Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Eugene : The Dragon Back 15km Race

Eugene and Roy kick-started 2013 with an awesome race. Situated in Klang and known as the Dragon Back route among a group of runners, it is easy to see how this route earned the name. 
Whoaaaa...Photo Credit Ee Kok Jin
Rolling hills (we counted 8) which would send shiver down many runners' back. But both being accustomed to long distance running, this race was an exception - and a good training run for both. Read on to know why.

The race that kick-started my 2013 running calendar.
I’m normally not a fan of signing up for short distance races and events. I find it hard to convince myself to drive 20 – 30kms to the event site, look for parking, run 10km or 15km and drive another 20 – 30kms home. Total time spent of 3 – 4 hours for a run that would take me between 1 to 1.5 hours to finish if I had started outside my door. However, I do make exceptions for runs that pique my interest. And in this case, the opportunity to run on a “Dragon’s back” helped sway me to click that “submit” button. :)
Race morning, I car-pooled with Roy who picked me up and got us to the event site with 40 mins to spare. Typical chit-chatting and mingling with other runners at the starting line made time pass by pretty fast. The flag off was announced not via a gun shot, but fireworks that lit the early morning sky. A real surprise that, and a pleasant one too.
The first 1.7kms was a pretty flat route; taking us out of the school (which was the event site) and along the kampong road flanked by several small food stalls and wooden houses. After turning onto the main trunk road, that was where the Dragon started showing her curvy ass to the horde of runners. It was an out and back route, total of 14.5km and had 8 hills (or climbs) sandwiched in between. 
Roy - asking for 11km more. Photo Credit to Lim Soon Chung
Eugene Looking strong on the climb. By the way, that's a new 2ndSkin Tshirt due to be launched next week - Photo Credit Ee Kok Jin
I got to the U-turn mark in 45:31 and thinking that I could nail the entire race in under 1:30, I decided to push for a negative split. It wasn’t easy and looking at other runners walking uphill from even the 2nd hill itself wasn’t good for mental motivation. However, picking out front targets and closing on them and passing them was what kept me on pace for my target finish. From about the 9th to the 12th km, I was pacing with Roy and both of us were pushing each other on the climbs. At the last hill, Roy got his 2nd wind and opened up a gap with me. I wasn’t about to blow myself out following his pace as it was about 2km from the finish, so I ran my own race and focused on running at a threshold I could sustain.
There was this one runner about 1.5km from the finish, who I had a friendly tussle with. He was ahead of me and as I pulled up next to him, he would up his stride and run a bit faster, I would then get back behind him (the road was narrow and it wasn’t safe running abreast with the cars zooming by) and wait for the opportunity to pass. As I pulled out again and got beside him, he would pick up the pace again and not let me pass. This went on for about 500m and I’m glad to say, I still had a finishing kick to get pass him and finish ahead at the end. :D
I crossed the finish line in 1:29:48 and just nicked in under my target of 1:30. Roy finished ahead of me in 1:29:02, and after indulging in some post-race drinks and food, we adjourned home.


  • Pretty good hill training ground, where the hills take out enough of your effort before giving you some respite and then you see the next hill looming. I will definitely be back for some training runs here.
  • As usual, I ran in my Skechers GoRun, my shoe of choice since about a year ago (I’m into my 2nd pair and wearing them out as I write). Roy ran in the GoBionic but he had a little trouble with a blister on his small toe. Evidently something to take note of, and to determine if it’s a permanent issue on longer runs.

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