Kuala Lumpur Standard Chartered Malaysia Marathon 2019 Race Review

After three weeks of grey clouds hovering the skies in Klang Valley, on the 29th Sept, Kuala Lumpur greeted the runners at the Kuala Lumpur Standard Chartered Marathon with a clear blue sky. It was a great day to run. Although it was drizzling when the full marathon flagged-off at 3:45am, but it quickly subsided about 20 minutes after.

Blue Sky at Dataran Merdeka. Picture by cheery running friend, Farhani

I joined the Half Marathon together with my husband and like previous years, we took the LRT from Bandar Tasek Selatan to Masjid Jamek to get to Dataran Merdeka. The event organiser – Dirigo, without fail, sponsored the LRT rides in Klang Valley for a certain period of time to facilitate runners’ logistic arrangement.

The start and finish area for all categories are not the same. The 5km and 10 km run were held at Sogo area, while the half and full marathon at Dataran Merdeka.

The arrangement to enter runners’ designated pens were well-organised and strict. Pens were used to segregate runners based on targeted timing – fastest being in the one in front and slowest at the back. The Minister of Youth and Sports of Malaysia, YB Syed Saddiq flagged-off and joined the run. The KL Standard Chartered Run was well organised and I saw a lot of efforts to make the event world-standard. Before the run started, the emcee gave a few safety and running etiquette reminders. For example, he reminded the runners on how to overtake each other by telling the person in front of you that you are over-taking on the right. By virtue of that, if you plan to slow down in the crowd, keep left so that those who wish to go faster than you can do that on the right. He also reminded the runners to run within designated zones to stay safe and smile ๐Ÿ˜Š for the camerasย ๐Ÿ“ธ.

Half Marathon Flag Off 5:30am

Here are our collective reviews from half and full marathon runners about some aspects of the run :

  • Baggage Drop
    ๐Ÿ‘ – Well-managed
  • Toilets
    ๐Ÿ‘ – Ample with not many queues. We only saw short queues at early kilometers and after that, hardly any. This was good as runners can achieve better timing.
  • Medical & Paramedics
    ๐Ÿ‘ Many ambulances were seen patrolling the race routes at the early, middle and later part of the routes. This was really encouraging because I usually see them only at later part of the race.
  • Water Station, Sponges and Muscle Spray
    ๐Ÿ‘ – Well-organised and well-coordinated by friendly volunteers who understood runners needs.
  • Medal and Finisher Collection Area
    ๐Ÿ‘Œ – Fast and well-managed. However, the area where you can enter to collectย  the water, 100 plus and medal was lax, loosely-controlled. Anyone can enter the area. Last year, I found the finisher area managed very strictly.ย  The organiser could consider giving finisher slip or provide medal immediately at the finish line.
  • Road & route management
    ๐Ÿ‘ Overall, it was good. Most roads were well lighted up except a few areas – dark (at Kampung Baru), wet and needed light before the sun rise. Inevitably, due to the rain earlier, a few corners of the roads were filled with water and runners had to slow down and be extra careful to keep shoes dry. It would be nice if runners get to run more in the city than on the DUKE highway. Or,ย  get some volunteers to cheer along the long highway. It would also be nice if we run the opposite way of the route, so that runners do not have to go through hills last leg.
  • Surau
    ๐Ÿ‘ย ย 
    Praying areas were well-planned with signage. One water station was used by male runners to pray. I just prayed by the road using raazglove to ‘sujud’ on. I saw a couple of runners praying by the road and the place looked safe and convenient. So, I just followed them.
  • Traffic Control
    ๐Ÿ‘ Thumbs up for the traffic marshals and volunteers along the race route. They kept the runners on track, friendly and were very strict about the runners path. They were also strict about how you wear the bib – which is in the front!
  • International Participants
    ๐Ÿ‘ I see more international participation at the KLSCM this year. Running groups and runners from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia and Japan were quite visible at the run. Many Indonesian and China supporters were seen cheering at the finish line.
  • Medal & T-shirts
    ๐Ÿ‘ Medal – Sleek design of medal with difference sizes for different categories. I cannot help but wonder why the Twin Towers on the medal are not the same height? Could it because the perspective or angle of the towers?

    KL Standard Chartered Marathon 2019 Medal Run for a Reason

    The running shirts for the event were by Under Armour and the design was the same as previous years – simple and neat. I love all the colors !
    Running shirt : Electric blue with 2 design options : short sleeves or running vest.
    Extra Shirt for Run for a Reason – Olive color short sleeve shirt
    Full marathon finishers get dark blue finisher short sleeve shirts

    About two weeks before the event, the organiser announced the change of event name to the Kuala Lumpur Standard Charted Marathon (KLSCM) from Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon (SCKLM). It was a last minute change. Therefore, there was no surprise that the merchandises retained the old name : SCKLM.

  • Event Village
    ๐Ÿ‘ What’s new about the event village was the steel-looking over-head walk-way that goes across the start and finish line. Although it couldn’t accommodate many users, it was useful to facilitate runners and supporters to cross the road. There were many activities to do other than cheering for finishing runners. You could catch up with fellow runners, take pictures, rest and recover or get a massage after the race. I wanted to get leg and back massage after the run, but the set-up was too open. It would be great if the event organiser allocate an area for women who wish not to be visible in the open area. The event emcee kept the mood going with upbeat music running on the background the whole time I was at the village.Another nice thing to have at the village is food and more food. Just get the food trucks there and runners would be so happy to fill up their huge appetite after the run while waiting for fellow friends.

    On the Runners approaching the finish line as I walked over.

  • KLSCM 2019 App
    ๐Ÿ‘Œ On the day of the race, many used the app to follow and track their friends.ย  I too downloaded and used the app to track others who were running. Unfortunately, the updates for live tracking was slow and at times, the info of the runner I followed disappear. The app gave pop-up updates about the runners you follow until they finish. The updates at one point was an hour delay – I received the update about my friend finishing the run, an hour after she finished. Response time certainly needs improvement.
  • Running Participation
    ๐Ÿ‘ย ย Based on the unofficial info on KLSCM App, less than 10,000 runners of 13,000 registered full marathon runners, while less than 9,500 runners out of 12,500 registered half marathon runners joined the feat. This was about 73%-76% participation rate.

Congrats to Runners
At KLSCM, you see serious and competitive runners. They push you forward. Whether or not you meet your timing goals, what matter is that you finish strong and ethically.ย  These are Nashata Runners Full Marathon finishersย  that I am so proud of : Farhati, Intan Suraya, Intan Siza, Laili Mardziah, Nur Azyan, Siti Nor Aliza, Syariza and Zamzamiah.

Farhati Happy with her 1st Full Marathon.

Intan Suraya, Marshita, Fiza – Full Marathon Finishers

Nor Laili after finishing her 1st Full Marathon

Syariza & Intan Siza after full marathon. Intan Siza pacing Syariza 1st FM as a birthday gift #sisterhood

Full marathon finishers : Syariza, Zamzamiah & friend

Run for a Reason
I was happy to have a rewarding experience raising funds and awareness for the National Cancer Society of Malaysia together with my husband. We collectively raised RM6,720. Although small, we hope our effort contributes to a greater cause. We hope to continue to do this next year.

Half Marathon Finishers – Soy Mokhtar & I

Special Thanks to Volunteers and Cheerers
Friendly and supportive volunteers and cheerers helped runners keep running mood positive and they pushed us going.

Dirigo keeps improving its standards and I appreciate the efforts.ย  Keep it up!

Review is based on experience by Intan Suraya and I.