Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Energizer Night Race 2010 - The Good and the Bad

As promised, my half-cent comments on the Energizer Night Race 2010.

The Good or positives:

1. A lot of volunteers and crew members stationed at road junctions and strategic locations. These volunteers showed good enthusiasm and cheered the runners on. Not forgetting the volunteers at the start and finish station. E.g. when I got a drink at the drink station, I said to the lady volunteer, "sen fu sai!" (appreciate your hard work in Cantonese). She replied, "mm sen fu, le bao 21km tong sen fu...." (translated literally to: not hard work, you ran 21km is more hard work). The baggage counter was well organised as I waited about 5 minutes in the queue and when it was my turn, I got my bag pretty quickly.

2. Water stations and fluid were enough for everyone.

3. Organiser was willing to take inputs and suggestions from the runners. I actually wrote to the organiser to ask them to:
i) delay the full marathon start time to at least 7:00pm or later. In the end, organiser wrote back to say they were looking into it and later agreed to postponed to 6:00pm. I am not taking any credit for this, as I know many other people requested the same thing. So it is more like a collective requests from the runners.
ii) increase the medical support team. The organiser wrote back to say that they would increase the medical station and personnel. I am not taking credit as well.
iii) issue/publish medical advice to all runners before the run. The organiser actually did this. No credit for the author asked.

4. Good goody bag with water, cakes, sponsors' samples and discount vouchers. Good medal design as well, although the size could be bigger.

5. Easy-to-use disposable timing chip.

6. Quality and personalised running bib.

7. Got dance/performance before the start of race.

8. Got sprinkler shower from firemen/fire engine for the runners.

The Bad (areas to be improved):

1. Running vest size issue. I don't want to elaborate. Onus for the organiser to get this right.

2. Only one check point for 42km and none for 21km. Although many road marshals were stationed to ensure runners follow the right path, but without more check points at strategic locations, it is difficult to ensure all runners ran a fair race. I noticed in the result, there were some discrepancies between the first 21km split and the next 21km for a few runners. Other discrepancies e.g. large gaps between chip time and gun time. I would hope that these discrepancies were due to timing chip system issue.

3. Long queue for 10km runners to collect goody bag. Actually there were different counters for different categories, but I saw men and ladies lining up the same queue. No clear direction?

4. No clear direction/signage on how to get to the designated car park and start/finish station.

5. The finishing line was not cordoned off after the the timing mat. All the runners who were leaving the area were trying walk in reverse direction of the finishing gate/line to go home. It was the same way out of the finish area. This caused the runners who were just finished their race bumping into crowd of people walking towards the finishing line in the opposite direction. The crew members were trying very hard to divert the people to go to the side of the road.

6. Distance markers not accurately placed. Please don't put the markers for the sake of putting up the markers. It really means something to the runners who were looking for these markers.

7. Official photographers I heard were not allowed near the finish gate. I couldn't confirm this. I am happy to remove this point if someone could confirm otherwise.

8. No medical team was stationed at the finish line. A few runners cramped and were helped by the crew members. Later an ambulance was called to be stationed near the finish station.

9. Crowd control still need to be improved as the finish area was quite crowded.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Energizer Night Race 2010 - Running in my first night race

It was my first night race and what a tough race it was.

I arrived early with the intention to shoot some photos for the full marathon and the relay. The full marathon and the relay started around 6:00pm. The sun was quite hot at flag-off. Eventually at around 6:40pm, the weather became cloudy.

Time to change into Energizer batteries!

I started shooting at about 500m from the starting line, where there was a 1km marker (it was definitely not 1km at that point).

Mr Yong also running in the full marathon.

After shooting the last few runners at start, I ran to the next junction at around 3km mark and continue to shoot more photos.

Eugene Chan looking focus and strong.

Then I ran to the 8km mark (near Ericsson office) and then 12km mark to shoot more photos. By then it was already 7:00pm. So I have to stop and slowly make my way back to the starting line.

I bumped into this 'bunny' on her ride many times on the road. She was supporting her BF and other runners.

Because of shooting photos in various locations, I think I ran and walked about 6km even before the start of my 21km half-marathon.

I quickly changed and deposited my bag and went to the starting line. Then only I collected my headlight. Should had collected it earlier so that I could just put it in my bag.

The 21km flag-off was on time. I ran the first few km trying to pace with Kwang Leng. At around 6km, I felt pain in my left abdomen. A stitch! What a time to get it. I think I had drank or ate a little too much the hour before the race. I had to slow my pace and watch Kwang Leng running further and further away from me.

For the rest of the run, I just tried to adjust my pace and forcing some air out of my stomach. It did get better later part of the run, but then I was tiring fast. My heart rate was above 160 bpm (~85% max) from 14km onwards. So I have to slow down the pace towards the end of the race. Also, there were a lot of 10km runners running on the same route by then.

In the end, I finished with a time 1:52:17. Nothing to shout about. It was only my third half-marathon and I achieved my personal best in a tough condition.

After that, I had to cool down and do some stretching. I also drank a lot of water and isotonic drink to rehydrate myself. I met Ben (Swee) near the fruit station and chatted with him. He finished around 3:26 for third position in full marathon. Congrats! By the way, he qualified for Boston Marathon next month and will be running there!

