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 😊 for the cameras 📸.

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
    👍 – Well-managed
  • Toilets
    👍 – 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
    👍 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
    👍 – Well-organised and well-coordinated by friendly volunteers who understood runners needs.
  • Medal and Finisher Collection Area
    👌 – Fast and well-managed. However, the area where you can enter to collect  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.  The organiser could consider giving finisher slip or provide medal immediately at the finish line.
  • Road & route management
    👍 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,  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
    👍  
    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
    👍 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
    👍 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
    👍 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
    👍 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
    👌 On the day of the race, many used the app to follow and track their friends.  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
    👍  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.  These are Nashata Runners Full Marathon finishers  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.  Keep it up!

Review is based on experience by Intan Suraya and I.

What I think about when I think about running [at 2am]

Disclaimer: This post has no relation to Haruki Murakami’s book. However a very popular question that I get from spectators who were cheering for us by the roadside at 2 am was “Why is everyone doing this? Why is everyone up at 2 am?” has left me pondering. On the flip side, I have no idea why these villagers are not asleep too at 2 in the morning.

Our happy faces at 2am. It is never too early to get excited!

Our happy faces at 2am. It is never too early to get excited!

The #KLWolfpack taking over Kuching

The #KLWolfpack taking over Kuching

Passing by villages and its friendly population is the norm for Kuching Marathon. I enjoyed the supportive atmosphere from last year so much, that I decided to upgrade myself to the full marathon category for this year. Coupled by good reviews from runners who participated in previous years, I was convinced that I made the right choice to come to Kuching again. I was so wrong.

The race started very early in the morning at exactly 2 am. The gun time was perfect, as the sun is not out yet and we enjoyed the cool morning air. Just like last year, the race started with a quick prayer, asking for Allah’s blessings so this event will run smoothly, and to protect the runners from any harm or injury. The first 10km was a breeze, and everything was going well. It was only the “warm-up phase” anyways.

A few kilometers later I spotted a water station, but there was hardly a line since no one was stopping there. It turns out that they have ran out of water. “It’s ok, I still have some water from my own bottle”, I said to myself. It did not take very long my own supply to deplete quickly. Empty plastic bottles were strewn around the next few water stations, but still there was no water in sight. There was hardly any petrol station at this part of the route, and I had to resort to asking a runner if he could spare a few sips of his 100 Plus. Bless this gentleman’s soul for sharing!

By the 25km, perhaps my running form was really bad, or I looked like I was about to collapse, but I noticed that the medic van was slowly trailing behind me and the driver was looking very concerned. I was losing my momentum from the thirst. I tried to shake it off – DNF is not an option! The only way for me to end up on that van is when I really passed out, not when I almost feel like passing out. I decided to take it easy until I find water. I think it was best for me to take things down a notch so I don’t pass out from dehydration. My focus has shifted from achieving another PB for 42km to just completing the race within the cut off time.

Finally, a water station that actually has water! Why use only one hand to drink when you can use both sides?

Finally, a water station that actually has water! Why use only one hand to drink when you can use both?

Speaking of PBs, I did some self-reflection: I noticed that I have been improving for 10km and 21km, but I have yet to break the barrier at 30km, as it have been hovering around the 4:20-4:30 hour without much improvement. Any thoughts on why is this happening and how can I fix this?

I finished the race just barely within the extended cut off time (the organizers extended the cut off time from 6.5 hours to 7 hours), feeling exhausted like I have just finished the hardest race of my life. I don’t think that I will be back again for Kuching Marathon next year, but I’ll hunt for another full marathon event to renew my PB.

Oh hey cat with bib and vest, did you get dehydrated from running too?

Oh hey cat with bib and vest, did you get dehydrated from running too?

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.