Monday, June 29, 2009

SCKLM 2009 - The good, the bad & the ...?

The (good) volunteers

Starting from the race pack collection, the volunteers were doing their best to ensure the runners would have good experience. Except from the chaos that was out of their control during Day 1 of race pack collection, I thought they did a good job handling so many runners' race packs. The responsibility for the chaos on Day 1 rack pack collection should be on the organiser.

I found the volunteers mostly very helpful and they were always busy directing runners or serving drinks. This time I saw many young volunteers, which was a good sign.

I believe the contribution of the volunteers was very much appreciated by all the runners.

The (bad then good, then bad) weather

The weather on race day started badly with rain pouring down 30 minutes before the starting time. To be fair, the organiser did allow the runners to take cover under the VIP tent. Although the runners stayed dry during that time, they were eventually got wet by the rain anyway as the rain poured moments before the start.

Luckily rain subsided and stopped a few minutes after start. I had a hunch on the rain coming, but there wasn't much I could do. I just prepared to face it mentally. I remembered the temperature at start was around 25 degrees Celsius.

The weather stayed cool and cloudy for most of my running time. The sun only start to find its way around the cloud at around 9:00am. By 10:00am, the heat from the sun was getting hotter. For those runners finished after 10:30am, the heat could be an issue.

The (good) route

The route was generally a flat one, except for steep hill at 30km mark (Jalan Hang Jebat) and an steep ramp turning into Jalan Istana at 33km.

The (not-so-good) finisher goodies

The Finisher T-shirt is not dry-fit type. The design was not worth mentioning. The medal is not made of the high quality pewter. I feel it is thin and light.

The (bad) water stations

From 33km onwards, most water stations were out of water by the time the full marathon runners were there. This is a serious matter. Some runners were so dehydrated until they suffered from cramps. I expressed my concern on shortage of water to the race director, Hemant Dua during the second runners clinic before the race, He assured me that there would be enough water. Unfortunately, I didn't raise that concern in the open, but instead privately.

By 11:30am, I was quite sure that there was NO more water at the all water stations. While BP & I were waiting for our friend to arrive, the organiser started giving bottled mineral water to the finishers. One lady runner got angry and complained no water at the water stations before this and only provide water after finish.

The (bad) distance marker

I saw an African runner running like a bullet at about 19km mark. He didn't wear a bib on his back. I was wondering why a fast runner like him only overtook me at this stage. 3km later I got the answer, I saw this runner walking dejectedly in the reverse direction. He was wearing a blue colour bib in front. He was a half marathon participant who ran accidentally on the full marathon route. (Note that the half-marathon race started 1 hour 15 minutes later than the full marathon race). The half marathon runner should have turn into another road at around 13km mark. By the time he realised it, his chance of podium finish was gone.

There were also confusion later for the half marathon and perhaps 10km runners as well when the routes overlapped at 33km of full marathon route. The distance marker only indicated the distance for the full marathon runners.

The (bad) after-run fruit station

By the time I finished the race at about 9:40am, besides looking for the medal collection booth, I was looking for the drink and fruit stations. Drink station was still serving isotonic drink. But I found the fruit station full of banana skins with no more bananas. There were no other fruits like watermelon or apple. Then I have to pay RM9 for a PowerBar because I really needed some carb and protein down my system.

The (bad) toilets

Because of the rain and coldness (or too much water-loading) in the morning, some (male) runners were seen answering nature's call during the first 10 km of the race. Normally these runners would go under a tree or side of the road to do what they need to do. These runners I counted more than 10.

The organiser had promised toilets along the route. But the temporary toilets only appeared later at 10km onwards

Another point worth mentioning, there were two temporary toilets at around 35km mark. The runners were running on the reserved rightmost lane. The toilets were at the left side of the road. In the middle were the fast moving cars of KL.

The (missing) pace makers

I asked Hemant on the pace makers before. The same information also appeared in the runner's guide book. The pace makers would have a coloured balloon tied to them. I didn't see them at the start, I didn't see them along the route, and I didn't see them after the finish.

The (missing) "Over 50,000 enthusiastic supporters along the route and at Dataran Merdeka" (page 17, runner's guide book). There were good supporters, but not 50,000 of them.

I didn't count properly or maybe I lost count. But I didn't think there were 50,000 enthusiastic supporters for SCKLM 2009.

But there were some supporters cheering for the runners from 33 km onwards. I appreciate these supporters. They were cheering for everyone they saw. At Dataran, there were more cheerleaders urging the runners on. Thanks!

While waiting for Ravin, BP & I were cheering for anyone that running towards the finishing line. I guess we understood how important that was.

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