The best runcation so far!


I remembered reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Eat, Pray, Love” where she travelled to Italy, India, and Indonesia, but her memoirs about Bali struck me the most. I have been to Bali several times before, but just like the author, I can never get enough of it. Perhaps I should move there too? There is a lot of things that is yet to be discovered on this mystical “Island of Gods”, and luckily enough, a few years later, I was given the opportunity to participate in Bali Marathon 2016.

Set in Gianyar, Bali Marathon took us away from the stereotypical tourist spots such as the beach and town. There is certainly more to Bali besides surfing and partying. The route for all categories (full marathon, half marathon, 10K) showed a softer side of Bali that is often forgotten and under-appreciated: it’s green, terraced paddy fields, the calm, picturesque villages against the dramatic background of the volcano, and the friendly, warm smiles of local children cheering for you.

As the runners are weaving in and out of the village streets, the adult villagers, on the other hand, go about their daily affairs as usual – women balancing market purchases on their heads, everyone going to the temple to perform their morning prayer, putting a little pallet of offering by their doorstep, or busy weaving flowers and leaves for the next ritual of the day. It’s as if nothing is happening, allowing foreigners like me to observe this daily routine that is uniquely Balinese. The world and its inhabitants is such a beautiful place, we should learn more to appreciate this diversity so we can respect our differences. Maybe, this calls for a future trip to Bali again for a crash course on their culture?

The event started after Fajr prayers at 5.30 am so runners can enjoy the sunrise

The event started pretty late (after Fajr prayers at 5.30 am) so runners can enjoy the sunrise

A typical house or temple in the village (both of them look almost the same to me)

A typical house or temple in the village (both of them look almost the same to me)


Local kids giving a high 5 and cheering for you along the way


Gamelan and dancers at several every water stations along the way, giving the perfect opportunity for a photo op

Apart from observing the local villagers, Bali Marathon also gathered a lot of running crews from all over the world. They are very proud about their origins and the club that they are representing, often carrying the flag towards the finishing line or the supporters accompanying them towards the final kilometers. After checking their social media accounts, prior to this event, they have showed immense team spirit and fostered strong teamwork through training together, going on trips regularly, or attended non-running events together. However, that does not mean that they are not open to new friendships. These running crews are definitely a fun and friendly bunch of people, and thanks to them, we had a good time before and after the marathon, plus, they also assisted us on making the necessary ground arrangements so our stay in Bali will be as smooth as possible.

Hello from your neighbours across the ocean!

Hello from your neighbours across the ocean! (image courtesy of Kyserun Krew)

Different countries, crews, and culture, united for the love of running

Different countries, crews, and culture, united for the love of running (image courtesy of Naked Spirit Runners)

Bali Marathon might be the first running event overseas for me, yet it won’t be the last. If God wills it, there will be more runcation (running + vacation) events for me in the future!

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner

UEM Charity Run 2016

I give credit to my mum for encouraging us to join this event. She found it through the internet, and announced that she would like run in the 3km Family Fun Run category with her friends and my sister. I agreed to it too. But after seeing how excited her group was about the event, I figured that she has plenty of support and company. Plus, I knew that she can run longer than 3km because she works out regularly. So I ‘upgraded’ myself to the 12km category instead.

IMG_3106Team Mama

The event was a huge turnout because it’s not everyday that one of the busiest highways in Malaysia gets blocked and closed just for a running event. Usually, the North Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) was jammed with cars and vehicles but this morning, it was full of runners. All categories and distances can safely run on the road without any traffic. Despite the high number of runners, the highway was wide with 4 lanes, so no one was knocked over and fast sprinters can easily maneuver through the crowd. There was even enough space to set up sufficient water stations, sponging stations, and portable toilets along the way.


IMG_3097The starting line and finishing line. Is there an express lane for slow runners like me?

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetJumping for joy at the same spot when I felt miserable about being stuck in a traffic jam.

IMG_3140The massive turnout for the event

Running instead of driving on a road that I travel through almost everyday gave me a new sense of appreciation for the route. I have never realized that the wide, open road against the backdrop of dawn was very picturesque. We just ran and ran into the first ray of sunlight. How could I have missed that despite driving through this road almost every day? Now, I agree that sometimes all we need is to slow down, look around to discover that there is beauty around us, and how perfect God’s creations are.  I have never realized the slight elevation of the highway too while driving in the comfort of my car. It was challenging, but it wasn’t a killer. We were rewarded with an equally long stretch of downhill. I just leaned my body forward, and let gravity do its work.

In the end I did not run my fastest 12km, so I did not take home a new personal best (PB) record. However, I did went home feeling grateful and energized, with a better appreciation of my surroundings.

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.