SCKLM’s 10TH ANNIVERSARY SET TO SIZZLE!

Top Malaysian Runner’s Gather Pace Before The Big Event

KUALA LUMPUR, March 2018: The 10th Anniversary of the Standard Chartered KL Marathon (SCKLM) is expected to be a hotly contested event in several categories. The Malaysian Men’s Full Marathon category in particular will see intense competition amongst several Malaysians who have been posting increasingly fast times in the lead up to Malaysia’s premier running event. The Full Marathon Open category and the Malaysian Women’s Full Marathon category are also expected to be hard fought affairs. We at Nashata supports female runners to woman up. It is a tough battle to even run, what more to win. But there is #NOEXCUSE not to try harder and push the boundaries.

SCKLM2018’s Malaysian Men’s Full Marathon category will see an intriguing battle between a few runners in particular, namely Muhaizar Mohamad, Leo Tan, Nik Fakaruddin and Ow Yong Jin Kuang. Muhaizar, Leo and Nik recently competed in the Tokyo Marathon and finished spectacularly by breaking their own personal bests. Leo Tan, who is an engineer based in Taiwan, was the first to finish and beat his previous personal best of 2:28:19, also posted in Tokyo last year, by recording a blistering 2:25:28, which is unofficially the new national record.

  • Leo Tan ran his heart out in the recent Tokyo Marathon 2018.

Muhaizar, in his first attempt at an overseas marathon also performed admirably despite not being able to travel early to Tokyo to acclimatise and having to run in close to freezing temperatures for the first time in his life. The Armed Forces personnel also bettered his own previous best of 2:31:52 which was posted at the KL S.E.A. Games 2017 and which earned him Malaysia’s first medal in the Marathon for over 44 years. Muhaizar finished the Tokyo Marathon in 2:27:21, which was also faster than the previous national record.

  • Muhaizar Mohamad did his best in Tokyo Marathon 2018.

Nik Fakaruddin, Muhaizar’s colleague in the Armed Forces and training partner, also smashed his previous personal best by almost 10 minutes to post 2:31:01 in his first attempt at an overseas marathon. Ow, who finished in third place behind Muhaizar and Leo at SCKLM2017, could also spring a surprise as his preparation for SCKLM2018 would have been unhindered as compared to the other three runners who ran in the Tokyo Marathon just a few weeks ago. All four runners are in with a shout of claiming victory at SCKLM2018 and the running community will be eagerly waiting to see who emerges as the 2018 Malaysian Men’s Full Marathon champion.

  • Tokyo Marathon 2018. Nik Fakaruddin (in blue in the middle).

“In fact, all top 10 finishers of the Malaysian Men’s Full Marathon category at SCKLM2017 will be back this year” said Rainer Biemans, Director of Dirigo Events and Project Director of SCKLM 2018. “I’m really happy that the fastest marathon runners in Malaysia all look to participate and perform well in SCKLM to see who is the best in Malaysia. The level of quality that we have locally is showing signs of advancement with Muhaizar and Leo’s rivalry in particular creating great interest and encouragement among local runners,” he added.

A couple of other categories at SCKLM2018 will also be generating a lot of interest come Race Day. The Men’s Full Marathon Open category is also expected to see stiff competition between five-time consecutive SCKLM champion Kennedy Kiproo Lilan and the person who upstaged him last year to win, Cosmas Matolo Muteti. Both will be back this year and Kennedy will be eager to reclaim his title from Cosmas.

  • SCKLM2017 FM Men's Open

The Malaysian Women’s Full Marathon category will also see a challenger to perennial champion and national record holder Yuan Yufang. Annie Yee, another Malaysian who performed well at the Tokyo Marathon by posting a personal best of 3:15:00 is expected to give multiple winner Yufang a run for her money this time around and a new champion might yet be crowned this year. Loh Chooi Fern, who finished second behind Yufang in 2017 will also be running this year and hoping to do one better at SCKLM2018. And finally, all eyes will be on the Malaysian Women’s Half Marathon category, where Sheela Samivellu, two-time SCKLM winner and national record holder, will be gunning to see if she can better her own mark of 1:24:44, previously set at SCKLM2016.

  • SCKLM 2017 (Sheela Samivellu smiling with pride in the centre)

“We’re expecting a really competitive SCKLM2018 with a few categories expected to see strong competition between the top contenders, which bodes well for the continued success and relevance of SCKLM,” said Rainer. “It is heartening to note that these runners want to take part in SCKLM because they want to compete against the best, and on a fully certified course. On our part, we will do our best to create the best conditions possible for such contests to take place,” he continued.

Many runners are intrigued to join this huge event and Nashata founder, Eliza Noordin is no exception to that. “I am a slow runner but there’s no excuse for me to not be a part of this exciting run.” Eliza and other women runners like Intan Suraya and Nahsuhah are helping other runners by sharing their tips about running, food, health and routes on Standard Chartered Malaysia Instagram page. These women help to empower women to give their best in spite of their gender. The Standard Chartered KL Marathon has grown to become the premier running event in Malaysia that draws thousands of local and international runners to the country whilst firmly establishing Malaysia in the global running calendar. The 2018 10th Anniversary edition will be the largest yet with more than 38,000 runners taking part, and will once again see sponsorship from Title Sponsor Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia, along with Brooks, Lucozade, Seiko and Pacific Regency.

