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|