again when the Island Ocean Marathon, the sister marathon to the River Jungle Marathon, was announced on 10th August 2014. The only problem was that Nasa had already signed up for the full distance for her very own hometown marathon, the Kuching Marathon on 17th August 2014. 

So what Nasa and I did for that matter was to take IOM as an LSD run. There was no intention to crack the 7:30 barrier. In fact we came in at 7:50, together with our good friend and running buddy Shin Wong. Told her there was no shame in finishing with such a time. The important thing was that she finished. Not many runners even dare sign up or start a full marathon distance, let alone complete it. That's what she had done, not once, but twice. However her next run, on 17th August 2014,  would be different as she had to run against the clock, since the Kuching Marathon had a 7 hour cut-off.  This time I had to rein myself in as I would be running the Starlight Ultra 84km Solo in Penang six days later. Nasa ran with our dear friend Mohan Marathon for up to 28km. Mohan really knows how to pace and motivate runners, so I knew she was in excellent hands. Then later it was coach Terence Poon's turn to takeover the pacing reins when Mohan had to take care of some stragglers. Suffice to say the experience of Terence, as well as the mental strength and never-say-die attitude of Nasa prevailed and she finished in a personal best of 6:47:02.

Nasa will next run the River Jungle Marathon for the second consecutive year. She is now Marathon Maniac #9696. For those unfamiliar with what the Marathon Maniacs are, they can click here.  Kuching now has many full marathoners. We also have a couple of Marathon Maniacs, including me (Maniac #7614), Philip Chua, the Kuching Marathon race director (Maniac #8255), Shannon Francis Bala (Maniac #8234), and George Chapman (Maniac #9478). Hopefully with Nasa being the first female Maniac from Kuching, other women might choose to follow in her footsteps. It isn't difficult to achieve that goal. However not every runner is cut out to be a Marathon Maniac and run many races during the year. That of course doesn't mean they cannot sign up as a Maniac, if they qualify for it. Am so looking forward to seeing Nasa wear the signature yellow singlet of the Maniacs  during a full marathon. Nasa dared to dream big and transform it into reality. So if she can do it so too can any runner out there.

Running the Hulu Langat route at RJM 2013

FMV no more at RJM 2013

Me, our friend Shin Wong, with Nasa at IOM 2014

Nasa running with Mohan Marathon at KM 2014

Nasa with her medal at KM 2014

Thursday, 28 August 2014

BSB International Marathon 2014

Brunei's very own full marathon!

The wait is finally over! After years of running the Standard Chartered Half Marathon, the running community in Brunei will now have their very own full marathon.  It used to be that runners from Sarawak had to go to Sabah to run the Borneo International Marathon. Now runners in Sarawak can enjoy running their very own Kuching Marathon. With Brunei announcing this full marathon runners in Borneo have the option to run three full marathons without leaving the island. Who knows in the near future there might be a full marathon in Kalimantan, Indonesia too. Imagine running four full marathons in Borneo? That mere thought was inconceivable just a year ago. I for one am very excited at the prospect of even more marathons being added to the running calendar. What it does is give us runners a choice on what races to run locally and in neighbouring countries without breaking our piggy banks.

That's the good news. Initially in Facebook, on 25th August 2014, it was announced on the banner that this marathon would be held on 16th November 2014! As we constant runners know that is also the date for the Penang Bridge International Marathon and the Standard Chartered Bangkok Marathon. Then three days later the date was changed to 2nd November 2014, which got me all excited. After which the date reverted back again to 16th November 2014 and a quick check on their official website reveals that the BSB International Marathon remains on that date, which sadly means I won't be able to run it since am signed up for PBIM! For those runners who seldom travel out of Borneo to run I would recommend this marathon. This is especially for those in Sarawak who have been bitten by the marathon bug. Registration will open on 1st September 2014.