I arrived at the race site quite early, managed to doze off for a good 15 minutes at the nearby designated parking area. And anticipating that there won't be a big crowd, I took my sweet time to walk to the start/finish venue with some fifteen minutes from the flagoff. True enough, the crowd was rather small and I could right away line up at the very front of the pack if I wanted to. But I decided to walk to the back and look for familiar faces and found my team mate, Roy, and some others. As it got closer to 7am (scheduled time for flagoff), the crowd of runners mostly clad in the bright orange 2ndskin t-shirt started to flock the start pen. But it was still a small crowd of some, maybe, 600 runners, and I could see the tail of the crowd from the first few rows at the front. I slowly made myself to almost the front of the pack and glancing the front rows, I don't recognise any familiar podium faces and wonder why and where are they? Later I realised that maybe the prizes offered were not attractive enough with only top three winners in each of the four categories were awarded with cash prizes.
The flag off was delayed by 10 minutes but luckily we were saved by the weather that remained cloudy throughout the race. And right from the beginning I was trapped in between the front runners and had to speed up so that I won't got pushed or maybe tramped by faster runners behind me. Right away, a famous Malay proverb came through my mind,"kalau takut dilambung ombak, jangan berumah di tepi pantai" where in this case it literally means, if I can't run fast enough, don't stand near the front pack." Glancing at my Garmin watch, I saw myself doing sub 4-minute pace in the first 500m of the race which is quite a mind boggling for me. Knowing my lack of training, I was wary if the fast pace would not be for long and I would succumb to it. Nevertheless, the body felt good and I thrive to run fast as long as I could. The Skechers GOmeb Speed 3 worked wonders too, kept propelling me for my next stride. The first kilometer was done slightly under four minutes. I could see there were about ten runners in front of me. Not bad, I told myself. I found another motivation to keep running fast - not to let runners behind to overtake me, as much as I could, which in the and only about three or four runners overtook me.
The route was flat in the first kilometer - maybe that explains the fast pace, before gradually goes up in elevation (although by not much) in the second kilometer hence, my pace dropped to 4:15-minute, which is still fast to my standard. The route went up and down and that correlates with my pace too, around 4:30-ish minute when it goes downhill and 4:50-ish minute when it goes uphill. I tried very hard to run under 5:00-minute pace and that was what I did. Besides some rolling elevation, the route was really nice, going through Melawati neighborhood, running near Bukit Tabur and Klang Gate Dam. The route was also shaded and at one stretch it reminds me the Bukit Tunku stretch near the Arabic School as we ran towards Dataran Merdeka. There were three water stations which I think is adequate. All of them served Revive isotonic drinks and mineral water but the mineral water was dished out in 500ml bottle which I think was a waste when I just consumed a few gulps, poured some on my head and threw it away only half-empty.
The killer elevation came at KM7.5 and I thought that almost killed me, especially when I felt the urge to pass motion. I knew my heart rate has reached its maximum but I trudged on, kept reminding myself that it would be just less than 2km to go, with anticipation that the race would be about 500m under distance. By that time, I lost count of my placing and how many runners had passed me. The killer incline reached the peak at KM7.9 and it was all the way downhill and soon I arrived at the final turn towards the finish line. The race was only 8.9km in distance, a lot less than what I had anticipated earlier. Nevertheless, it didn't dampen my mood to celebrate my time of 41 minutes and 34 seconds for the 8.9km run (4:40-minute average pace). I was happy with the way I ran the race especially when was only expecting to run at 5:30-minute average. I was elated! It was a great speedwork, I told myself. I later found out that the timing puts me in the 10th position in Men's Open and 14th overall.
Overall about the event, I think it was well-managed, if you don't mind the under distance. The route was nice, traffic control and marshaling at junctions were adequate. Three water stations should be sufficient for a 9km race. The race venue was an acceptable one, with adequate parking space for this size of crowd. However, I still overheard a runner talking about absence of goodies bag where runners were only given the finisher's medal upon completing the race besides the cereal in cup from Nestle and Milo. Well, the entitlements have been clearly specified in the race information which runners should have read before signing up for the event. Today, runners are spoilt with abundance of race options every weekend so, read the race information carefully. If you like what you read and you feel it compensates the fee you're paying, then go for it. If not, choose other race. Simple. And oh yeah, the event t-shirt by 2ndskin is very nice, receiving many compliments from the runners and so does the medal.
For my race details at Garmin Connect, click here.
For official result (overall), click here.