“Jaguh kampung”*

*for my non-Malaysian readers, “jaguh kampung” can be loosely translated as a homeground winner

When was the last time you get to know your own community? Some prefer to mingle through volunteering, such as through recycling programmes or “gotong royong”. Others like to invite their neighbours over during festivities. For me, I like to get to know my community doing what I love the most: running. Last Sunday I decided to join a 10K run around my neighbourhood in a small-scale event. What better way to know my neighbours than to run with them? There was no fancy sponsors and organizers – it was supported by the Residence Association and the local city council (MBSA), with prizes and goodies mostly contributed by neighbourhood shops and local businesses.

As it was a simple event, there were not many participants. From my rough estimation, there were less than 100 women for all categories: 10km, 7km, and 3km. There were also 3 Kenyans only (no point trying to outrun them, my short Asian feet will never be able to keep up!). The route was also my regular running route – I knew every turn, elevation, and landmark by heart. Based on these parameters, I concluded that my chances to finish in the top 5 for the Open Women category was pretty high.

Very early in the race (at about 1km) I was overtaken by the Kenyans. I let them take the lead, for I know I will not be able to match their 4:00 – 5:00min/km pace. As you might have read from my previous running posts, I am not a fast runner. I maintained my regular pace of 6:30 – 7:00min/km for the first half of the race, however I was leading among the women after the Kenyans and about 20 male participants. I can see a few other female runners just right behind me a few hundred meters away. They eventually dropped out and started to walk. After securing that no female runner could overtake me, I got comfortable and complacent, so my pace slowed to about 7:30-8:00min/km. I cruised away until the finishing line and finished in 2nd place for the 10km Open Women category.


From right: The Champion, The Runner Up, and The Second Runner Up


Despite the small-scale event, it was surprisingly well-organized. With the exception of a few hiccups during the bib and t-shirt collection, the event went smoothly. They did not compromise on safety; police, RELA, and the ambulance were patrolling along the route. The direction and distance markers were clear, and at every water station there were enough water and even bananas. I wished that there were timing chips and the medal design could be improved, but since the registration was pretty cheap at RM45, the price point matches the quality of the event.

I was happy that I managed to finish in 2nd place but I was more happy when I see participants having fun and enjoying themselves while getting to know each other in this event. In conclusion, we should always support our local community and contribute back in whatever way we can, no matter how small the event might sound or how insignificant our efforts might be.

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.

If you don’t race, you pace!


As the official pacer for Ice Watch Run 2016, my task list for the night was simple: make sure my balloon does not pop or get blown away, maintain a pace of 7:30min/km through out 10km, and keep up the positive spirit, and watch out for other runners along the way. We were not assigned a timing target, and were advised by the organizers to take our time to regroup at the water station if necessary. Plus, there was no timing chip attached to the number bib too.

7:30min/km pacers at your service!

7:30min/km pacers at your service!

Very early in the race we were approached by a few runners who were aiming for a PB – an uncle said that he has been running in several events, so he really wanted to maintain the 7:30min/km pace with us. We tried our best to maintain at the assigned pace, but due to the size of the crowd my pacing group was breaking up. We had to pause to regroup. So we urged the pack that followed us who wanted to set a new PB to follow the 7:00min/km pacers instead.

We were the last group of pacer before the sweepers, so we were among the last ones. At this point, the crowd consisted of;

The “Newbies” – the first timers. They have no running strategy or stamina, just the pure will to run. You can recognize them by their irregular walk-run-sprint-sprint-burn out-walk pace , or

The “Funbies” – regular runners who just run for “fun”. You can recognize them by their ability to maintain a steady but slow pace, or

The “Confusies” – if you are not a Newbie or a Funbie yet you are still running at 7:30min/km, then I have no words for you. You fall into this category.

Based on the mix of runners as aforementioned, the vibe of the crowd was more relaxed. Most participants were just strolling and chatting. Clearly, no one were aiming for any PB anymore – they just want to finish the race. The uncle who first approached us earlier had speeded ahead. Most of the runners that tagged along with us were starting to grunt, saying that we were going way too fast although my watch was already approaching 7:45min/km. I sensed that the pack running with us was starting to feel demotivated. However, we had to keep up with the task given and forged ahead with the assigned pace. To give the crowd some boost, we cheered along the way, cracked a few silly jokes, and turned on some music (Clearly, we take our job as pacers very very very seriously!)

We arrived at the finishing line greeted by the impromptu cheer zone that was created by faster pacing groups who arrived earlier than us. They gave us high-fives and congratulatory pat on the back. This gave the runners the final push to sprint towards the finishing line. I was happy to see the crowd that I was pacing to finish strong with smiles on their faces, and that gave me the greatest satisfaction as a pacer for that night. I was grateful for the opportunity given, and I would love to pace again in the future.

Did any of these good-looking pacers greeted you at the finishing line?

If good-looking pacers at the finishing line does not motivating you to sprint, I don’t know what will.

I knew that I have done my best as a pacer when I see fellow runners smiling

I knew that I have done my best as a pacer when I see fellow runners smiling

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner

Back to the starting line: TM Fan Run 2016

The end of Ramadhan marks a new running chapter for me. After one month of good rest, it is time to get going again with higher hopes and bigger goals (Hint: another ultramarathon coming really soon!). Coincidently, 2016 has passed it’s second half and so it is also a good time to reflect on the progress of our New Year Resolutions ; How far are we from reaching our goals? Have we completed any New Year Resolutions yet? Have we even started working towards our goals yet?

IMG_7480IMG_48922014 vs 2016. Same race, different venue, different distance

Time is of the essence. When you have limited time to work towards your goals, every mileage and work out counts. Not wanting to waste another moment, I signed up to run for 10KM in the TM Fan Run. Plus, signing up for an event in the midst of Eid celebration made me feel less guilty about enjoying the high calorie foods such as rendang and cookies.

IMG_4917Who says runners don’t celebrate Eid? This was our carbo-loading on the night before the run!

Lining up at the starting line, I realised how much I missed the smell of the morning air before dawn, the rays of light during sunrise, and the immediate jolt of caffeine and sugar in my system. I missed the cliché, annoying pop songs played while some random instructor did an aerobic warm up on stage, the buzzing crowd building up the excitement, the sight of your running crew and a few familiar faces. There was nothing quite like the feeling on race day!

As soon as the gun goes off, I took a deep breath, ready to give my best shot. The route was mildly easy with minimal elevation. Starting from Dataran Putrajaya, we passed by the usual landmarks if you have been running in Putrajaya regularly such as PICC and Persiaran Perdana Bridge, so there was not much excitement about the route. Overall, the 10K route was short of a few hundred meters but by my books, I ended up running my fastest 10K anyways by shaving 10 minutes of my previous personal best record.

So far, it looks like my running calender is off to a pretty good start. I’m feeling rather optimistic about the second half of 2016, with more races and work outs in the near future!


Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.