Pleasant surprises would be my super short answer. Read on for a longer version.
I signed up for the half marathon at the Jakarta Marathon a couple of months ago and the process was not all that straight forward for foreigners. The way the organiser manage the registration was not like my ordinary experiences, nevertheless, it was all good. Basically, you just need to go through the not-so-ordinary process and you will be fine. They will help you get your registration through. I registered via their website and completed payment via email.
2. Racekit Collection
Racekit collection at the Kuningan City mall was well organised, no queue with plenty of space.
The running shirts are in 3 colors – green, blue and purple. They have female and male versions, both sleeveless. So, they assigned your shirt color based on size. I got a blue, due to the size I chose. So, do bring tops, sports hijabs and running pants that go well with all colors to be safe! I only knew the color of my running tee when I collected my racekit. Turned out majority wore their own running shirts!
You can easily check the routes for all categories at the collection center as buntings of the routes were displayed around the area.
3. The Race, People & Route
This year, the Jakarta Marathon marked its 5th time being organised with about 10,000 participants running the 5km, 10km, 21km and 42km categories. The most popular category was the half marathon with about 3,000 of the runners. The run was held on the 29th October, at the Monumen Nasional like the previous years. The first flag off was at 5am for the full marathon and half marathon runners. It was a bit confusing at first as there was no demarcation for these two categories, and runners from 10km were already flooding the flag off area. I passed the start line 1.59 mins after the flag off time.
Everyone was in a jovial mood. The roads along the first 15km were flat and paved smoothly mainly on Jalan Gajah Mada towards Museum Bank Indonesia, Bank Mandiri Museum and Kota Lama Area. The runners were fast and I caught up with their pace under 7km/min, 2nd km onward. The sun rose pretty early, however both the sun and clouds were super kind to me – it was an overcast morning. In fact, it drizzled 11th km onward and stopped about ten minutes after. There were water stations, serving Pocari Sweat and water at almost every 2.5km. From 12th km, I passed by the Cathedral Church and Istiqal Mosque on flat roads.
It was nice to see major landmarks and to get to know the city on foot. The last 5km was ‘meriah’ – runners had to pave through a street carnival. Thousands of people and hundreds of street hawkers and performers were on the street at Bundaran H1. It was quite challenging to pace your way among ‘macet’ pedestrian and buses. I was running behind a bus at a very slow pace for a few minutes as I couldn’t get pass through human traffic and the bus.
There were many supporters along the last 3 km, offering drinks and all sorts of food. A policeman by the road saw me pacing through pedestrian gave me a good nudge – “Ayoh Bu, Semangat Bu Semangat!”. After that I kept reminding myself to keep my strides strong.
I reached the finish line feeling very grateful. They gave me a banana and a bottle of Pocari Sweat (I like this better than the 100 Plus – not sweet). The finisher tee was only for the full marathon runner. I was happy to walk back to the hotel. Oh ya, it was convenient to put up at a hotel close to the race area. We were only about 700 meters away from the Monumen.
I enjoyed the run and did my personal best.
4. The Medal
It was surely a good way to check out the city of Jakarta on foot with least vehicle around you. It is a beautiful city with friendly people. The locals are courteous and helpful. We made a couple of new friends ; Adni who walked with us from the hotel to the Monumen and Jeffry who took our pictures.
5. The weather
I was running in the Hooda Racerback Sports Hijab, Heather Galaxy Pink and Dual Tone Leggings by Nashata. I was still in #pinkoctober breast cancer campaign mood. There were good for both hot and rainy weather – only 3 layers of clothing. I had a viser on throughout the run although it was not much of a use. But I was told it was scorching hot previous years. Guess I was lucky.
Glad I joined the run. It was totally worth it and I hope to run happy in races like the Jakarta Marathon again soon!