Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I'm back!

It's been a while. Lots have happened since the last post. The latest is the fiasco that was the Standard Chartered KL Marathon.

I have mixed feelings about this race. Happy because I finally broke 5 hours in a marathon (although this was only my second standalone marathon, the first being a 5:50 at Penang Bridge Marathon in 2007). But also disappointed because the race organisation left much to be desired.

The Standard Chartered Marathon series is a world renowned event. The best organised event ever. Sadly, when it arrived at our shores, the standards dropped. Should have been called the Standard Tarak KL Marathon instead.

From the shambolic race kit collection, to the waterless water stations, to the long queues for the medals and t-shirts, to the oversized finisher t-shirts, to the lack of drinks and support at the finish line, the whole thing smelled of bolehland's inability to stage a world-class event.

They even ran out of medals for the late finishers! And they promised anyone who came in under 9 hours would get one. After 6 and a half, the medals were all gone!

Luckily for me I got mine. And a hard-earned medal it was too. I woke up that morning still unsure I would make it through the marathon. My knee still had some pain and as of Friday, I was still limping.

The race started and i could just feel the pain behind my left knee. Never mind, once properly warmed up, it will go away, I thought to myself. I had packed along some anti-inflammatory pills, just in case.

Surprisingly, the knee held out. The pain never came back and I managed to run the entire distance, walking only at the water stations to drink. Apart from a toilet break somewhere in Cheras, which cost me about 5 minutes, and the water stations at 27.5km and 32.5km running out of water, my race was pretty much incident free.

In the end, I crossed the line in 4:52 which I thought was quite good, considering the knee issues I had over the week. I really enjoyed the race.

My enjoyment didn't last. There was no drinks for the finishers at the finish line. Luckily Ishsal was hanging around the finish line and gave me a bottle of 100Plus, which I shared with Abu.

Ok, thirst quenched a bit, where's my medal? Patrick told me I had to go all the way to other end of the field to collect it. What? I've just come in from a punishing 42k run and I have to walk all the way there? So walk I did, only to find a looooong queue of people waiting to collect their medals. Surely, there's got to be an easier way. Organisers must be thinking, "Well, they've done 42k what's another few hundred metres and a long queue?"

Anyway, I got to the front of the line and the volunteer looked at me with a look that said, "what do you want?" D'uh my medal, you idiot! Then I found out that they only had L and XL sized finisher t-shirts. Apparently, when asked how come they ran out of the smaller sized t-shirts, a runner was told, "Nasib awak lah! Apasal lari perlahan sangat?" (Too bad for you, why did you run so slow?)! How rude!

By the time Senn came back, around 7 hours, two hours before their promised cutoff for finisher medals, they had run out of medals. There were about 20 of them at that time that didn't get their medals. Apparently, some of the earlier finishers had helped themselves to 2-3 medals since they weren't verifying the finishers at all. Very poor form. And the organisers tried to excuse themselves by saying this is their first time! That is no excuse!

Very badly organised. Don't think I want to do it next year. Funny how the t-shirt says "I'll be back in 2010." No, I won't.

Instead, I'll go do the Singapore Marathon. Just to see how a world-class event is really supposed to be like. I've heard so many great things about it and was hoping to experience the same here but alas, that was not to be. Such high hopes dashed.

My target in Singapore? Sub 4:30. There, I've declared it. Now let's get on with it.


KOOKY KASH said...

Alright! That's the spirit! well done, Arif! Congrats.

..::EnAikAY::.. said...

Bravo bro. With an ITB injury u still managed a sub 5hrs marathon. Power tu, power.

Hope to see u again in another events.

Congratulations! Well done.
Nice report too.

I like the part "Standard Tarak"

CapArnabBrand said...

dude... finally you've updated your blog!! haha... btw... the tables are turned and you're my race bunny from now on... :)

Great performance mate!

Stupe said...

Fuh...4:30...i better start workign for that as well. I've never dipped below 5:45...never!

and well done bro...

dochisyam said...

Bro, well done!
Perhaps you want to try Phuket. Its a smaller race but friendlier.
The course is flat and fast and very scenic too.
A perfect place to go 430!