For more information and updates on SCKLM, please visit:

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/SCKLmarathon
Twitter : www.twitter.com/SCKLmarathon
Instagram : https://instagram.com/SCKLmarathon
Website : www.kl-marathon.com

Running the Tokyo Marathon

Well, my Tokyo Marathon journey has come to an end. It’s been almost a week since I, along with 36,000 other runners from all over the world, braved the cold weather and harsh winds and ran the streets of Tokyo. And I’m still on a runner’s high!

I had traveled to Tokyo with my new runner friend, Iman, who was introduced to me by another runner friend, Melisa. In fact, the first time we met face-to-face was at the airport, LOL! But, this is what I love about the running community. With our love for running as our common denominator, we immediately clicked and had a great time exploring Tokyo together.

Once we had landed in Tokyo, our first area of business was to pick up our bibs and running packs at the Expo. After buying our Subway tickets and getting directions from the super friendly people at the Tourist Information Center, we were on our way to the Expo at Tokyo Big Sight. There were hundreds of runners there but the system set up was so efficient, we had our bibs, timing chips, race t-shirts and goodie bags in record time.

IMG-20170224-WA0011 (1)The day of the race was nerve wrecking to say the least. The race didn’t start until 9:10am but we were advised to arrive early as the security clearance and baggage drop-off process would take a while. In the end, we headed out from our Airbnb around 7am, with sufficient time to make it to the starting area, drop off our baggage, hydrate and make the ever important bathroom stop. The gates to the different starting pens opened at about 8:15am so it was here that I separated with the other Malaysian runners (they were in the quicker pace group).

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What I wore for the race: Riada Active Pants, Zip Up Azeeza Lite top, Hooda Racerback hijab with two Raazgloves (One underneath my hijab for added coverage and another as a neck warmer/face cover). All available from Nashata. I also wore and inner top ad inner pants for added warmth, compression socks and gloves.

IMG_20170226_085945  The 5:30 pacers in front of us, calmly waiting for the go ahead signal.

At 9:10am sharp, we heard the gun go off for the elite runners category. About 10 minutes later, we were released into the wave of runners heading towards the starting mat. We passed it 10 minutes later, which made it the longest delay to the starting mat after flagoff I’ve ever had. However, once we all started running, it was all good.

We started from the Shinjuku area, near the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building. Sidenote: Instead of paying to get a birds-eye view of Tokyo at the Tokyo Tower or Tokyo Skytree, go here instead. There are two observatory towers and both are accessible for free! The first 6km of the race took us past the Shinjuku-Gyoen national park and also the Science Musuem. It was also mostly downhill so unintentionally, I ran it at a much faster pace than intended. It wasn’t until I reached that first checkpoint did I look down at my pace and decided to slow down a bit.

The next 6km had us running parts of the Kanda and Ningyocho area. It was here that several performances were being performed to give the runners a boost if needed and also entertain the many spectators of the race.

IMG_20170226_101820Cultural dance performances made the race special and were a treat for international and local runners alike.

The first loop of the race came about km15, near the Asakusa area. It was here we got glimpses of the elite runners as they had already made the turn way ahead of us. Asakusa’s most recognizable landmark is the Kaminarimon Gate, where one can see the huge red lantern, protected by the Gods, Fujin and Raijin.

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Funfact: That huge red lantern weighs about 700 kilograms!

Heading towards the 25km mark, the race heated up as more and more supporters lined up to cheer the runners along. This Ryogoku – Fukagawa area showcased many landmarks such as the Tomika Hachimangu Shrine, the Edo-Tokyo Museum, the Ekoin Temple and the Sumida Hokusai Museum.

IMG_20170226_115356The cheerleaders were a welcome sight after reaching the halfway point.

After the 25km mark, we started to see a lot of runners stop beside the road to stretch and walk around a bit. I have to admit, I was one of them. The cold really got to me, despite my many layers of clothing. However, the cheers of the crowd yelling “Gambatte” and “Fighto” pushed us to carry on.

Heading towards the finishing line, we were treated to sights of the Tokyo Tower and parts of Hibiya Park.

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Modeled after the Eiffel Tower, the Tokyo Tower stands at 333 meters and is the world’s tallest, self-supported steel tower.

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The last stretch before the turn towards the finishing line was, in my opinion, the most emotional I’ve ever ran. Hundreds of supporters were cheering the runners on, many of whom I took time to give and receive high-fives and shouts of congratulations. Turning the last corner, I almost cried seeing the finishing line. The pain I felt throughout the race, fighting the cold, the leg cramps…it all disappeared once I crossed that mat. Volunteers rushed ahead to make sure I was OK then directed me towards my baggage pickup area.

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All finishers were given a medal and a finisher’s towel. Awesome!!

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Proud Malaysians with the Jalur Gemilang after the race.

Eventhough this is not my first Full Marathon, it is certainly the most memorable yet. I don’t know if it’s just a Japanese culture but the crowds and volunteers were top-notch. From start to finish, spectators were lined up along the roads, cheering and providing provisions for the runners. Some had drinks, some had candies, some had chocolate, some even had cooling sprays! I saw parents hold up signboards with pictures of their children, crying with joy when they spotted him/her along the course. Drones of families, some with small children (so cute!!), some even in wheelchairs came out to give their support. I can’t tell you how many times my spirit got lifted by the crowd. Even the volunteers were amazing; always serving with a smile, a high-five and words of encouragement. Eventhough I didn’t achieve my target time of 5:30, this Tokyo Marathon experience will certainly be one to remember fondly for all time.

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Arigato and Sayonara, Tokyo!