The most hyped up and talked about running event in Malaysia in recent time finally took off. Yours truly took part in the half marathon category. Due to lack of training I didn’t expect much in this race. I was only hoping to clock a decent time of 2 hours and 5mins. A sub-2 hours timing would be a bonus though.
Though half marathon was only due to start at 8.00 pm, the kiasuness in me itched to reach the race venue early to avoid parking hassles. So off I went to cyberjaya and reached the Street Malls parking area and secured a parking spot. After a somewhat less than 7 minutes shuttle-bus ride I reached the race venue at 5-ish pm. Full marathoners were spotted in sight, busy preparing themselves who were scheduled to start off at 6pm. Met otai runners i.e syah, ian, nik, shahir, shuk who were all psyched up to run their early evening marathon. It was still blazing hot when they were let off at 6.00 pm and I bet those runners were crossing their fingers hoping that the weather would get cooler soon.
At 8.00 pm, the half marathoners were let off but not before the cheeky cheerleaders performing their funky routines and sensual moves first which attracted catcalls noise from the runners. The early phase of the road where we were let off was lit off. I think it was intended so that the runners’ headlamp that the sponsor supplied would be seen as effective. It worked though. The headlamp can be a nuisance but if one knew how to tie it, it wouldn’t be that bordersome.
Lesson learned from Putrajaya Night Narathon is not to pulun at the early phase of the race. The strategy for this race was to go for a negative split. So I opted to deploy a not-so-slow,-not-so-fast pace strategy for the first 15 km. Along the way I bumped into Yim who was spotted from behind sporting 4 glowies! Had a quick chat with him and exchanged good-lucks before we continued running on our own. The route was 70% flat with 30% hilly parts that was not that taxing. Surprisingly, unlike PNM, the much dreaded hot and humid night condition was not felt. Instead, it was chilly and at certain part of the route it was breezy, perfectly ideal for a night run. I managed to keep my pace steady during the first phase of the race and not to tense myself up when other runners overtook me. I kept reminding myself to stick to the strategy or otherwise I would burn out too soon, way before crossing the finishing line. Along the way, I tried pacing some fast runners just to make sure that I was not going too slow. Some were paceable and some were very fast that it was hard to keep up.
Towards the 15th km onwards, numbers of half marathoners that I could see in front of me has reduced in number. I reckon that it was at the 17th km that the half marathon route and 10km route merged at this particular intersection and I found my self running into swarm of thousands of 10km runners who were coming from another direction. I had to run in zigzag motion and criss-crossing to avoid bumping into them. The half marathoners who I paced earlier were no longer in sight. Realizing that it was the final kilometers of the race, I ran a faster tempo hoping to clock the time that I desired. And as in any other races the final kilometers are always the longest and seems neverending and this race was not an exception. We were made to run on a final long stretch which has the longest incline ever and I was repeteadly cursing, “Where is the effing finishing line?!” and almost blurted it out loud. It was only after I saw the final roundabout that I know the elusive finishing line would be finally in grasp.
Overall, I ran a good race . The dreaded heat from energy-sapping, blazing hot tarmac was not felt this time around. Sticking to my strategy of not going too strong at the beginning of the race really pays. The bananas that I consumed really worked in providing me instant energy (I had 8 bananas from 3-7pm). And not to forget plenty intake of 100 plus during the race day has prevented me from experiencing potential cramps. And it’s even sweeter that I rewrote my 21km’s personal best time!
Verdict - 21km Men's Open Category
Placing : 33
Chip Time : 1:55:30
Gun Time : 1:55:59
Gun Time : 1:55:59