I waited a while to collect my bag. Then I changed my soaking wet vest to something dry. I saw Lionel and he said he was not very well. He just recovered from flu and had a tough race towards the end.

By this time, most of the 10km runners were already back. The queue for their goody bags was getting longer and longer. I quickly got my camera and headed to the finishing line to take some photos. It was already 10:20pm then.

This time, I thought my camera flashlight was faulty or something was wrong with my camera. Most of the night-shots were under-exposed. I tried many settings to get it right, but the end results were still unsatisfactory. So I may have to dump these photos instead of publish them.

I met a lot of runner friends. Cornelius came all the way from KK. I met Lydia also. Christopher was there and finished within 5 hours in the full event.

I headed home around 11:15pm. I was already so tired. Shooting and running at the same event was really something! Especially when my body was acting up.

I will give my comments on the event in a different post later. Need to rest and recover now.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Energizer Night Race - Health & Safety Advice to Runners

Please read this before the race tonight. Every runner should receive this in mailbox. Please click for larger image.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Energizer Night Race 2010 - Race Kit Collection

The adidas Response running vest, bib number, safety pins, and Energizer LED head light (only given to full marathon runners on collection day, I got this for my friends who will run in full).

The reverse side of the running vest, the disposable D-TAG timing chip (orange colour) glued to the reverse side of the bib. Instruction leaflet for the timing chip below.

I went to collect my race kit this morning in Melia Hotel for the next Saturday Energizer Night Race 2010.

I registered for Half-Marathon event and not the full. I figured I would not able to train enough to run a good Full Marathon race in the evening.

Anyway, in the race kit collection today I saw many runners queuing up already when I arrived there at around 11:20am. The counters with most number of people were the 10km and 21km. The 42km and the relay event seemed to draw less number of runners.

The race kit contains an adidas running vest, bib personalised with runner's name, D-TAG disposable timing chip with clip & instruction, safety pins. Also got two meal discount (20%) vouchers from Cyberview Lodge. The Energizer LED head light is only issued out to the full marathon runners due to early starting time (at 6:00pm). Other runners will receive their head light on race day.

My two runner friends who asked me to collect their race kits on the behalf, are still uncertain to be able to make it to the starting point due to injury to the knees. This type of injury is really a dreaded condition for the runners. I hope they will recover soon and be able to run freely again.

Can you spot PM1 and Eugene?

Also, I met many runner friends today. I saw Ronnie, Eugene, Christopher, Lawrence, Carrie & fiance, Lionel, Mr Yong etc. All seemed so kan cheong to collect their race kit on day one of the collection. Rightly so, because one of the sizes (M) of the men running vest was gone within the first hour!

I thought I saw Michael Pang also. I wanted to say hi but couldn't see him after I collected my race kit.

More details of the event can be found here. Information about the event programme, race routes, transportation, etc is available. Every runner should read it. Good luck!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bareno Run 15km 2010

Photo courtesy of Tey.

I came into this race with no expectation as I have been a bit slacking in training lately. Lots of things happened including my mother went for operation last week. Running was not on top of my mind when my mother was in the hospital. I'm so glad and relieved that she was discharged on Thursday.

Anyway, what happened to my mother reminded me how fragile human being is. We should always be grateful and cherish those that are around us. Never take anything for granted.

The Bareno Run 15km was the first edition this year. I registered quite early for this as this race is just 2 minutes drive from my house. So, I felt the "home ground" advantage could do me good in this race.

I was joined by my wife for this race. It was her longest run thus far. She hasn't run further than 12km before. But I believed she could do this, within 2 hours.

Some other friends and colleagues also joined. BP, Devan, Janice, James, Zafir, Pang & family were there too. I registered and collected their bibs for them. Got more kakis this time. And I am becoming like an agent or ambassador for running, haha... Some more today, got a few people looked at me or cheered me on or talked to me like they knew me, but I didn't know most of them. Hello and thanks, my new runner friends!

For the run today, I completed the 15km in 1:13:36 (my personal best) for position 34th in Men Open Category. Average pace was 4'54" per km. I was surprised actually because I'd never expected to run below 5 minutes per km in this race because of lack of training. Also because of the pain I felt on my right foot near the heel area, made me worry early in the race. After about 3km, the pain subsided and I continued to push on.

After I had completed my run, I quickly got a drink and grabbed my camera bag. I ran back the running route in reverse direction to shoot photos and to find my wife. Along the way, I just tried to snap as many photos for the runners as possible. I met her around 1.5km from the finish line. Then I ran with her until the finish line. She completed her first 15km in about 1 hour 52 minutes for position 55th in Women Veteran Category.

Running towards the finishing line with my wife. Photo courtesy of Tey.

It was a good run organised by the Bukit Jalil Running Club. Some of the officials in organising committee are my running friends also. Mr Yong, Mr Tang, Mr Lim to name a few. I must congratulate them for a good job done.

Congratulations to Julia Lim too. She got champion position for Women Veteran Category. We shared the same training base, i.e. Taman Bukit Jalil (part of the 15km and 10km route today). She is a very hard-working runner and improved so much since last 2 years. She trains there almost every morning.

I will upload the photos that I took today to my Multiply site later. The quality is not so nice this time as I was running while I took some of the photos.

Until the next run, do train hard and stay healthy.